U.S. flagship Queen Paddlewheeler returns to service
American Queen Steamboat Company, part of the Hornblower Group, announced that the American queen Today welcomes its first paying customers in 18 months, becoming the fourth ship to resume service for the US-flagged cruise line. As the world’s largest and grandest paddle steamer, the American queen leaves New Orleans to resume the 2021 season on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. As a flagship ship, the American queen the return to service is an important milestone as it marks the 10th anniversary of the American Queen Steamboat Company following the closing of the paddle steamer purchase (August.
8, 2011) almost a decade to the day.
“The purchase and restoration of American queen ushered in a new renaissance of river cruising in the United States ten years ago, ”said John Wagoner, Founder and President of the American Queen Steamboat Company. “Our cruising near home experience resonates more than ever, and I’m so proud to see how far our offerings have grown. Today the American queen embarks from New Orleans, the american empress welcomes guests to Clarkston, Washington; our boutique paddle steamer, the american duchess, is moored under the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and our newest riverboat, the American Countess, uses the Nottoway Resort in White Castle, La. ”
American Queen Steamboat Company bookings for 2021 and well before 2022 and 2023 continue to reflect pent-up demand for near-home cruises. Additionally, the cruise line is reporting more than 10 record individual booking days in 2021, and the current sailing season is nearly sold out with limited availability on remaining Thanksgiving and vacation 2021 themed trips. American Queen Steamboat Company also offers the FREEDOM sale, an additional savings of up to $ 2,000 on certain 2022 bookings made before August 31, 2021.
Tourism is the Mississippi River’s second-largest economy according to The Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI), a coalition of 101 mayors. The return of the American Queen Steamboat Company fleet to the Mississippi and Ohio rivers is a welcome boost for the region’s hospitality industry.
“American queen customers will have an immediate economic impact on the port towns it calls in, from pre-cruise hotel stays to sightseeing of attractions and frequenting small businesses along the river, ”said Shawn Bierdz, president of the river. ‘American Queen Steamboat Company. “To meet the needs of having the entire fleet operational, our company again has over 500 team members and continues to grow with open positions on board and ashore.”
American Queen Steamboat Company began a gradual restart in March under SafeCruise protocols and became the only fully vaccinated US river cruise line for passengers and crew effective July 1. The 100% vaccination policy allows passengers to navigate with confidence in accordance with current CDC guidelines. All guests must present proof of COVID-19 vaccination along with their vaccination card prior to hotel check-in prior to the cruise. SafeCruise policies are subject to municipal and state rules based on current regional conditions and may be changed without notice to comply with local health and safety guidelines.