Mackinac Island, Michigan, Great Lakes

(9 a.m. EST) -- American Queen Steamboat Company, a river cruise line that operates in North America, will purchase Victory Cruise Lines, expanding the company's footprint to the Great Lakes.

Victory Cruise Lines currently has two 202-passenger vessels, Victory I and Victory II. The sale will encompass both boats, which will sail under the Victory Cruise name, American Queen Steamboat Company said in a release.

The sale is meant to bring the rapidly expanding American Queen Steamboat line into the Great Lakes region, where the two Victory boats already have been cruising.

"These vessels enable us to provide guests with more diverse cruising options, particularly in the Great Lakes, a region that our customers have been requesting for years," said John Waggoner, American Queen Steamboat Company chairman and CEO. "We look forward to working closely with Victory Cruise Lines' new and existing travel partners."

American Queen Steamboat Company currently operates three riverboats: American Empress on the Columbia River, and American Queen and American Duchess on the Mississippi River as well as the Ohio and Tennessee rivers. Another boat, American Countess, is under construction in Louisiana and will debut in 2020.

The transaction is expected to close in January 2019. Details on operations for Victory I and Victory II will be announced in coming months, the company said; no existing reservations should be adversely affected.

Cruise Critic is spending the week on American Queen Steamboat Company's American Empress, in the Pacific Northwest. Stay tuned for our coverage, coming soon.

--By Chris Gray Faust, Managing Editor