Delta Queen cancels American Queen's 2006 schedule

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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Delta Queen Steamboat Co. said the American Queens 2006 schedule will be cancelled due to conditions in New Orleans and along the lower Mississippi River system.

The vessel has been privately chartered through January, and possibly beyond that time, according to Delta Queen President Bruce Nierenberg.

It currently is housing refinery workers in Belle Chasse, La., Nierenberg said.

The ship is scheduled to return to service in 2007.

Nobody likes to call people who have vacations planned and tell them we have to make a change, he said. The companys reservations staff is contacting customers to offer alternative voyages aboard the two other steamboats in the companys fleet, the Delta Queen and the Mississippi Queen, or a full refund.

The company said in a statement that it has seen strong positive momentum in bookings in recent months and hopes this trend continues. But it is apparent that the upriver itineraries would have a difficult time supporting a three-boat operation for the whole 2006 operating year.

The Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen are slated to operate with minimal schedule changes this spring.

To contact reporter Kristin OMeara Hillmann, send e-mail to [email protected].

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