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Wesley Paulson 05-04-2016 09:14 PM

AQ on National Public Radio
The AMERICAN QUEEN was featured this evening on Market Place on NPR. The reporter referred to the expanding river cruise market with a brief mention of ACL, but otherwise the focus was on AQ and included several audio clips of the calliope. There was a focus on economic development driven by the boats landing in Baton Rouge

[url=]Mississippi riverboats are back in vogue and offering luxury[/url]


R. Dale Flick 05-05-2016 01:44 PM

Wesley, thanks for the heads up on the above 'AQ on National Public Radio' in tandem with the printed article. Interesting to say the least. The AMERICAN QUEEN ads have been appearing more in a number of periodicals I receive, web sites. Important for any cruise boat company to have an image, marketing plan in place. The article did give me a moment of pause RE: "...riverboats are back in vogue offering luxury" in what is a 'soft' piece of news. The one message to me is the now "luxury" prices for cruises. Yet, why would any riverboat cruise return to previous years with lower prices we saw then?

By comparison another web site 'to the trade' longish article focuses on the mushrooming river cruise business on European rivers by more companies than we think. One focus article on VIKING RIVER CRUISES revealed the following information.

VIKING RIVER now employs a "cruise staff" of 3,500 people, 2,800 crew, 700 officers with an employee retention rate of 90%. At this moment they have 52 'Longships' in service. Staff/crew training done on "six company campuses" from three to eight days. No doubt very selective, rigorous, demanding. I'd opine the "campuses" may be ashore or aboard one or more of their boats. Betty Blake and associates did training of staff leading in to the completion of the then new MISSISSIPPI QUEEN. There were mock-up cabins to actual size with beds, bath, furniture complete for training. One reality here is that many waiters etc. were either seasonal with limited stays aboard. The European concept is for service staffs to be top professionals regarding their jobs as a true profession with the highest service standards. Many have been more sophisticated, knowledegable than the people they serve.

No doubt many here looking askance at the proposed, possible appearance of VIKING on our rivers here before long. The article did mention changes in the once restrictive 'Jones Act.' Something people may not like but nothing we can do about it. We've seen big 'steamboat wars' in the past and I have no doubt in time we'll possibly see another big 'shake out' here. Again, what do I know?

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

Jim Reising 05-05-2016 04:37 PM

I beg to disagree with Dale, but I don't think there will be a big shake out or a steamboat war, at least not in the near future. It's a market that really hasn't been tapped. Wait til Viking starts advertising US river trips in Europe as they do Europe in the US, in a few years you might see boat loads of German speaking tourists cruising into Hannibal, Mo.
Viking, ACL, and AQSC are all pretty sophisticated companies. They wouldn't be putting out the big bucks building new boats if they weren't convinced there will be tourists to fill them.

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