The American Queen Steamboat Company, owner and operator of the American Queen and American Empress, has announced that the American Duchess will join the fleet in June 2017.
Construction will begin soon on a recently purchased American-built hull that will become the third vessel of the Memphis-based company. The all-suite American Duchess will be the first purpose-built boutique paddlewheeler offering the river cruiser an intimate experience through America’s heartland.
The 166-guest American Duchess will offer overnight stays in port, including the heart of Nashville, as well as shorter roundtrip itineraries from New Orleans. For added convenience, guests can also enjoy departures from Chicago (Ottawa, Illinois) for the first time.
The ship will feature 550 sq. ft. Owners’ Suites, and four 550 sq. ft. duplex style, two floor, two bathroom Loft Suites; and spacious Veranda Suites and Interior Suites. Two dining venues, The Grand Dining Room and The Grill Room will have open seating and will offer regionally inspired cuisine similar to that of the American Queen.
The company’s COO Ted Sykes said: “The American Queen Steamboat Company has led the way in a rebirth of U.S. river cruising as thousands discover our heartland and the Pacific Northwest, served by an award-winning, All-American crew. Demand for more capacity on the Mississippi River has been overwhelming the past two seasons and we look forward to delivering a new boutique, all-suite experience and the flexibility of two riverboats sailing between New Orleans and St. Paul.”
Rupert Thomson, American Queen Steamboat Company’s UK representative, said: “The UK travel trade and consumer have embraced US river cruising, it really is a very different experience from European river cruising. The travel trade has been very supportive and enthusiastic, both cruise specialist agents and the number of tour operators signed up to include the American Queen Steamboat Company riverboats in their programmes. We need more capacity and the American Duchess will offer a new dimension with its boutique style, spacious suites, whilst retaining the distinctive American Queen quality the company is renowned for.”