American Queen Voyages announces bankruptcy following abrupt closure; cites pandemic as leading cause of financial instability

Published 1:33 pm Friday, February 23, 2024

American Queen Voyages (AQV) on Friday formally announced it will cease operations and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In a letter to guests and travel partners, Adam Peakes, president of AQV parent company Hornblower Group, said the cruise line plans to initiate the Chapter 11 process, commonly referred to as a “reorganization” bankruptcy, in the U.S. and ancillary proceedings in Canada. 

“Despite our best efforts, demand for overnight cruises has not recovered from effects of the pandemic, and AQV has become a financially unsustainable business,” Peakes said in the letter.

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AQV first announced it would cease operations Tuesday via an outgoing message on the company’s reservation call line and in messages to employees.

In both the initial message and Friday’s letter, AQV said guests affected by the cancellations should expect a full refund and directed customers to to start the process. Customers may also call, toll-free, (888) 202-5784, or (747) 288-6437 for calls originating outside of the U.S. or Canada. Additional information is available at

“We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our guests, crew, partners and our local communities, all of whom have been an integral part of our journey,” Peakes continued. “Over the years, we have had the privilege of creating unforgettable experiences and lasting memories for our valued guests. Your support has been invaluable, and we are truly grateful for the relationships we have built together.”

Following the announcement Tuesday, Vicksburg officials said the loss of the cruise line will be a blow to tourism revenue in the River City, with Visit Vicksburg Executive Director Laura Beth Strickland estimating a $1.14 million loss in 2024 as a result. 

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said the city will press on and is thankful for the two active cruise lines that will continue to dock in town through Viking River Cruises and American Cruise Lines.

“It’s going to adversely affect our local economy,” Flaggs said Thursday. “We depend on tourism to help us with our revenue flow, but I believe that we can adjust to it. I’m told we still have about 136 dockings left.”

Strickland said AQV’s departure will eliminate 63 scheduled dockings in 2024.

American Queen Voyages, formerly known as American Queen Steamboat Company, operated river cruises all along the length of the Mississippi River, as well as the Ohio River Valley and the Pacific Northwest. It has 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.