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R. Dale Flick 04-06-2016 12:27 PM

*AMERICAN QUEEN's 2016 upgrades/Interview*
Steamboating colleagues:
A recent article, with interview of 'American Queen Steamboat Co.' CEO John Waggoner, appeared in TRAVEL WEEKLY [To the travel industry] announcing the many upgrades made to the 436 passenger AQ as she entered her current cruise season 2016. Some $7 million in previous upgrades just to put the boat in service after the year 2011 with upgrades continuing as a "work in progress." Waggoner turned attention to the boat's exterior using a high quality white linear exterior polyurethene paint used on yachts. "The interior was in good shape but the exterior covered in mold," according to Waggoner.

A project now to replace handrails with new mahogany, painted outside decks, varnished all the mahogany doors on outside staterooms. Each stateroom also received work from wallpaper to reupholstering of every piece of furniture, new bar, new floors and a new food-service area. Freshly popped popcorn, soft-service ice cream, drinks, coffee, tea, expressos and cappuccinos. The boat's 'Front Porch' a popular spot during the day. The outdoor 'River Grill' will be revamped after the 'River Grill' on the company's AMERICAN EMPRESS with top alternate dining with small-plate, regional selections. The AQ's sun deck also reworked with the pool, fitness room, outdoor sofas, lounge chairs, canopy covers for shade. The list goes on and on. The boat's executive staff with discerning eyes will continue with dedication to the long-term life and evolution of the boat. AMERICAN QUEEN cruises start at $2,149 per person. WHEW! sounds like the company moving ahead on full steam to maintain, modernize, expand the boat's appearance, appointments, service and appeal. No mention of bath robes, slippers, WiFi, luxury bed linens in tight weave threads for added comfort for that 1st Class appeal. Well, again, what do I know other than what I read and hear.

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati

Jim Reising 04-10-2016 01:39 PM

Having wintered this year in St. Petersburg, Fla., I was reading in the local paper that about 20 yrs.ago the St. Pete Beach city council passed ordinances that pretty well prohibited new growth. Clearwater did not have such laws so there was a building boom with all these high rise hotels and condo's. Tourists are flocking to Clearwater, while the mom&pop 1950's style beach motels are languishing (I personally much prefer the mom & pops). The gest of the article was people today prefer the glitz of the high rises.
That got me to doing some research so I looked at AARP travel (98% of boat cruisers qualify for AARP) and at AAA. Believe it or not one of the things most looked for and required by the older traveling public was free WIFI....just try to take away a 70 yr. old grandmothers Ipad or Smartphone so she can't get daily pictures of the grandkids! High on the priority list were things dealing with mobility issues...elevators, ramps, safe bathrooms, etc.
I know that if Her Royal Majesty runs again in her present state my wife could never ride it because of all the stairs and I'm not sure I could fit in a lot of the bathrooms. Nor would I want to live with my wife if she didn't have her Ipad for a week.
As the song goes "Times They Are A Changing". (If knowing that song doesn't date me nothing does).
But what do I know

Dan Lewis 05-06-2016 08:07 PM

I started working on the AQ when she was still sitting in NO harbor preparing for her sea trials. As an engineer, you never knew what you would be called into from one moment to the next to get her ready. One evening I found myself helping an interior decorator make some last minute updates to one of the two main suites, while on another day I was crawling on top of of the boiler to make adjustments to a safety valve to satisfy the Coast Guard inspectors waiting down below--certainly kept things interesting when trying to bring a boat out of mothballs while living aboard!

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