Posted February 28th, 2008, 02:29 PM
The American Queen is the largest paddle wheel steamship ever built. At 418 feet in length and 90 feet in width, she is a wonderful size for cruising. She was purpose built as a themed floating resort and she accomplishes the task quite well. You can get more and more information about American Queen
I'm sorry, but your statement is plain old wrong. The AMERICAN QUEEN's size is paled by Isambard Kingdom Brunel's 22,500 ton GREAT EASTERN. She was built and launched in Great Britain in 1859 to run in the England to America transatlantic trade. Like the AMERICAN QUEEN the GREAT EASTERN also was equipt with a propellor which delivered greater horsepower than the paddlewheels.
Yes, the AMERICAN QUEEN was designed as you said as a themed floating resort. Al Luthmers, then The Delta Queen Steamboat Company's Senior Vice President of Development stated in the 1993 annual stockholders' report for The Delta Queen Steamboat Co. stated so, "Figuratively speaking the AMERICAN QUEEN is a thematic resort hotel driven by a paddlewheel." Unfortunately, that management of The Delta Queen Steamboat Co. is no more; their vision of surrounding the passenger in a Victorian experience is gone. American steamboats of the Victorian era were not painted blue, in fact American steamboat owners considered it very bad luck to paint their boats blue. Much of the AMERICAN QUEEN is now painted blue. Cheap TV screens have now been placed in the staterooms, further detracting from the one time Victorian feel.
Majestic American Line provides a cheapened product with a much higher per diem price attached. No longer are crawfish boils offered, the six piece floor band has been replaced by a four piece band to front the shows. Certain instruments are prerecorded and mixed into the evening shows now, so there is nor live brass for Dixieland. That's certainly not what I grew to appreciate and expect on a steamboat. Four singers/entertainers have been cut down to two, so no longer is there the staff to offer the numerous daytime diversions that were once there. The popular pastime of kiteflying over the rolling red wheel is a thing of the past along with the Mike Fink Seafood Party with its "Floozie Parade." Not the entertainment that I expect when I pay a premium fare.
Most days now are spent tied up in a town. The days of being out on the river steamboatin' are over. Of course this is my opinion, but just spending a whole day watching the ever changing shoreline go by was magical to me. This is not what is being offered now. The current management might be offering a product that some might enjoy, but it's not on the biggest steamboat ever built. It's also not on the Victorian fantasy that was originally operated, and that is truly too bad.
"When we presently got under way and went poking down the broad Ohio, I became a new being and the subject of my own admiration. I was a traveler!"