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U.S. river cruise line goes all in on sleek European-style ships

American Cruise Lines recently revealed the look of new European-style river boats with roomy cabins and private balconies. The company, which has old-school paddle-wheelers in its fleet, ordered five new ships, the first of which will debut next year.

"There will be more suites, more singles and more adjoining staterooms," company founder and Chief Executive Charles A. Robertson said in an interview with Cruise Critic.

The ships being built at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Md., will carry 200 guests and measure 345 feet, according to a statement. Each cabin will have its own balcony and bathrooms equivalent to what you would find in a hotel (ships usually have small ones to save on space.)

In addition to the modern river boats, American has two more ships coming online too.

The American Constellation, which carries 170 passengers, will hit the water May 6 for a week-long Chesapeake Bay Cruise from Baltimore. Cabins start at $4,100 per person.

Its sister ship, the American-Constitution, is scheduled to sail next year.

The line sails 35 itineraries, including the Mississippi River, the Columbia and Snake rivers in the West, and Alaska’s Inside Passage. Trips vary from four to 21 nights.

Info: American Cruise Lines, (800) 460-4518, or contact a travel agent

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