The American Queen Steamboat Company is to add a fourth ship in 2020.

The US river cruise line is expanding its fleet with the 245-passenger American Countess, formerly the Kanesville Queen.

The vessel, which will operate on the Mississippi River, is being converted at the Gulf Island Shipyard in Houma, Louisiana, with a 60‑foot midsection being added to increase capacity.

Rupert Thomson, director of Light Blue Travel, American Queen’s UK agent, said: “Demand on the Mississippi has grown every year, with paddle wheelers selling out completely this year. Business has also grown across the UK, with our sales up 40% for 2018-19.”

Thompson said the growth of UK bookings was thanks in part to the brand being featured on the latest season of Channel 5’s Cruising with Jane McDonald.

The company will also work closely with more UK agents, offering training and fam trips to further boost the brand name.

American Countess is expected to appeal to more money-conscious travellers, as trips will be sold with varying levels of inclusivity in terms of length of stay and dining options. Itineraries will go on sale in February 2019, ahead of the inaugural trip on April 5, 2020.

The 166-passenger American Duchess will continue to boast an  all-inclusive ‘high-end’ experience.

The 2019 itineraries for American Queen, American Duchess and American Empress are on sale.