Embrace America's Rivers

The American Queen Steamboat

The 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 was great news, not only for passengers and crew but for historical value. This is currently 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 home port is located in New Albany, Indiana. See the  American Queen Steamboat Company site at americanqueensteamboatcompany.com or contact your travel agent for more information about booking a cruise on our beautiful rivers aboard this amazing vessel.

See a photo tour of the American Queen Steamboat

American Queen Riverlorian

Jerry Hay

Jerry Hay's passion for the rivers began at an early age, growing up near theWabash 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 River.

Hay 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."

Jerry 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.

A 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 page called "Rivers For Kids" to aid teachers and children in learning about our rivers.

He is very pleased to be on the American Queen, doing what he loves; talking about rivers and steamboating, answering questions, and visiting with steamboaters. Passengers feel free to approach Jerry any time for any questions and many attend his daily "Riverlorian Chats" for an entertaining and informative session.


In March of 2021, Hay decided to retire from his duties as Riverlorian on the American Queen. He will continue to serve on the boat as a guest speaker from time to time. 

Following are a few reviews:

Quote 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."

Note received "Your 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

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "Jerry 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"

AAA Magazine "Best, 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."

What is a Riverlorian? 

That question is answered in this newspaper article link