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Now it's official: DQ goes to Chattanooga, temporarily

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    Now it's official: DQ goes to Chattanooga, temporarily

    Here is the press release we've just received from Ambassadors:

    Delta Queen Moves to Chattanooga
    Historic Steamboat will Operate as a Historic Hotel for Now

    Newport Beach, Calif., January 27, 2009 – Ambassadors International, Inc., owners of the historic Delta Queen, have chartered the vessel to Harry Phillips, owner of Chattanooga Water Taxi and Fat Cat Ferry in Chattanooga, Tenn., to act as caretaker for its 174-guest Delta Queen while Ambassadors continues searching for a buyer to operate it as an overnight cruise vessel.

    The company will also continue pursuing a congressional exemption for the 82-year old vessel since federal law prohibits it from operating overnight cruise voyages without an exemption due to its wooden superstructure. A beloved fixture of America’s rivers, the 176-guest Delta Queen is the last traditional steamboat carrying overnight guests on inland waterways. Delta Queen is a registered historic treasure of the Department of the Interior and the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is also a National Historic Landmark and a member of the National Maritime Hall of Fame. The Delta Queen was recently nominated for inclusion on the National Trust for Preservation’s 2009 list of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places.

    Delta Queen will depart New Orleans, La., and cruise to Chattanooga in February and moor at Coolidge Park Landing. Once there, Delta Queen will operate as a historic, boutique hotel, preserved in her current state and managed by Sydney Slome, owner of Chattanooga’s StoneFort Inn. Slome purchased Chattanooga’s historic StoneFort Inn from Phillips two years ago.

    “The company is committed to preserving this national landmark. In order to maintain the steamboat’s historical significance, provisions of the charter agreement prevent the Delta Queen from being altered,” said Diane Moore, president, Ambassadors Cruise Group. “We selected Phillips due to his knowledge of restoring and maintaining historical properties and his maritime experience. Chattanooga’s renewed waterfront is an ideal location for people to celebrate the Delta Queen and enjoy her great historical and cultural value.”

    Phillips, a licensed boat captain, has acquired and restored several historically significant homes in East Hartford, Conn., and in Chattanooga. He has also served on the board of directors of Cornerstones, Inc., a prominent Chattanooga non-profit organization committed to historic preservation of downtown Chattanooga properties. Phillips is a former banker, current business owner and real estate investor who has successfully listed two of his Chattanooga downtown buildings on the National Historic Register including the StoneFort Inn, which he restored in 2003.

    “The Delta Queen is a national treasure and she will be cared for accordingly until her return to overnight cruise service,” said Phillips. “She truly compliments Chattanooga’s vibrant waterfront. Her mooring at the North Shore’s charming Coolidge Park will provide the first opportunity for all ages to experience and appreciate the last operable, and most cherished overnight passenger steamboat in the country.”

    Chattanooga’s Mayor, Ron Littlefield, is proud to have the Delta Queen as part of the city’s waterfront. “The Delta Queen is a magnificent vessel and a welcome addition to Chattanooga,” said Littlefield. “Having such a beloved and unique attraction in Chattanooga adds to the continued revitalization of our city.”

    Although the majestic steamboat will not be able to leave the dock, Slome said he is committed to recreating the spirit of the Delta Queen for visitors and overnight guests during his service to her. “The Delta Queen is a glorious tribute to our river history, and it is my honor to serve her.” The boat has 87 cabins consisting of queens, doubles, bunk beds, and suites, and an abundance of properly appointed common areas. Slome plans to book Delta Queen’s entertainment venues and offer Dixieland jazz and shows ranging from cabarets to musical revues. Group tours will be available, allowing visitors to learn first-hand about steam technology—a mode of transportation that helped revolutionize the world.

    The Chattanooga Water Taxi service connects both shores, and will expand its schedule as necessary to accommodate the demand from residents, tourists, and guests who would like to visit the Delta Queen.

    #2
    To me, this poses some interesting questions.

    If a Coast Guard inspected vessel ties up to a dock, does it cease to be a Coast Guard inspected vessel?

    If not, how can the Delta Queen "carry" passengers overnight while tied up?

    If so, why couldn't the Delta Queen have continued to operate as usual, except that they would have to tie up to a dock or choke a stump at night?

    Now, the Delta King is a hotel in Sacramento. But all its machinery has been removed, and it totally depends on shore-provided utilities to operate. No way is it going to ever "carry" anyone anywhere, and it is no longer a Coast Guard inspected vessel (I presume). So I guess that is ok. But, the Delta Queen is supposedly a "hotel" temporarily, until the exemption is renewed and a buyer found. And, except for whatever vandalism may have occurred, her machinery is intact, and, in theory, I presume she could start carrying passengers again as soon as the exemption is approved. In fact, it sounds like she may be going to Chattanooga under her own power, so she still must have a valid Coast Guard inspection.

    Anyone care to explain this?

    Comment


      #3
      It sounds like the DQ will be in good hands in Chattanooga. Jim Baker's post prompts me to ask a few questions of my own: Does anyone know the exact wording of the safety at sea law pertaining to cruising with overnight passengers? Like Jim, I've been wondering why the boat would presumably be allowed to house a full compliment of overnight guests (passengers) while she is tied up, whereas she is not allowed over 49 pax while cruising. Whats the difference between a guest and a passenger? What if she booked a full compliment for a multi-day cruise and simply tied up every night, resuming the trip every morning. To me, that would not be cruising overnight, therefore she would not be in violation of the SAS law. Might there be a loophole in the law? I'm no maritime lawer and like our friend Dale says "What do I Know". I hope someone out there can clarify all of this for me - and others too, probably.

      Comment


        #4
        I think it's not the question whether she COULD tie up at night but whether you'll find a company operating her this style and whether there is a profitable business model for them this way. I don't want to say there is none, but looking at the difficulties the boats had in the last couple of years operating in "regular" style, tieing her up by night makes things even more complicated.

        All questions like "can the DQ be run this or that way" are very thearetically as long as there is no company willing to run her this way.

        As of the COI: as far as I know the Delta Queen ist Coast Guard certified until end of April, but not for carrying passengers.

        Comment


          #5
          There always has been a giant loophole, that is, she is never "at sea". Well, she has been in a few cases of insanity, but that notwithstanding, why do you have to exempt a boat from doing something that she basically never does or at least never needs to do????????? But while we're nitpicking, what is "overnight"? Eight hours, sunset to sunrise, when most people are asleep say midnight to 6am? Creative scheduling could easily enable the DQ to tie up at night, depending on what "night" is. There have always been a lot of things missed by running at night. And it would really be peachy keen to go throught the War Zone in daylight.

          Comment


            #6
            Tied up at night is noting new....

            If you look at the DQ and other Queen trip schedules one will find that many times the boats were tied up by 10 PM to midnight for the next day's shore visit. Trips on the Ohio often arrived at Louisville by 11 PM (just in time for some folks to get a beer at the Crab Shack). The only differnece is that arrival times were never really announced in advance, and actual schedules were subject to river traffic, locking, etc. One could rarely plan on a late night visit to some town.

            Seems like an operation that would cruise during the day or depart a city in late afternoon cruise into early eavening (if that could ever be approved), then dock for overnight puposes would be similar to what has been done before. That would sure solve some of my DQ withdrawal pains.



            Originally posted by Franz Neumeier View Post
            I think it's not the question whether she COULD tie up at night but whether you'll find a company operating her this style and whether there is a profitable business model for them this way. I don't want to say there is none, but looking at the difficulties the boats had in the last couple of years operating in "regular" style, tieing her up by night makes things even more complicated.

            All questions like "can the DQ be run this or that way" are very thearetically as long as there is no company willing to run her this way.

            As of the COI: as far as I know the Delta Queen ist Coast Guard certified until end of April, but not for carrying passengers.

            Comment


              #7
              I am still struct by what an airline pilot said to me when I was trying to explain the Delta Queen exemption problem. He said, "I don't get it. If an airplane was deemed unsafe, it would be grounded plain and simple. It would not be allowed one more trip here or there."

              However, using the Delta Queen in some capacity is more likely to keep her in tact and avoid any vandalism.

              But does this mean we should all be booking a trip to Chattanooga for a strategy meeting aboard the Delta Queen?

              Comment


                #8
                Elaine,
                The Delta Queen IS NOT unsafe--the legislation is! And maybe the legislators are too. The legislation is flawed in its logic, which is why congress has almost unanimously passed the exemption in the past.
                S'
                David Dewey

                Comment


                  #9
                  Here´s the new website for the Delta Queen Hotel:

                  http://www.deltaqueenhotel.com/

                  Carmen

                  Comment


                    #10
                    David ;;;
                    The DELTA QUEEN is NOT unsafe--""the Legislation is""...
                    a LONG and TWO shorts to that ,,,,!!!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Overnite hotel

                      This seems to me a shabby end to a beautiful lady, me thinks once she gets to Chattanooga, she will never leave. I am so glad and honored I had the pleasure of working on her, I will never forget the smell of diesel gel, or the sound of the whistle blowing upon departing .
                      I had the pleasure of sailing with Captain Mac Arthur , Captain Gabe, as well as Lexie, Rip Ware, and most of the older Captains and pilots, I've seen on the site.
                      Growing up in Cincinnati, and now living in San Francisco, I haven't had the chance yet to see the Delta King in Sacramento, but am looking forward to it.
                      I hope I am wrong about her being berthed permanently , and would hate to think there are still generations of families who might not get to have the experiences of a life time, due to the short sightness of a few narrow minded souls in Congress.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I, too, have mixed emotions about the move to Chattanooga. A lot of it is residual anger, which is NOT dissipating, directed to the usual suspects. But the underlying truth is that Deb and I were very lucky, we had the previledge (at $3000 plus a cruise, none the less) to experience these wonderful boats and their incredible crews, the DQ no less than 20 times. Are we angry that that may have come to an end? You betcha...but the memories, the pictures, the wonderful friends we have made, always brings a smile.

                        Now, the DQ going to Chattanoga and the MQ going to Madison? Aren't these moves truly a good thing, truly could be seen as a godsend? When you consider today's economy and the alternatives (imagine the DQ with the MQ's mold!), I'm thrilled that someone will be keeping these boats warm, clean and safe. You gotta admit, it's a hellava better thing to be able to drink a beer on the MQ as a floating restaurant than to point to a barge and say "I slept on that a long time ago..." Think about it, water will be flowing through the DQ's and MQ's piping, electrical equipment and plumbing fixtures will be exercised, carpets will be vacuumed, decks will be mopped! Sure beats dryrot, black drywall and vandalism in NOLA!

                        But, no doubt, we are still angry. I'm still having an extremely hard time trying to figure out how people with that much money could be so clueless, so heartless, so ruthless, so...so...stupid. And I apologize for using the 'S' word, my brain can't come up with an appropriate substitute.

                        At this stage, with some improvements to the situation planned for the DQ and MQ, the boats I'm now worried about are the AQ and the CQ....

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Since the DQ will be more or less fully occupied with overnight guests (they aren't passengers because they aren't going anywhere), will a nightly fire watchman still need to make the rounds? I could stay aboard her once in awhile since I seem to pass through Chattanooga occasionally but I'll bet the experience will pale with the real thing. I wonder if Bob Stevens will be entertaining aboard since he's from Chattanooga. Judging by the new operator's hotel website, I would expect a cabin to go for between $ 125 - $200 per night.

                          At least you can get your steam fix in Chattanooga at the Tennessee Valley RR Museum which runs some nice trains on their own line and occasional all day trips on a nearby short line. Chartering their private car for an October trip with an overnight stay on the DQ might be something for a group of DQ lovers to consider.
                          -JH

                          Comment


                            #14
                            RE: Compare $$ per night on DELTA KING.
                            Hi, Jim and steamboating collegues:
                            Interesting comments and projections for the DELTA QUEEN moving to Chattanooga as a 'boatel.' Rates per night got me to digging here. As of this date rates on the Sacramento based DELTA KING are listed:
                            1. Captain's Quarters with adjoining room(s) for VIP's are $550 per night.
                            2. Standard rooms: Sunday to Thursday at $199 per night.
                            3. Standard rooms: Friday to Saturday at $255 per night.
                            This includes: Dinner for two with tickets for the production in the 'DELTA KING THEATER. Naturally, gratuities, taxes and bar tabs would be extra. Something to think about and compare.

                            No doubt there are posters on .org who have experienced the DELTA KING in its full splendor. Last time I saw her she was a total wreck. Friends living out there have lunch frequently on the KING and say it's great.

                            I'm assuming that the DELTA QUEEN'S 'delivery trip' to Chattanooga is a one-way 'dead head' with just officers and required crew in light of the current regulations and license requirements plus insurance, right? Reminds me of the DQ's original trip from California to here back in 1947.

                            Well, what do I know?

                            Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I spent a wonderful weekend staying on the DK back in Feb 2002...

                              I had the worse case of deja vu, if one could imagine...

                              Originally posted by R. Dale Flick View Post
                              RE: Compare $$ per night on DELTA KING.
                              Hi, Jim and steamboating collegues:
                              Interesting comments and projections for the DELTA QUEEN moving to Chattanooga as a 'boatel.' Rates per night got me to digging here. As of this date rates on the Sacramento based DELTA KING are listed:
                              1. Captain's Quarters with adjoining room(s) for VIP's are $550 per night.
                              2. Standard rooms: Sunday to Thursday at $199 per night.
                              3. Standard rooms: Friday to Saturday at $255 per night.
                              This includes: Dinner for two with tickets for the production in the 'DELTA KING THEATER. Naturally, gratuities, taxes and bar tabs would be extra. Something to think about and compare.

                              No doubt there are posters on .org who have experienced the DELTA KING in its full splendor. Last time I saw her she was a total wreck. Friends living out there have lunch frequently on the KING and say it's great.

                              I'm assuming that the DELTA QUEEN'S 'delivery trip' to Chattanooga is a one-way 'dead head' with just officers and required crew in light of the current regulations and license requirements plus insurance, right? Reminds me of the DQ's original trip from California to here back in 1947.

                              Well, what do I know?

                              Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River.

                              Comment

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