The Delta Queen is an American riverboat that started her long career in 1927. She in one of just a small handful of surviving paddle wheelers that have traversed the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.
The Legend of “Ma” Greene, the First Woman River Boat Pilot
According to River Lore, the riverboat was haunted by the ghost of Mary B. “Ma” Greene, who is the woman who co-founded the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. “Ma” was a avid temperance backer who forbade the sale of liquor aboard the family vessels. “Ma” Green has the distinction of being the first licensed female river boat pilot.
After Ma Green passed away in 1949 a saloon was installed abroad the Delta Queen. Just after the first cocktail was sold, a barge crashed into the Delta Queen shattering the bar. Crew members were amazed when they dislodged the barge and read its name: Captain Mary B. The barge that had crashed into the boat and shattered the bar was named after Ma Greene.
The Delta Queen Maritime and Wartime History
In the American era of steam boating, over 11,000 paddle wheelers traveled the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers in America. The Delta Queen takes people back into an era when steamboats traveled through America’s heartland and the Old South.
The Delta Queen’s riverboat career started in 1927. The paddle wheeler worked a shuttle route on the Sacramento River. During World War II the ship was commandeered by the U.S. Navy, painted gray and used to shuttle military personnel to ships in San Francisco Bay.
In 1947 The Delta Queen passed through the Panama Canal, on its way to Pittsburgh for refurbishing. The Delta Queen is the only steamboat to cross through the Panama Canal.
The Delta Queen a Floating American Historic Hotel
Today the restored riverboat interior proudly feature gleaming teak handrails, Tiffany windows and crystal chandeliers. Accommodations include 87 suites and staterooms with antique and period furnishings.
The Delta Queen travels the Midwest and the South, offering relaxing three to eleven night cruises. The cruise themes may include: Big Band, Jazz Celebrations, Cajun Culture, Cajun Christmas, Civil War, Kentucky Derby, the Three Steamboat Race, Legends of the River and Fall Foliage.
The Delta Queen is now with the Majestic America Line. Majestic America offers river cruises on historic riverboats. The ships of the majestic America Line offer a unique American travel experience on ships that range is size from the intimate 68 guest Contessa to the grand 436 guest American Queen. The Delta queen accommodates 174 guests.
Unique features of the Delta Queen include a rare ironwood floor in the Orleans Room and a 1897 steam calliope salvaged from a sunken showboat and sold to a circus. The Delta Queen rings the same bell that sounded out the landing used for a cruise that Mark Twain rode on in 1883.
Guests of the boat receive Old Southern hospitality, with three meals daily, including a five course dinner every night. There are three lounges on board, including the Betty Blake Lounge, Forward Cabin Lounge and the Texas Lounge.
U.S. Port cities include New Orleans, Galveston, Memphis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Nashville and St. Louis. Guests of the riverboat enjoy the experience of going to bed in one riverfront city and waking up in another.
The Delta Queen holds the distinction of being the only floating Historic Hotel of America. The Delta Queen was inducted into the National Maritime Hall of Fame in 2004.