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    The Mississippi Queen-the forgotten one...

    Gotta huge question. Some of us saw the painful, ugly pictures after the Mississippi Queen was 'lightened', after the contactor removed many of her inside staterooms. I had also heard that the firm contracted to make the Mississippi Queen into THE flagship, ripping out 1/4 of these staterooms to make the remaining staterooms uber luxury, walked off the job, just as demolition was nearing completion, due to lack of payment due after performing this portion of the contract.

    Now, since then the Mississippi Queen has sat there very forlorn, for a long, long time, consuming electricity and running up dock fees... is it too much of a stretch to imagine she has a 24 hour watchman, too?

    So is there a lien presently on the Mississippi Queen? Lien to pay the contractor PLUS to pay the docking fees?

    We've always like the Miss Cue and hope nothing but the best for her... but it does seem kinda like she's beyond hope now? Speaking of hope, I pray that I'm wrong...

    #2
    Odd this question comes up today. I have just read on another list I belong to and need to make perfectly clear that this is, as of now, an UNVERIFIED rumor, that purports that the now stripped MQ will 'soon' be towed upriver and cut down into a barge. The person posting this also says that this is from a 'very reliable source' whatever this means in the internet age.

    I have heard repeatedly that the damage done to the MQ with this ill-conceived and unfinished refit will cost many many tens of millions of dollars to correct and that, not surprising in this climate, that there is now a huge and ever-growing problem with mold. Sadly, given health concerns, I would venture that just eradicating the mold would be prohibitive to any future buyer.

    Even if the cutting down to a barge part is not true, the current condition of the MQ epitomizes all that I have come to, and let me find the right word here, HATE about Ambassadors International and their stewardship: They are CARELESS, stupid and inept. All MQ really needed was a refurbishment since she was full 'as is' with many loyal repeat customers. The crazy idea that she needed to be rebuilt into some kind of luxury vessel was nuts from day one.

    When the pathetic obituary of Ambassadors International cruise venture is written, look at the scorecard. . .

    -AQ laid up despite overall good bookings, sale of her is harder since few investors want to buy something with no business (future bookings) on the books.

    -DQ, exemption failed since company never cared and did not even really try

    -MQ destroyed, possibly never to run again.

    And, in perfect current fashion, the CEO gets a bonus.

    With astonishment at this trail of destruction,

    John Reid

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      #3
      Hey all!

      I wanted to post a few pics here for us to take a moment to remember the MISSISIPPI QUEEN by.

      Many wags have said she wasn't the prettiest steamboat or even the best laid out. I can say as a former crew member, the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN was a great boa! She had a look all to her own and she attracted thousands of regular passengers. The DELTA QUEEN made the business for the former owners and the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN made alot of the money to keep the family going. So much so that one owner went for broke and built the AMERICAN QUEEN...not to mention the other boats.

      Say what you will about the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN...but the two years I worked on her proved that steamboat fans supported her and learned the ropes of being a steamboat fan from her. She was my second favourite boat to work on in the fleet. I take great pride in the work I did on her and the experience to hone my skills on her decks. for with out her I would have never had the great career or experience I did aboard the DELTA QUEEN.

      My hopes these rumors are not true and some day we get the family back together again on the Mississippi River system where they belong!

      Yesterday I said good bye for now to the DELTA QUEEN and that was emotional as hell. Today I hear this and can only hope my prayers, letters, and support are not for naught....for things look pretty bleak from my prospective.

      SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN!

      ~Travis~

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        #4
        Here are a few more pics from my personal collection of early MQ days.

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          #5
          When we cruised by her in June on the NATCHEZ, a watchman came out on deck to check us out, so I presume they have someone on 24 hours, since its in an accessible area.

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            #6
            Originally posted by Travis Vasconcelos View Post
            Many wags have said she wasn't the prettiest steamboat or even the best laid out. I can say as a former crew member, the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN was a great boat!
            ~Travis~
            Hi Trav,

            I have to echo your sentiments about the MQ. Having worked the AQ, DQ and the EON, I too approached the MQ with some trepidation based on what I had heard about her. And yes, she did present some challenges, but in thinking about it, the AQ and DQ also are not perfect from a crew standpoint.

            Sorry folks, I'm talking strictly from a crew standpoint here. While I came to love the Mother Ship as much as the rest of you, I really missed having my own bathroom on the DQ.

            The Magnificent One is bigger than the DQ, but she is chock full of small spaces and being a big fan of nooks and crannies I found that appealing. The Antlers Bar is a cozy place to hang out and have a beverage, for instance. The front lobby area is nice, sunny and quiet and affords a cozy, peaceful place to watch the river out the forward windows without the hub bub of the Front Porch of America.

            I could, however, have done without the tiny entertainment office, having developed strained neck muscles from trying to do the Steamboatin' Times in a contorted position.

            The thing is, though, it's not so much the boat, but the people, crew and pax. We all hung together in much the same manner as the DQ. I can't explain it. Maybe it's because so many of us were on the "extended" rotation in 2006, but there was a cohesion that developed and added to her special charm.

            2006 was a tough year for the MQ and I was looking forward to taking her back out in 2007, refurbished and with a chance to prove again to the steamboatin' world that she has class and her own unique style.

            But they didn't give us a chance to do that.

            So, Save the Legendary Delta Queen,
            Hail the Grand American Queen and
            Long live the Magnificent Mississippi Queen - in our hearts if not on the river.

            Paul

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              #7
              When I was in New Orleans this past winter, I walked over to Perry Street (right wharf?) where she and the Delta Queen were, and asked if I could get some pictures. They, of course, said no, but I went out and got some anyway. So Judy, you are right by saying that they have people posted over there for security.
              Attached Files

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                #8
                Matt,

                Thank you for posting those pics of the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN. She looks very good in your pictures from the stern. It is amazing how well she had held up to that time, at least in her external look. However, eagle-eyed spotters will notice she does not have her pitman arms attached. As well her wheel is not trimmed, just painted red. I wonder if her wheel has been rolled in the last 24 months? If not, is there any bucket board left under the water? Her railings are missing in the Calliope Bar. Upon close inspection you will see clearly she is in peril in this picture.

                Today she looks much the same from a distance. However, close up she is almost scary. The black mold on the interior is growing down from the ceiling on every stantion. Rust is running down her superstructure. Former bright red and yellow paint have a chalky faded appearance. The stage is missing off the bow. Her stacks folded and rusted.

                Lets hope these rumors are wrong and she comes back to the rivers where she belongs. Things sure look bleak at the moment....but, they can change!

                ~Travis~

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                  #9
                  Paul,

                  Do you remember the conversation we had on the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN the last night of the 2006 cruising season? One has to wonder what could have been if I had come along with you over there and there had been a 2007 season.

                  We'd have made a great team over there!

                  Of course, I was blessed to go back to my beloved DELTA QUEEN. Of all my years Steamboatin' 2007 was the hardest. 2008 started well enough and as luck would have it, I found myself on the outside looking in.

                  Godspeed to whom ever buys the boats.....may we all sail together on the rivers again in 2009!

                  You know what they say....what doesn't kill us makes us steamboaters!

                  Or did I say that?

                  ~Travis~

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Travis Vasconcelos View Post
                    Paul,

                    Do you remember the conversation we had on the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN the last night of the 2006 cruising season? One has to wonder what could have been if I had come along with you over there and there had been a 2007 season.

                    We'd have made a great team over there!

                    ~Travis~
                    Hi Trav,

                    Yeah, I remember. Would have been fun, for sure. But "might have been" and "would have been" are phrases upon which we need not dwell.

                    "Will be", I think, is a much more productive sentiment, don't you agree?

                    Paul

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                      #11
                      "Claire de Lune" and the Paddlewheel Bar

                      Looking at the stern of the MQ in these photos, I am again reminded of Marcy's story about playing "Claire de Lune" on the piano in the Paddlewheel Bar (lounge?). As she told us the story, she started playing the song one evening when there was a full moon. Marcy said the bar was noisy at first, but by the time she finished you could hear a pin drop. Thanks to that tale, everytime I hear that song I think of our own trip on The Queen when Marcy was our Riverlorian, and Phyllis and Uncle Bud (singing Gasoline Gus) were holding forth in the New Orleans Room. My wife and I would end each day on board with a walk back to listen to the paddlewheel before going back to our cabin. On that same trip we were joined by the AQ in Vicksburg and went aboard for lunch and a look around. So the MQ is the only one of the three that I've not been aboard. Too bad "Miss Cue's" career ended so suddenly.

                      Wesley

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                        #12
                        Matt's MQ Perry St. pix

                        Thanks for the unusual pix from Perry St. Its good to know that they have a 'crack' security detail there that was able to tell you no pictures were allowed and then followed through on that! I was over there once but didn't go up on the wharf area, and since getting to Perry St. involves a close proximity to the project, I'm not real fond of going there alone.

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                          #13
                          It was pretty sketchy, but I figured the worst I would get was a no, so I just walked right up there to the gangway and asked the first person I saw. Funny thing. He said the 'captain' would say no, and he didn't even bother hailing anyone on the radio. Also, it was midday (probably around 1) so I felt pretty safe over that way. I didn't know I was near a project though.

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                            #14
                            Deb and I always liked the MQ, she did start it, after all..

                            We really liked the little noisy birds in the big cage in front of the Purser's at the Forward Cabin Lounge. I loved the Calliope bar, first time for a mint julip, a hot dog with caramelized onions and Phil Westbrook playing the calliope with such abandon. He asked for requests, I asked for Louie, Louie, he gave a short devious grin and went at it whole hog, feet flailing as only Phil can do. Met Mike Gentry that trip, never woulda thunk that I would like banjo. Met the perfect example of a southern gentleman, Captain Buddy. And we loved our stateroom...

                            A story about the stateroom, and I apologize to the few that have heard this story.. It was summer 2000, and Deb and I had booked for a celebration of our 25th. As I had booked truly a year in advance, I requested and got what I saw was the largest one of a medium/nice/semi-upscale room, room 302, at that time the largest available A at the front port side of the Texas, complete with a veranda, a veranda that only "shared" one side wall. The veranda was important because Bruno wasn't sure whether he was gonna like this Steamboatin' stuff and I wanted a hidy hole, just in case. We brought all our own refreshments aboard (why? I still don't know why we did that other than to NOT be sociable, same reason we had a veranda!), we moved into 302 that first afternoon exactly at 3 PM as we were told to do, and proceeded to get quite tanked on our veranda that first afternoon in Cincy. That evening we staggered down to dinner, met our tablemates, and ordered dinner. The salad and soup hadn't even arrived and the Chief of Hotels comes up to us and says " Are you Bruno Krause? Mr Krause we have a problem that I hope you can help us out on. You see we have aboard a handicapped lady and her daughter, actually this poor lady is terminally ill and this cruise was a gift from her daughter...Mr Krause, this boat is advertised as handicapped accessible and the daughter assumed that meant that ALL staterooms were accessible when she booked. Unfortunately, Mr Krause your room is the only accessible cabin on the boat. Delta Queen Steamboat company would like to offer you a free upgrade to a AA cabin, would you consider this?" To which I staggered away from the table to go up to the Promenade Deck with the chief, and as he opened up a stateroom, saying "I think you will really like this room", the door opens to a poor couple in various stages of undress. Much apologies and he walks me back to my dinner, with my salad sitting there with my tablemates now on their main course.

                            Less than two minutes later, the chief is back..."Mr. Krause, we have another offer. We have a room available that is a little smaller, with no veranda, that DQSC would like to offer to you at NO charge...Mr. Krause DQSC will fully refund your cruise cost if you accept this downgrade. Mr. Krause, not to put any pressure on you, but we are scheduled to leave Cincinnati in a half hour and if we cannot give your room to the lady and her daughter DQSC will have to fly them home this afternoon, they must leave the boat in the next 20 minutes, because if we do not have a room for them we have to put them ashore now." To which I leave the table again, and he takes me down to either the Cabin Or Main deck and shows we a room with portholes. I apologize and say sorry, this trip is our 25th anniversary and it's too important to us to put up with such a small room, thanks but no thanks (and I gotta HAVE my veranda...). And I return to the dinner table where I snarf down food as fast as I can to catch up to the rest of the table.

                            About three minutes later he's back...Mr Krause, we have one more offer, an upgraded cabin at no additional cost, complements of DQSC. We're pretty sure all passengers are aboard now and there is one very nice stateroom that the passengers haven't shown up for. Could I bother you one more time? I'm so sorry I've screwed up your dinner. Please Mr. Krause, time is very short for what we need to do, as we are leaving Cincinnati at any minute now, and we have to let the Mother/Daughter know NOW! I get up, all the exercise, all the up and down, has REALLY gotten the alcohol flowing to the brain, I remember tripping on the stairs, staggering up again to the Promenade Deck were he proceeds to show me Room 402, a AAA, The Mark Twain Suite...Oh...my...gawd....Quickly, "we'll take it".

                            I never finished the dinner...but, boy that stateroom!
                            Last edited by Bruno Krause; 10-27-2008, 10:51 AM.

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                              #15
                              Good to know there is "some kind" of security around. We've been very concerned about the safety of the DELTA QUEEN once she gets to New Orleans. At least knowing someone might be around makes me feel a little better.

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