by The Cruise People, London writing for cybercruises.com
Quietly, on July 1, the Great American Steamboat Company of Memphis changed its name to the American Queen Steamboat Company. The line has this year successfully revived the 436-berth American Queen this April. The largest steamboat ever built in America, American Queen was built for the Delta Queen Steamboat Company in 1995 but had been laid up since November 2008 after her last operator went out of business.
This change of name may have been to avoid any confusion with American Cruise Lines’ smaller 150-passenger Queen of the Mississippi, which was christened recently in Nashville by travel agent and small ship expert Phyllis Dale from Lake Mary, Florida (American Queen was rechristened by Priscilla Presley).
The new ship’s chief selling point is not that she is the first new vessel built for this Mississippi in seventeen years, but that she features extra-large 300-square-foot staterooms.
From no riverboats for several years the Mississippi has now come to a head-on-head battle between these two lines, each operating old-fashioned overnight passenger sternwheelers vessels in the Mississippi, the Missouri and the Ohio Rivers.