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American Queen refurbishment enhances staterooms, dining

New or refreshed furniture in public areas and suites, enhancements to the J.M. White Dining Room and a more comprehensive alternative dining selection in the renamed Front Porch Café are among the hotel-side changes under way aboard the American Queen prior to its second season.

As part of the 436-passenger paddlewheeler’s scheduled annual layup, half a million dollars of hotel-side work is under way at the New Orleans’ Bollinger Shipyards before the first 2013 voyage on Feb. 23.

As earlier reported, the vessel is also undergoing technical work including a rebuilt paddlewheel and a new, more durable paddlewheel drive shaft.

After the make-over, American Queen public areas will appear ‘even richer and more opulent, while back-of-the-house changes and additions improve efficiency,’ according to Ted Sykes, president and coo of American Queen Steamboat Co.

The company said new woodwork, custom-milled carpets and period fabrics in jewel tones are intended to heighten the sense of elegance and reflect the paddlewheeler’s heritage.

Furniture in public areas and suites is being reupholstered or replaced. At the entrance to accommodations, new mahogany plantation shutters will enhance privacy and ambiance. Added river scenes by artist Michael Blaser will adorn hallways throughout the boat.

The J.M. White Dining Room is gaining a dramatic new marble and granite entryway, wallpaper and carpeting. New empire-style dining chairs are being added, and a mahogany wine wall displaying popular and boutique will create a new centerpiece for the room, which also added a double-sided buffet to allow a greater selection at breakfast and lunch.

Behind the scenes, newly added appliances will help the galley staff to deliver culinary director Regina Charboneau’s signature cuisine.

The Front Porch of America will transform into the Front Porch Café, offering a more comprehensive alternative dining option with the addition of a small prep kitchen executing a light menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The sitting area will gain new furniture.

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