American Queen

Specifications of American Queen

Year of build1995  /  Age: 29
BuilderMcDermott Shipyard (Houston, Texas)
Classpaddle-wheel steamboat
Building costUSD 65 million
Speed12 kn / 22 km/h / 14 mph
Length (LOA)127 m / 417 ft
Beam (width)27 m / 89 ft
Gross Tonnage3707 gt
Decks with cabins4
Last Refurbishment2019
Christened byPhyllis Dale (AQSC)
OwnerAmerican Cruise Lines Inc
OperatorAmerican Cruise Lines

American Queen Review

Review of American Queen

The 1995-built/2024-scrapped cruise ship American Queen was initially operated by Delta Queen Steamboat Company (now defunct) and until 2024 by AQSC/AQV/American Queen Voyages).

The 436-passenger riverboat is similar to fleetmate American Empress, and also to ACL-American Cruise Lines vessels Queen of the Mississippi/now American Heritage and Queen of the West/now American West.

riverboat American Queen cruise ship

The American Queen vessel (MMSI 366950740) was the largest steamboat ever built in the world. Before relaunching in April 2012, the ship received a USD 6,5 million renovation to make the Victorian decor. Cabins got new LCDTVs and bedding. A top-deck bar (River Grill) was also added. Today, the steamboat feels much more like a historic boutique hotel than a riverboat.

American Queen's voyages were on the Upper and Lower Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers with 5- to 14-day itineraries leaving from homeports New Orleans, St Louis MO, Minneapolis-St Paul MN, Memphis TN, Cincinnati OH.

The previous shipowner was Hornblower Group Inc (via Hornblower Cruises and Events).

Following the bankruptcy of Hornblower Group in 2024 (February), American Queen Voyages was placed for sale. Hornblower was sold to Strategic Value Partners and announced reorganization plans, focusing on its other subsidiaries.

In a Texas-held auction in March 2024, ACL/American Cruise Lines became the highest bidder and purchased four riverboats - American Queen (US$2,15M), American Duchess (US$0,2M), American Empress (US$1,6M), American Countess (US$1,6M) plus other AQV assets.

Following the acquisition, in May 2024, ACL announced that American Countess, American Duchess and American Queen would be scrapped. American Queen ship's AIS last transmitted on May 21st (at 18:08 UTC) showing the 29-year-old riverboat at the MARS (Modern American Recycling Service Inc's yard) in Houma Louisiana.

American Queen Steamboat Company cruise deals

Operated with all-inclusive cruise packages, American Queen 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 Queen Wiki

American Queen riverboat was built in the USA and christened in Nashville TN by Godmother Phyllis Dale (owner of Phyllis Dale Travel Agency, Winter Springs Florida). As flag-state, the USA flag requires all officers, crew and hotel staff on the vessel to be American (US citizens).

By design, this USA-based river cruise ship is classified as "paddle-wheeler" (paddle-wheel boat). The vessel is similar to the fleet mate American Empress, and the famous American Cruise Lines ships Queen of the Mississippi/American Heritage and Queen of the West/American West. They all feature a huge, stern-mounted paddle wheel.

riverboat American Queen cruise ship

American Queen became second in 2012's Great Steamboat Race. The first prize was for the steamboat Belle of Cincinnati. The vessel is acknowledged to be the world's largest steamboat ever built. The ship is 6-decks high and built as a Mississippi riverboat replica vessel for the Delta Queen Steamboat Company (currently non-operational USA cruise line).

Just like the classic USA riverboats from the late 1800s which used to sail on the country's largest rivers (like Mississippi, Ohio, Snake, Columbia), the American Queen steamboat has a huge paddlewheel. It is a feature component of the vessel's main propulsion system. The impressive paddle wheel is driven by a hydraulic motor powered by a steam plant. Besides the paddle wheel, for better maneuverability and during emergencies, the ship uses its two Azimuth thrusters (aka Z-drives). These are modern marine propulsion units (diesel-electric propellers) mounted on either side of the stern paddlewheel. Both Z-drives are fully submerged underwater, and able to rotate at 360 degrees.

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.