The decision springs from 'overwhelming interest' since the announcement of lower pricing for Queen of the West.
The line is also reducing Queen of the West's capacity from 120 to 100 passengers before the season starts in April, to allow for a higher level of comfort and a greater crew-to-guest ratio. The work involved converting some staterooms into suites and was undertaken at Vigor's shipyard in Portland, Oregon.
An American Cruise Lines spokeswoman noted the reduced capacity will afford additional space for crew and for passengers in common areas such as the dining room and the lounges.
'Guests and travel agents alike have shown a positive response to our new value offering on the Columbia and Snake rivers,' said Susan Shultz, director of sales. 'We’re thrilled to continue this expansion by offering even more ways to experience the American Cruise Lines brand and the amazing places we visit.'
The new 'Highlights of the Columbia River' cruise will offer a Columbia and Snake rivers sailing round-trip from Portland. The cruise will feature the national scenic areas of Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls, Mount St. Helens and Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1805/06 during their historic journey.
Four dates in 2016 have already been released for this itinerary, while three more are scheduled for 2017.