The American Queen Steamboat Co. will add a third vessel
to its river fleet in 2017. The 340-foot American Duchess is slated to launch
on the Mississippi River next June.
“We’re running full these days,” said American Queen
President and COO Ted Sykes. “We’ve been scouring the country for more
The company’s flagship vessel, the American Queen, is
entering its sixth season cruising the Mississippi. The line expanded in 2014,
adding the American Empress in the Pacific Northwest. Now in 2017, American
Queen will grow again, converting a former gaming vessel purchased from parent
company HMS Global Maritime in August into the all-suite Duchess. The river
cruise line plans to gut the ship, rebuilding the interior hotel and adding a
The four-deck Duchess will carry 166 passengers in 83
suites, including three 550-square-foot owner’s suites and four 550-square-foot
loft suites. Other cabin categories will include deluxe suites (450 square
feet), outside veranda suites (240 to 330 square feet) and interior staterooms
(180 to 200 square feet).
Compared with the American Queen, Sykes said the new ship
will offer a more elevated experience.
Two onboard dining venues will be included in the cruise
fare, along with beer and wine at dinner, onboard entertainment and shore
excursions. The Grand Dining Room will have open seating and be capable of
accommodating the entire ship’s capacity.
American Queen plans to operate the American Duchess
year-round on the upper and lower Mississippi. Its voyages will include
weeklong roundtrip sailings out Nashville and nine-day voyages between Memphis
and New Orleans, and St. Louis and Ottawa, Ill. (about 83 miles from Chicago).
The Duchess will also overnight in Nashville, a first for the company.
Prices for most sailings start at $2,999 and top out at
$9,499 for one of the three owner’s suites. The Duchess will begin accepting
bookings for the 2017 season on Oct. 1.