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the Delta Queen's future

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    the Delta Queen's future

    You know that I'm not a friend of speculation, especially when it's about the future of the Delta Queen. But within the last few days I've seen some facts here that, in combination, raised my attention:

    - the DQ's low pressure cylinder obviously needs to be replaced, soon (I assume this is a rather expensive venture)

    - parts probably needed for repairs on the Delta Queen are given away

    - it's said that the company will be renamed (i.e. it probably will not have "Delta Queen" in its name anymore)

    - the exemption for the Delta Queen from the Congress is running out in 2008 (see Bruce Nierenberg's posting from January 7)

    If anyone from the new owners read this, can you please let us know what this all means? Just some random facts with no connection to each other at all? Or is it what I assume from all this - giving up the DQ as overnight cruise boat in the near future?


    Franz's post is right on the mark. It's all tied together. Nobody in their right mind would dispose of parts for any boat the operate, unless the end was in sight. Also I'd bet good money Ambassadors have no intention on putting money into another campaign to rescue the DQ from the Safety at Sea Law.

    Soon we will hear and see "the next shoe drop". The cost to operate and man a steamboat is just too great!!


      Thank you Capt. Bill for your insight into this serious matter. Respecting your expertise in "all things river" as I do, this situation does sound rather ominous. As I said previously, the Howard Museum wouldn't hesitate to "give back" anything that was needed to keep a steamboat "alive" . So perhaps it's a GOOD thing that several museums have agreed to take these varoius pieces and parts -- because who knows what might become of them otherwise! At least we'll know WHERE the parts are residing should they be needed!


        Just got on the board after an absence of several days, and this development is alarming, to say the least. Does anyone know why the LP cylinder needs to be replaced? is it in such bad shape that machining and repair are out of the question? Is the old boat too much of a drain and not enough return on the investment? One would have to assume the owners would not want the boat sold to go in competition with them, provided a new owner could even be found. Is it/would it be possible from a USCG standpoint to have the boat owned by a foundation and run for special trips only, a la the steam locomotives running in this country? I know Franz did not want to invite speculation, but we who love the DQ cannot help it.


          Still not caught up on reading everything but is it possible that the replacement parts inventory would be better with the museums than the Robin Street Wharf? In the wake of Katrina and even city re-building, it may even be prudent for the parts to be inventoried and kept with the museums along the rivers that the company wants the DQ to serve.

          My own speculation is more along the lines that I think the new owners want to make sure the boats are full rather than running them partially full which costs just as much as full boats. Thus, I can see them trying to devise a system where if the boats are not 85% full or better two months before departure, they will contact every one of those booked and give them some other options. Remember that airlines have continually cut the number of flights daily in order to insure that all flights are full. I think that Ambassador simply wants a return to the time when people had to book far in advance and were even put on waiting lists.

          The other aspect is whether AQ and MQ are saturating the market too much and competing with each other is not working out well. Certainly, fewer vacation dollars are being spent in our current economy.

          I do agree with JoAnn's comments about the affluent market and that does exclude many people who post right here. But I also wonder (or speculate) if the new owners might just be trying to put a "premium" price and availability on the DQ since it has always been my understanding that she is the true money maker. It is a kind of attitude of draw them in with the big boats and then get them onto the elite boat.

          However, that does not tie in with Franz's comment about possible re-naming or the exempt status situation.

          But it would be nice to hear from someone inside who knows the answers.



            DQ Parts purchased because of Master Cylinder

            I have been reading a book, "LONG LIVE THE DELTA QUEEN" by Letha C. Greene. I was reading about all of the trials and tribulations Mrs. Green went through, after her beloved husband Captain Tom Greene passed away. She was not only a widow and mother of four, but became the President of Green Line Steamers, and inherited a world of worries and troubles with her experiences to keep the Queen alive. A Master Cylinder taken from the King in the fifties, and flown to Louisville is the reason the DK engines were purchased as spare parts for the Queen.

            I first met her in 1957 when the lightening struck the River draw bridge in Bridgeport, AL . The boat docked here and sent the passenger's via bus to Chattanooga. I was just a young man.

            The next year, the Queen docked at Hales Bar, because she could not get into the Lock Chamber, and again I met and talked with Mrs. Greene.
            Later that fall, I received a letter from Greene Line Steamers, offering me a job in the Purser's office, which I quickly accepted.

            Had it not have been for Mrs. Greene, the Delta Queene would have been long gone many years ago. Through her perserverance, the DQ has stayed active, and still operable 50 years later. I think these people who now own the DQ, the MQ and AQ, should remember Mrs. Greene, and if they ever build a new boat, it should definitely be named the LETHA C. GREENE.

            When Dick Simonton and E.J. Quinby came on board as owners, both made numerous trips to Washington, to lobby to keep the DQ afloat. It will be a shame, to see this majestic boat disappear from the rivers of America. There are no more E.J. Quinby's, Dick Simonton's or Letha C. Greenes to argue the importance of keeping the Delta Queen alive.
            Last edited by johnlewis; 06-19-2006, 06:58 AM.