Marissa Applegate
Marissa Applegate

The American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) has announced that Marissa Applegate, daughter of company chairman John Waggoner, will serve as the godmother of the 166-passenger American Duchess, which launches in New Orleans on Aug. 14.

AQSC announced last August that it had purchased a former gaming vessel that it has gutted and converted into the all-suite American Duchess. The company rebuilt the interior hotel, added a working paddlewheel and transformed the vessel into an 83-suite ship, including three 550-square-foot owner's suites and four 550-square-foot loft suites.

The American Duchess will be the third vessel to join the AQSC fleet, following the American Empress -- which was christened by Waggoner's wife, Claudette Waggoner, in Portland in 2014 -- and the American Queen, which re-entered service in 2012.

The American Duchess will do overnight port stays in Nashville, a new offering for the company, and will sail shorter roundtrip itineraries between Nashville and New Orleans. There will also be departures from Ottawa, Ill., a two-hour drive from Chicago, for the first time.

After its christening, the American Duchess will depart on its 23-day inaugural voyage up the Mississippi River. Cruise prices begin at $2,999 per person, including a pre- or post-cruise luxury hotel stay.

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