American Queen® Steamboat Company, which began in 2011 and then acquired Victory Cruise Lines®, recently celebrated 10 years in business. Through the past decade, it has grown from offering cruises on American rivers to expanding into ocean, lake and expedition experiences.

At a press conference held at the recent Seatrade Cruise Global conference in Miami, the company announced its new branding as American Queen Voyages™, merging American Queen® Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines®. American Queen Voyages™ now moves into a new chapter, providing a diverse portfolio of North American itineraries.

American Queen Voyages™ and New Divisions

American Queen Voyages™ offers the most varied and comprehensive itineraries in North America. And with its new branding and new name, the company now has three separate divisions. These include American Queen Voyages River, American Queen Voyages Lakes & Ocean and American Queen Voyages Expedition. The latter will include Alaska and Central America expedition cruises beginning in 2022.

American Queen Voyages River is led by the American Queen®, the largest overnight passenger steamboat ever built and America’s only steam-powered paddlewheeler riverboat. She accommodates 417 guests and provides convenient departures from Memphis, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and St. Louis. Her Mississippi and Ohio river sailings provide guests with a unique perspective on America’s history, landscapes and cultures.

The American Duchess™, an intimate boutique vessel accommodating just 166 guests, sails on the Mississippi. The American Empress®, which accommodates 221 guests, sails in the Pacific Northwest. The newest vessel is the 245-passenger American Countess™. She made her debut in March 2021 and sails on the Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio rivers.

Grand Dining Room aboard the American Countess™, which made her debut in March 2021.

Grand Dining Room aboard the American Countess™, which made her debut in March 2021. (All photos courtesy of American Queen Voyages™)

American Queen Voyages Lakes & Ocean, which had previously been Victory Cruise Lines®, includes voyages to Canada, New England, the Great Lakes, Eastern Seaboard, Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula. The two Victory Cruise Lines® ships, Victory I ® and the Victory II ™, are being renamed Ocean Voyager and Ocean Navigator. The identical 202-passenger ships offer small-ship cruising with immersive shore excursions and onboard programing. Itineraries are widespread throughout the coastal areas of North America and include historic ports.

The Ocean Victory will offer cruises on Alaska’s Inside Passage in 2022.

The Ocean Victory will offer cruises on Alaska’s Inside Passage in 2022.

Launching the brand’s advance into expedition cruising is American Queen Voyages Expedition. The two newly built passenger vessels will accommodate just 186 guests. Created for intimate access to small ports, they use an innovative X-Bow® design. American Queen Voyages Expedition will operate all-inclusive cruises to Alaska on the Ocean Victory™ in 2022, and then with the Ocean Discoverer™ in 2023.  The expedition-style Ocean Victory™ is a new-generation, low energy-consuming vessel that features anchorless stabilizers and high-tech Zodiac loading decks for launching the expert-led shore tours. Ocean Victory™ will be sailing on 12- and 13-day journeys through the less traveled regions of Alaska’s Inside Passage, which will be led by a seasoned expedition team.

Fresh lobster is available nightly on American Queen Voyages™ vessels.

Fresh lobster is available nightly on American Queen Voyages™ vessels.

The All-Inclusive Experience

American Queen Voyages™ provides guests with a truly all-inclusive experience.  Fares include a one-night pre-cruise hotel stay with free ground transfers between the hotel and vessel. Cruises offer guests unlimited included guided tours using deluxe motorcoaches. Guests also enjoy unlimited beverages, with open bars and lounges throughout each of the vessels. And American Queen Voyages™ vessels provide acclaimed cuisine at diverse venues for lunch, breakfast and dinner. The dining rooms offer diverse gourmet selections. Fresh lobster and USDA Prime Beef are available every night. All-day in-room dining is also available. There’s unlimited Wi-Fi, and bicycles and hiking sticks are available. Guests enjoy live daily onboard entertainment and enrichment.

Themed Voyages

American Queen Voyages™ offers special themed voyages. Themes range from Culinary & Cocktails, Music and Special Events to Culture and History. For instance, a special event cruise is the Performance by Lee Greenwood. This is offered on the American Queen® July 3, 2022 sailing from Memphis to Nashville as well as her July 10, 2022 sailing, Nashville to Memphis. And it’s offered on the June 27, 2022 sailing of the American Countess™ from Louisville to Nashville.

The Grand Saloon provides a lavish venue for entertainment on the American Queen®.

The Grand Saloon provides a lavish venue for entertainment on the American Queen®.

Holiday cruises are also are offered. The special Founder’s Cruise is taking place on the American Queen® departing August 14, 2022 from Louisville to St. Louis.   Details on the themed voyages can be found by going to

American Queen Voyages™ and SafeCruise™

American Queen Voyages™ has introduced an enhanced set of health and safety protocols called SafeCruise™. This is the line’s commitment to ensuring the safety of its guests throughout the cruise experience.

A COVID-19 vaccination is required for all guests and crew for all sailings. Vaccination documentation must be provided prior to boarding any of the ships.  Masks and face coverings are required during the embarkation process and while riding on the shore excursion motorcoaches. Also, all guests must participate in a COVID-19 test the night prior to their sailing. In addition, the SafeCruise™ program covers safety and health protocols as far as embarking and disembarking from the ships (disinfecting luggage is one) along with cleaning and sanitation measures in public spaces, staterooms, restaurants and more. There are licensed medical personnel onboard all the ships throughout the voyage.

Creating Discovery

American Queen Voyages™ focuses on creating discovery, and using the waters is their way forward to doing this. With its three divisions, guests explore the rivers, lakes and oceans. This is truly a wonderful option to consider when putting together your next group cruise.

—By Cindy Bertram

Cindy Bertram has 15+ years of cruise industry expertise in marketing, content creation, sales and training as well as social media. Her MBA from Loyola University Chicago complements her high creative edge and liberal arts BA. She can be reached