American Queen Voyages to drop Great Lakes cruises

American Queen Voyages will focus next year on its Mississippi, Snake and Columbia riverboats and its expedition vessel, Ocean Victory, cruising Alaska and British Columbia.

After November 2023, the cruise line will not return to the Great Lakes and it intends to sell its identical small ships, Ocean Navigator and Ocean Voyager.

Rupert Thomson, managing director of Light Blue Travel – American Queen Voyages’ representative in the UK and Europe – said: “American Queen Voyages is best known for its hugely popular, paddlewheel steamboats which traverse the lower and upper Mississippi and also sail the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific northwest.

“Whilst sorry that the Great Lakes will no longer be featured it has always been the rivers of the US that have attracted the UK market and our forward bookings reflect this.

“We’re also seeing increased UK interest in responsible, expedition cruising and will continue to promote Alaskan cruises on American Queen Voyage’s innovative Ocean Victory.”

The cruise line will offer three- and four-day cruises on the Lower Mississippi next year, on the 417-guest American Queen, the largest steamboat ever built.

The Mighty Mississippi cruise will sail from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico with a 16-day itinerary.

The 245-passenger paddle wheeler American Countess will cruise the Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland rivers.

New cruises include a bourbon-themed voyage with food and spirits experts.

The 221-guest American Empress will sail along the Snake and Columbia rivers in the Pacific Northwest, with new wine-themed cruises added to the range.

American Queen Voyages will return to Alaska for its third season, with cruises on the 186-passenger Ocean Victory.

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