The new all-suite, 166-guest American Duchess, has arrived in New Orleans to undergo final preparations for her August 14, 2017 inaugural sailing. The paddlewheeler has been built from the hull up in Morgan City, Louisiana supporting nearly 200 U.S. manufacturing jobs.
Owned and operated by the American Queen Steamboat Company, the American Duchess will join the U.S.-flagged fleet of the American Queen and American Empress to become the third vessel of the riverboat company. Through boat construction and sailings on flagship American Queen in 2017, the company has delivered a year-to-date economic impact of $8.8 million in direct expenditures for the state of Louisiana alone.
“The American Duchess performed beautifully as she made her way to New Orleans, undergoing sea and river trials supervised by the U.S. Coast Guard and company technicians, including exercises in the Gulf of Mexico,” proudly shared American Queen Steamboat Company Chairman John Waggoner. “She exceeded all expectations from a technical standpoint and I can’t wait for our first guests to experience her first-hand very soon.”
The first purpose-built boutique paddlewheeler will now receive thousands of pieces of furniture, delivery of soft goods and final coats of paint. Training will commence for her All-American crew along with provisioning for the inaugural season. The American Duchess will offer guests an intimate experience through America’s heartland with the largest suites on the river in every category, which will be fitted to the American Queen Steamboat Company’s highest standards.
“I commend the shipyard and our operations team that have created a U.S.-flagged boutique riverboat unlike any vessel in the domestic river market,” says Ted Sykes, president and COO of the American Queen Steamboat Company. “We are proud of our position as the industry leader in U.S. river cruising and the positive impact we have on river communities. The American Duchess will take the market to the next level.”
The 166-guest American Duchess follows in the pedigree of the line’s namesake American Queen, sailing the mighty Mississippi and her tributaries. New for the line, the American Duchess will offer overnight stays in port including the heart of Nashville as well as shorter roundtrip itineraries from the “Music City” and New Orleans. For added convenience, guests can also enjoy departures from Chicago (Ottawa, Il.) for the first time.
The American Duchess will feature a generous space ratio showcased by three 550-square-foot Owner’s Suites, four 550-square-foot Loft Suites, a U.S. riverboat first; and spacious Veranda Suites and Interior Suites. The new vessel will be incorporating the highest standards of service, entertainment and shore excursions customers have come to expect from the American Queen Steamboat Company. Featuring open seating with two dining venues, The Grand Dining Room and The Grill Room will offer regionally inspired cuisine similar to that of the American Queen.