Delta Queen: The Fight Continues

| July 21, 2008

Minnesota Congressman James Oberstar - caught in a lie - by Fox News in a story about the Delta Queen.

Campaign to Save the Delta Queen Built in 1926, the Delta Queen features the design of her time, a steel hull with a superstructure constructed of wood. Subsequent Coast Guard regulations prohibited wooden superstructures, but Congress decided more than 40 years ago to provide a special exemption for the Delta Queen. This exemption has been extended by Congress no fewer than six times, but is set to expire again in November 2008.

Meanwhile, in the last two years Delta Queen has undergone extensive upgrades for fire safety, covering all of the wood in fire-retardant materials and upgrading the fire-fighting equipment onboard. The Coast Guard has fully certified her as compliant. So, if anything she is even safer than when Oberstar approved the exemption just two years ago.

A comprehensive campaign was launched to raise awareness for the Delta Queen's excellent safety record, its impeccable training program and the quality and experience of the crew by the Save-the-Delta-Queen organization. These folks have been working hard to bring this obvious grandstanding by Oberstar to the attention of the American public. They have staged demonstrations and helped other congressmen (Ohio's Rep. Steve Chabot) to sponsor alternative bills to get around Oberstar's roadblock. But Oberstar, as head of the transportation committee, has scuttled those bills as well.

CruiseMates is especially sad about this, because one of the people who helped save the Delta Queen many years ago was Bill Muster, a personal friend of travel writers and photographers everywhere. Bill Muster established a special award for travel photographers through the Society for American Travel Writers, SATW, many years ago.

He was also the father to a good friend of mine since childhood, Nori Muster. Nori has been supporting steamboating in the United States for years now with her web site To read Nori's history of how her father helped save the Delta Queen by getting Congressional exemption, click here: The Story of the Delta Queen.

We encourage everyone to get onboard the "Save the Delta Queen" campaign, and Minnesota dwellers, please vote for someone else for the seat held by James Oberstar.

Delta Queen History Today, Delta Queen is owned by Majestic America Line who is committed to providing this American treasure with a proper and well-deserved send off. She will spend the 2008 farewell season celebrating with the communities and people who hold her storied tradition of sailing the waterways of the United States so dear.

The Delta Queen Paddle Wheeler   Inside a Lock

For years, the Delta Queen has been a beloved fixture on the heartland rivers of the United States and provided guests with a view of America from the waters that shaped the country's expansion. She provided a wholly unique way to experience the great American communities, cultures and experiences along the Upper and Lower Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, Black Warrior and Cumberland rivers, as well as the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

In 1970, recognized as the last operational steam paddlewheeler with overnight accommodations plying the rivers, the Delta Queen was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1989, the U.S. Department of the Interior designated her as a National Historic Landmark. She was inducted into the National Maritime Hall of Fame in 2004.

A veteran of World War II and the only steamboat to transit the Panama Canal, the 80 year-old Delta Queen was host to three U.S. presidents and a princess. Stars of stage, screen and the entertainment world have also graced her decks, as well as some of the most prominent business leaders and statesmen of our time.

The ship itself is rich with art and antiquities such as original Tiffany-style stained glass windows, rich hardwood paneling and gleaming brass fittings. She has the only Siamese ironwood floor aboard a steamboat, an 1897 steam calliope, and the very same ship's bell that sounded out landings for the steamboat that Mark Twain rode down river in 1883.

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