The American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) closed on the financing and purchasing of its second vessel as of January 16th, 2014. The 223-passenger vessel has been named the American Empress, and will bring the number of AQSC’s vessel fleet to two. Adding to the company’s flagship vessel, the 436-passenger vessel American Queen, a Mississippi River System paddlewheeler.
In May of 2013, AQSC entered into a binding agreement with the U.S. Maritime administration to purchase the paddlewheeler. Since then, renovations to the ship have been underway, prepping it for an April relaunch on the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest.
Both the American Queen and the American Empress were once owned by Majestic American Line, but came into the Maritime Administration’s possession after the company dissolved in 2008. Back in August of 2003, the American West Steamboat CO. introduced the American Empress in Alaska, then called the Empress of the North as a 235-passenger vessel. It was a reproduction of an 1800’s-era paddlewheeler. The vessel alternated itineraries between Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.
In 2006, Ambassadors International acquired American West, and the Empress of the North became a part of Ambassadors’ Majestic America Line fleet.
A United States-flagged vessel, the American Empress has five decks and measures 360 feet in length. There are seven classes of staterooms, ranging from outside staterooms with windows to luxury suites with verandas. Features of the American Empress are a main dining room, a showroom for lectures and performances, an indoor/outdoor alternative dining venue, and a gift shop.
As for updates being made to the Empress, the vessel’s infrastructure (such as lighting and plumbing) are being upgraded. Updates to the interior of the vessel include fresh carpet and wallpaper in 42 of the staterooms.
The American Empress will embark on its christening voyage from March 31 to April 4. A christening ceremony will take place in Portland, Oregon on April 5.
The vessel’s maiden voyage will be a nine-day journey along the Columbia and Snake rivers featuring stops in Astoria, Oregon; Stevenson, Washington; the Dalles, Oregon; Sacajawea State Park, Washington; and Clarkston, Washington.
Cruise-only prices start at $3,795 per person, based on double occupancy.
Give us a call to be one of the lucky ones to embark on one of her first voyages! (800) 578-1479