American Queen Steamboat Company
American Queen Steamboat Company Ships
OnboardAmerican Queen Steamboat Company's American Queen, re-launched April 2012, is decked out in regal, Victorian elegance -- think ornate chandeliers, rich upholstery and polished wood. The 436-passenger sternwheeler is filled with modern amenities, too, like Wi-Fi in public spaces, but the aim is to evoke memories of the stately river steamers of the 19th century.
Antiques and fresh flowers provide the ambience of an antebellum mansion. A resident "riverlaurian" tells the stories of the towns and hamlets visited along the upper and lower Mississippi, as well as Ohio and Tennessee rivers. Calliope music -- long associated with steamboats -- entertains passengers, who are given an opportunity to play, as well.
The Mark Twain Gallery, American Queen's library, has a vast collection from which to choose. Classic sing-a-longs take place in the steamboat's lounge and lavish shows enliven the two-deck-tall Grand Saloon.
To add a little zest to the stately vibe, American Queen carries mountain bikes, providing passengers a chance to peddle through the river towns they visit. There are fitness and wellness programs onboard, too. Nightly dancing is to lively swing and big band music.
On the dining front, Culinary Director Chef Regina Charboneau's menu reflects regional cuisine. The Mississippi native is relying on decadent delights such as sugary beignets, corn and shrimp fritters, and molasses glazed pork loin stuffed with Andouille sausage to satisfy passengers' appetites. Dining venues include alfresco options and no-fee specialty options. No formal wear is ever required, even for dinners, where complimentary wine and beer are poured.
Each day begins with fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and Starbucks coffee. Hot and cold canapes are served every evening at cocktail hour. Complimentary bottled water and soft drinks are included throughout. The day ends with proper evening turn-down service and a praline on the pillow.
Shore tours, included in the fares, provide immersion into the history, culture and cuisine of the heartland. The ship features a professionally trained, all-American staff.
About American Queen Steamboat CompanyAmerican Queen Steamboat Company is a new Mississippi River-based line aiming to resuscitate overnight Big Muddy cruising, a niche nearly dead since 2008. The line, which originally launched as Great American Steamboat Company (GASC), began operating American Queen in April 2012. The company is affiliated with HMS Global Maritime, founded by John Waggoner, which provided critical services at the inception of GASC and continues to power their marine operations.
Jeffrey Krida, American Queen Steamboat Company's chief executive officer, served as president of the now-defunct Delta Queen Steamboat Company during its boon years in the 1990's.
Christopher Kyte, American Queen Steamboat Company's president, founded Uncommon Journeys, a California company that packages creative cruise and rail trips.
American Queen Steamboat Company is headquartered in downtown Memphis. American Queen regularly docks at the city's revitalized Beale Street Landing.
American Queen Steamboat Company FleetThe 436-passenger American Queen is the largest steamboat in the world. The boat was purchased in August 2011 from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) for $15.5 million. Originally built in 1996 for the defunct Delta Queen Steamboat Company, American Queen had been laid up since 2008, when its most recent owner, Majestic America Line, went bust.
Before re-launching in April 2012, American Queen received a $6 million sprucing to make the Victorian decor -- chandeliers, upholstery, polished wood throughout -- pop. Cabins got new bedding and flat-screen TV's, and a top-deck dining venue was added.
Fellow PassengersExpect well-traveled passengers aged 50 and up who enjoy Victorian charm, antiques, and dancing to swing or big band music. American Queen Steamboat Company draws history buffs and culture connoisseurs, as cruises themes provide an in-depth immersion into the history and cuisine of America's heartland.
The line expects there to be a slightly younger crowd during holiday or summer itineraries.
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