The Grand American Queen Steamboat
American Queen is the grandest and largest steamboat the world has
ever seen. Due to bankruptcy by her former owners, the magnificent
boat was placed in storage in November of 2008. A new company called
The American Queen Steamboat Company brought the American Queen
back into service in April of 2012. This is great news, not only for
passengers and crew but for historical value. This will be the only
overnight passenger steamboat traveling the rivers of the United
States. Cruises range from three days to ten days, departing from
many cities. The new home port is located in
Memphis, TN. See the American Queen Steamboat Company site at the bottom of this page or contact your
travel agent for more information about booking a cruise on our
beautiful rivers aboard this amazing vessel.
are pleased to introduce the Riverlorians that will be serving on the
American Queen. Both have served on the boat in the past and have
returned to help enhance the steamboat experience for her
as Riverlorian aboard the Str. AMERICAN QUEEN is a fitting place to
meet up with Travis as she features a calliope he was part of the
conception of. His love
of the river began at the young age of 3, when he first remembers
hearing the unique pied piper of the river. "I remember asking,
what is that sound and being told, it's the showboat calliope
calling people to the show", says Travis. The Showboat MAJESTIC
was playing her calliope at the city front of Jeffersonville, IN back
in 1967 when he first heard the call of the river.
that first trip on the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE, Travis came to know the
Captain and the crew of the vessel and visited often to hear and play
the calliope. He would record the calliope and practice from what he
heard. This lead to opportunities to meet other calliope players and
crew members on many other boats like the DELTA QUEEN, MISSISSIPPI
QUEEN, and JULIA BELLE SWAIN. All the while absorbing the stories of
the rivers from the men and women who had gone before him. "I was
very fortunate to have come to the rivers when I did, for I got to
know and work with some of the last of the steamboaters from the end
of the fabled steamboat age", says Travis. He didn't know it at
the time...but, the calliope had called him to the river with
he assumed the position of Calliopist aboard the Str. BELLE OF
LOUISVILLE where he branched out into many other fields aboard the
boat. He worked as a Deck Hand, Narrator, Souvenir Person, and later
even a Public Spokesperson for the vessel in his 14-year career with
Travis came back to the rivers as Riverlorian of the Str. MISSISSIPPI
QUEEN. He would serve aboard her, the Str. DELTA QUEEN, and the Str.
AMERICAN QUEEN over the next 6 years. "When overnight steamboating
came to an end, I was lost! " Writing articles, making appearances
to give talks about river history, performing on calliopes, and
visiting on the rivers has filled his time. Dreaming about returning
to the rivers on a full-time basis has been an obsession for him.
he will be making a return to his beloved rivers on the Grandest
Steamboat Ever Built, the Str. AMERICAN QUEEN for the Great American
Steamboat Company of Memphis, TN. as Riverlorian. Along with
seasoned fellow Riverlorians Jerry Hay and Mary Charlton he will
share the duties of educating the guests as well as entertaining them
with facts, fiction, anecdotes, and the true fun of the rivers. Not
to mention a little calliope playing when time permits...for he has
once again answered the calliope's call.
Hay's passion for the rivers began at an early age, growing up near
the Wabash River in Indiana. He built his first boat at the age of 14
and his many river adventures began. Over the years he has traveled
many rivers and written river guidebooks for the Wabash River, White
River, Ohio River, Illinois Waterway, Tennessee River and Cumberland
River. These books are very helpful for those wishing to safely
travel the rivers in their own boats. His newest guidebook is
"Mississippi River - Historical Sites and Interesting Places."
This book has details, maps, and photos of the entire Mississippi
has also authored three published books about rivers. "Beyond
the Bridges" is a hard cover book about river stories, history
and practical information. It is also available in a soft cover
edition titled "Rivers Revealed." Hay experienced an
unusual relationship with a goose that he rescued and the story
became a popular children's book titled "A Goose Named
Gilligan". He also produced a CD of humorous river stories
called "Life on the River."
has traveled or worked on many types of watercraft. They include
canoes, kayaks, jonboats, pontoon boats, deckboats, cruisers,
towboats, steamboats and even a raft. He spent many years serving as
Riverlorian on the Delta Queen, American Queen and Mississippi Queen.
great deal of Jerry's time has been spent educating children about
our rivers. His goal is to help them understand the importance of our
waterways along with demonstrating how our rivers and streams connect
with the rest of the world. Of course, safety is always featured in
talks with children. He developed a web site called "Rivers For
Kids" to aid teachers and children in learning about our rivers.
is very pleased to be back on the American Queen, doing what he
loves; talking about rivers and steamboating, answering questions,
and visiting with steamboaters. Feel free to approach Jerry any time
if you have any questions and be sure to attend his daily
"Riverlorian Chats" for an entertaining and informative
Following are a few reviews:
from Cruise Travel Magazine "Jerry
Hay demonstrates an unabashed passion for his subject that goes well
beyond any prepared script. His love of rivers and riverboating runs
deep, having explored America's rivers by raft, canoe, and
powerboat. Now on the Delta Queen he shares his love of the river on
voyages of American rediscovery."
talks each morning added so much enjoyment to our trip. You
have a real gift for story telling and I found myself wishing that
when I was growing up I had history teachers who were half as
interesting as you." ---- Joan
M. Hay, the steamboat company's "Riverlorian," and a river
pilot in his own right, is into steamboatin' all the way. Each
morning, Hay holds informal talks about steamboat history, shares
river lore with passengers, and cites the source of many common
expressions we use today, which had their origin in steamboatin'. Hay
is an author as well, having written a delightful children's book
titled "A Goose Named Gilligan"
though, is Jerry Hay, Riverlorian whose role is to spin yarns and
share river lore and history, which he does with a sense of humor as
rich as the Delta's deeply polished wood" not to be missed as
they provide interesting aspects of the river cruise."
Hay has returned to life on the
steamboats as one of three veteran Riverlorians on the American Queen.
See a photo tour of the American Queen Steamboat.