Posted by: cruise2 | 1 August, 2007

DELTA QUEEN to be Withdrawn in November 2008

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Majestic America Line, the largest river and coastal cruising company in America, has announced that despite tremendous efforts by the company, many esteemed partners and thousands of previous passengers, the U.S. Congress has decided that Delta Queen should not continue operating on America’s rivers beyond 2008. Majestic America Line is committed to providing this American treasure with a proper and well-deserved send off, and will spend Delta Queen’s 2008 farewell season celebrating this historic vessel with the communities and people who hold her storied tradition of sailing the waterways of the United States so dear.

Built in Scotland in 1926, Delta Queen features a steel hull and a superstructure constructed of wood – a direct reflection of the designs of her time. Subsequent U.S. Coast Guard regulations prohibited wooden superstructures, but Congress decided more than 40 years ago to provide a special exemption from these rules for the historic . This exemption, which Congress had extended no fewer than six occasions, was set to expire in November 2008. Majestic America Line recently joined forces with those who know and love the fabled ship to extend this exemption. A comprehensive campaign was launched to raise awareness for Delta Queen’s excellent safety record, its impeccable training programme and the quality and experience of the crew. However, Congress recently chose not to include this extension on legislation. Without the extension from Congress, Delta Queen will not be able to continue cruise voyages on the river.

“We are incredibly disappointed by this decision, but we are extremely grateful to those who worked tirelessly on behalf of the Delta Queen to preserve her place on the Mississippi River,” said Joe Ueberroth, President and CEO, Ambassadors International, which owns and operates Majestic America Line. “This includes many congressional leaders such as Congressman Lacy Clay (D-MO), who gathered the support of so many of his colleagues, thousands of loyal guests, our hard-working travel partners and Delta Queen enthusiasts like Steamboats.org. We appreciate their efforts and we will continue to keep them involved as we plan the best way to honour the Delta Queen.”

In addition to the leadership displayed by Congressman Clay, members such as Congressman Richard Baker (R-LA), representing congressional districts that are visited each year by Delta Queen, were very supportive of the efforts to keep her operating on the river. For our U.S. neighbours’ information these members include:

o Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO)
o Congressman Marion Berry (D-AR)
o Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
o Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-MO)
o Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH)
o Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO)
o Congressman Kenny Hulshof (R-MO)
o Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI)
o Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
o Congresswoman Bettie McCollum (D-MN)
o Congressman Charlie Melancon (D-LA)
o Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R-OH)
o Congressman John Tanner (D-TN)
o Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS)
o Senator David Vitter (R-LA)
o Congressman Timothy Walz (D-MN)
o Congressman Zack Wamp (R-TN)
o Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY)

Support and encouragement also came from districts which are not directly touched by Delta Queen, including Congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO), Congressman Gene Taylor (D-MS) and Congressman Don Young (R-AK).

Based in Seattle, Majestic America Line is also grateful for the support from Washington state members, including Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

For years, Delta Queen has been a beloved fixture on the heartland rivers of the United States and provided travellers with a view of America from the waters that shaped the country’s expansion. Delta Queen provides a wholly unique way to experience the great American communities, cultures and experiences along the Upper and Lower Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, Black Warrior and Cumberland rivers, as well as the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

In 1970, recognized as the last operational steam paddlewheeler with overnight accommodations plying the rivers, Delta Queen was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1989, she was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior. She was inducted into the National Maritime Hall of Fame in 2004.

A veteran of World War II, the 80 year-old Delta Queen was host to three U.S. presidents and a princess. Stars of stage, screen and the entertainment world have also graced her decks, as well as some of the most prominent business leaders and statesmen of our time.

The ship herself is rich with art and antiquities such as original Tiffany-style stained glass windows, rich hardwood panelling, gleaming brass fittings, the only Siamese ironwood decking aboard a steamboat, the dramatic and often-photographed Grand Staircase, an 1897 steam calliope, and the very same ship’s bell that sounded out landings for the steamboat that Mark Twain rode downriver in 1883.

Majestic America Line will dedicate the 2008 season to celebrating Delta Queen’s 80 years of service and her fabled time on the river.

“A journey on board the Delta Queen is a true American experience, providing guests with an authentic glimpse of our country’s culture and a time in our history when steamboats ruled the rivers,” said David A. Giersdorf, President, Majestic America Line. “We will make every sailing in 2008 a special event, allowing every guest, like so many before, the opportunity to share in the Delta Queen’s legacy and honour the last chapter in her service on the river.”

Majestic America Line is planning special commemorative events, exclusive departures for previous Delta Queen travellers and commemorative gifts that will mark the farewell season. With just 24 departures on the Delta Queen during 2008, passengers are encouraged to reserve their place in history soon.

The company is continuing to evaluate the best way to preserve her legendary spirit and her esteemed place in American history for future generations.

To find out more about travelling in Delta Queen, please contact The Cruise People, Ltd. 1-800-268-6523.

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Responses

  1. Once employeed on board the Legendary Delta Queen.. the news of her last & final voyage was definitely a shocker!! To date the history, the rivers , the southern hospitality I experienced are treasures I’ll always hold dear! Thank you all for the opportunity!!

    “GO DQ”

    Toby Riley
    Head Porter 1995..


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