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American Cruise Lines scoops up the four AQV river vessels

American Queen is pictured here in New Orleans. It's going, along with three other former AQV riverboats, to American Cruise Lines
American Cruise Lines is acquiring the four river cruise vessels that formerly sailed for American Queen Voyages, which ceased operations.

These include the largest paddlewheel steamboat ever built, American Queen, as well as American Duchess and American Countess, all of which have plied the Mississippi, and American Empress, based in the Pacific Northwest on the Columbia and Snake rivers.

The vessels are changing hands as part of the Chapter 11 process for AQV parent Hornblower Group as it unwinds the overnight cruise business

ACL confirmation

'American Cruise Lines is pleased to be the successful bidder for AQV’s river vessels,' the company said in a statement to Seatrade Cruise News. 'We look forward to announcing additional details after this portion of the Hornblower Holdings bankruptcy process concludes.'

The sale awaits final approval in a court hearing.

Two coastal vessels' fate pending

The fate of AQV's two coastal vessels, Ocean Voyager and Ocean Navigator, is pending following their April 1 auction.

ACL continues building, too

In the past five years, American Cruise Lines has nearly tripled its US fleet while also introducing new riverboats on the Mississippi every year since 2018. The company recently ordered three more ships, including riverboats, making for five under construction at its affiliated yard, Chesapeake Shipbuilding, in Salisbury, Maryland.

The company’s full fleet of 19 other small ships and riverboats is deploying across the country for the 2024 season, with more than 140 ports in the charts this year.