Delayed maiden voyage for casino boat-turned-riverboat

The American Queen Steamboat Co. has delayed the maiden voyage of American Duchess until Aug. 13, citing high water on the Upper Mississippi River that affected the move to a Louisiana yard for work.

The Memphis, Tenn.-based company’s original announcement said the vessel would begin operations in June. The addition will give the company a fleet of three passenger vessels.

American Queen last August purchased for an undisclosed sum the former Bettendorf Capri, a two-deck, 280’6”x87’x14’ Iowa-based casino boat built in 1995. The slot machines were gone, but they removed over 1,000 slot bases, 1,200 steel chairs, a closed circuit TV system and more leaving a steel superstructure for the multi-million dollar conversion into a three-deck, 166-passenger luxury vessel at Bollinger Shipyards, Amelia, La.

Before and after the interior of the casino boat Bettandorf Capri was gutted as part of its transformation to the American Duchess. American Queen Steamboat Co. photo.

Before and after the interior of the casino boat Bettendorf Capri was gutted as part of its transformation to the American Duchess. American Queen Steamboat Co. photo.

The line’s overnight river cruise fleet has been built with existing vessels. It bought the 436-passenger American Queen in 2011 and the 223-passenger American Empress in 2013 from the U.S. Maritime Administration (Marad). Both boats constructed with Title XI loan guarantees were turned over to Marad after the 2008 collapse of Majestic America Line.

American Duchess passengers booked on affected cruises are being offered a similar itinerary on other 2017 sailings or a full refund, the company said.

About the author

Dale K. DuPont

Dale DuPont has been a correspondent for WorkBoat since 1998. She has worked at daily and weekly newspapers in Texas, Maryland, and most recently as a business writer and editor at The Miami Herald, covering the cruise, marine and other industries. She and her husband once owned a weekly newspaper in Cooperstown, N.Y., across the alley from the Baseball Hall of Fame. A South Florida resident, she enjoys sailing on Biscayne Bay, except in hurricane season.

1 Comment

  1. Bob MIltenberger on

    Excellent short article. We need to support our inland waterway revenue generators.
    Cruising is cruising and the more folks on the water, the more they will support our programs to keep them clean and safe.

    Bob

    Bob Miltenberger
    CEO
    Nearshorenetworks
    http://www.nearshorenetworks.net
    safety starts with communication

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