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American Duchess

Former names: Bettendorf Capri (casino boat), Isle of Capri

American Duchess Review and Specifications

Specifications of American Duchess

Year built2017  /  Age : 3
Flag state USA
BuilderNichols Brothers Boat Builders (Freeland, Whidbey Island WA)
Classpaddle-wheel steamboat
OwnerAmerican Queen Steamboat Company
OperatorAmerican Queen Steamboat Company
Speed12 kn / 22 kph / 14 mph
Length (LOA)104 m / 341 ft
Beam (width)30 m / 98 ft
Gross Tonnage3560 gt
Decks with cabins2
Last Refurbishment2019
Former namesBettendorf Capri (casino boat), Isle of Capri
Christened byMarissa Applegate

Current position of American Duchess

Review of American Duchess

American Duchess cruise ship is a paddlewheel steamboat. The vessel started operations for the shipowner American Queen Steamboat Company in 2017 (August 14), following the christening ceremony in New Orleans. The all-suite, 166-passenger riverboat became USA's first newbuild paddle-wheeler on Mississippi River.

riverboat American Duchess cruise ship

In September 2016, the company announced a fleet expansion with a new ship (American Duchess), scheduled for launch in July 2017. However, due to Mississippi's unseasonably high water levels, the launch was pushed back 6 weeks to August 13. The inaugural cruise was on August 14, with prices starting from USD 1500 pp (double-occupancy Interior Suite rates).

For the new all-suite ship was used the hull of a former casino ship ("Isle of Capri") homeported in Bettendorf (Iowa USA). The casino boat was retrofitted for premium cruises on Mississippi River and its tributaries. Ship conversion included adding a new (3rd) deck and a new stern paddlewheel. The vessel has capacity 166 passengers and features the largest US river cruise industry's suites (sized up to 550 ft2 / 51 m2). The ship also features the river travel industry's ever first Loft Suites (2-level staterooms).


American Duchess cruise itinerary program offers several overnight port stays and shorter roundtrip itineraries from Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Nashville TN and New Orleans, and also (for the first time) from Chicago (Ottawa, Illinois).

In addition to Mississippi, the riverboat cruises on Ohio, Tennessee and Illinois rivers. Cruise fares start from around USD 3000 pp.


Staterooms (all in suite categories) as sizes range between 180 ft2 / 17 m2 (Interior Suite) and 550 ft2 / 51 m2 (Owners Suite and Loft Suite). All cabins offer as standard amenities individually controlled air-conditioning, flat TV (satellite reception), dark wood wardrobe, dressers (ample drawer space), mini-bar (fridge), personal safe, direct-dial phone, alarm clock, Keurig brewer (tea/coffee machine), binocular, luxury bath amenities (toiletries by Clarins, terry robes, hairdryer), plenty of outlets and lighting.

Staterooms are decorated and equipped with Victorian-style antiques and reproductions. All cabins as decoration feature polished wood, Victorian-era wallpaper patterns, framed paintings. Beds are comfortable, with ample under-bed storage space, luxury bedding sets. Handicap / wheelchair-accessible cabins (for disabled passengers) are also available. The ship has no connecting or family cabins.

Most cabins are with private step-out balconies. Each cabin veranda is equipped with 2 wicker chairs and 1 cocktail table.

riverboat American Duchess cruise ship

American Queen Steamboat Company cruise deals

Operated with all-inclusive cruise packages, American Duchess cruise tour deals are inclusive of:

  • all shore excursions (“Steamcoach Tours” by luxury motorcoaches)
  • 1-night pre-cruise hotel package
  • soft drinks and bottled water (offered throughout the voyage)
  • wines and beers (offered at dinner only)
  • 24-hour room service (menu has the standard for breakfasts fare, plus sandwiches, burgers, macaroni & cheese, fresh salmon, desserts)
  • Wi-Fi Internet
  • Pilot House tour (of the ship's Navigation Bridge).
  • Smoking inside the cabin and on the balcony is forbidden. The only smoking-allowed area on the ship is the sun deck.

"Commodore Services" is the company's set of exclusive services reserved for American Duchess cruise passengers booking categories LFS-Loft and OS-Owner suites. The list of bonus perks (price-inclusive / complimentary privileges) includes:

  • gifts (upon arrival) - fruit basket and a bottle of wine
  • suite tour (upon arrival)
  • priority boarding and dining arrangements
  • reserved balcony seating in "The Auditorium" (boat's theatre/show lounge), with a personal escort to the reserved seats
  • private reception party with the ship's Captain and Senior Officers
  • personal River Butler
  • unpacking, hanging the clothes in the closet, packing, laundry, pressing service, shoeshine (conditioning)
  • in-cabin dining - Afternoon Tea service, Breakfast and Dinner service (on the suite's balcony, upon request), pre-dinner canapes, post-dinner sweets).

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American Duchess Wiki

The casino ship MS Isle of Capri was bought from "Isle of Capri Casinos Inc" in August 2016. The vessel had MMSI 367020470, length 85 m (280 ft), width 30 m (87 ft).

American Duchess riverboat's launch was delayed by 6 weeks, resulting in changes in the ship's 2017 cruise schedule. The completely renovated riverboat was launched on August 13 (2017) instead of the pre-scheduled July 1. Several of its summer 2017 Inaugural itineraries were affected.

riverboat American Duchess cruise ship

Marissa Applegate served as the ship's Godmother. She is the daughter of the cruise company's Chairman John Waggoner. The christening ceremony was on August 14, 2017, held in New Orleans. Highlights of the naming ceremony included a bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon (instead of the traditional Champagne) and live performances by local musicians. The special event was led by godmother Marissa Applegate (daughter of John Waggoner - the Steamboat Company's Chairman).

The Inaugural Cruise on Mississippi River (23-days itinerary, August 13 - September 4) was from New Orleans (Louisiana) to Red Wing (Minnesota). Prices started from USD 7300 pp (double occupancy Interior Suite rates), inclusive of 1-night Boutique Hotel in New Orleans. The maiden voyage's ports of call were New Orleans LA (overnight hotel stay), Nottoway LA, Francisville LA, Natchez MS, Vicksburg MS, Greenville MS, Memphis TN, Ashport Landing TN, New Madrid MO, Paducah KY, Cape Girardeau MO, Chester IL, St Louis MO, Clinton IA, Dubuque IA, La Crosse WI, and Red Wing MN (overnight onboard stay).

The vessel is a retrofitted (functioning) paddle-wheeler that cost USD 2 million. Additionally, the shipowner AQSC-American Queen Steamboat Company paid nearly USD 3 million for steel alone, building the hull from the ground up. Also new is the boat's propulsion.

Note: You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all river cruise ships and riverboats in the "itinerary" section of our River Cruises hub. All companies and their fleets are listed there.

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