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Many of our guests have expressed interest in finding out what happens between the time a new ship leaves the shipyard and before it is christened for its inaugural season.  

What are Sea Trials?

One of the last steps in the construction and positioning of a vessel is the Sea Trial or “Shake Down Cruise.” Approximately a month before a ship is scheduled to travel with our guests, representatives from Chesapeake Shipbuilding, where all our vessels are built, and American Cruise Lines come on board with a sea trial checklist to measure a new vessel's performance and general “seaworthiness.” 

During this time, which typically runs between 12 and 24 hours, the new ship is tested in the fields below: 

- Speed

- Maneuverability

- Equipment

- Safety features

- Propulsion

- Navigational systems

- Fuel flow

- Exhaust

Though this is called a “Sea” Trial, our fleet is vetted on the intracoastal waterways and rivers in which we travel. Above, American Eagle can be seen during the ‘speed’ trial, which includes an impressive 180° turn.

Most recently, American Eagle, passed an extensive sea trial and is now sailing inaugural season in New England and the Southeast.