Delta Queen Joins American West

April 10, 2006
In an acquisition that actually makes good sense, the cruise industry's pre-eminent steamboating lines will come together as American West Steamboat parent Ambassadors International has acquired Delta Queen Steamboat Company.

Delta Queen, which owns three steamboats -- Delta Queen, American Queen and Mississippi Queen -- has been owned by Buffalo-based Delaware North Companies since 2002. The company's parent -- American Classic Voyages -- went out of business in 2001.

Ambassadors International itself is relatively new to the cruise business (it only recently acquired the American West Steamboat Company) but the West Coast based river line, which consists of Empress of the North and Queen of the West has been plying west coast waterways since the mid-1990s (Empress of the North made headlines last month when it ran aground; the ship is still at the shipyard being repaired and the company has said it will not begin cruising again until April 16).

With this acquisition, Ambassadors, which will operate the ships under the auspices of its Ambassadors Cruise Group subsidiary, will have a fleet of five U.S-flagged (and -crewed) vessels.

The deal is expected to close by the end of April and the acquisition will have no impact at all on Delta Queen's scheduled 2006 itineraries.