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Crown Cruise Vacations | May 24, 2024

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  Half a Century Celebration for American Cruise Lines

  Half a Century Celebration for American Cruise Lines
Jackie Sheckler Finch

By Jackie Sheckler Finch

Fifty years ago, American Cruise Lines started when Carol and Charles A. Robinson ran a tiny operation on the Connecticut River.

“My mom managed the ticket booth, while my dad ran the boat on hour-long sightseeing excursions,” Charles B. Robertson, president and CEO of American Cruise Lines said in a press release. “I recall well the small East Coast operation that defined so much of my childhood.”

Carol and Charles A. Robertson christening the first American Eagle in 1971.

Familiar with shipyards, both began building the first American Cruise Lines boat in 1972. By the late 1970s, they started Chesapeake Shipbuilding and continued building the American Cruise Lines fleet.

The pace accelerated in the new millennium. Over the last two decades, 18 of the 21 cruise ships that have been built in the United States were built by Chesapeake Shipbuilding for American Cruise Lines.

“We’ve become the largest domestic cruise line with a national breadth that drives me to learn more about our country every day. Our country never ceases to inspire and humble,” Robertson said.

“On a starry night in the remote darkness of the Columbia River or gliding across a sparkling Chesapeake Bay, one is easily reminded that we travel America’s original highways. Every early explorer was also a seafarer, and one can’t help but feel that connection when traveling along the routes they pioneered.”

The first American Eagle in Maine in 1972.

American Cruise Lines saw many firsts in 2024, Robertson said. “We introduced three new ships, proving to ourselves that three per year is possible.”

The three ships included the company’s new Coastal Cats, the shallowest draft cruise ships in the country, which are already pioneering new routes on the eastern seaboard.

The company also added the Tennessee River, offered expanded itineraries on the Mississippi River and introduced a new vessel to the Columbia River. “We’ve also stepped ashore and have added land packages in five national parks,” Robertson said.

Programs pioneered in 2023 set a foundation to share incredible experiences with more people than ever before, Robertson said.

“Additional new ships, continued refinements to our service standard and additional new itineraries will make this year just as exciting as the last,” he said. “We are grateful for every guest who shares these wonderful experiences around America with us.”

American Cruise Lines’ Coastal Cat

Photos courtesy of American Cruise Lines

Ed. Note: Please contact us for more information and to book a cruise Crown Cruise Vacations | Cruise Getaways You Can Afford!

Celebrity Cruises recognized the company’s top partners with its 2022 Top Travel Agency Advisor Awards. The 2022 travel partner award winners include:

  • Online Partner of the Year: Crown Cruise Vacations

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