American Queen Voyages ceases operations

Published 7:16 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2024

American Queen Voyages has ceased all operations as of Tuesday, Feb. 20, according to published reports and public messages on the company’s customer information hotline. Additionally, a web site provided for refunds for affected customers leads to an “access denied” message.

“American Queen voyages has made the difficult decision to shut down and all future cruises have been canceled,” the message says. “Customers should expect to be fully refunded for canceled cruises.”

An email sent to employees at the company’s facilities in New Orleans; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Vancouver, Washington; and Clarkston, Washington, notified them that their employment would be terminated at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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“This action is expected to be permanent,” the email said. “The timing of this notice is necessitated by both unforeseen business circumstances and an inability to obtain sufficient capital at a commercially reasonable rate to continue operations.”

The announcement comes less than a week after the cruise line announced it would resume cruises along the lower Mississippi River in March following a suspension of activity in the area during February.

Angela Composto, vice president in charge of marketing, said last week the February cruises were suspended primarily due to maintenance that needs to be performed and that had been delayed.

“The river cruises have a wonderful, built-in maintenance period at the end of the year. This year, some of our maintenance has been delayed, and because of that, our boats were not ready for the cruises beginning in February,” she said.

Recently, some travel agencies suspended sales of American Queen Voyages cruises over service issues, according to a story online at Travel Weekly.

Among those are Signature Travel Network, Pleasant Holidays and AAA Travel, the website reports. Virtuoso also removed American Queen Voyages from its preferred supplier list.

An American Queen spokesperson issued an apology, according to the website’s story.

“We acknowledge and apologize for the issues. American Queen Voyages deeply values all of our travel agent partners and are taking all matters very seriously. We are working to address the situation as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said.

Composto said the issues were financial in nature, but are being resolved.

“The accounting team has gotten a bit behind. I couldn’t say specifically what the issues are, but they are trying to figure those out and fix them as quickly as possible,” she said last week.

American Queen Voyages, formerly known as American Queen Steamboat Company, operates river cruises all along the length of the Mississippi River, as well as the Ohio River valley and the Pacific Northwest. Ithas included Vicksburg on its itineraries for more than a decade. After an 18-month hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic it returned to Vicksburg in August 2021.

Viking Cruise Lines and American Cruise Lines also operate Mississippi River cruises that include stops in Vicksburg. Neither is affected by American Queen’s announcement.

This is a developing story and more information on the closures will be released as it is collected.

According to the company’s recorded message, customers in need of a refund may begin the process by visiting; however, as of Tuesday night, the page displays a “403 -Forbidden: Access is Denied” message.