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    #31
    Steve, I strongly disagree! That's what I meant: They ARE NOT addressing the inland river audience, they ARE addressing their existing blue water customers. These people are used to having all these amenities and even if the probably won't heavily using them on the river, they'd still miss them if they were not there (or won't even book if they know in advance that they're not there).

    I think one more thing needs to be said and then I try to shut up again ;-) -- For us steamboat fans, shore stops like Wheeling or Red Wing are great, we find our steamboat museums and enjoy the "almost nothing" that is available in these cities. But for the regular cruise passenger (wich IS their audience), it it NOT exciting to pass a specific bridge, it is NOT exciting to see the 8th lock and dam within one day and they don't care about famous island xyz where some almost invisible pieces of a famous old steamer are still visible. Rose Island is just another piece of wilderness to them.

    And let's not forget: Greene Line is aboutu 50 (?) years ago now. People/passengers are changing, too. The concespt from 50 years ago most likely don't work today anymore. And look what Greene Line actually did: They always offered cutting edge entertainment and "amenities" - which of course to us today look like old style, but at that time was novelty. ACL is doing the same thing - they're adjusting their product to what their today's passengers are expecting and asking for.

    Franz

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      #32
      Franz,

      I understood what you were saying. You know the cruise ship business better than I, and no doubt you have described the reality of the situation.

      Yes, I know you were saying ACL is addressing blue water customers, not brown water. I know those customers don't want the same things steamboat fans want... My posting was just hoping that ACL might "change", and study what has worked on the river in the past. I know this is in vain, but it was a thought..

      The difference between the Greene Line and ACL is the Greenes knew the rivers intimately. It was their specialty.

      I hope this ACL venture is successful and restores overnight service on the rivers! As a tax payer, I'd rather not fund the failed financing of another multi-hundred $million river vessel thru MARAD...

      Comment


        #33
        Steve,

        okay, I got your intention, and in most parts, I agree. I just think that their might not be enough reward compared to the risk ACL is taking if they change their audience. They're probably on the safe side when relying on what they know best instead of trying to learn a new business. Especially while still having some other vessels that need to be run the cruise ship way.

        And for the DQ, it's probably even better if ACL stays within their segment which leaves room for a competitor who concentrates on the river and steamboat specifics. At least I hope there will be one. The AQ is still around and from what I hear she's in excellent condition, MARAD taking care of her very well.

        Franz

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          #34
          In a way they are kind of cute ugly, but from a practical standpoint, I bet they are a bear in a cross wind.

          I did a spoof on a cut-rate river cruise boat many years ago. It did things like cruise the Industrial Canal. The brochure was black and white and type-written. Wish I could find it. If this new plain Jane boat was less expensive, one might think it was worthwhile, ie, you get what you pay for. No frills, but still a stiff price? How do you make something like that fly?

          Comment


            #35
            Originally posted by Lexie Palmore View Post
            How do you make something like that fly?
            Check ACL's website (http://www.americancruiselines.com/): For quite a while now they had 3 very small boats running on the rivers along the east coast, and pretty successfully. At least successful enough to buy the Queen of the West last year in addition to that and to build an additional, brand new ship, the "Indepencence", which has been launched just a few weeks ago. It really looks like they know what they're doing. At least, don't mix them up with the big blue water cruise ship companies like Carinval or Royal Caribbean; this again is a different business.

            By the way, if you check their website, look at the great itineraries they're offering: Hudson River, Philadelphia and Potamac, Inland Atlantic Passage (Jacksonville to Baltimore), Columbia/Snake Rivers of course with the Queen of the West and much more. They're probably the only ones on the market who are offering these itineraries. Starting with $3,000 for a week they're not a bargain at all, but they only have very small ships with just 50-100 passengers and obviously have a loyal audience who are probably also willing to pay these rates because they like to stay away from the typical Carnival cruise passenger crowd ;-)

            Franz

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              #36
              Originally posted by Franz Neumeier View Post

              By the way, if you check their website, look at the great itineraries they're offering: Hudson River, Philadelphia and Potamac, Inland Atlantic Passage (Jacksonville to Baltimore), Columbia/Snake Rivers of course with the Queen of the West and much more. They're probably the only ones on the market who are offering these itineraries. Starting with $3,000 for a week they're not a bargain at all, but they only have very small ships with just 50-100 passengers and obviously have a loyal audience who are probably also willing to pay these rates because they like to stay away from the typical Carnival cruise passenger crowd ;-)

              Franz
              I've visited their site many times and feel that ACL is doing what the "Cape" boats were designed to do for the DQSC. Similar boats, similar itineraries.

              Jazzou works for them in Maine as a part time step on entertainer and has great things to say about them

              Paul

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                #37
                The ACL ships are lovely and comfortable and very nicely, though not ornately appointed. Stepping aboard, they remind me of the Mississippi Queen's rather straight forward design. Passenger cabins are very spacious. The ships feature one main public lounge and one smaller public area, open access to the bow, a dining room and the entire top deck is open air, with some of the area covered for shade. The food and the service is excellent. There's no bar, though cocktails are complimentary every day along with plenty of wine at dinner also included, no gift shop, no purser's office.

                For the past four seasons I've done my ragtime show once or twice a week on board the American Glory, American Star, and now their beautiful new American Independence whenever they anchor in Belfast, Rockland or Bangor, Maine. The cruises are usually sold out, so ACL is doing SOMETHING right. If you take the Maine Coast and Harbors cruise, you can get lobster pretty much at every meal. I think this is also the case with the 10 night Grand New England cruise.

                It never fails - when I talk about my career on the Delta Queen during my show, and ask how many have ever cruised on any of the steamboats, quite a number of hands go up. I've seen a lot of familiar faces, and after the show I usually end up trading stories with past steamboaters.

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                  #38
                  My wife, Joan, and I first stepped aboard the Delta Queen on March 21st, 1997. In the ensuing years we have taken 114 cruises which include the Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen, American Queen, SS Independence, and the Cape May Light. We have many, many pleasant memories of people we have met and places we have visited on our journeys.

                  To shed a little light on the American Cruise Lines, we have since taken 5 cruises with ACL and have travelled from Baltimore southward on the Ches. Bay all the way on the ICWW to St.Augustine, FL. We have cruised the Rivers Of Florida trip and have left Providence, RI to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

                  I shall not attempt to compare the two cruise lines. The steamboats have been relegated to the "Happy Memories" section of the history books and we shall not soon forget them.

                  ACL boats are more like semi-private yachts due to their passenger capacity size. They are immaculately clean and large; each room being over 200 square feet with a large picture window which opens. The crew has been more than courteous and helpful. The stops are new and different from those on the great rivers. The one thing though that still remains the same is that it is a great way to see this country!

                  We can hardly wait until our next ACL cruise from Washington, DC to Philadelphia along the Potomac River and the C&D Canal and are anxiously awaiting ACL's new steamboat in 2012.
                  Richard & Joan Peters

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                    #39
                    Has anyone else noticed there has been no press release of any kind from American Cruise Line about a new boat of any kind? Nothing Friday, Monday, Tuesday...like it came and went with out notice.

                    I sincerely hope our carrying on about this and that didn't change their minds about it. Because we NEED a overnight boat back on the inland waters. It may not be what we are used to and it might not have the look or amendities we are use to...but, maybe it is time for something different. It sure beats having nothing at all. I am all for it...the worst thing that could happen is we find a new way to appreciate something we already love.

                    Travis

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                      #40
                      Travis,

                      I know for sure that the new paddlewheeler is already being built at the wharf in Maryland as I write this; so the resaon why the press release didn't come yet can have a lot of reasons; first, ACL didn't say they will send out the press release last week, so maybe Maritime Matters just did get the date wrong or what ever. My sources tell me that the official announcement will probably come in September.

                      Franz

                      Comment


                        #41
                        Originally posted by Travis Vasconcelos View Post
                        Has anyone else noticed there has been no press release of any kind from American Cruise Line about a new boat of any kind? Nothing Friday, Monday, Tuesday...like it came and went with out notice.

                        I sincerely hope our carrying on about this and that didn't change their minds about it. Because we NEED a overnight boat back on the inland waters.

                        Travis
                        Travis, I think you might be overestimating the power of .org - we ARE good, but if our 'carrying on' could have caused the cancellation of this new boat, then it wasn't much of a sure thing in the first place... recall our ranting about the blue paint on the main deck of the AQ? How did m.a.l. respond? They added the paint to the second deck too!!!!

                        Comment


                          #42
                          Originally posted by Judy Patsch View Post
                          ... recall our ranting about the blue paint on the main deck of the AQ? How did m.a.l. respond? They added the paint to the second deck too!!!!
                          Now THAT's funny! Sad, but funny too.

                          Paul

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                            #43
                            If any cruise line is interested in what we discuss here than it's for sure not to get advice. They're all professionals in their job (or in the case of MAL they stupidly extended this notion to steamboats while in fact not having this expertise) and don't take advice on how to run their companies.

                            What they are concerned about though is the effect on their PR that message boards (and other social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook) might have. It's about marketing. For example it's very important to find the right moment to publish information about a new ship in regards of building demand and of generating bookings at the moment the company needs them to fill the ship from day one.

                            Theoretically speaking: If there is a cruise ship accident somewhere in the world, hundreds of passengers being evacuated from a burning ship - it's probably not a good idea to come out with a press release about a new cruise ship while this incident is still being discussed in the media. But when there is a big cruise hype around a newbuilt like the Oasis of the Seas, this is probably a much better moment to jump in and get some positive feedback in the wake of an already positive environment.

                            What I want to say is: Overly negative discussion on a message board, leaking press release information in the wrong moment - all such things can cause damage to a cruise company while they're still doing things right. In worst case it can become kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy: A product fails not because it is bad but because people said it is bad before even seeing it. AGAIN: I'm not relating to the actual cause but want to explain in general what the effects of "social media" (message boards, Twitter, etc.) can do to a product and what they can't.

                            Let's not have a misconception here: When a company listens to bloggers, Twitterers, message board posters than this usually is not because they want their advice but because they want to control or stop negative impact on their PR strategy ...

                            So Judy is absolutely right: Let's not overestimate the influence .org has here ;-))

                            Franz

                            Comment


                              #44
                              Originally posted by Judy Patsch View Post
                              Watch for a press release from ACL on either Friday or Monday. No, they didn't buy any of the QUEENS, but it is Mississippi River news.

                              Now it´s official: see here

                              Carmen

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                                #45
                                Why would they build a Mississippi Riverboat in Maryland? Aren't there enough good shipyards right there on the Mississippi that could have done the job?

                                Comment

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