Message Boards

Message Boards (http://www.steamboats.org/forum/)
-   River Talk & Cruises (http://www.steamboats.org/forum/river-talk-cruises/)
-   -   American duchess, city of new orleans (http://www.steamboats.org/forum/river-talk-cruises/5712-american-duchess-city-new-orleans.html)

Judy Patsch 07-25-2017 05:56 PM

American duchess, city of new orleans
 
Spoke to Doc today. He says the AMERICAN DUCHESS nee Isle of Capri of the AQ Co. is now at the Perry St. Wharf in NOLA. He is invited to its christening next week. So unlike the questionable status of several other casino-to-overnight conversions, this one has been completed, which not only includes the interior renovations but the installation of a working paddlewheel and accoutrements. I'm sure this achievement is due in large part to Gary Frommelt, who is a VP of some rank at AQ and in charge of this metamorphosis. Many of you know Gary as Chief Engineer on the DQ and the NATCHEZ, before he joined various casino boat companies and finally the AQ Co.
And as to the conversion of the CASINO ROCK ISLAND to a dinner/excursion boat CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, several pictures were posted on Facebook today of that work. I assume Matt Dow was responsible for those pix..Last I heard they are aiming for opening for the French Quarter Festival/Jazz Fest month of April next year.
So there are at least 2 success stories out there regarding former gambling boats.

Judy Patsch 07-25-2017 05:57 PM

Ok why did my title in all caps come out in lower case
 
I typed the names of the boats in all caps, and it ends up in all lower case....grr.

Carmen 07-26-2017 01:44 AM

Last I read is that the christening was scheduled for August 14th in NOLA. Godmother is Marissa Waggoner.

Carmen

R. Dale Flick 07-26-2017 08:52 AM

*AMERICAN DUCHESS/CITY OF NEW ORLEANS*
Steamboating colleagues,
Thanks much, Judy, for your informative postings above as I didn't know much about the boats and what has been going on. Yet, as I 'sniff the air' where new overnight passenger cruise boats are concerned, I note my list here of vessels already in service, those being rebuilt and others being proposed. This something remarkable for our inland rivers compared to cruise boats overnight on European rivers--even now in China and South America. With the world political situation more people turning to blue water ocean and river trips. These vessels may not be all pure steam but the present cruise public, with their disposable income, expect the modern amenities, facilities up to date. These vessels modern, economical to operate in a most expensive operation. Keep us posted. *I understand some of our river crowd recently cruised the Ohio on the AMERICAN QUEEN but, so far, no reports of their trips.

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

Judy Patsch 07-26-2017 02:01 PM

So how did you get your title in all caps????
 
I see you were able to get the boats' names in all caps, but my attempt failed. Oh well....I still don't see the market to support all the boats that have been announced as going into our overnight trade, but of course not all announced will actually appear. And in the case of the LOUISIANE, she made one trip and has been tied up in Gretna ever since. Admittedly many Americans are choosing to stay within their borders, giving a bigger market. And I can see the boats doing well their first year, maybe even their second. But what I question is the amount of repeat business they will have - most DQ pax that I encountered, even though a generation ago, who had the money for today's fares were of the 'we'll do it once and move on' type. They weren't the die hard repeaters of our ilk or previous generations, and I suspect that is the case of today's wealthier customer base. I just don't see a boat loyalty/bond developing which would guarantee passengers returning year after year for multiple cruises. Maybe I'm wrong, hope so. The other major concern I have for this multitude of boats is what is happening now: floods, high water, conditions forcing whole itineraries to be changed. Think back to the DQ years: how many trips did she have to completely reroute? None in my 1973-83 days! Yet look at the poor AQ: this is the third consecutive year her UMR schedule has been shot to smithereens. And it isn't her size - the DQ wouldn't have made it under our bridge either. Just think of the money involved in having to reroute, reschedule, reimburse passengers, provide transportation to real endpoint, etc. And how many people would be willing to try again once they've had one trip wiped out? Yes, we would, and there would be some today. But not all would cheerfully say: That's steamboating! The only positive thing about all the boats having to stay in the same locale: we could get some old-timey shots of multiple boats docked in a port!

Jim Blum 07-26-2017 02:36 PM

Totally off topic the MV America was in St Louis yesterday and left Southbound approx. 1235 this afternoon. Didn't see anyone out on deck, which could be understandable due to meal time ? and the brutally hot/humid day (my car was showing 102f).

Somewhat disappointing to me was that when she backed out she only went about two boat lengths up river before rounding up and heading downriver---did not go up past the arch to roundfile:///F:/DCIM/122_PANA/P1220460.JPG up just under Eads Bridge.

Richard Reiff 07-27-2017 09:44 AM

Trip report from AQ - hopefully in a few weeks
 
Hi Dale:

Seems no one posts trip reports on this site anymore, hopefully I will be able to do so starting next week. With a "good deal" (ie, low cost option that we could afford), we signed up for the July 30 RT out of Red Wing, only to get an urgent message this week that it is now departing out of St. Louis. With a promise to pay for airline changefees, we made flight changes and will meet the AQ in Alton next week, with a target of ending up in Red Wing. Actually a better itinerary than the original, at least in my view. Those that have been on the AQ before know that the internet is usually worthless, so it may be a blackout period until we get back.

I do miss the frequent updates on steamboat trips, in fact, we did not know of the potential reroute until a day before we received the official news. Checking a riverboat tracking site we noted the AQ was in Chester the day it was supposed to be in Hannibal, thus we knew something was wrong. Turns out there were several reroutes prior, but living in land locked (river locked) Colorado we never hear about things on the big rivers.

Should be interesting to see how the "blue water" folks respond to everyday Riverboatin' events such as reroutes. For us it is part of the adventure, for others, maybe not so much.





[QUOTE=R. Dale Flick;36639]*AMERICAN DUCHESS/CITY OF NEW ORLEANS*
Steamboating colleagues,
Thanks much, Judy, for your informative postings above as I didn't know much about the boats and what has been going on. Yet, as I 'sniff the air' where new overnight passenger cruise boats are concerned, I note my list here of vessels already in service, those being rebuilt and others being proposed. This something remarkable for our inland rivers compared to cruise boats overnight on European rivers--even now in China and South America. With the world political situation more people turning to blue water ocean and river trips. These vessels may not be all pure steam but the present cruise public, with their disposable income, expect the modern amenities, facilities up to date. These vessels modern, economical to operate in a most expensive operation. Keep us posted. *I understand some of our river crowd recently cruised the Ohio on the AMERICAN QUEEN but, so far, no reports of their trips.

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati[/QUOTE]

R. Dale Flick 07-27-2017 10:58 AM

*RE: Caps lock/River cruises*
Hi, Judy,
To get my boat names etc. in cap letters all I do is press my 'Caps Lock' tab on the left side of my keyboard. Yeah, at times I also have caps show up in lower cases.

Liked your posting and thinking above. River cruise cancellations along with changed itineraries pretty much a given. Letha Greene and the old GREENE LINE also had to deal with it at a time when there were no computers with all notifications by phone or letter. Even the big 'blue water' babies have carefully worded, legal disclaimers in their ticketing and finalized documents about "right to change, alter ports of call etc. due to..." You get the idea. On several of our 'blue water' cruises we've had ports scratched due to high seas, weather, political or military events.

Years back Betty Blake was commenting on the times the DELTA QUEEN had to totally cancel or alter a trip. One of the ladies working for the company had been with them for years and said to Betty, "Betty, when I joined this company 19 years ago you were standing on a table in a New Orleans hotel lobby telling the passengers there why the DELTA QUEEN wouldn't be sailing and today on my last day before retiring you're up on a table again telling them all why the boat isn't leaving." With that everybody broke into laughter. Cheers!

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

R. Dale Flick 07-27-2017 03:05 PM

*DELTA QUEEN on a thin margin/Trip logistics*
Steamboating colleagues,
Judy, I again opened/read my above to you on canceled trips, logistics etc. Jim Reising and I mentioned on here some time back just how thin was the margin each year when the GREENE LINE brought the DELTA QUEEN out spiffed up to open the season with the big Mardi Gras trip. The boat in those days had been in layup since around Thanksgiving as the Greenes learned early on not to run a steamboat in the winter season even to New Orleans in the 'sunny south.' Many a Mardi Gras trip the GORDON C. GREENE had steamed out here in frigid weather with ice, snow along the way. Other years they got away in decent weather. One of the many negatives the GORDON had was by standards then insufficient insulation. They laid on the steam to keep her as warm as they could in the passenger cabins and main cabins.

Financially the kitty was pretty low with the company guestimating how healthy the new season would be from the way the Mardi Gras reservations came in--either early, late or not at all. When it came to filling the larder with supplies in the cook house, the main office even carefully counted pennies on how many big standing beef roasts they could lay in from the food suppliers.

Then there was the threat of bad weather with cold and even ice or high water when the DQ was schleduled to depart for Mardi Gras. Letha Greene mentioned to me how she "Worried going to bed at night. Are we going to book up? Will there be a flood or river ice. Will be be faced with an expensive boiler or mechanical repair? Will be be able to clear the low bridges out of Cincinnati and down river if there's high water?" On and on in her words. The DELTA QUEEN was with Letha Greene 24/7/52. She also with a wry smile and a wink said, "And when we hired on a new captain, officer or crew we didn't always know what we were getting in the package." Yeah, it sure was wonderful, beautiful, romantic, music filled old time steamboat life wasn't it? Nobody even today is in the steamboat business for fun and romance. But what do I know?

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

Judy Patsch 07-27-2017 07:03 PM

No trip postings on here
 
Well, I have no postings because I no longer ride the big overnight boats. But as far as the news of rerouting, I was posting it on the AQ Facebook page as I looked at our river levels and knew she wasn't going to make it under our bridge even though there was no word from the company. The reason I posted on there is because that is where the audience is now, sadly.

Bill Judd 07-27-2017 07:49 PM

Well I am not on there. Keep us old timers informed.

Judy Patsch 07-28-2017 05:52 AM

In capital letters
 
If I could get my boat names in titles to show up capitalized, Bill! :-)
We had a horrible deluge last Friday from LaCrosse on down through here, which raised river levels 3 to 5 ft. overnight. While you Ohio River people are used to that, this doesn't happen on the UMR. There are 2 structures below the QuadCities which have posed a problem in the past for the QUEENS: the Hannibal rr lift bridge and the newer highway bridge in Burlington. But I don't know the facts on their clearances, so I just always deal with our I-280 bridge at mile 475. Its clearance at pool (2.5) is 62.5. Our crest came Tuesday at 15.8, which was almost 2 feet lower than predicted. Even so, that would have given 49.2 ft. clearance and the AQ needs 55 and she was due here Wednesday. So I was pretty confident when I predicted her need for a rerouting, which of course did happen. And when I saw the predictions for next week's river levels, I predicted she'd try to get up to RedWing next week so that she'd be back on schedule for her RedWing roundtrip and the subsequent downbound RedWing/Alton trip. This of course is what is going to happen. It takes no genius, just good math skills and common sense.

Jim Blum 07-28-2017 08:03 AM

While at the same time the USCG, Sector Upper Mississippi River has closed the UMR mile 722.5 to mile 723.5 (as of 27 July 17) due shoaling!.......until USACE surveys etc and dredging. How long this closure will last I have no idea and no hard information.

Jim Reising 07-28-2017 08:46 AM

I remember Hoarse Lyle once said, "Bob McCann and I would be put in jail for a long time if the ICC ever found out how we got the boat out of town". In order to get the cash to pay for those standing beef roasts, they "barrowed" funds from the escrow account. Back then (and I think today also) monies paid by passengers for an upcoming trip had to be kept in escrow and, I believe, were released 1/3 on departure, 1/3 at the trips halfway point, and the final third upon completion of the trip.

Judy Patsch 07-28-2017 10:09 AM

[QUOTE=Jim Blum;36648]While at the same time the USCG, Sector Upper Mississippi River has closed the UMR mile 722.5 to mile 723.5 (as of 27 July 17) due shoaling!.......until USACE surveys etc and dredging. How long this closure will last I have no idea and no hard information.[/QUOTE]
That's just below Winona, right? Amazing, too much water in one place, not enough in another!

R. Dale Flick 07-28-2017 06:45 PM

*Lyle, McCann/ICC laws/Money*
Jim, the above is one great story about Horace Lyle and Bob McCann juggling the passenger account money to "pay for those standing rib roasts." And that wasn't all. What's the old wag? "It isn't what you do it's what you get away with." Things were really on thin ice financially until the GREENE LINE saw the DELTA QUEEN booked full for the Mardi Gras trip kicking off the new season. Bob McCann was a stickler for financial solvency and good records. The old story about Bob going in on a Saturday morning to audit the books searching for the missing 14 cents all too true. Today's DQ fans wouldn't believe the miserably low wages most of the crew were paid back then. Betcha' it won't happen now if/when the DQ is ever reentered into service. That and living/working conditions aboard. Younger men and women today for the most part work on the river or around in support services for the wages and benefits--not for dubious old time steamboat romance. Many learned their lesson quickly in their work on the boat.

Bob MCCann slaved to save pennies to make dollars. In later years, with new managment and reorganization, they jumped over dollars to save pennies. And more than one big bright idea hatched laid a costly bomb. I often have wondered if later owning corporations were using the company and DELTA QUEEN for one big write-off and tax advantage. Today the huge 'blue water' cruise lines juggle millions of dollars $$ in future passenger deposits. I know the GREENE LINE also welcomed those deposits for trips on the GORDON and DELTA QUEEN. That deposit money held can earn a nice sum in interest.

You remember those ICC laws where no trip by the DELTA QUEEN was to arrive in Cincinnati, dock at the wharfboat--or later landing--until just after 12:00 midnight. The DQ would hurry up river to keep on schedule; then paw the water slowly below Cincinnati or even steam up river and turn around to meet the ICC landing time regulation. YOU were there then and knew while WE are all here now. What do I know?

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

Judy Patsch 07-28-2017 10:20 PM

Delaying arrival
 
I don't know if it still happens, but the Queens fooled around and didn't dock at Robin St. until after midnight to avoid paying an extra day's docking fee. I don't know how much the fee was, but considering fuel costs and antsy crew wanting to hit the FQ.....

R. Dale Flick 08-01-2017 11:24 AM

*QUEEN's fooling around/Docking fees*
 
Greetings, Steamboating colleagues:
Judy, I know you're right about the QUEEN's "fooling around" before docking at Robin Street wharf--although I never saw it myself down there. No doubt it was those ICC rules they had in mind. Jim Reising one who knows/remembers much of that having been a DELTA QUEEN Purser. And Jim heard/learned much from Chief Purser Bob McCann. Another 'official' Jim Reising and I remember was the ellusive 'Smoke abatement officer' who used to lurk watching the DQ and AVALON steaming in and out to check the smoke from their stacks. Even big, newer diesel tows navigating Cincinnati waters were watched for emissions. Those photos of the DQ belching out clouds of black smoke seldom seen other than for some PR photo opt--and Betty Blake even got flak on that herself.

I do know that the big 'blue water' babies docked in New York, Miami, New Orleans, Fort Lauderdale, San Francisco, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Seattle etc. etc. fight the high docking fees, services, wages for the longshoremen. The money angle also came in even with the new Cincinnati Public Landing for the DQ, AQ, MQ and other passenger cruise boats now. The politicos wanted the glory and honor of the boats docked in Cincinnati and doing business, but also wanted to hit them with fees. Don Sanders, Bob Reynolds, Bill Judd, Jim Blum, Doc Hawley no doubt know lots more. There were [Are?] fresh water mains at/near the landing in Cincinnati for fresh water. I've seen big DEMPSTER DUMPERS down there for boat garbage and trash but no idea if Cincinnati offers this service or the boats are charged for it. Who knows?

Then the Cincinnati politicos got nasty over parking cars down there with road blocks, police and 'hire a cop' to thwart people and even passengers from getting down to the DELTA QUEEN in cars. Taxis even got the 3rd degree with tour buses loaded with passengers and their luggage being questioned. You had to have a boat cruise ticket or a parking pass or official reason like making a delivery or a service person called to work on something on a boat. Again, the Cincinnati Public Landing now but a ghost of its former self. Don Sanders and I loved the old landing and the surrounding neighborhood reminiscent of Charles Dickens or Stephen Foster. Capt. Doc Hawley called it "The finest sloped and paved wharf on any river in the United States." I'm glad I saw it, lived it, experienced it when I did. Now, I don't know what I've said in all the above other than, as usual, what do I know?

R. Dale Flick
From the northern shores of mighty Lake Michigan - summer.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:20 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
All content on this site is copyright protected and may not be re-used without written permission.