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American Queen to Refocus, Selling Ocean Navigator and Ocean Voyager


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4 hours ago, ericosmith said:

Here is the article I referred to:

 

https://www.upmatters.com/news/michigan-news/american-queen-voyages-ending-great-lakes-cruises/

 

I think uktog hit the nail on the head.  I'm not sure a southeast US cruise is even legal since the ships are flagged in the Bahamas and would need to include a foreign port.

I’ve actually completed a southeast cruise with AQV’s Ocean vessel. It was round trip out of Jacksonville Florida going up the coast through Georgia and to Charleston SC.  To make it “legal”, there was a brief (very brief) stop in Freeport, the Bahamas.  This trip (Feb. 2022) was delightful.  At that time, both Voyager and Navigator were doing cruises along the SE coast, and the cruise I was on was relatively full (maybe 85%?).


 

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8 hours ago, NancyDrew1953 said:

I’ve actually completed a southeast cruise with AQV’s Ocean vessel. It was round trip out of Jacksonville Florida going up the coast through Georgia and to Charleston SC.  To make it “legal”, there was a brief (very brief) stop in Freeport, the Bahamas.  This trip (Feb. 2022) was delightful.  At that time, both Voyager and Navigator were doing cruises along the SE coast, and the cruise I was on was relatively full (maybe 85%?).

 

Interesting.  I tried to look up that itinerary this year but it doesn't exist.  The last cruises on either of these ships are scheduled in October.  

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7 hours ago, ericosmith said:

Interesting.  I tried to look up that itinerary this year but it doesn't exist.  The last cruises on either of these ships are scheduled in October.  

Last year, they had several trips in January to about April up the East coast with quickie stops in the Bahamas.  Then, the ships went further north along the U.S. with stops in the Canadian Maritime provinces before starting the Great Lakes seasons.  I thought that the pattern in reverse heading southward was repeated in the late fall in 2022, but it looks like AQV has abandoned this.

 

I haven’t heard any speculation as to the fate of these two vessels.  It will be a shame if they are scrapped as I thought they filled a good niche in small ship cruising.  

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On 6/24/2023 at 11:10 PM, ericosmith said:

Here is the article I referred to:

 

https://www.upmatters.com/news/michigan-news/american-queen-voyages-ending-great-lakes-cruises/

 

I think uktog hit the nail on the head.  I'm not sure a southeast US cruise is even legal since the ships are flagged in the Bahamas and would need to include a foreign port.

They do include a Bahaman port..

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My hope is that some other cruise line, either a start up with “deep pockets”, and experienced staff either purchase and refurb these two ships, or better yet, build new ones, and continue these itineraries; or an existing, well established one expand into this market and do likewise…

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On 6/23/2023 at 4:50 AM, American Queen Voyages said:

Hi there! What sailing in September 204 were you booked on? We are disappointed to hear that you were not made aware of the cancellation at an earlier date.

 

On 6/23/2023 at 11:36 AM, bob brown said:

September 28 - October 10, Ocean Voyager, Chicago to Montreal…

What I am disappointed in, is that after promptly answering your inquiry, I have heard nothing further from you.

Further, my travel agent reached out to your office, and after almost a week, also has not received a reply to his inquiry…🙁

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3 hours ago, bob brown said:

 

What I am disappointed in, is that after promptly answering your inquiry, I have heard nothing further from you.

Further, my travel agent reached out to your office, and after almost a week, also has not received a reply to his inquiry…🙁

 

Communication is definitely not one of AQV's strengths! It's too bad because poor communication along with a bad/confusing website will get in the way of new bookings. 

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On August 15, 2022 I made a $500 deposit on a 14-day Great Lakes cruise on the Ocean Voyager for August 10, 2024 beginning and ending in Chicago.  I was notified by an AQV reservations agent on March 28, 2023 that the cruise was cancelled because the Ocean Voyager and Ocean Navigator will not be operating next year.  No reason was given so the news in this thread that these two vessels are being sold is extremely interesting.  The AQV reservations agent told me it will take 60 days to receive a refund.  When I still hadn’t received the refund after that time, I called AQV on May 30 and spoke to a different reservations agent, who told me it can take up to 90 days for the refund and that it was processed on March 28, 2023.  90 days came and went and I still haven’t received a refund.  So I just called my credit card company and upon investigation they credited my account accordingly.  Good luck to any of you in a similar situation with a cancelled AQV Great Lakes cruise.

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3 hours ago, Globalfish said:

On August 15, 2022 I made a $500 deposit on a 14-day Great Lakes cruise on the Ocean Voyager for August 10, 2024 beginning and ending in Chicago.  I was notified by an AQV reservations agent on March 28, 2023 that the cruise was cancelled because the Ocean Voyager and Ocean Navigator will not be operating next year.  No reason was given so the news in this thread that these two vessels are being sold is extremely interesting.  The AQV reservations agent told me it will take 60 days to receive a refund.  When I still hadn’t received the refund after that time, I called AQV on May 30 and spoke to a different reservations agent, who told me it can take up to 90 days for the refund and that it was processed on March 28, 2023.  90 days came and went and I still haven’t received a refund.  So I just called my credit card company and upon investigation they credited my account accordingly.  Good luck to any of you in a similar situation with a cancelled AQV Great Lakes cruise.

So…they’ve known this since at least March 28th, and still (July 1st), they have not officially notified me…

Doesn’t instil much confidence in the viability of this company…🤔🙄.

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49 minutes ago, bob brown said:

So…they’ve known this since at least March 28th, and still (July 1st), they have not officially notified me…

Doesn’t instil much confidence in the viability of this company…🤔🙄.

Hi Bob,

 

Sorry AQV never reached out to you, but I tried to warn you about the Great Lakes cruise cancellations in this AQV forum on April 3 under the subject “Great Lakes cruise—am I going to be sorry I booked this?”   Apparently you didn’t see the message, where I wrote as follows:

 

To Bob Brown and anyone else who has a Great Lakes cruise scheduled with AQV in 2024 (NOT 2023):

 

In Aug 2022 I put down a deposit on a 14-night Great Lakes cruise on the Ocean Voyager starting Aug 10, 2024 beginning and ending in Chicago.  Last week I was informed by AQV that my cruise has been cancelled because they are temporarily taking the Ocean Voyager and Ocean Navigator out of service next year because they are revamping their Great Lakes itineraries (what I don’t know is whether they are also refurbishing the cruise vessels).  I requested a refund of the deposit because there is no alternative AQV voyage that I’d like to take at this time.  AQV told me that because I made my deposit by AMEX, it might take up to 60 days to be refunded.  I can live with that, but the posts in this forum about people waiting 4-1/2 months for a refund from AQV are scaring me.  For now I am taking AQV at their word and have not asked my credit card company to take any action, but will keep an eye on it.  Anything after 60 days is beyond the realm of reasonability.  But the main purpose of this message is that if you have an AQV Great Lakes cruise scheduled for 2024 on the Ocean Voyager or Ocean Navigator and have not yet heard from them, you need to get in touch with them.

 

The only consolation is that the cruise was too far in the future for either one of us to have paid in full.  In that case it might have been harder to get a refund because AQV would have certainly put pressure on us to apply it to an alternative cruise.  In any event, hope your deposit is refunded on a timely basis without you having to resort to contacting your credit card company.

 

 

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Here's an update about the AQV decision to exit the Great Lakes:

Ship lay-up costs prompted American Queen to exit Great Lakes

 

Several points in the article still don't add up for me:

(1) Great Lakes cruising is a 6-month season [true]

(2) AQV tried them in Mexico, but the lack of a pool hurt passenger satisfaction [ok]

(3) they don't have a buyer for the ships [so no real plan here]

(4) these ships were originally designed for coastal cruising [so why didn't AQV try using them for that instead of giving up so easily?  Are they not PVSA compliant?  And if not, who would buy them?]

(5) they plan to revisit coastal cruising sometime in the future [so after they take a bath on these ships, they will built new ships for this market?]

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6 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Here's an update about the AQV decision to exit the Great Lakes:

Ship lay-up costs prompted American Queen to exit Great Lakes

 

Several points in the article still don't add up for me:

(1) Great Lakes cruising is a 6-month season [true]

(2) AQV tried them in Mexico, but the lack of a pool hurt passenger satisfaction [ok]

(3) they don't have a buyer for the ships [so no real plan here]

(4) these ships were originally designed for coastal cruising [so why didn't AQV try using them for that instead of giving up so easily?  Are they not PVSA compliant?  And if not, who would buy them?]

(5) they plan to revisit coastal cruising sometime in the future [so after they take a bath on these ships, they will built new ships for this market?]

I agree that several of these points don’t seem to make sense.  In the winter - spring of 2022, these ships were doing coastal cruises, and at least, the one I was on was about 85 percent full.  Just speculation, but I would be concerned about the overall viability of the American Queen cruise line.  The ongoing problems with refunds noted in this Board sounds like the Queen is about to go the way of Vantage Travel (bankruptcy and liquidation). Although I have had many great trips with them in the past, I would be very wary of booking anything, including river cruises with them now.

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19 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Here's an update about the AQV decision to exit the Great Lakes:

Ship lay-up costs prompted American Queen to exit Great Lakes

 

Several points in the article still don't add up for me:

(1) Great Lakes cruising is a 6-month season [true]

(2) AQV tried them in Mexico, but the lack of a pool hurt passenger satisfaction [ok]

(3) they don't have a buyer for the ships [so no real plan here]

(4) these ships were originally designed for coastal cruising [so why didn't AQV try using them for that instead of giving up so easily?  Are they not PVSA compliant?  And if not, who would buy them?]

(5) they plan to revisit coastal cruising sometime in the future [so after they take a bath on these ships, they will built new ships for this market?]

 

 

Interesting points. I wonder if they don't find a buyer, will they try coastal cruising again. Is anyone else in this market? With small ships, they can get into a lot of small ports, and the east coast has plenty of interesting places to go.

 

What do they do with the Empress when they aren't doing Columbia and Snake rivers?

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4 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

Interesting points. I wonder if they don't find a buyer, will they try coastal cruising again. Is anyone else in this market? With small ships, they can get into a lot of small ports, and the east coast has plenty of interesting places to go.

 

What do they do with the Empress when they aren't doing Columbia and Snake rivers?

If I read the article correctly, the coastal cruising they tried was in Mexico (where the absence of a swimming pool would be a problem in winter).  Not sure what the East coast market would be like in winter (e.g. New England, even Chesapeake Bay).  And they can't challenge Margaritaville at Sea with their price structure!

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7 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

If I read the article correctly, the coastal cruising they tried was in Mexico (where the absence of a swimming pool would be a problem in winter).  Not sure what the East coast market would be like in winter (e.g. New England, even Chesapeake Bay).  And they can't challenge Margaritaville at Sea with their price structure!

 

I remember seeing a cruise that sailed around Florida and stopped in interesting places. I wanted to do that one, and the company disappeared. 

 

I thought AQV's itinerary for Mexico was pretty weak. I could survive without a pool on a hot cruise, but the Navigator and Voyager needed more shade on deck. 

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1 minute ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

I remember seeing a cruise that sailed around Florida and stopped in interesting places. I wanted to do that one, and the company disappeared. 

 

I thought AQV's itinerary for Mexico was pretty weak. I could survive without a pool on a hot cruise, but the Navigator and Voyager needed more shade on deck. 

I'm not interested in the West coast of Mexico, but a January cruise around the Yucatan (starting/ending in Cancun for easy air access) would be very appealing.  There are many sites off the big ships' radar...

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15 hours ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:
14 hours ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

I remember seeing a cruise that sailed around Florida and stopped in interesting places. I wanted to do that one, and the company disappeared.

15 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Not sure what the East coast market would be like in winter (e.g. New England, even Chesapeake Bay).

 

I wonder...will they try coastal cruising again. Is anyone else in this market?

American Cruise Lines does a lot of coastal cruising, much of it in the winter.  I recently did a Chesapeake Bay cruise in late December.  Other cold-season cruises include southeast US, Florida roundtrip from Jacksonville, Jacksonville around Florida to Key West & St Pete, and central California.

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IIRC, those two ships are U S built, hence could be re-registered as US, as I believe they originally were.  Then they could do all sorts of coastal cruises along the Intracoastal Waterway to lots of ports that large ships can’t access, and no need to do closed loops or visits to near foreign ports.  After the Great Lakes, they could do a series of New England, then reposition to Mid-Atlantic, and eventually around Florida to the Gulf Coast, to “follow the sun”.

If they can make it on the rivers with US crews, they should be able to on coastal cruises as well.

They could sail to New Orleans, and offer combination cruises with their riverboats.

A little imagination in their marketing department is all that is required…🤔

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6 hours ago, bob brown said:

A little imagination in their marketing department is all that is required…🤔

 

You're asking a lot with this statement! 😛

 

But seriously, you're right that there are options for these ships. If AQV can't find a buyer, they may have to consider some coastal cruises just to make some money with these ships. 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

This may be why AQV has waived the white flag on coastal cruising.  American Cruise Line has just accepted delivery of American Eagle, the first of twelve new coastal cruising ships it is building in the US.  They would be eligible to qualify under the PVSA for US-only itineraries, as well as going further afield to the Great Lakes etc.  IMO this makes the AQV coastal vessels obsolete for the North American market. 

https://cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/2023/08/american-eagle-passes-sea-trials/

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On 8/1/2023 at 11:03 PM, Host Jazzbeau said:

This may be why AQV has waived the white flag on coastal cruising.  American Cruise Line has just accepted delivery of American Eagle, the first of twelve new coastal cruising ships it is building in the US.  They would be eligible to qualify under the PVSA for US-only itineraries, as well as going further afield to the Great Lakes etc.  IMO this makes the AQV coastal vessels obsolete for the North American market. 

https://cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/2023/08/american-eagle-passes-sea-trials/

 

With this news, I doubt anyone will want to buy the two AQV ships. I thought AQV would make a go of this because they were an established company, rather than the small companies that bought those ships as start-up vessels and then went bust. Interestingly, my TA was not surprised about the sale. She said that she felt that coastal cruising wasn't in AQV's "wheelhouse."

 

I think ACL is smart to expand US-only cruising. Boomers are getting very old (don't flame me, I'm one!) and many have the time to travel but are leery of leaving the country (I am not of that mindset, however). 

 

I was one and done on ACL, the worst cruise I've ever been on. I swore never again, but as they add more many ships doing small-port coastal cruises, they may tempt me to give them another try.

 

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7 hours ago, bob brown said:

I noticed that on August 14, the head of AQV will be here on CC to answer questions, but when I looked to ask, it said “closed”…how or where do we ask?   Here?🤔

You don't reply to the announcement post, you start a new thread.  The link ("Start new topic") is here:

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/2661-special-event-qa-with-cindy-d’aoust-president-american-queen-voyages/

 

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