Thought it would be best to start a new thread on this. There were many interesting and valid points brought out in the last discussion, some of which might merit further elaboration.
Kenny Howe and I were talking about this today and we were wondering a couple of things......
1. Why a paddlewheel? We both believe that in todays world a paddlewheel is not much of a passenger draw. We both agreed that on the TWILIGHT trip a couple of summers ago, no one seemed to notice that the boat didn't have a paddlewheel. If a paddlewheel was such a good means of propulsion, why aren't the used anymore? From my own experience riding riverboats in Europe, the Azipodes they use seemed pretty darned good; no vibration, good speed, extreme manuverbility, and with electric drive the engines can be placed anywhere in the hull and the same power that is generated for the propulsion can be used to operate the hotel plant.
2. Why two boats? Seems to us that it would be a lot easier to fill one boat. Also anyone who has been around boats knows that if one breaks down so will the the same time.
3. How big a boat? 50, 100, 150, 200, 300 or 400 passengers? There must a be point that is the most economical although I don't what the formula is. It would seem that the same engines that would move a boat that holds a 100 could also move a boat that holds 200.
4. In your calculations one theing no one mentioned is insurance. Marine insurance is quite expensive. The rates depend on the number of passengers and crew. A 200 passenger boat could easily run $350 - $400,000 a year just to insure.
That was just a few of our thoughts on the subject. We both feel that some day soon there will be a whole fleet of boats on the river. There has to be, the river is just too beautiful.