Here's something you don't see much anymore. Today's cruise ships have become so large their hulls are commonly built in drydocks, and when the hull is completed, the drydock is flooded and the hull is floated out. When ships were smaller, they were built on land in the shipyard, and when completed they were rolled on rails down into the water as you often see in classic newsreels of ships being launched.
American Cruise Lines' new Queen of the Mississippi is under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Maryland. Because it is of a relatively small size, the hull has been constructed on land in two parts. They have been joined together and a couple of weeks ago (July 17), it was launched on rails. As we said, you don't see that much anymore, except in the video below.
The launch comes some nine weeks ahead of schedule. Two additional decks will be added to the superstructure. It is currently being outfitted with electrical wiring and plumbing. When complete it will have 75 staterooms.
The new sternwheeler is scheduled to enter service on the Mississippi in August 2012.