For the third time since debuting last fall, French America Line has canceled Louisiane sailings and has moved the latest restart to mid-June.
One of the newer players in the overnight riverboat market has been dealing with plumbing problems, which it says have been fixed, and now needs Coast Guard approval of not just the work done but the whole vessel.
“We need a total reinspection,” Christopher Tidmore, co-owner and vice president of community affairs, said Tuesday. The boat has undergone significant repairs the last few months and “is ready for sailing.” To make sure the problems don’t reoccur, they installed scrubbers to maintain water quality.
The cancelled cruises were “decently booked,” Tidmore said. They called passengers and refunded fares in full. Future passengers who have questions should call the line at 888-387-1140.
Earlier this year, the Avondale, La.-based company delayed a spring start from March 18 to April 22. “Our insurance underwriter for the riverboat just recently requested that we make time consuming refits to certain areas that had just been re-plumbed during the extensive refit of the vessel last summer,” chairman Christopher Kyte said at the time.
Late last year, the line, which began sailing in late October, canceled sailings through December because of plumbing problems on its second cruise. Water overflowed from a tank and got into lower crew quarters and the food stores, a company official said.
The Louisiane is the former 203’8”x60’x12’ Columbia Queen, which underwent a multimillion refurbishment, holds 150 passengers and a crew of 64 sailing on five- to 10-day cruises on the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland and Red rivers and the intracoastal waterway.
French America Line bought the riverboat for an undisclosed sum from Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Greenwood Village, Colo., which in 2011 purchased the vessel and other assets of Ambassadors International, Inc., out of bankruptcy court. Ambassadors was the parent of money-losing Majestic America Line, which shut down in 2008.