Now, this is something Cruise Diva would have loved to personally witness—a real honest-to-goodness old fashioned launch of a ship (in this case, techincally a “boat”) into the water. That’s the way ships used to be launched, although not from the side as you will see in the time lapse photos here. This is American Cruise Lines’ launching of the Queen of the Mississippi, a brand new sternwheeler built for the Mississippi and traditional river cruising. On Sunday, July 17th, the launching went picture perfect at nine weeks ahead of schedule at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Maryland. Pictured above, she is on blocks and ready to go. Below, she makes a big splash. The new riverboat then settled calmly in the water to await the tugboats that nudged her into Chesapeake Shipbuilding’s Outfitting Basin Number 2 where the upper decks and outfitting will be completed.
“The birth of a new ship is a significant milestone,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President, American Cruise Lines. “Watching the Queen of the Mississippi come to life is a fascinating experience. It’s history in the making and we encourage everyone to tune in as construction proceeds.”
The Queen of the Mississippi launching comes just a few weeks after the riverboat’s two hull sections, weighing nearly 500 tons apiece, were joined together (you can see that right here on the Cruise Diva blog). With the completion of the fourth and fifth decks up next, Queen of the Mississippi’s superstructure will come together quickly, giving shape to the first riverboat built for the Mississippi in many, many years—and which the line promises will be the grandest ever.
The Queen of the Mississippi will boast huge staterooms larger than any former Mississippi riverboat, spacious private balconies and all of the amenities today’s travelers expect, while maintaining the elegance and traditional Victorian appearance of classic Mississippi riverboats. American Cruise Lines will operate the sternwheeler over the entire Mississippi River System, with the option of cruising at significantly higher speeds to make more itineraries possible than ever before on the Mississippi River, with longer visits to the river towns. A number of unique 7-, 10-, and 14-day cruises are planned that take passengers as far as St. Paul, MN on the Mississippi River and Pittsburgh, PA on the Ohio River. visit their website to learn more about American Cruise Lines.
Photos Courtesy of American Cruise Lines