For years, we've been telling you about American Queen Steamboat Company and its cruises on the Mississippi River and other "close to home" waterways throughout the United States.
We took our first Mississippi River cruise on the company's brand-new American Countess in early 2021 and had a relaxing and fun time making our way north from New Orleans to Memphis.
Check out the video recap of that journey:
American Queen Steamboat Company is now American Queen Voyages, a new overarching brand that merges American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines. The company features a comprehensive portfolio of North American cruise trips. The new American Queen Voyages includes American Queen Voyages River, American Queen Voyages Lakes & Ocean (wrapping in the Victory Cruise Lines fleet) and American Queen Voyages Expedition, which includes new Alaska and Central America expedition journeys beginning in 2022.
We're especially excited to learn of the new places that the expedition arm of American Queen Voyages will take adventurous and active cruisers.
American Queen Voyages embraces the mantra "Discovery Runs Deep," enticing cruisers travelers to go off the beaten path to create unscripted memories and experiences while discovering more of North America. You can expect to interact with New England oystermen while warming up over salty fish tales, docking next to Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, or shadow marine science researchers from California Polytechnic State University as you approach a secluded cove via Zodiac.
Embracing its Mississippi River and paddlewheel roots, the new brand celebrates its growth from the singular namesake vessel, American Queen, to becoming a seven-ship fleet with the acquisition of Victory Cruise Lines.
American Queen Voyages River
American Queen Voyages River is led by namesake U.S.-flagged American Queen, the largest, most opulent riverboat in the world. The ship rises six decks in height, is laced with fanciful gingerbread trim and is known as a marvel of modern engineering. American Queen's journeys through the heartland give an in-depth insight into America's history, culture and landscape with departures from vibrant river port cities, including Memphis, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Minneapolis.
In April 2014, American Queen Steamboat Company began serving the Pacific Northwest with American Empress, and the line added the American Duchess to the Mississippi River in August 2017. As mentioned, American Countess is the newest and fourth boat to join the river fleet. American Countess, which made its debut in March 2021, sails the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers.
American Queen Voyages Lakes & Ocean
The line's ships that cruise the lakes and oceans deliver voyages to Canada, the Great Lakes, New England and Eastern Seaboard and Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula. Sailing on identical 202-passenger ships -- formerly Victory I and Victory II (to be renamed Ocean Voyager and Ocean Navigator) -- American Voyages Lakes & Ocean offers small-ship cruising with immersive shore excursions and onboard programming. With itineraries widespread throughout coastal North America, American Queen Voyages Lakes & Oceans highlights U.S. diversity through some of its most historic ports, including Mackinac Island, and showcases a different perspective of New England's leisure side. Cities like Charleston and Savannah offer glimpses into coastal southern living, while the islands of the Bahamas are well known to be idyllic sun-splashed destinations.
American Queen Voyages Expedition cruises feature newly built 186-passenger ships. These vessels will operate all-inclusive cruises to Alaska on Ocean Victory in 2022 and Ocean Discoverer in 2023. Ocean Victory will take 12- and 13-day journeys through the less-traveled regions of Alaska's Inside Passage led by a seasoned expedition team. Like-minded explorers will use kayaks and Zodiac tours to join their expedition leaders on the lookout for wildlife. You can also witness marine research by California Polytech University students in real-time and take part in engaging discussions with First Nation leaders. The focus of the expedition program is exploring Alaska up close.
"To see America, you have to look beyond the roads, and American Queen Voyages embraces this notion with compelling travel encounters," said Kari Tarnowski, the cruise line's senior vice president of marketing and sales.
Looking ahead, American Queen Voyages will offer eight vessels by 2023 and plans to feature encounter-driven itineraries throughout America's heartland rivers, the Great Lakes and Pacific Northwest, as well as Canada and the Eastern Seaboard, Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula and remote waterways in Alaska.
"Through a decade of transformation, American Queen Voyages has surged from the great American rivers to include lakes, ocean and expedition experiences," American Queen Voyages President Shawn Bierdz said. "As we move into this new chapter and introduce our version of encounter travel, we uphold the originating vision of our company's founder and chairman, John Waggoner, and his unwavering belief in the renaissance of U.S. river cruising and close-to-home adventures."
Thanks for reading and happy exploring!