American Empress Overview
In May 2013, American Queen Steamboat Company announced it would add a second ship to its fleet. American Empress will sail itineraries along the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest beginning in April 2014.
American Queen Steamboat Company purchased American Empress (formerly Empress of the North), a paddlewheel boat, from the U.S. Maritime Administration. American Empress is undergoing a substantial refurbishment to bring it in line with its fleetmate.
Accommodating 223 passengers, American Empress is smaller than its fleetmate American Queen (436 passengers) but still larger than other boats that sail similar itineraries. Its 306 feet long and has five decks, along with seven cabin categories.
The company purchased American Empress, a paddlewheel boat, from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD). American Empress was launched in 2003 as Empress of the North, the second boat of the American West Steamboat Company. In 2006, the fleets of American West Steamboat Company and Delta Queen Steamboat Company combined to create Majestic America Line. Empress of the North sailed as part of the Majestic America Line until 2008, when the company went out of business and relinquished the boat to MARAD. While the vessel hasn't sailed since 2008, Chief Operating Officer Ted Sykes described its condition as "pristine."
American Queen Steamboat Company's itineraries focus heavily on history, culture and enrichment. Sykes said vacations onboard his company's vessels, which combine modern technology with Victorian elegance, reflect the "gracious antebellum South."
--By Colleen McDaniel, Managing Editor