Ambassadors acquires Columbia Queen mortgage

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Ambassadors Cruise Group acquired the first preferred ship mortgage on the Columbia Queen river vessel and is exploring the possibility of gaining the ships operating rights, according to Joe Ueberroth, Ambassadors president and CEO.

Ambassadors bought the mortgage for $5 million from the U.S. Maritime Administration, which had held it since 2004, when it sold the vessel to the investor group CQ Acquisitions LLC.

CQ Acquisitions operated the ship in 2005 under the brand Great American Journeys but canceled its 2006 season. CQ Acquisitions still holds the operating rights to the ship.

Previous to the 2004 purchase by CQ Acquisitions, the Columbia Queen had been held under Marad control for three-and-a-half years following the October 2001 bankruptcy of its then-owner, American Classic Voyages.

The purchase of the mortgage took place the same week Ambassadors closed on its purchase of the Delta Queen Steamboat Co. and four months after Ambassadors formed its cruise division and purchased the American West Steamboat Co. 

Both Delta Queen and Great American Steamboat have previously attempted to buy the Columbia Queen.

To contact reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].

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