MAY 22, 2013 — The American Queen Steamboat Company, owner and operator of the U.S-flagged American Queen, has purchased the diesel powered sternwheeler Empress of the North from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) for an undisclosed amount.
She will now be renamed the American Empress and is scheduled to resume sailings on the great rivers of the Pacific Northwest in April 2014 from her homeport of Portland, Ore.
The American Empress will deliver riverboat opulence on a grand scale, following in the pedigree of the line's namesake American Queen, and proudly serve as the largest overnight riverboat west of the Mississippi River.
"The American Queen has ushered in a rebirth of U.S. river cruising, welcoming thousands to discover the heartland of the United States and its iconic port cities," shares Ted Sykes, president and COO of the American Queen Steamboat Company, a subsidiary of HMS Global Maritime. "Now the American Empress will continue that tradition as an ambassador to the Pacific Northwest, a region equally rich in American and natural history."
A U.S.-flagged riverboat, the American Empress measures 360 ft with five decks and accommodates 223 guests in seven stateroom categories. The American Empress will sail the Columbia River and Snake River, offering seven-day voyages between Portland, Ore. and Clarkston, Wash. Ports of call include Astoria, Wash.; Stevenson, Wash.; The Dulles, Ore.; Umatilla, Ore.; and Richland, Wash.
The American Empress was built by the Nichols Bros shipyard in 2002 and operated by Majestic America Line from 2002 to 2008, sailing Alaska's Inside Passage and the Pacific Northwest. Just as the American Queen brought luxury and grandeur to river cruising America's heartland, the American Empress will do the same for the Pacific Northwest, says the new owner.