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Thread: An Alternative Idea

  1. #1

    Default An Alternative Idea

    With the popularity of boats such as the TWILIGHT and the CITY OF PEORIA with their two day cruises and the passengers spending the night in hotels, why couldn't the owners of the DQ do something similar? Being from Louisville, I was thinking of Louisville to Cincinnati; that seems to be a natural to me. That was a popular and money making route from 1834 to 1932 when the great depression killed it just like it did a lot of other businesses. In the winter perhaps NOLA to Baton Rouge. By going into a business such as this, the boat would not be carrying overnight passengers and would be exempt from SOLAS laws governing overnight passenger vessels. I think that the boat could easily be approved for 400 excursion passengers. They wouldn't have to change the boat at all....they could sell the present staterooms as "day cabins" at a premium fare much like the ones on the BADGER.
    It's just a thought, but at least the ol' gal would be running which it seems to me would be much better than sitting waiting on an exemption which may never come.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Ellettsville, Indiana
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    Morning Jim and all,

    Yep, an interesting thought. There are many small towns between Cincinnati and Louisville that would make great shore stops. Now, if we could just find her a sister boat and we could revive the old Cincinnati and Louisville Packet Company service complete with a mid trip meeting of the boats down about Vevay so folks could return to their city of departure in day trip fashion.

    Keep your steam up!

    Russ Ryle

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
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    1,648

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    *RE: Aternative Idea/New spin.
    Morning, steamboating colleagues,
    Jim Reising and Russ Ryle offer intriguing ideas for reviving a once famous packet boat route for possible future cruise passengers. Jim right about the Cincinnati-Louisville route being possibly the most financially successful run of boats in the United States in addition to interesting towns along the way. But in those palmy years it was the lucrative freight business with passengers that paid off. Beauty of our Ohio/Mississippi/Tennessee River valleys [and other tributaries] just as beautiful even if without the castles, vineyards of the Rhine River and other European river valleys. Jim Reising mentions CITY OF PEORIA and TWILIGHT with two day cruises. Judy Patsch has mentioned, promoted these novel cruises for some years now as an alternative to increasingly more expensive overnight cruise boats with no return ever to what we knew on the DQ years ago. I have no idea what the present status is RE: the DELTA QUEEN exemption process other than hearing/reading some reports; other comments from 2nd and 3rd hand sources. But that's not the real issue here. Remember, Capt. Tom Greene back in 1946/'47 was counseled NOT to purchase the DELTA QUEEN but, rather, to begin anew with a totally new boat from hull up with larger passenger cabins, amenities, diesel engines for economy. Tom went with the DQ as he needed his new boat up and running in spite of latent World War II shortages of building materials, equipment to get his business running in tandem with the existing GORDON C. GREENE.

    Years later Betty Blake claimed in discussions that the company could make money for sure with the DELTA QUEEN running shorter trips from Cincinnati either down or up river focusing on 'runs' from say Friday PM to Monday AM to capture the weekend trippers; then say Monday PM to Friday AM for those wanting a little longer trip but not a full week or more. Betty even whispered to me off hand, "This may be my bread and butter but I never want to spend more than five days on any riverboat." OUCH! Jim Reising and others know one of the most financially successful trips were the 7 day R/Ts from Cincinnati to Kentucky Lake and return leaving on Saturday PM, returning on Saturday AM for a full week. Passenger departed, arrived in the same port without the later issues of one way to a port with logistics returning home. The then 10 day Pittsburgh and Reelfoot Lake trips also popular with even a Cincinnati to Cairo trip. This one tough business for sure. Mrs. Letha Greene, in a side comment to me years ago said, "The steamboat business one of the hardest to be in with running a marine operation with a boat like this, food/beverage, entertainment, crew, scheduling and logistics--and I inherited every one of them." [Meaning when her husband Capt. Tom Greene passed away suddenly in 1950]. From what I see AMERICAN QUEEN, ACL, with others possibly in the wings, apparently are doing something right or near right. An intriguing idea proposed above. Who knows?

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Ellettsville, Indiana
    Posts
    136

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    Afternoon friends,

    It all comes back to the number$. A box of freight never complained about cold damp weather or a variable schedule due to river conditions. A good friend of mine flies for UPS out of Louisville. A box never complains about cold stale coffee. My wife and I spent three days down at Rising Sun last week enjoying great warm dry weather riding the new ferry and visiting family. Last weekend it turned cool and dank for their big fall festival.

    Had the pleasure of making a Kentucky Lake run on the DQ in route to St. Louis out of Cincinnati back in 1979. Those were the days.

    Keep your steam up!

    Russ Ryle

  5. #5

    Default

    Another thought.......the law exempts boats that carry 49 overnight passengers or less. They could redo the Sun Deck making 24 super deluxe rooms which could be sold at super premium rates. That way they would have a day excursion boat combined with an overnight boat.

  6. #6

    Default

    The Str. HOMER SMITH came out of Howard's in 1914 as a hybrid with a limited number of staterooms for overnight guest and a main deck dining room, so it's not a new concept on the river. Whether this concept would work over 100 years later would be up to the DQ's current management to decide.
    Last edited by Frank X. Prudent; 11-03-2018 at 03:42 PM. Reason: correct year

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
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    *Combine day excursions/cruises?*'
    Morning, steamboat colleagues,
    Ummmm, interesting concept, proposals RE: an updated combination day excursion/long distance cruise boat. The current law/rule on 49 passengers maximum I don't think would produce the revenue needed even in addition to excursion passengers stomping on and on one or more times a day. Overnight cruise tariffs already very high $$ for most and it won't get any cheaper or return to DQ days of long years past. Excursion boats already do cruises with hotel stops at night. The logistics, costs, crew demands [what would be the Coast Guard and other considerations be?] just not worth it in my humble estimation. Imagine all of us paying those fares only to be in a river port with excursion passengers on and off, slowed trip time to next port or end of the cruise. Sure, the HOMER SMITH experimented with it but, according to GL Purser Bob McCann, Captain/Pilot Jesse P. Hughes, the scheme didn't pay off with the limited cabins torn out and the SMITH going into general excursion work. A 'hybrid' often doesn't work and you can't make a whale fly or swim at the same time. Then the SMITH went up in a POOF! of flame and smoke by the hand of a confirmed firebug. Even with 49 paying cruise passengers etc. what would be done with the required 10% yearly structural replacement? Remember, several companies now actively in the tourist cruise business with itineraries, upscale passenger accommodations, modern vessels no doubt more efficient and economical with amenities demanded today. Yet, I learned never to say never often being surprised. Who knows? No criticism on my part, mind you, just shared ideas. Anybody have their financial advisor on the phone with checkbook ready to whip out, write a nice check just for expenses to cover preliminary plans, proposals, pay for a political lobbyist for our side of the story?

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

  8. #8

    Default

    I wasn't proposing overnight passenger for long distance travel, I was thinking that high paying Lou-Cincy passengers could sleep on the boat rather than going to a hotel. It's just a thought.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    *I misunderstood 'overnight'*
    Morning, Jim,
    Okay, I pulled up, read again your initial posting realizing I misunderstood your idea. It's clear now. Ummmm...still I wonder about the initial investment etc. to pursue a concept such as that but possible. Letha Greene mentioned to me once years ago with a very revealing statement. "The steamboat business is one of the toughest to be in with a marine operation, fuel, food and beverage, entertainment, hotel operation, crew, passengers, logistics--and I inherited every one of them." That said it all to me.

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

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