Delta Queen Steamboat Company, out of service since its parent American Classic Voyages filed bankruptcy late last year, has been acquired by a new firm. The Buffalo-based Delaware North Companies paid $80 million at auction for the three steamboats -- the historic Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen and American Queen. It won out over several other bidders, including a Chicago-based investment company and a national tour operator.
This is the first foray into the cruise industry for Delaware North, which is best known for providing hospitality and food services for major national parks, sporting venues and gaming facilities. The company says it plans to maintain Delta Queen’s corporate home base in New Orleans.
The purchase will be official once Delaware North receives regulatory approval -- expected in mid-to-late May. The company is not able to announce, at this point, a start-up date for itineraries aboard the three ships.