To the relatively new owners of Delta Queen Steamboat Company, New Orleans' upcoming commemoration of the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase seems a perfect time to relaunch the last of its trio of ships into regular service.
American Queen will relaunch on January 25 with a rather unusual event: it will compete in a speed contest against another vessel in the Louisiana Legends Steamboat Race. It must be noted that, being steamboats, neither American Queen nor Natchez, its opponent, move much faster than 10 m.p.h. Can't stand that excitement? Prior to the race the ship will compete in another contest: a dueling calliope concert.
American Queen is the newest addition to the Delta Queen Steamboat Company (added under the auspices of American Classic Voyages in 1995). The ship has been in drydock ever since the company was purchased by Delaware North at a
bankruptcy auction last year. The two other members of the fleet -- Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen -- began sailing again last year.
The New Orleans-based American Queen will offer a variety of itineraries, ranging from three days to a week, all traversing the Mississippi River.