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A new kind of modern riverboat will start cruising out of New Orleans in 2018

Forget the paddlewheel; a new kind of modern riverboat is coming to the Mississippi River this year.

It's much like the Viking River Cruise boats in Europe, which had planned to come to New Orleans but couldn't because of a longstanding federal law that says all boats carrying goods (or people) between U.S. ports must be manufactured, owned and operated by U.S. citizens.

The new riverboat, called American Song, is the first of a new series by American Cruise Lines, which has been operating paddlewheel boats out of New Orleans and Baton Rouge for several years.

It boasts triple the amount of glass, or windows, as other riverboats, the cruise line said. It also has expanded suites, with 900 square feet of space to host small cocktail parties or private dinners.

American Song is set to take its inaugural cruise from New Orleans on Oct. 6, 2018.

The cruise line also has already begun construction on the second ship in its Modern Riverboat Series, named American Harmony, but it won't be ready until 2019. It will take over on the Mississippi River from American Song, which will move to the Pacific Northwest.

A paddlewheel boat called America already kicked off the 2018 Mississippi River season, departing from New Orleans. That boat plus another paddlewheeler and American Song will all cruise the Mississippi River by October this year.

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