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R. Dale Flick 03-10-2009 06:28 AM

*'Quad Cities companies fill MAJESTIC void.'*
Dear Steamboating colleagues:
A business press release arrived here early this morning 'to the trade' giving further details on 'Quad Cities river cruise companies try to fill MAJESTIC void.' Carrie Stier, owner of the TWILIGHT in Le Claire, Iowa stated they have "...received reservations from passengers that were hoping to ride a 'QUEEN' boats, and while we are a much smaller cousin, we hope we will not disappoint." Carrie has partnered with Scott Schadler, owner of the CELEBRATION BELLE in Moline, Ill, along with the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau in an effort to promote the Mississippi River cruising from the Quad Cities: Davenport/Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline and Rock Island, Ill. The business reports mentions the overnight hotel packages for the boats. The program may be extended to other cities in 2010.

"After the loss of the Majestic QUEENS, we decided it was important and vital to add expanded river cruises so people could continue to enjoy the beauty and history of the Mississippi River," Schadler of the CELEBRATION BELLE said in a press statement. "...unfortunate that the QUEENS are not cruising any longer and providing people with that overnight riverboat experience. We are not looking to replace any of the nostalgic vessels; we jusp hope to help fill a void."

Judy Patsch 'called it right' on this forum a while back with plans for summer cruises. Best of wishes on this venture and no doubt other companies will follow the same plan on other rivers.

Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River.

Judy Patsch 03-10-2009 08:47 AM

Power of .org board
I got an email from someone in the CELEBRATION BELLE office last week. She had seen our postings about the SPIRIT trip and the Rambling River Rats. She pointed out that they are going to Winona this year and will be going to St. Louis next year. Yes, this is a good market in these Queenless times, even with the economic situation.
O[B]ne thing I'd like to emphasize, especially if anyone from these boats sees this: DO A COMPLETE ROUND TRIP. [/B] For our SPIRIT adventure, we have people coming from as far as NY and Florida, and it makes it more worthwhile to have more than a 3 day trip. About 11 of our 34 pax are doing a 'sort of' round trip by taking the 2 individual day trips back toward Peoria.
At this point, only the TWILIGHT offers true round trips. The JBS used to, but she started staying over a day in Winona and Prairie and then taking a new group back to LaCrosse. And of course, the TWILIGHT does a 2 day rt. The biggest challenge these boat companies have in doing these trips is obtaining hotel rooms along the way, but I imagine they'll be able to work up some deals, considering probable empty rooms these days...

[U]Now, looking ahead, with the info from the CB about St. Louis, here's my thought for a RRR trip next year:[/U]
Start with a 2 day TWILIGHT cruise upriver from the QuadCities to Dubuque and back. Then hop on the CELEBRATION BELLE from here to St. Louis. I don't know how long they are planning for that, but I'd guess 3 days/2 nights, so that would make a 5 day/3 night trip. Of course, you could take either segment of the trip too. And if there would be a day in between the TWILIGHT's return and the CB's departure, well we could spend it here in the Middle Upper Mississippi River Museum or I could give you the 'river history' tour of the QuadCities.....

Bob Reynolds 03-10-2009 09:01 AM

I hope someone with big bucks sees this and realizes there is a market for the overnight boats. Let's remember that Tom Greene and his mother made money during the Great Depression with the G.C.G., enough to buy and refurbish the DQ.

Carmen 03-10-2009 11:25 AM

The Quad Cities press release was also featured on [URL=""]Travelpulse[/URL] yesterday.


Judy Patsch 03-10-2009 12:58 PM

Cruising during hard times
[QUOTE=Bob Reynolds;16067]I hope someone with big bucks sees this and realizes there is a market for the overnight boats. Let's remember that Tom Greene and his mother made money during the Great Depression with the G.C.G., enough to buy and refurbish the DQ.[/QUOTE]
Great point, Bob! And during that time the GOLDEN EAGLE was also running overnight trips.
Back then, overseas travel was obviously out. Gas was rationed during WWII so car vacations were out, but... there was the steamboat. It was close, available, and affordable.
These smaller boats are now assuming the roles of the GCG and GE of those olden days - filling a void where there IS a market.
While the DQ prices got out of hand, along with most everything else MAL did, if someone sensible, logical, unbeholden to bottomline stockholders,uninterested in bloating the company beyond its means, and willing to listen to the market (ie. us), came along and bought the QUEENS, they could be run successfully. For while they would be expensive in many people's perspective, they would be doable in others' ( see above: dangerous overseas travel, gas prices). They aren't for a big conglomerate looking to turn a fast big buck, but to an investor able to selfsustain for a while, they could be diamonds in the rough...

Bruno Krause 03-10-2009 06:09 PM

The last gasp of Delaware North? The "early booking discounts" were great, actually a huge bargain, a bargain nobody could pass up...

The last three cruises with Majestic? More than [B][I]double[/I][/B] what DN charged for "early booking discounts" was disgusting and rough, especially being fully aware what Majestic thought of all us diehard repeaters...I'm still waiting for recognition from MAL that Deb and I even existed, you believe that?

Please, anybody that is enjoying this forum...I'm thinking stateroom prices somewhere between these two above charges...A DQ "G" at say $450 a night? Just a suggestion, want my Visa number?

And there are a mess of us, posters and lurkers, we've all talked about this, we all agree. Until that time, we're all looking at the non-overnight boats as a pretty reasonable substitute. Deb and I can't wait for August, gonna be fun...

R. Dale Flick 03-11-2009 11:35 AM

*RE: GOLDEN EAGLE/'Hard times.'*
Hi, Judy & steamboating colleagues:
Judy penned good points in her above posting. Seems like 'hard times be with us' reminiscent of memories some of us have as little kids at the end of World War II. The GOLDEN EAGLE was one boat I always wished I been able to 'trip out' on but by her last days I was just a kid. Cincinnati writer/editor Clarke Firestone wrote about the GOLDEN EAGLE a number of times in prose verging on poetry. Firestone was also an old GREENE LINE fan penning additional monographs and stories about the GREENE boats he knew going way, way back. In fact, Firestone was a friend of Capt. Mary B. Greene with them members of a card club here in Hyde Park, Cincinnati. Keith has spoken/written much also about the GE through his long friendship with Miss Ruth Ferris. Great memories and thanks.

Well, what do I know?

Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River.

Mike Washenko 03-11-2009 12:01 PM

[QUOTE=Judy Patsch;16071] They aren't for a big conglomerate looking to turn a fast big buck, but to an investor able to selfsustain for a while, they could be diamonds in the rough...[/QUOTE]

I don't know about anyone else but since the Queens last trip I've bought mega millions lottery tickets for just about every drawing. I've got a business plan roughed out and just waiting to file incorporation papers. (We all gotta dream) No big conglomerate here just one little guy hoping to bring back a piece of history to the rivers where she belongs.

Judy Patsch 03-11-2009 12:31 PM

Lucky Mike
Ok, Mike, when you win and buy the boats:
1) Don't plan to build a 5000 pax cruise ship for Hawaii on the DQ's profits.
2) Don't put your headquarters with its bevvy of beauties in a Trump Tower. Something plain along the river might be more practical.
3) Don't buy out all the cruise lines and cruise ships so you'll have a total cruise monopoly. You just might not know what to do with them.
4) Don't take away quality of food and services and replace them with a fluffy bathrobe.
5) Don't build an 800 pax steamboat for river service to augment your current inventory.
6) Don't put each boat in its own region and run it to death and empty cabins. Spread them over the whole system! Out of sight, out of mind!
7) Don't hire some pr firm to give you advice on what the 'people' want - ask the 'people' directly!
8) Don't let that pr firm come up with a name whose acronym means 'bad' in Spanish. How about just paying whomever needs to be paid to become the DQ Steamboat Company again?
9) Don't jack up your prices just to show you are providing a superior product ( or so you think)
10) Don't make a river trip into a land trip - CRUISE during the day. Make your profits off something other than full day shore excursion fares. Gray Line can handle the extensive land stuff.
11) Most importantly: DO NOT replace an eagle with a trumpeter swan, or that swan will be swimming where you can't see it!!!!!!!
You're welcome, in advance, and no consultant fee is charged!!!!!!!!!!

Jo Ann Schoen 03-11-2009 01:07 PM

Thanks Judy, I needed that chuckle today. As a matter of fact, I laughed out loud, thinking I couldn't have said it better myself.

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