Anchors away – 12 cruise ships are to be built in Salisbury.

Salisbury’s Chesapeake Shipbuilding will build the fleet of ships, which are part of American Cruise Lines’ Project Blue.

The first two ships are under construction and are scheduled for completion in 2023, according to a press release from American Cruise Lines.

The two ships, named “American Eagle” and “American Glory”, are scheduled to make their East Coast debut.

“Together with Chesapeake Shipbuilding, we built the country’s first modern riverboats. Now we’re proud to announce another new inland exploration ship design,” said Charles Robertson, President and CEO of American Cruise Lines, in the press release.

The press release says this fleet will “more than double the nation’s current capacity for domestic coastal cruising.”

According to Project Blue’s plans, the ships will only sail in American waters. You’ll be seen mostly in “small towns and adventures nearby.”

“Project Blue began as a design challenge to build a boat small enough for New England ports, strong enough for the Alaska Inside Passage, with a draft shallow enough for the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway,” Robertson said in the press release. “These boats can run almost anywhere, and since there will be 12 of them, they’ll be deployed throughout the United States.”

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The ships’ hybrid catamaran design gives them the ability to cruise along lakes, rivers, bays and the American coast.

At 241 feet long and 56 feet wide, these ships will be significantly smaller than most cruise ships. According to several online cruise blogs, the average cruise ship is about 1,000 feet long.

Despite the small size, each ship can accommodate 109 passengers and 50 crew members.

In addition, each ship will have 56 staterooms, two restaurants, room service and an “adventure deck” that will offer kayaks, tenders and “other activity-related options.”

The model for American Cruise Lines' new cruise ships being built by Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury.

Miami-based studio DADO will decorate the ships’ interiors.

founded in 1991, American cruise lines offers river cruises and coastal cruises on small vessels across the country.

Chesapeake Shipbuilding is, according to its website, the “most successful shipyard and naval architecture firm of its kind” in the country. The shipyard was founded in 1980 on the Wicomico River.

Steven McGee, President of Chesapeake Shipbuilding, is also Vice President of American Cruise Lines.

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Maddie Aiken is the community reporter for Delmarva Now/The Daily Times. Do you have a story tip or an idea? Send it to her at or on Twitter @madsaiken.