In a late October earnings call, Joe Ueberroth, president and CEO of Ambassadors International, the current owner of Majestic America Line, said that no matter how little capital was required, the company’s investment in domestic river cruising was "a wrong investment." Ueberroth said there are no current plans to file bankruptcy on behalf of Majestic America Line, despite the fact that the line has driven up Ambassador’s debt and put a strain on the company’s other healthy areas of investment.
Ueberroth also sees no viable opportunity to sell the fleet as a whole. Ambassadors returned Empress of the North to the U.S. Maritime Administration and plans to do the same with American Queen — and her debt — if no qualified buyer emerges in the next two months. The other vessels are debt-free and will be laid up until a buyer emerges. Ueberroth noted that the current economic climate makes it very difficult to obtain financing for such a venture, although he said there was sincere interest in individual vessels.
He said that he sees little value in the Majestic America name. The company also owns the rights to the former names of entities that made up the Majestic America fleet, which may have greater value.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate is in the midst of an effort to get a congressional waiver to allow the Delta Queen to continue operation; even if this is successful, she will not operate in 2009, according to Ueberroth.