American Cruise Lines‘ 150-passenger Queen of the Mississippi, the first Big Muddy-based riverboat built in some 15 years, celebrated a marriage on February 21. Stern and wheel were wed at Salisbury Maryland’s Chesapeake Shipbuilding, with giant crane handling the ceremony. But when QOM launches this August, the 23-ton, 28-foot-wide churning red wheel won’t be the only means of propulsion. Hidden under all that 19th Victorian charm — gingerbread trim, lacquered woods, chandeliers and said sternwheel — are a pair of Z-drive units, 1,900 horse power twin engines that will help maintain speed … especially when cruising up river.
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