Throughout the winter, the 432-guest American Queen enjoyed a stay at the Boland Marine Shipyard in New Orleans as part of her scheduled annual layup, but the American Queen Steamboat Company took that time to enhance the technical and passenger spaces of the storied vessel.
“For our second season, we were delighted to carry over 20 percent more passengers as compared to our inaugural season,” said American Queen Steamboat Company president and COO Ted Sykes. “With this year’s upgrades and improvements, we look forward to bringing even more guests the nostalgia of river cruising with modern comforts in the 2014 season.”
Some of the most significant changes aboard the American Queen occurred behind-the-scenes. The ship’s galley received new steam-powered “combi ovens” that sport additional capacity over the previous models, allowing the onboard culinary team to expand pastry and dessert offerings.
In the engine room, a state-of-the-art combustion control system was installed in order to improve fuel efficiency, reduce emissions, and relieve stress on the ship’s steam plant. This also has the added bonus of making the American Queen more environmentally friendly. All told, it’s the most extensive behind-the-scenes refit to occur since the construction of the ship in 1995.
What might be more apparent to guests is the total top-to-bottom paint job the ship has been given, along with a major rehabilitation of the ship’s outer deck spaces.
Guests will also be able to enjoy brand-new shows in the Grand Saloon that have been designed exclusively for the American Queen. These will be complemented by a brand-new sound and lighting system that will improve the overall guest experience for nightly shows and other events held within the Saloon.
On the accommodations front, American Queen now boasts a digital content management system that will allow for dedicated in-room programming on televisions in the ship’s staterooms and suites.
It’s just the latest sign that the American Queen Steamboat Company isn’t content to rest on the success it has achieved since returning the American Queen to service in June of 2012. In addition to the American Queen’s full season of Upper and Lower Mississippi cruises, the line will launch the American Empress in April, placing her into service in the Pacific Northwest along the Columbia and Snake rivers.
The American Queen also operates voyages that explore the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, with journeys that operate roundtrip from Cincinnati or between Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and St. Louis.
The company has also extended its partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, donating US$100,000 to the Trust’s Campaign to Save America’s National Treasures on behalf of guests sailing aboard the American Queen and American Empress.
To date, the vessels are the only maritime members of the Trust’s Historic Hotels of America.
More information on the American Queen Steamboat Company can be found by viewing our complete company overview here on River Cruise Advisor.