The announcement does not come as a huge surprise, however, as the line expressed their interest in making one or more of its steamboats available to the relief efforts when they canceled all fall and winter sailings aboard American Queen last month (click here to read the full story).
American Queen has been chartered by a private energy company; the company has asked that the name of the client and terms of the 30-day charter not be revealed. The exact location of the vessel is being withheld for Homeland Security reasons, but we do know that the steamboat traveled down the Mississippi and out into the Gulf of Mexico -- for the first time in its history -- for a two-day journey to Texas.
Delta Queen and Mississippi are completing up-river routes through the fall, after which both are expected to enter private and/or government charters in the Gulf Coast region during the remaining winter period -- December of 2005 through March of 2006.
All three ships will return to regular passenger steamboat service in the spring of 2006.
Many employees of the New Orleans-based cruise line (the company has relocated its offices to Buffalo, New York) lost their homes, according to parent company Delaware North. Delaware North has established the Delaware North Companies Hurricane Katrina Associate Relief Effort, Inc. (KARE) to provide relief to associates in need. Contributions can be made online here. Passengers who wish to contribute all or part of the refund of their canceled cruise to this cause may do so by e-mailing their name and phone number to DQSC1@dncinc.com, or by calling 800-543-1949.
For other ways you can help the hurricane relief effort, please click here.