The American Queen Steamboat Company has announced that a third ship, the American Duchess, is to join its fleet in June 2017.
The company currently operates two ships, the American Queen and the American Empress.
The new ship, which will hold 166 guests, will be smaller than its sister-ships and mostly sail on the lower Mississippi. The vessel will be able to better access some of the tributaries that the American Queen, which is the biggest ship on the Mississippi, is unable to.
Announcing the newbuild, the company’s COO Ted Sykes said: “The American Queen Steamboat Company has led the way in a rebirth of US 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.”
Accommodation on the American Duchess will have include two 550 sq ft owners suites and four 550 sq ft duplex style, two floor, two bathroom loft suites – a first for a US river ship.
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.”