San Diego

Flagship American Queen Paddlewheeler Returns to Service

American Queen Steamboat Company has announced that the American Queen welcomes her first revenue guests in 18 months today, becoming the fourth vessel to return to service for the U.S. flagged cruise line.

The American Queen sets sail from New Orleans resuming the 2021 season on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.

According to a press release, the American Queen’s return to service is an important milestone as it marks American Queen Steamboat Company’s 10th anniversary of the company closing on the purchase of the storied paddlewheeler (Aug. 8, 2011).

“The purchase and restoration of the American Queen ushered in a new renaissance of U.S. River cruising ten years ago,” said John Waggoner, founder and chairman of American Queen Steamboat Company. “Our close-to-home cruise experience resonates more than ever, and I feel such pride seeing how far our offerings have expanded. Today the American Queen embarks from New Orleans, the American Empress welcomes guests in Clarkston, Wash.; our boutique paddlewheeler, the American Duchess, is docked under the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and our newest riverboat, the American Countess, is calling on Nottoway Resort in White Castle, La.”

American Queen Steamboat Company said that its bookings for 2021 and well ahead into 2022 and 2023 continue to “reflect pent-up demand for cruising close-to-home.” The cruise line has also reported more than 10 record-breaking individual booking days in 2021, and the current sailing season is almost sold out.

“American Queen guests will have an immediate economic impact on the port cities she calls on from pre-cruise hotel stays to visiting attractions and patronizing small businesses along the river,” shared Shawn Bierdz, president of American Queen Steamboat Company. “To meet the needs of having the entire fleet operational, our company is up to over 500 team members once again and continuing to grow with open shipboard and shoreside positions.”

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