Paddlewheel Fans Rejoice – Defunct Cruise Line’s Ships Bought By Rival, Will Sail On

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American Cruise Lines, the largest river cruise and small-ship cruise line in the USA, has acquired four new cruise ships from the bankrupt rival American Queen Voyages.

American Queen Voyages

American Queen Voyages was an expedition and river cruise line that operated from 2011 until February 2024, when it was forced to declare bankruptcy and cancel all future cruises.

It was famous for its fleet of four paddlewheelers, iconic boats that offered comfortable accommodation, including the American Queen – the largest paddlewheel steamboat ever built.

Those four ships – the others being American Countess, American Duchess and American Empress – went up for auction along with other assets, and American Cruise Lines won the bid for these four ships for a total of $5.55 million, with another $750,000 paid for business records, website domains and more.

This takes the total number of ships in the fleet for American Cruise Lines to 23 – the company has been rapidly expanding, with the fleet now almost triple what it was in 2019.

By the end of 2025, the fleet will have grown to 28 ships, with several new riverboats and Coastal Cats ships on order.

American Queen Voyages did have two coastal ships up for grabs in the auction, although no winner was announced for these.


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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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