Two of the most venerable cruise lines specializing in American river voyages will now be part of Majestic America Line, a wholly new cruise line. The combined companies will begin operating under the Majestic umbrella later this year.

With the grouping of Delta Queen Steamboat's vessels, which also include American Queen and Mississippi Queen, along with those from American West Steamboat, such as Empress of the North and Queen of the West, the Majestic American fleet will consist of six ships. The sixth is one not familiar with fans of either line; the Executive Explorer is described as a "deluxe small cruise ship". The 49-passenger vessel was only recently purchased by Ambassadors Cruise Group, Majestic's parent company.

All ships are U.S.-flagged and will, for the most part, stick to tried-and-true tributaries, such as the heartland's Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland and Arkansas rivers and the northwest's Columbia, Snake and Willamette.

Majestic will also operate cruises along Alaska's Inside Passage.

The cruise line is based in Seattle and was established earlier this year with the acquisition of American West Steamboat in January. It acquired Delta Queen Steamboat in April and also picked up the first mortgage on Columbia Queen, once part of the Delta Queen family and which had been sailing with the now defunct Great American River Journeys cruise line.