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Thread: It's Official - The DQ days are coming to end

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  1. #1

    Default It's Official - The DQ days are coming to end

    Here's the email I just recieved -


    MAJESTIC AMERICA LINE ANNOUNCES FAREWELL CELEBRATION THROUGHOUT 2008 FOR THE LEGENDARY DELTA QUEEN

    Congress has decided not to enact legislation to grant the historic ship a statutory exemption; Ship will continue sailings through November 2008

    Seattle, August 1, 2007 – Majestic America Line, one of the world’s premier river cruise lines and the largest river and coastal cruising company in America, announced today that despite tremendous efforts by the company, many esteemed partners and thousands of previous guests, the U.S. Congress has decided that the Delta Queen should not continue operating on America’s rivers beyond 2008. Majestic America Line is committed to providing this American treasure with a proper and well-deserved send off, and will spend the Delta Queen’s 2008 farewell season celebrating this historic landmark with the communities and people who hold her storied tradition of sailing the waterways of the United States so dear.

    Built in 1926, the Delta Queen features a steel hull and a superstructure constructed of wood – a direct reflection of the designs of her time. Subsequent Coast Guard regulations prohibited wooden superstructures, but Congress decided more than 40 years ago to provide a special exemption from these rules for the historic Delta Queen. This exemption, which Congress had extended no fewer than six occasions, was set to expire in November 2008. Majestic America Line recently joined forces with those who know and love the fabled ship to extend this exemption. A comprehensive campaign was launched to raise awareness for the Delta Queen’s excellent safety record, its impeccable training program and the quality and experience of the crew. However, Congress recently chose not to include this extension on legislation. Without the extension from Congress, the Delta Queen will not be able to continue cruise voyages on the river.

    “We are incredibly disappointed by this decision, but we are extremely grateful to those who worked tirelessly on behalf of the Delta Queen to preserve her place on the Mississippi River,” said Joe Ueberroth, President and CEO, Ambassadors International, which owns and operates Majestic America Line. “This includes many congressional leaders such as Congressman Lacy Clay (D-MO), who gathered the support of so many of his colleagues, thousands of loyal guests, our hard-working travel partners and Delta Queen enthusiasts like Steamboats.org. We appreciate their efforts and we will continue to keep them involved as we plan the best way to honor the Delta Queen.”

    In addition to the leadership displayed by Congressman Clay, members such as Congressman Richard Baker (R-LA), representing congressional districts that are visited each year by the Delta Queen, were very supportive of the efforts to keep her operating on the river. These members include:

    o Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO)
    o Congressman Marion Berry (D-AR)
    o Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
    o Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-MO)
    o Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH)
    o Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO)
    o Congressman Kenny Hulshof (R-MO)
    o Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI)
    o Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
    o Congresswoman Bettie McCollum (D-MN)
    o Congressman Charlie Melancon (D-LA)
    o Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R-OH)
    o Congressman John Tanner (D-TN)
    o Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS)
    o Senator David Vitter (R-LA)
    o Congressman Timothy Walz (D-MN)
    o Congressman Zack Wamp (R-TN)
    o Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY)

    Support and encouragement also came from districts which are not directly touched by the Delta Queen, including Congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO), Congressman Gene Taylor (D-MS) and Congressman Don Young (R-AK).

    Based in Seattle, Majestic America Line is also grateful for the support from Washington state members, including Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

    For years, the Delta Queen has been a beloved fixture on the heartland rivers of the United States and provided guests with a view of America from the waters that shaped the country’s expansion. The Delta Queen provides a wholly unique way to experience the great American communities, cultures and experiences along the Upper and Lower Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, Black Warrior and Cumberland rivers, as well as the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

    In 1970, recognized as the last operational steam paddlewheeler with overnight accommodations plying the rivers, the Delta Queen was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1989, she was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior. She was inducted into the National Maritime Hall of Fame in 2004.

    A veteran of World War II and the only steamboat to transit the Panama Canal, the 80 year-old Delta Queen was host to three U.S. presidents and a princess. Stars of stage, screen and the entertainment world have also graced her decks, as well as some of the most prominent business leaders and statesmen of our time.

    The ship itself is rich with art and antiquities such as original Tiffany-style stained glass windows, rich hardwood paneling, gleaming brass fittings, the only Siamese ironwood floor aboard a steamboat, the dramatic and often-photographed Grand Staircase, an 1897 steam calliope, and the very same ship’s bell that sounded out landings for the steamboat that Mark Twain rode downriver in 1883.

    Majestic America Line will dedicate the 2008 season to celebrating the Delta Queen’s 80 years of service and her fabled time on the river.

    “A journey on board the Delta Queen is a true American experience, providing guests with an authentic glimpse of our country’s culture and a time in our history when steamboats ruled the rivers,” said David A. Giersdorf, President, Majestic America Line. “We will make every sailing in 2008 a special event, allowing every guest, like so many before, the opportunity to share in the Delta Queen’s legacy and honor the last chapter in her service on the river.”

    Majestic America Line is planning special commemorative events, exclusive departures for previous Delta Queen guests and commemorative gifts that will mark the farewell season. With just 24 departures on the Delta Queen during 2008, guests are encouraged to reserve their place in history soon.

    The company is continuing to evaluate the best way to preserve her legendary spirit and her esteemed place in American history for future generations.

    To find out more about traveling on the Delta Queen, please contact your Travel Professional, call a reservation specialist at (800) 434-1232 or visit www.MajesticAmericaLine.com.

  2. #2
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    I am so ignorant of the ways congress works, that I don't really know how next to proceed. If there was that much support, what was the objection "by congress"? Does anyone know when this decision was made, when the vote was taken? Is this something to be taken lying down, or is there further recourse? Is there any chance of the boat retaining a limited certificate such as the Str. PORTLAND has, to allow her to operate for special occasions? This is devastating. Sam, what would Betty do here? Is there anything WE can do? Is MAL really committed to securing an exemption? What then will happen to the boat if this really is the end?

  3. #3
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    This, I suppose, would really be a history question, but tied in with this thread,too. When the Greene's made the business decision to quit running the GORDON C. GREENE, was there any outpouring of support for the "old" boat? From what I have read, the DQ was fairly well received, but I know there had to have been some who were not enamored of it, with her California styling and "little steamship" look. Of course, the Greene's did not have SOLAS to blame. In those times were people as sentimental as now? When the Greene's sold the GORDON, was there any non-compete clause in the sale contract? Did the Greene's lose any business because of loyalty to the old boat?

    Yes, Pete, all things must come to an end, but what end will this be? I suppose we can count ourselves as fortunate to have been passengers and/or crew members on this wonderful old boat. I guess everyone thinks "their" time was the pinnacle, and I certainly feel that way about the late 1970's on the DQ with Capts. Wagner, Chengery, Davisson, Shelton, Ware, Zimmer, Karnath, etc., etc. and Jerry Critchfield, Al Boulton, Jim Bryeans, Earle Haskell, Bill Kelley and Pete Feilhauer, etc. in the engine room. To many now on this board, of course, these manes mean nothing, and they still have their great memories of the old boat. I just wish there was some way the boat could be preserved for the landmark she truly is, and be kept in operating conditon in some manner, whether as an operating museum, attraction vessel, or something. Business decisions are difficult for all concerned, but of course we are talking about he DQ here.

  4. #4

    Default Pete Feilhauer

    I guess everyone thinks "their" time was the pinnacle, and I certainly feel that way about the late 1970's on the DQ with Capts. Wagner, Chengery, Davisson, Shelton, Ware, Zimmer, Karnath, etc., etc. and Jerry Critchfield, Al Boulton, Jim Bryeans, Earle Haskell, Bill Kelley and Pete Feilhauer, etc. in the engine room. To many now on this board, of course, these manes mean nothing, and they still have their great memories of the old boat.

    Pete Feilhauer was my Uncle, and I know this would be a sad day for him to see the Delta out of commission. It's good that the memories are still very much alive, and will hopefully be passed down to the next generations. God Bless :)

    Christina

  5. #5
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    ...and your aunt Louise went through my wastebasket to see how many packages of M&Ms I had eaten that day! All those names are from 'my time'. Pete and Louise were such a joy to have on the boat, they were the mother and father to many young crew members.

  6. #6

    Default Uncle Pete & Aunt Louise

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy Patsch View Post
    ...and your aunt Louise went through my wastebasket to see how many packages of M&Ms I had eaten that day! All those names are from 'my time'. Pete and Louise were such a joy to have on the boat, they were the mother and father to many young crew members.
    Thats the impression I've been getting from the posts, and I can easily see them being "Mom and Dad" to a lot of the younger members. I think its very nice that they are remembered that way :)

    Christina

  7. #7
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    ...and they owned a Railroad Passenger Car.....stainless steel 'lightweight' I believe....which was behind/next to the machine shop and visible from River Road.

  8. #8
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    Yessiree, Pete and Louise were beloved mentors to many of us who were on the DQ in the late 1970's and were among the precious people who have kept the DQ rolling on the river for many decades. A whistle salute to them each and every one!

  9. #9
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    I just could not read all of Mr. Hamilton's posting... and had to call the Doctor immediately as soon as the shocking news was learned. Wished him a Happy Seventy-Second, and he verified Mr. H's posting.

    It is like hearing that a beloved friend or relative had died; even worse, perhaps, but I'm not counting the ole gal out yet. Luckily, she has a new bottom, and if her brother has survived all he has gone through and made it in good order, then my belief is that the venerable DELTA QUEEN will begin the next phase of her long life, and she will last another couple generations or more. Hopefully, someone with plenty of love and big bucks will get her and do her right.

    Cap'n Betty would have an Ace up her sleeve.. maybe two or more.
    Last edited by Shipyard Sam; 08-01-2007 at 11:12 PM.

  10. #10
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    Congress has not ended session yet, and there is still most of next year, why is MAL throwing in the towel already?? The never gave us a bill number to support, nor have they really mounted a national media campaign either.
    Maybe we should all band together, put our investment money together, and buy and RUN the boat??
    BACK to my question some threads back, can we, as just citizens, with no ownership or financial investment in the boat, go forward and ask for the exemption??
    S'
    David D.
    Who can hardly read his screen right now.

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