American Queen Voyages blames impact of pandemic for collapse

The collapse of American Queen Voyages came as a result of a failure to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, the company disclosed.

The US river cruise specialist updated its website overnight to confirm the “difficult decision” to shut down.

A statement said: “Despite great efforts by our team, crew and partners, American Queen Voyages (AQV) unfortunately has been unable to rebound from the effects of the pandemic. 

“The overnight cruise industry was especially affected by changes in travel preferences and, as a result, AQV has become financially unsustainable.

“We are therefore shutting down the business, and all future AQV cruises have been cancelled.”

The company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection “to conduct its business shutdown” with cruises insured by Argo Surety.

Parent company Hornblower Group told Travel Weekly in the US that it will attempt to sell AQV but will wind down the business if that cannot be achieved. 

AQV was underperforming and failed to recover from the pandemic, confirmed Hornblower Group president Adam Peakes. 

In a message to suppliers and partners, the line said: “You have played an important role in enabling AQV to provide outstanding travel experiences and service to our guests.

“As AQV is no longer operating, our goal is to facilitate an orderly wind-down of our relationship with you.

“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience, and we thank you for your support.”

Passengers booked with AQV in the US should expect to be fully refunded for their deposits via an online claims form.

Light Blue Travel, which acted as general sales agent in the UK, administered AQV’s UK and Europe representative AQGSA and pledged to provide full refunds or source alternative cruises.

Fred Holidays, the UK representative for American Cruise Lines, clarified that it offers similar sailings to AQV and continues to operate.  

American Cruise Lines opened its 2024 Mississippi sailings on Wednesday, with five vessels to be deployed on the river over the next dew weeks. 

AQV added: “We are deeply proud of our crew and the outstanding travel experiences and service we have provided to our guests. 

“As we reflect on the journey we have shared over the years, we are filled with gratitude for the privilege of serving our guests, partners and agents and for being part of our incredible local communities.

“It has been an honour to bring joy to so many lives, and we are deeply touched by the relationships we have formed and the memorable experiences we have created.

“We sincerely regret any inconvenience this decision causes. Our goal is to ensure a smooth process for all AQV stakeholders.”

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