About Us

“Let us cast off the bowlines and sail together into a deeper, more powerful and personal experience of the North American continent, history, and people. Are you ready?”
— John Waggoner
CEO and Founder
American Queen Voyages™ has proudly celebrated the American spirit of adventure and discovery since 2011. Our immersive and award-winning itineraries push boundaries to bring guests thrilling destination experiences on all seven of America’s rivers, plus expeditions to Alaska, the Canadian Inside Passage, and along the Pacific seaboard to the Mexican Riviera and Costa Rica.

The company began when HMS Global Maritime, founded by John Waggoner, bought the 436-guest riverboat American Queen® from the United States Maritime Administration and formed the Great American Steamboat Co. to revive travel on U.S. rivers with an all-American crew.

For 10 years, this business entity operated as American Queen Steamboat Co. offering close-to-home adventures on America’s rivers. In September 2021, the line was rebranded American Queen Voyages to better reflect the broad choice of destination experiences offered.

We’re bound for the North America you can’t get to on the highway — places where tradition comes alive in stories and everyday life — where Past and Present share space in convivial harmony.

Whether aboard our fleet of authentic paddle-wheel riverboats or our Polar Class expedition ship, guests will experience luxurious accommodations, gourmet regionally inspired cuisine, fascinating enrichment lecturers and gracious service that exceeds expectations. All-inclusive cruise vacations begin with a one-night, pre-cruise hotel stay before joining the vessel, plus unlimited guided tours, open bars and lounges, free Wi-Fi, and live, nightly entertainment.
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Spring of 2014 marked the expansion of our elegant and intimate style of travel to the Columbia and Snake in the Pacific Northwest. The soaring mountains, dramatic landscapes, abundant wildlife and frontier spirit of the fascinating West are the perfect complements to the cultural history, quiet towns and genteel character of our voyages on America’s heartland Rivers. Just as the American Queen embodies the heartland and legacy of Mark Twain, the American Empress was exclusively designed to celebrate the rich tradition of exploration in the West. rivers.



Our continued success led to further expansion and we were overjoyed to announce a new lady of the river, the American Duchess. This exciting new addition to our vessel fleet began cruising the Mississippi River in June of 2017. She was the first, U.S. all-suite paddlewheel vessel with the largest accommodations in every cabin category level on the river. The innovative, 166-guest American Duchess followed in the pedigree of our line’s namesake, the American Queen, with itineraries on the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Did we mention that she features luxurious, two-story Loft Suites? Another first on America’s rivers!



American Queen Steamboat Company has announced a definitive agreement to acquire the Victory I and Victory II cruise ships from Sunstone Ships, Inc., as well as the Victory Cruise Lines brand. These vessels are currently being marketed by Victory Cruise Lines as overnight cruise ships. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed, and the deal is expected to close in early January 2019.



Welcome aboard the newest paddlewheeler in our fleet, the American Countess, a graceful salute to gracious living and leisurely travel. You can join the American Countess during her premiere season to discover a completely modern approach to life on America’s legendary rivers. The newest gem in our riverboat fleet, American Countess welcomes 245 guests along the Tennessee, Ohio, Cumberland, and Mississippi rivers. Her sleek, contemporary design offers plenty of open space for gathering and sharing the fun, and you’ll love the great forward-facing windows and the portside bar with an 80-foot view.



American Queen Steamboat Company® is now American Queen Voyages™, the new overarching brand merging American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines®. Offering a varied and comprehensive portfolio of North American itineraries, American Queen Voyages is comprised of American Queen Voyages River, American Queen Voyages Lakes & Ocean (welcoming the Victory Cruise Lines fleet) and American Queen Voyages Expedition, which includes new Alaska and Central America expedition experiences!



Ocean Voyager embarks inaugural Mexico & Yucatán season followed by the first season sailing the Southeast U.S.A. Ocean Navigator departs Savannah April 2022, making her way to the Great Lakes. Ocean Victory will set sail for the Expedition season

What’s next

It’s been a wonderful ten years — but we are just getting started. We cannot wait to see what the next decade brings as American Queen Voyages™ continues to push boundaries past mainstream expectation and bring our guests ever more thrilling experiences of the entire North American continent — and the people who call these storied water towns home.


We are Hornblower Group, the global leader in world-class experiences and transportation.

American Queen Voyages is one of three divisions that make up the Hornblower Group, a global leader with world-class offerings including a range of water- and land-based experiences, overnight cruises, extended rail journeys, and ferry and transportation services. The organization, which traces its heritage to the establishment of Boston Harbor Cruises in 1926, has a long history of expertise and innovation across its growing portfolio with a footprint that today spans 111 countries and territories. City ExperiencesTM and Journey Beyond round out the divisions that make up the entirety of the Hornblower Group’s travel services enterprise.


American Queen Voyages™, operates the overnight  cruise division of Hornblower Group. Brands within this division include:

  • American Queen Voyages – River: all-inclusive luxury voyages along the Ohio, Mississippi, Tennessee, Illinois, Cumberland, Columbia and Snake rivers
  • American Queen Voyages – Lakes & Oceans:  all-inclusive luxury cruising along the Great Lakes, Canada and New England, Southeast U.S., Alaska, and Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula
  • American Queen Voyages – Expedition:  all-inclusive luxury expedition experience in Alaska and Central America, as well as ports in between.


City Experiences represents our portfolio of water and land-based experiences and includes sub-brands City Cruises and City Ferry.

City Experiences offers a range of experiences including Venture Ashore shore excursions, partner-offered experiences, multi-port packages, Walks sightseeing tours, and Devour Tours food tours.


Journey Beyond is privileged to operate 13 brands spanning the country, connecting guests to the land, and to each other. Headquartered in Adelaide, Journey Beyond formed in 2016 and now comprises tourism brands including: iconic trains The Ghan, Indian Pacific, Great Southern and The Overland; premium small-group outback operator Outback Spirit; eco-luxe lodge Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef; aquatic adventures Cruise Whitsundays, Rottnest Express, Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, Darwin Harbour Cruises and Journey Beyond Cruise Sydney; and our tallest members, Melbourne Skydeck and Eureka 89.