American Queen Steamboat Company and Gulf Island announced an agreement to build a new 245-guest riverboat, the fourth vessel in the U.S. flagged fleet. The new paddlewheeler will be built using the existing hull of the Kanesville Queen, a former gaming vessel built in 1995. The boat will soon travel under its own power from the Marine Builders shipyard in Jeffersonville, Indiana to Houma, Louisiana.  Construction will commence in the fourth quarter of 2018 in Houma, La. employing nearly 150 skilled labors for the community.

“We continue to break sales records and incredible demand remains for more capacity on the river with each of our boats continuing to sail full,” shared American Queen Steamboat Company Chairman John Waggoner. “We look forward to collaborating with Gulf Island’s team of skilled workers and craftsmen to deliver a riverboat that will once again exceed expectations of our guests and continue raising the bar on domestic river cruising.”

American Queen Steamboat Company re-creates the same sense of wonder, excitement and inspiration of the nation’s early exploration with all the convenience and comfort of modern luxury aboard three of the largest and most elegant riverboats in the world. The American Queen and American Duchess visit America’s most iconic river port cities including Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis and Minneapolis. The American Empress sails the Pacific Northwest on the Columbia and Snake Rivers between Vancouver, Wash. (Portland) and Clarkston, Wash.

“American Queen Steamboat Company has led the market in a renaissance of domestic river cruising and our skilled team is honored to carry on the legacy of shipbuilding in U.S. building the American Countess,” said Kirk Meche, President and C.E.O. of Gulf Island.   He added, “We look forward to constructing this magnificent vessel and fulfilling John’s vision by providing the best in marine manufacturing and construction.”

A delivery date for the American Countess to join the American Queen, American Duchess and American Empress in service along with itinerary and amenity details will be announced in the coming months.

L-RKirk Meche, John Waggoner,Christian Vaccari.
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L-RKirk Meche, John Waggoner,Christian Vaccari

American Queen Steamboat Company

American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) is the operator of the U.S. flagged American Queen, the largest, most opulent riverboat in the world.  Longer than a football field, towering six decks in height and laced with fanciful gingerbread trim, she is a marvel of modern engineering. Her journeys through the heartland offer a unique perspective on America’s history, culture and landscape with convenient departures from some of America’s most iconic river port cities including Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis and Minneapolis. In April 2014, AQSC began serving the Pacific Northwest with the opulence and grandeur of the American Empress and added the American Duchess to the Mississippi River in August 2017.