Two vessels from Majestic America Line, the seven-ship American river fleet owned by Ambassadors International, are being sold off by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD). The 235-passenger Empress of the North and the 436-passenger American Queen, both part of the former Majestic America Line, are being sold to pay off debt after being turned over to MARAD last year.
Majestic America’s other ships — Mississippi Queen, Columbia Queen, Queen of the West and Contessa — also remain in drydock, while the vintage Delta Queen, which has lost the Congressional concessions that allowed her to operate under current requirements, is currently a floating hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The river fleet, which once commanded very high per diems and sailed full, has passed through the hands of various companies after the 2001 failure of parent company American Classic Voyages, which also owned American Hawaii Cruises and was constructing a set of smaller coastal ships at the time of its demise. Majestic America had brought together the lion’s share of U.S. river cruising and offered itineraries throughout the major rivers of the country. It closed following the end of the 2008 river cruise season.