Rising Sun, IN
The Grand Victoria II, since 1996 is the center part of the Grand Victoria Casino & Resort in Rising Sun, Indiana. While the boat is “the finest diesel-electric sternwheeler ever built” (Capt. Don Sanders), she is permanently moored right on Indiana’s state border and can’t move without violating Kentucky’s strict gambling laws.
The Grand Victoria II was launched as “Queen of New Orleans” in 1993 by Halter Marine of New Orleans for the Manthe Family.
The Queen of New Orleans/Flamingo was built as a much larger version of the Creole Queen. Captain Troy Manthe was fond of saying that “the best of the Creole Queen went into the Flamingo.”
In 1995 the boat was sold to Hilton Flamingo in New Orleans where Hilton operated her as a floating casino for about one year. Still officially named “Queen of New Orleans”, she was called “Flamingo” (“Queen of New Orleans” still being painted on the bow, life vests etc.).
Hyatt Gaming bought the vessel in 1996 and renamed her Grand Victoria II.
Capt. Don Sanders says about the boat: “The Flamingo, designed by Guido Perla, is arguably, the finest diesel-electric sternwheeler ever built. We raced and whipped the Mississippi Queen who was running alongside on a full head of steam before we even came ahead on the 1.500 hp paddlewheel over a two-mile course soon after the beautiful boat started running the gamlin’ boat trade, on the Ohio River, opposite Rabbit Hash, about ten years ago.”
The “Flamingo” aka “Queen of New Orleans” in 1995 at New Orleans.
Whistle of the Grand Victoria II
Listen to the whistle of the Grand Victoria II:
Note: The whistle is no longer on the Grand Victoria II but will be installed on the Julia Belle Swain instead, as of 2023.
Here is a special recording Capt. Don Sanders sent us – the Grand Victoria II greets the Delta Queen as she passes by, and the Delta Queen’s whistle is answering:
The Grand Victoria II had been built as a fine paddlewheel riverboat in a time where casino boats still had to cruise while their guest were gambling. So the Grand Victoria II also has a beautiful whistle she still blows as of today when towboats or steamboats like the Delta Queen, American Queen, Mississippi Queen or Belle of Louisville are passing by.
When listening to the whistle recording you might recognize that steamy puff-puff – that is from the Belle of Louisville from steam exhaust pipes. The recording was made from aboard the Belle of Louisville when passing the Grand Victoria II on her way to Tall Stacks 2006.