American Queen Steamboat Company Talks Expansion
PHOTO: The American Queen (Courtesy American Queen Steamboat Company)
In Europe, river cruises are becoming more and more popular among vacationers who want to enjoy the same routes that the explorers and historians before them had traveled.
But you don’t need to book an international flight to do it.
The American Queen Steamboat Company, which has been in business for five years, operates the American Queen and American Empress vessels that travel the upper and lower Mississippi River, Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, and the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia and Snake Rivers.
SEE MORE: Cruising the Heartland of America
The company expanded into the Pacific Northwest only two years ago and is ready to hit new waters again.
Just recently it announced plans to expand into the Great Lakes and possibly Cuba. The possible expansion into Cuba river cruising comes at the right time when the doors have been opened for American tourists to travel to the country.
In interviews, CEO John Waggoner has said that operating in these new locations could begin as early as 2017 if the company can acquire a vessel, but it might take longer to get in the water if they must build one of their own.
However, The American Queen Steamboat Company currently owns the largest paddlewheel steamboat ever built and assures that the new boat will not be a paddlewheel steamboat. A decision on an expansion into the new territories is expected over the summer.
Currently, The American Queen Steamboat Company cruises include such themed adventures as the Mark Twain Cruise, where travelers cruise down the mighty Mississippi River and catch a glimpse of what the great American author and humorist Mark Twain once saw on his own voyage.
READ MORE: Bringing History to Life
The Big Band Voyage includes a 13-piece orchestra, “The Great American Swing Band,” where guests dance and swing. Civil War-theme cruises take travelers through the Antebellum South with Civil War historians and a tour of Vicksburg National Military Park, which preserves the site of the American Civil War Battle of Vicksburg, waged from May 18 to July 4, 1863.
This year, the Cruise Lines Travel Association stated that the demand for luxury and river cruises was growing, with ocean cruising (36%) and river cruising (28%) experiencing the greatest increases in booking. The market continues to grow as locations, such as Cuba, open up further possibilities.
More by Lisa Iannucci
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