Charles A. Robertson

Charles Robertson
Charles A. Robertson, Chairman and CEO, American Cruise Lines and Pearl Seas Cruises 

For Modern American Riverboat Design

The innovative American Harmony, second in American Cruise Lines’ “Modern Riverboat” series, launched last August, and two more vessels in that five-ship series are setting sail in 2020. Bringing creative ideas and strong business acumen, Charles A. Robertson, the line’s chairman and CEO, is creating an empire of sorts on American rivers and along U.S. coastlines. In fact, 13 American-flagged vessels (five coastal cruisers, four Modern Riverboats and four paddlewheelers) will sail for the line by year end 2020. 

What’s special about the Modern Riverboats? They have a distinctive opening bow and retractable gangway (patent pending) so guests can walk directly ashore on almost any riverbank without the need for a pier. They also have a soaring, multi-story glass atrium and guests will relax in spacious, all-balcony accommodations. 

Itinerary-wise, under Robertson’s direction, American Cruise Lines now operates 35-plus itineraries touching 25 states, including Alaska and Florida. An avid sailor who holds a USCG Master and Unlimited First-Class Pilots license, Robertson also serves as chairman and CEO of both Pearl Seas Cruises, a small-ship oceangoing line, and Chesapeake Shipbuilding Corp., Salisbury, MD. That shipyard builds the Modern Riverboats and many other commercial vessels. 

Personally, Robertson has “a need for speed,” given that he started his career as an airline pilot and is still an active pilot. As a racing sailor he’s also won many international and national events over the years. But it’s his fast-paced expansion of river and coastal cruising in American waters that may be his biggest achievement. 

Charles A. Robertson