Revival of Paddlewheelers Launches New Era of U.S. River Cruises

Sept 19, 2011 – Fox News – by Paul Motter –At their peak in the 19th century, more than 11,000 steamboats plied the rivers of America, playing an indispensable role in building a great nation.

The riverboat lifestyle fascinated Mark Twain, who wrote about the drifting gamblers and showmen and women who brought excitement to the cities and small towns along the shore.

Over the years, getting a taste of that bygone age had became harder for travelers, as one steamboat operators went out of business. But this week, travelers can book a cruise that will sample that lifestyle once again, with the revival of the American Queen.

Two of the last passenger-carrying paddlewheel steamers — the Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen — stopped operating within the last few years. Their original owner, the now defunct Delta Queen Steamboat Company, built the world’s largest paddlewheel steamboat in 1995 – the American Queen. Accommodating 436 passengers in 222 staterooms, she is 418 feet long and six decks (90 feet) tall. I sailed on her in 2004, and I know she is extraordinary. Read more

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