Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Crown Cruise Vacations | January 21, 2020

Scroll to top

Top

American Queen Archives - Crown Cruise Vacations

Cruise Trivia: What Does This Logo Mean and Where is it Located

July 25, 2019 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

At first, I thought this might be too easy for a cruise trivia question. Then I heard two women discussing what the logo must mean. They were wrong. Very wrong.

So now it’s your chance.

What do the initials “TCB” with a thunderbolt mean? Do you know where I took the photo with the logo? Read more...

American Queen chooses Memphis for homeport

September 10, 2014 | Heidi

If you happen to see the American Queen cruising along one of America’s rivers, take a close look at that name beneath the big red paddlewheel.

Proudly posted on the back of the riverboat is the American Queen’s new homeport – Memphis, Tennessee.

“We are very happy to be the new home of the American Queen,” said Jonathan Lyons, public relation manager for the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Our city officials worked hard to get that honor.”

A major part of those efforts to please the American Queen and it’s passengers, Memphis recently constructed Beale Street Landing. The ambitious docking facility can accommodate 50-foot shifts in the Mississippi River’s height.

After a decade of design, planning, construction and a difficult budget, the Riverfront Development Corporation’s $43 million Beale Street Landing project officially opened June 28, 2014.

Beale Street Landing’s dock, where passengers load onto the American Queen and other riverboats, is made from barges so it can rise and fall with the river. Passengers can reach the boat by walking down the landing’s ramp. For those with mobility problems, golf carts are available to get to the boat.

And the new Beale Street Landing should get plenty of use, Memphis officials said. The American Queen docks here 13 times a year. The Queen of the Mississippi docks 15 times a year. The Grande Mariner and the Grande Caribe from the Blount cruise line both dock here four times a year. A local sightseeing cruise boat, the Island Queen, takes passengers on cruises twice a day.

Next to the landing is a small park with gardens and seats where people can sit and watch the river flow. A playground, restaurant and gift shop also are part of the project.

With such a great landing and such a marvelous homeport, cruise passengers might want to plan to spend a couple of extra days in Memphis before or after a cruise.

Story by Jackie Sheckler Finch

Cruise Ship Trivia: Can you name this vessel?

May 30, 2014 | Heidi

If you’ve ever cruised on this vessel, you might have relaxed in this very spot and watched the sun set on a beautiful day.

For a bit of cruise ship trivia, see if you can recognize this popular vessel. Don’t look at the answer below until you have formulated yours.

A hint: Mark Twain was fond of this form of travel.

If you recognize it, good for you. If you don’t, make plans to book a cruise. Rolling on the river is an unforgettable experience any time of day or night.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

(Answer:)  Despite the odds, the lovely American Queen is cruising the rivers once again.

Her improbable tale started when the youngest of three sister ships was constructed in 1995. Listed at a whopping 418 feet long with a passenger capacity of about 435, the American Queen is said to be the biggest steamboat ever built. With her elaborate gingerbread trim and six decks, the American Queen looks like a fancy floating wedding cake.

Once owned by the Delta Queen Company, the American Queen – along with the Delta Queen and the Mississippi Queen – ruled the rivers. Devoted cruisers eagerly awaited each year’s itineraries.

Then hard times hit. In 2008, the Majestic American Line, which then owned the American Queen, went belly up. The historic Delta Queen was permanently docked in Chattanooga as a floating hotel. The Mississippi Queenwas sold for scrap. And the American Queen was put in the custody of the United States Maritime Administration. The luxury steamboat sat in mothballs for years. Her future seemed dark.

However, three steamboat lovers – Jeff Krida, chief executive officer of the original Delta Queen Steamboat Company; Christopher Kyte, founder of the travel firm Uncommon Journeys and formerly the top seller of Delta Queen Steamboat Company cruises; and John Waggoner, president of HMS Global Maritime – decided they couldn’t allow the beautiful boat to be destroyed.

In 2011, they joined forces to form the Great American Steamboat Company and bought the paddle wheeler for $30 million. After a $6.5 million facelift, the American Queen is back where she belongs – on America’s rivers.

In April 2012, the American Queen left her new homeport of Memphis for an inaugural cruise. Priscilla Presley did the honors of formally rechristening the boat with a bottle of champagne. Since then, the American Queen has been drawing passengers with her charms of bygone days.

By Jackie Sheckler Finch

 

 

American Queen presents Mark Twain

November 20, 2013 | Heidi

When Lewis Hankins dons his white suit to take the stage as Mark Twain, he has a long- time routine. Before greeting his audience, Hankins says a simple prayer.

“I say, ‘David, this is for you. Daddy has never forgotten you.’”

How Hankins came to be on stage as his favorite author seems to be an act of destiny. The retired Kentucky state policeman grew up reading Twain’s works. He delved deeply into the life of the man born as Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who chose the pen name Mark Twain to become known as the father of American Literature.

The Peanut Butter Memphis Connection

September 25, 2013 | Heidi

Memphis – Now I know why Elvis loved them so much. I also know why he packed on so many pounds.

With the American Queen riverboat now based in Memphis, Tennessee, I have another good reason for visiting one of my favorite cities. I also make it a point to drop by Graceland whenever I’m in town.

Not only is there always something new to see at Graceland and something old to remember, there is also that calorie-filled, delicious snack that Elvis favored.

Riverboat Biscuits

April 24, 2013 | Heidi

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. And the delicious breakfasts served on the American Queen make it easier to roll out of a comfy bed each morning on the river.

American Queen Offers Free Use of Bikes on Cruises

March 15, 2013 | Heidi

Marlene Heideman decided to get in some exercise and sightseeing at the same on a cruise stop of the American Queen riverboat.

Rolling a bicycle off the boat for a quick tour of Paducah, Kentucky, the Cincinnati woman says the pedaling transportation is a wonderful option.

“You have more freedom on a bicycle than on a tour bus,” Marlene said. “You can stop whenever you want to take a picture or look at something. I think it’s great that the American Queen has these bikes for us to use without charge.”

The neon green bicycles are a new perk aboard the American Queen. Passengers can use the bicycles and helmets free of charge to visit riverfront towns when the paddlewheeler docks.

Marlene had cruised on all three boats – the American Queen, the Mississippi Queen and the Delta Queen – before they went out of business in 2008.

“I was really disappointed when they stopped,” Marlene said. “I’ve been on the Delta Queen twice, the Mississippi Queen once and the American Queen four times. I didn’t want to see the boats get lost. I felt sorry that our children might not be able to ride on a riverboat the way we had.”

When she heard that the American Queen was back on the rivers in April 2012, Marlene says she was thrilled and quickly booked a cruise.

“It’s a beautiful way to travel,” she said. “Having the free bikes is a really nice addition.”

By Jackie Sheckler Finch

 

Here come the Steamcoaches!

February 5, 2013 | Heidi

Here comes the American Queen Steamcoach rolling down the road. The road?

Yep, the popular riverboat now has three personalized steamcoaches decorated to look like their namesake. And they sure are getting second looks whenever they pass by.

The colorful motorcoaches are painted to closely resemble the exterior of the American Queen, complete with the big red paddlewheel and “passengers” waving from the decks.

Memphis: ‘Where Elvis Lives’

January 7, 2013 | Heidi

Blog contributor Jackie Sheckler Finch loves river cruising, and recently spent some extra time in Memphis before her American Queen river sailing.

Since Memphis is the American Queen’s new homeport and Priscilla Presley is the boat’s godmother, I thought I’d visit the home of the city’s most famous son when I arrived a day early for my cruise.

“Welcome to my world,” Elvis sings as our shuttle crosses the street to enter the musical gates of Graceland. The former home of Elvis is a strange bubble in time.

It is not near as grand as many visitors think it would be. Rock stars and other entertainers have far more elaborate homes today. It is a tribute that Elvis chose to live in his hometown – and he is still a powerful source of income for Memphis area residents.

American Queen Cruising Again on America’s Rivers

December 21, 2012 | Heidi

An early morning sun sweeps off a shroud of wispy fog as the American Queen paddles her way along the Mississippi River. In the J.M. White Dining Room, I’m savoring a big Southern breakfast while a friendly dining staff delivers coffee, tea and cheerfulness.

“It’s like a miracle,” says Ernest Thompson of Louisville. “We didn’t think we would ever see the riverboats cruising again. Once they left the river, we were afraid they would never be back.”

Many folks might agree with those sentiments. But, despite the odds, the beautiful American Queen is cruising the rivers once again.

Her improbable tale started when the youngest of three sister ships was constructed in 1995. Listed at a whopping 418 feet long with a passenger capacity of about 435, the American Queen is said to be the biggest steamboat ever built. With her elaborate gingerbread trim and six decks, the American Queen looks like a fancy floating wedding cake.

Once owned by the Delta Queen Company, the American Queen – along with the Delta Queen and the Mississippi Queen – ruled the rivers. Devoted cruisers eagerly awaited each year’s itineraries.

Then hard times hit. In 2008, the Majestic American Line, which then owned the American Queen, went belly up. The historic Delta Queen was permanently docked in Chattanooga as a floating hotel. The Mississippi Queen was sold for scrap. And the American Queen was put in the custody of the United States Maritime Administration. The luxury steamboat sat in mothballs for years. Her future seemed dark.

However, three steamboat lovers – Jeff Krida, chief executive officer of the original Delta Queen Steamboat Company; Christopher Kyte, founder of the travel firm Uncommon Journeys and formerly the top seller of Delta Queen Steamboat Company cruises; and John Waggoner, president of HMS Global Maritime – decided they couldn’t allow the beautiful boat to be destroyed.

In 2011, they joined forces to form the Great American Steamboat Company and bought the paddlewheeler for $30 million. After a $6.5 million facelift, the American Queen is back where she belongs – on America’s rivers.

In April 2012, the American Queen left her new homeport of Memphis for an inaugural cruise. Priscilla Presley did the honors of formally rechristening the boat with a bottle of champagne. Since then, the American Queen has been drawing passengers with her charms of bygone days.

“It’s been far too long since genuine steamboats have graced the rivers of America,” said  Krida, “Steamboating is back and better than ever.”

Krida should know. He was president of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company during its heyday in the 1990s, a time when the company had the highest ratings going for service, entertainment and value.

Boarding the American Queen in Memphis for an eight-day cruise to St. Louis, I immediately felt a sense of homecoming. After cruising many times on all three queens, I definitely missed them.

There was something special about the three riverboats and to be on the Mississippi Queen again was – much as Ernest Thompson had described it – “a miracle.”

-By Jackie Sheckler Finch