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R. Dale Flick 08-30-2017 05:29 PM

*'Newbuilds for ACL/AQ companies sobering*
Steamboating colleagues:
End of the July means arrival of several journals by mail on boat/ship history, related maritime affairs from around the country and abroad. 'Port of Baltimore News' account on AMERICAN CRUISE LINES [ACL] with five newbuilds reported as being long, sleek, contemporary styling with a dash of historical Mississippi steamboats. Each of the five boats constructed by 'Chesapeake Shipbuilding Co' will measure 345 feet in length, four decks high with expanded amenities. The vessels will still be low enough to pass under key bridges to maximize port of call and itineraries. First vessel to be delivered in 2018 with a passenger capacity of 200. VETH of the Netherlands supplying the propulsion systems with 360 degree azimuthing forward and aft propellers. All engines will meet the latest Tier 4 emissions standards reducimng particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. No cost figures were released. ACL has an additional two passenger boats for 195 passengers each slated for delivery in 2019.

AMERICAN QUEEN STEAMBOAT CO. in a related report with mention of their current passenger fleet, announced conversion of the casino boat BETTENDORF to cruising service rechristened AMERICAN DUCHESS. *This previously posted on While taking no stand with any company, I draw attention to these events. Take this for what it's worth. What a shame one of our inland river yards couldn't have landed one or more of the contracts for ACL. The boat competition is 'hotting up' and I can only wonder how it will all shake out in due time. Yet, the market is there; passengers with the discretion of their disposable incomes are booking. Many foreign destinations now becoming 'iffy' due to international political, military, social upheaval and danger. All sobering to say the least. Again, what do I know?

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

Jim Reising 09-01-2017 11:03 PM

After my trip on the Rhine/Danube about 10 yrs ago, I asked the question on this site "why not here?" and opined that the river market here was bound to grow. Even with all the new builds on the planning boards, I still feel the market has not reached saturation. The folks who run AQSC and ACL seem pretty smart and if the market wasn't there, they wouldn't be expanding the way they are.
I think rather than see a "shake out" in the number of boats what you'll see is the cities and towns making investments in their river fronts and landing facilities to attract more boats. Soon the mayors and aldermen of towns such as say LaCross will wake up and realize that with 20 boat landings this summer, riverboats brought roughly 5,000 people with cash and credit cards to their fair city at absolutely no cost. Believe me they will want more and be willing to do what it takes to attract more.
With the baby boomers here reaching retirement and with Europeans wanting to see "America's Heartland", I really believe there is a lot more room for growth.

Jim Reising 09-02-2017 11:35 AM mentioned it's a shame no inland shipyard was involved in building any of the new ACL boats. ACL's parent company is Chesapeake Shipyard. There are no "inland shipyards" equipped to build passenger boats. In fact, there are very few inland shipyards left...gone are Dravo, Nashville Bridge, St. Louis ship. All the remaining concentrate on barges, Jeffboat has recently built some small Z-drive towboats but I doubt they would be interested in building a large passenger boat. It takes a pretty specialized yard to build passenger boats.

R. Dale Flick 09-02-2017 11:39 AM

*'New growth' for river boats*
Morning, Jim. Must be telepathy thinking of you here. No doubt you're now back in Florida. *Send me a 'private' E=Mail if you have time. I agree 100% with your assessment above. My posting on this was drawn from articles, facts, figures on cruising in general. We've said for years that our great inland rivers, cities and scenery may not have castles etc. like Europe but that 'feel' of America. It's all in the markets, promo, sales package the lines on the river here need to consider. One sticking point though is one river cruise line pushed the red button here too hard with hard, fast demands and expectations for local civic entities to bend over backward with expensive new docking facilities--at the tax payer expense, mind you. Yet, it takes money to make money with civic help--to a point. And AGAIN I was very impressed going on line to read/study what ACL and AMERICAN QUEEN companies have and are doing. You certainly won't get the full story line from some on this site. I never criticize any river cruise boat operation until I read, study the facts and their track record. Good reading you here. What do I know?

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

Wesley Paulson 09-04-2017 08:50 PM

Unfortunately with ACL's boatyard in my congressional district I cannot get my representative to support the DQ exemption. Sigh.


R. Dale Flick 09-05-2017 08:09 AM

*ACL's boat yard/Congressional 'non' help.*
Morning, Wesley,
Read your posting above. Sure would be nice to get some of these new builds for river cruise lines done on our rivers, in our yards but 'something' going on here. No surprise to me that you have a representative apparently "not in support of the DQ exemption." I'm hearing this now more than I expected. Again, in my own communications, I hear by phone or E=Mail the usual 'canned' responses: "Thank you for contacting this office. We will pass your message along." Or "Many thanks for your communication but haven't we heard from you and others more than once on this issue?" I'm avoiding 'overkill' as it's backfiring.

I wonder about congress now and their mounting agenda: danger from North Korea, aftermath of 'Harvey,' issues with Russia and Putin, immigration/citizenship confrontations, boiling issues with our historical past in monuments, apparent confusion within our congressional ranks and an obvious 'free fall' within the White House itself. We live in strange and dangerous times the likes of which I can't remember. So far not much to nothing posted RE: the DQ initiative directly from those involved with their first-hand information and facts--not from 2nd and 3rd hand sources based in wishful thinking. But what do I know?

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

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