Paddlewheeler headed to boatyard, not Super Bowl
January 15, 2013
American Queen Steamboat Co. has
canceled its Feb. 7 and Feb. 15 sailings aboard the
Instead, the Queen will be in the shipyard getting work done on its paddlewheel, which includes building a more durable drive shaft. The refurbished
vessel entered service last April.
The repair work also means the 436-passenger, 418'x85'x13' American Queen won’t be hosting fans
over Super Bowl weekend in New Orleans from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4. The company was
marketing a block of rooms for $579,000.
the Memphis, Tenn.-based company will be spending an unspecified amount to get the
boat in shape for its first voyage of the season scheduled for Feb. 23 from New
safety and reliability of the American
Queen is our top priority and her drive shaft must be completely rebuilt,”
president and COO Ted Sykes said in a statement. “This additional time in
layup is needed to custom-build a much stronger drive shaft with a 40- to
50-year lifespan, as well as reinstall the iconic paddlewheel.”
work includes painting and wallpapering public spaces and staterooms, a new
Front Porch Café and updates to the J.M. White Dining Room and Engine Room Bar,
the company said.
vessel, one of two paddlewheelers that brought regular overnight cruising back
to the Mississippi River in 2012, had been tied up in Beaumont, Texas, after
the 2008 collapse of previous owner Majestic America Lines.
entering service again, she underwent a $6.5 million facelift — more than half
of which was for mechanical and control systems — at Bollinger Shipyards.
“The boat was in pretty rough shape,” engineer Marvin Williams told WorkBoat. “Two years of laying up is
worse than 10 years of operation.”
rebuilding of the 1995 riverboat included the 65-ton paddlewheel, the Z-drives,
its steam engine, rudder extensions, DC motors and diesel engines.
booked on the canceled cruises will get a full refund and reimbursement for
travel-related expenses or a $250 per person credit for rebooking and an
upgrade to the best available stateroom.