Save the Delta Queen: A private initiative to save the steamboat Delta Queen A private initiative to save the steamboat Delta Queen
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Delta Queen Steamboat Company is the new owner of the Delta Queen

Feb 19, 2015

Eventually the purchase of the Delta Queen is finalized, contracts have been signed on Tuesday, February 17, 2015. The Delta Queen Stemboat Company LLC is now the official new owner of the Delt Queen and is planning to get her back on the rivers as soon as possible – most likely in summer 2016.

There is still a long way to go until the Delta Queen can again paddle along the rivers with overnight passengers on board as she needs the exemption law from Congress and a Coast Guard certifcate of inspection (COI). But the first important step is done now.

Here is the full press release with all the details:

Delta Queen Purchase Finalized

The Delta Queen Steamboat Company, a Delaware limited liability company, Tuesday completed the purchase of the Legendary Steamboat Delta Queen from TAC Cruise, LLC (aka Xanterra Cruise, LLC) a Delaware limited liability company.

The legendary Delta Queen began service as an overnight passenger vessel in 1927, carrying passengers, cargo and automobiles between Sacramento, Calif. and San Francisco, Calif. After a brief period of service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, the vessel was sold as war surplus to Captain Tom Greene, owner of the Greene Line Steamers of Cincinnati, Ohio. From 1946 to 2008, the Delta Queen operated as an overnight cruise vessel along many of the prominent river and waterways running through America’s heartland, including the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland and Arkansas Rivers. Later on, the vessel operated as a dockside hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn. from 2009 until 2014.

“My partners and I are thrilled to be taking this critical first step toward the preservation and restoration of this important piece of American and river history,” said Cornel Martin, President and CEO of Delta Queen Steamboat Company. “We look forward to the day when the Delta Queen will once again be able to ply America’s waterways and allow passengers to relive the experiences of Mark Twain and his unique cast of river characters from the decks of a true 1927 steamboat.”

The Delta Queen is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is classified as a National Historic Landmark. The steamboat has also recently been designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a National Treasure.

“Our goal is to have the Delta Queen return to cruising America’s waterways in 2016 following extensive mechanical and hotel renovations,” said Martin.

A Tribute to the Delta Queen from South Africa

Jun 7, 2014

The Delta Queen has supporters and fans from all over the world, even from as far away as South Africa. Stephen Thompson, steam buff and poet, has sent us his tribute to the Delta Queen which we’re happy to present to our readers. Stephen, thanks very much for sharing!

Delta Queen

In ’27 she kissed the face
Of the California Delta
Like many before she forsook the shelter
Of her safely explored European birthplace
For a Pioneer’s life with the river tribe
Of the Western United States.
Who can doubt she’s a queen
So regal as she paddles up the stream
Her calliope like a God’s pan pipe
Spreading enchantment on the breeze.


House of Representative passes bill H.R. 1961 in favor of the Delta Queen

Sep 26, 2013
House votes on H.R.1961 on September 25, 2013

House votes on H.R.1961 on September 25, 2013

Though there is still a long way to go for the Delta Queen to return to the rivers as a cruise ship, passing of bill H.R. 1961 in the House of Representatives is a major step in this direction. On Wednesday, September 25th 2013, the House has approved the bill that would grant the historic Delta Queen a 15 years exemption from a fire-retardant materials construction requirement.

The House voted 280 to 89 in favor of the Delta Queen with almost all Republicans voting with “yea”, while Democrats voted 82 to 84 against the bill.

The bill still has to pass Senate, where the Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown [D-Ohio] leeds the efforts which co-sponsors Sens. Rob Portman [R-Ohio], Mary Landrieu [D-La.], and David Vitter [R-La.]. After passing the Senate as expected by Delta Queen supporters, the bill eventually has to be signed by President Barack Obama who as a Senator had been supportive of the Delta Queen exemption back in 2008/2009 but didn’t actively support the case while running for president.

The motion in the House has been led by Rep. Steve Chabot of Cincinnati, who has been fighting for the Delta Queen for years, eventually being successful now. The bill has been co-sponsored by 22 more representatives: Rep Beatty, Joyce [OH-3], Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1], Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9], Rep Enyart, William L. [IL-12], Rep Fudge, Marcia L. [OH-11], Rep Gibbs, Bob [OH-7], Rep Johnson, Bill [OH-6], Rep Jordan, Jim [OH-4], Rep Joyce, David P. [OH-14], Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9], Rep Latta, Robert E. [OH-5], Rep Luetkemeyer, Blaine [MO-3], Rep Massie, Thomas [KY-4], Rep McKinley, David B. [WV-1], Rep Renacci, James B. [OH-16], Rep Richmond, Cedric L. [LA-2], Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-13], Rep Stivers, Steve [OH-15], Rep Tiberi, Patrick J. [OH-12], Rep Turner, Michael R. [OH-10], Rep Wenstrup, Brad R. [OH-2], Rep Whitfield, Ed [KY-1]

Why the Delta Queen is safe to run as a cruise ship …

Sep 25, 2013

As the decision about the future of the Delta Queen comes closer, the same ignorant and misleading arguments about the Delta Queen’s safety are being raised by her opponents again that had been part of he discussion for years now. We won’t repeat all this so-called facts and half-cooked arguments here in detail but will give some details everyone should know about the Delta Queen before questioning her safety. (thanks, Phillip, for compiling all this important information!)

Fire prevention: Recent fires on cruise ships like the Carnival Triumph, Carnival Splendor and the Grandeur of the Seas are being used to demonstrate how dangerous a fire can get on cruise ships. But: These fires did not result in any loss of life, and occured on foreign flag vessels operating in international waters, where crew training and qualification are not under the scrutiny of the USCG. The real imposition to the passengers was the amount of time it took these vessels to return to the nearest port due to their extreme distance from any suitable port, or land at all for that matter. The Delta Queen, as any other domestic river vessel is manned by US Citizens under the full scrutiny of the USCG for training, vessel manning and safety compliance including fire detection and suppression systems.

Information and documentation: The Delta Queen’s opponents say that H.R. 1961 would reinstate “an ill-advised statutory exemption from the requirement that all passenger vessels carrying over 50 passengers on overnight excursions be constructed with fire retardant materials for an aged, paddlewheel steamship and that the list of factors about this vessel for which we know little or nothing …” In fact, there is actually quite a lot of information known about the Delta Queen as the vessel has been inspected by the USCG on a quarterly basis while it was in service.


Delta Queen granted six more months at Chattanooga

Sep 18, 2013
Delta Queen at Chattanooga's Coolidge Park

Delta Queen at Chattanooga’s Coolidge Park

The Delta Queen has been granted another six months to stay at her current position at the Chattanooga riverfront at Coolidge Park, the city administration announced on Tuesday, Sept. 18. The news came just days after Chattanooga’s mayor Andy Berke had set a deadline for the Delta Queen to leave the Coolidge Park riverfront by end of September 2013.

A speaker at Chatanooga’s majors office said the extended agreement for another six months is supposed to give the DQ’s owner, the Colorado-based Xanterra Parks & Resorts, more time to continue to work through the sale of the Delta Queen. According to local media at Chattanooga, Xanterra said they’re close to achieving an agreement with a buyer for the Delta Queen, but the transaction being not complete yet. Xanterra didn’t offer any information about who the potential buyer of the Delta Queen was.

The mayor’s office speaker also said the city being committed to working with Xanterra or the future owner of the boat to make Chattanooga a permanent home for the Delta Queen, if desired, which comes quite surprisingly after trying to get rid of the Delta Queen for months now.

A visit to the Delta Queen at Chattanooga

Sep 15, 2013

We’ve been visiting the Delta Queen at Chattanoga in August 2013, stayed a night on board, took a lot of pictures and tried to deal with our strong and mixed emotions seeing the proud paddlewheeler sitting on idle instead of plowing along the rivers – which she hopefully will be able to do very soon, again. It was great to see that she’s in a relatively good condition, given the fact that she wasn’t running for about five years now.

For all her fans who are not able to visit the Delta Queen at Chattanooga or haven’t seen her for a while, we took many pictures – and even Delta Queen experts might find a few sights they have never seen before as we were able to also explore her boiler room and the lower level of the engine room. Please check our comprehensive image gallery at our German website for all the pictures: Delta Queen picture gallery at (thought the website is in German, you’ll easily find your way around, as pictures are pretty international anyway).

We also did something very special: 360° panorama pictures for you to explore the Delta Queen interactively. Check out the Delta Queen panorama pictures at (preview, see the picture below).

Delta Queen

Bill in favor of the Delta Queen introduced in US Senate

May 23, 2013

U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) have introduced legislation that would allow the Delta Queen to carry passengers on overnight trips on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-1) and Brad Wenstrup (OH-2).

“The Delta Queen’s legacy is rooted in Cincinnati and the city should play a role in her future,” Brown said. “More than just a treasured historic landmark, restoration of this ship would pump money back into Ohio River towns while returning the Delta Queen to Cincinnati’s Riverfront where it belongs.”

“The Delta Queen is an Ohio treasure and an important part of the history of Cincinnati, the Queen City. I remember being on the Delta Queen as a kid and all Cincinnatians are proud of the connection to our city,” Portman said. “This legislation is about bringing this historic boat back to my home-town of Cincinnati and boosting jobs and tourism along the Ohio River during this time of economic uncertainty, all at no cost to the taxpayer.”

The bill, if adopted by House and Senate, will grant exemption from the fire-retardant materials construction requirement for vessels operating within the Boundary Line until 2018, i.e. for another 15 years from now on, with the possibility of extenting this time period even further by new legislation before the exemption expires in 2028.

A new bill in favor of the Delta Queen is on its way!

May 15, 2013

Congressman Steve Chabot of Ohio has introduced a new bill to save the Delta Queen – that is, granting her a new exemption fom the Safety at Sea Act, bill no. H.R.1961. Co-Sponsors of the bill are, so far: Representatives Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-1), Thomas Massie (KY-4) and Brad R. Wenstrup (OH-2).

Now is the moment where the efforts of the whole steamboater’s community need to be combined, supporting this bill, H.R. 1961.

Please support the efforts to save the Delta Queen and bring her back on the rivers:

Contact your Congressmen now and urge them to support the bill. We need their help, so please be polite, but let them know how important it is for you and your community to bring the Delta Queen back on the rivers as a operating cruise vessel.

– If you know a Representative willing to co-sponsor the bill or if you know a Senator willing to sponsor the bill in the Senate, please contact Rep. Steve Chabot’s office in Washington, phone (202) 225-2216. The more support the bill gets, the better the chances to get it through Congress.

To find out more about bill H.R.1961, go to and search for Bill Number „H.R. 1961“.

To find your local Representative and how to contact him/her, go to

Andi f you’re looking for some more arguments in favor of the Delta Queen – even though we’re sure you know already – you migh want to check

Become a honorary crew member of the Delta Queen

May 10, 2013

Efforts are underway to bring the Delta Queen back to overnight river cruise service. Now Delta Queen fans have the opportunity to become part of her honorary crew.

DQSC, Inc. is assembling a special crew to help to rescue, restore and preserve the legendary steamboat Delta Queen and hopefully, return her to her once regal glory plying the great rivers of America’s heartland. The Delta Queen currently serves as a dockside hotel in Chattanooga, TN, and a group of supporters have come together to form DQSC, Inc with the following goals:

  1. To purchase the Delta Queen, halting current efforts to move the DQ to the east or west coast to permanently serve as a dockside hotel;
  2. To renew the Congressional Exemption allowing the DQ to return to overnight passenger cruise service;
  3. To restore and upgrade the DQ (including replacement of the 1919-era boilers), so that she can once again provide river enthusiasts the unique opportunity to visit America’s heartland from an authentic early 20th century paddlewheel steamboat;
  4. To return to the DQ to overnight passenger cruise service in 2014.

The DQSC, Inc effort is being lead by former Delta Queen Steamboat Company Vice President Cornel Martin who spearheaded the last successful effort to secure the Congressional Exemption extending the DQ’s overnight river cruise service from 1998 to 2008, current Delta Queen Hotel operators and care takers Randy and Leah Ann Ingram, and long time Delta Queen supporter Phillip Johnson.


Str. Delta Queen will stay at Chattanooga

Dec 11, 2012

It has been a rumor for quite a while and now it’s official: The Delta Queen will not be sold to New Smyrna Beach, Florida, as a permanentely moored hotel ship. Local investor Wayne Heller has pulled out of negotiations to buy the historic paddlewheeler for this purpose after he was not able to get the final okay for this project from the City of New Smyrna Beach.

Wayne Heller said, the city „missed a tremendous opportunity“ while steamboat activists willing to save the Delta Queen in her original form as an operation riverboat are relieved that the deal fell through. Heller’s plans where to modify the Delta Queen in a way that made it almost impossible to bring the Delta Queen back as a cruise ship any time later. Also there was lots of concern regarding the potential future location of the Delta Queen in a salt water environment and very much exposed to hurricanes.

New Smyrna City Manager Pam Brangccio told the Daytona Beach New-Journal she thinks Heller bailing out oft he Delta Queen deal doesn’t have much to do with the city but said „he’s not buying the boat because oft he cost involved with renovating the boat. […] It was a business decision on his part to not purchase the boat.“

The Delta Queen will now stay at Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she’s been since 2009, being operated as a hotel, lounge and restaurant while being maintained and kept in a fully operational status with a lot of help from volunteers and former employees oft he Delta Queen Steamboat Company respectively Majestic America Line.