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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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 https://www.congress.gov/ and search for Bill Number „H.R. 1961“.

To find your local Representative and how to contact him/her, go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/

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 http://www.save-the-delta-queen.org/arguments-in-favor-of-the-delta-queen/

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.

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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.

Delta Queen to become a riverboat hotel at New Smyrna Beach, FL?

Aug 19, 2012

The Delta Queen might be sold to a hotelier in New Smyrna Beach, FL who intends to convert her into a floating hotel, much like her sister ship, the Delta King in Sacramento, CA. Very likely this will make it impossible for the boat to ever sail again.

What makes the Delta Queen so special is the fact her original steam plant is completely intact unlike any other overnight passenger boat, but if the Delta Queen’s fans don’t act quickly her uniqueness may be lost forever.

In order for deal to go through the potential buyer must obtain approval from several agencies. The Save the Deta Queen Campaign recommends supporters to take a couple moments to review this information and contact the agencies listed below to express your concerns. The boat’s wooden superstructure was not designed for salt water environments and will probably not survive long there. The National Trust for Historic Preservation would also like to hear from you regarding the Delta Queen as she is designated a National Historic Landmark.

According to Smyrna Beach’s City Manager Pam Brangaccio the commission will consider the proposal for the Delta Queen at its Sept. 11, 2012 meeting.

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Delta Queen has new owner

Jun 20, 2011

Ambassadors International has filed for chapter 11 bancruptcy protection on April 1, 2011. In mid-May a new company with the name of "TAC Cruises LLC" has bought all the assets of the company, including the Delta Queen for $39 million in cash. TAC Cruises is an affiliate of Xanterra Holding Corp, which is owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz.

The main asset of Ambassadors International has been Windstar Cruises with several sailing cruise vessels which TAC Cruises will now continue to run. The Xanterra Holding Corporation operates lodges, restaurants, tours and activities in national parks, state parks and resorts under the brand name of Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Xanterra has operations at Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, amongst others.

This just as a brief update, not much more information is available at this time. For now, the Delta Queen will remain at Chattanooga as a floating hotel. No information is available about any plans of the new owners regarding the Delta Queen.

Delta Queen Preservation Foundation seeks to purchase vessel

Nov 19, 2010

Here comes a press release from the Delta Queen Preservation Foundation, unveiling details from their plan to purchase and operate the Delta Queen:

DELTA QUEEN PRESERVATION FOUNDATION SEEKS TO PURCHASE VESSEL

Chattanooga, Tenn. – Leah Ann and Randy Ingram, current operators of the Delta Queen announced that they have submitted a Letter of Intent to purchase the vessel from Ambassadors International.  The vessel is currently berthed in Chattanooga, Tenn. where it is operated as a hotel.

The Ingrams are in the process of finalizing plans to establish the Delta Queen Preservation Foundation, an entity whose mission is to ensure the future preservation of the historic steamboat with the long-term goal of being able to operate it once again.  In the near term, the boat would continue to be operated as a hotel, bringing in much needed revenue to finance the many repairs needed.  The boat would be owned by the non-profit organization allowing charitable contributions, historic preservation grants and other tax deductible donations to be received.  The operation of the boat would be leased out to the current for-profit hotel company, Delta Queen LLC.

The Ingrams noted that their ultimate goal is to make the Delta Queen ready to once again sail America’s rivers.

Leah Ann Ingram said, “We would like to return the Delta Queen to the rivers as soon as she is able but understand that is a monumental task. Having her open to the public as a revenue generating hotel while those repairs are made is critical to any successful plan to put the boat back in service.”

The Delta Queen has been very well received in Chattanooga.  In fact, a recent evening to honor the steamboat was hosted to garner attention and support for future efforts.  Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield offered a joint resolution from the city and Hamilton County that gave strong support to preserving the vessel and maintaining her historical designations.  The Mayor offered praise to the goal of making the Delta Queen ready for travel on America’s waterways.

The Delta Queen is experiencing great success in Chattanooga.  From sold-out lodging to the addition of gourmet dining, the Delta Queen is even one of the hottest tickets in town for the upcoming holiday season.  Last year, the Delta Queen hosted over 450 guests for Thanksgiving dinner and is expecting similar crowds this year.

Mrs. Ingram noted that success not only comes from a dedicated staff, but equally dedicated volunteers who provide countless hours in repairing and maintaining the boat

She said, “This is a team effort and we are honored and humbled by those former crew members and guests who come aboard on a weekly basis to take care of this legendary vessel.  We hope that some of the people who have indicated their interest in purchasing the Delta Queen will join with us as we all have the same goal.  In fact, nothing would please us more.”

Both Ingrams noted that any option that takes away from the boat’s rich history or changes her integrity could put her historic designation in jeopardy.  “We want to preserve this piece of maritime history for generations to come and would welcome the help of anyone who shares our views.”

For more information, call 423.755.7588.

Just a few days ago, a new group, called "Save the Delta Queen 2010" has also announced plans to buy the Delta Queen. This group's speaker is Vicki Webster who once was fighting together with save-the-delta-queen.org to save the historic vessel before splitting up in 2009 and going her own way.

New “Delta Queen Preservation Foundation” rallies for the Queen

Oct 26, 2010

A non-profit organization called the "Delta Queen Preservation Foundation" has been formed at Chattanooga where the Delta Queen found her new home as a floating hotel. The foundation will be debuted at a "Rally on the River," the evening of Thursday, November 4, 2010.

Leading up the "Rally on the River" will be an afternoon of excitement and activity called the "Great Steam-up." Between the hours of 12:00 noon and 4:00 pm the public is invited down to the river to tour the vessel. Guests will be guided through the boat by former passengers and crew members who have experienced life on the river first hand.

This will also be the first time since the boats arrival in Chattanooga that the public will be able to witness the Delta Queen's mighty steam engines in operation. A group of skilled steamboat engineers, several from the Delta Queen's past, will be on hand to exercise the engines and other auxiliary equipment. This effort is to ensure the operational readiness of the vessels systems. Tours will conclude with a grand calliope concert featuring the Delta Queen, Belle of Cincinnati and Southern Belle. This will kick off the evening banquet and activities.

For more information visit the Delta Queen Hotel's website at www.deltaqueenhotel.net.

New Song: The Delta Queen Rag

Apr 25, 2010

Chattanooga musician Lon Eldridge wrote a beautiful guitar piece, called the Delta Queen Rag. His simple comment is: " A rag I wrote in Chattanooga while sitting on the banks of the Tennessee river next to the Delta Queen steamboat…" What an understatement! The Delta Queen Rag is a great piece of music and a rag performed on a guitar definitely is very special, and amazing, too!

[youtube 046IwKaXbtQ]

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Delta Queen Crew Club recognizing former crew and past passengers

Dec 7, 2009

Delta Queen Hotel has announced the Delta Queen Crew Club, a program that recognizes the beloved boat’s most loyal fans by offering an opportunity to commemorate their trips and service with the purchase of a brass-plated nameplate.

Former passenger plaques will be engraved with the name of the passenger, their home port, the year of their first cruise, and the number of cruises they have taken on the Delta Queen.  For those that served on the Delta Queen, plaques will be engraved with their name and title, their home port, the year they started, and the number of years of service.

The plaques will be adhered to one of the vessel’s three decks just below the handrails at ankle level.  Sydney Slome, proprietor of the Delta Queen Hotel, assured that the process will not compromise the boat’s historic integrity in any way.

The weather resistant 3×6-inch plaques are available for purchase for $100. This special offer is limited in number and is only available to past passengers and former officers, crew, staff, employees and entertainers of the Delta Queen; plaques may be purchased in memory of a loved and/or respected one.

To become a member of the Delta Queen Crew Club and order a plaque for yourself or someone you love this holiday season, call (800)499-9877 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or purchase on-line at www.deltaqueenhotel.com. You'll also find some more details about the program there.

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Attempt failed in the House, now focussing on the Senate

Oct 24, 2009

The Coast Guard Authorization Bill has passed the House while the Rules Committee declined Rep. Baron Hill's request to amend the exemption the the Delta Queen to it. While Baron Hill is still dedicated to find other ways to help the Delta Queen eventually returning to the rivers as cruise vessel, the 2010 Coast Guard Authorization Bill now is in the Senate (S.1194) where there is a new chance to get an amendment giving the Delta Queen a renewal of her exemption.

Delta Queen fans are requested to contact their Senators asking them to introduce an amendment to the bill and/or support it in the Senate.

From the 2008 Senate bill S.3498, all sponsors and co-sponsors are still in the Senate, except Barack Obama. So most likely one or more of them should be more than happy to introduce a new bill in the Senate to amend the Delta Queen exemption to the 2010 Coast Guard Authorization Act.

Democrats who sponsored or co-sponsored the 9/16/2008 bill in the Senate:

Bayh, Evan [D – IN] – up for re-election in 2010, considered safe
Brown, Sherrod [D – OH]
Harkin, Tom [D – IA]
Lincoln, Blanche L. [D – AR] – up for re-election in 2010, considered safe
Pryor, Mark L. [D – AR] – member of the Senate's Commerce Committee
Sen Obama, Barack [D – IL]

Republicans:

Voinovich, George V. [R – OH] – retiring in 2010
Cochran, Thad [R – MS]
Lugar, Richard G. [R – IN]
Alexander, Lamar [R – TN]
Wicker, Roger F. [R – MS] – member of the Senate's Commerce Committee
Grassley, Chuck [R – IA] – up for re-election in 2010, considered safe
McConnell, Mitch [R – KY]
Vitter, David [R – LA] – member of the Senate's Commerce Committee – up for re-election in 2010

Chairman of the Senate's Commerce & Transportation Committe is John D. Rockefeller, IV [D – WV], who has succeeded Daniel K. Inouye (D – HI). Inouye is still a regular member of the committee and is said to be a strong opponent of any exemption for the Delta Queen.

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