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.