Pleasant Holidays Adds New Ship from American Queen

by David Cogswell
Pleasant Holidays Adds New Ship from American Queen

The veteran vacation packager is now offering all four paddlewheel riverboats. Photo: American Queen Steamboat Company


Pleasant Holidays expanded its domestic tour product line with the addition of the American Countess, the newest ship in the fleet of the American Queen Steamboat Company, a specialist in paddlewheel Mississippi riverboats.

The American Countess will become part of the domestic product line of Pleasant Holidays, which is known primarily for its offerings in Hawaii, the Caribbean, Mexico and the South Pacific. The new riverboat has four decks, including a Sun Deck, and 123 staterooms in four categories. It has a capacity of 245 passengers. It was built from an existing hull with extensive reconstructive work that lengthened the body by 60 feet.

The American Countess will sail its inaugural cruise in April 2020, joining its American Queen sister ships, the American Duchess, the American Queen and the American Empress. Pleasant Holidays now offers cruises on all four American Queen riverboats.

The American Queen, American Duchess and American Countess are sailing on the Mississippi and its tributaries, while the American Empress is sailing rivers of the Pacific Northwest. Pleasant is also offering Victory Cruise Lines’ Victory I and II on the Great Lakes, New England and Canadian Maritimes.

Other North American cruises offered by Pleasant Holidays include offerings of NCL Alaska and UnCruise USA. In addition the company offers cruises in Hawaii, the Caribbean, Asia, the South Pacific, Central America, Europe and Mexico.

American Countess will sail six- to 15-day itineraries on the Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio rivers, including New Orleans-Memphis, Memphis-St. Louis, Louisville-Pittsburgh, Chattanooga-Memphis, Minneapolis-New Orleans and St. Louis-Minneapolis.

The Countess will offer themed voyages such as the Antebellum South between New Orleans and Memphis; Ohio River Sojourn between Pittsburgh and Louisville; Mark Twain’s Mississippi between St. Louis and St. Paul; Civil War between Memphis and Chattanooga and themed itineraries that focus on American Bourbon, Blues, BBQ and the music of the ‘50s and ‘60s. The American Countess will also sail the 14-night Mighty Mississippi cruise from Minneapolis to New Orleans.

The riverboat offers fine dining in the Grand Dining Room, featuring regionally inspired styles of cuisine, and casual dining options in The Grill. Also featured are onboard lectures by the Riverlorians, experts in history and culture of the region; Broadway-style theater entertainment; and shore excursions at each port.

The company is currently offering savings of up to $4,800 per stateroom on some 2019 Victory sailings for new bookings made by March 31, and up to $1,800 per stateroom on select 2020 AQSC voyages on new bookings made by July 31.

Pleasant Holidays began offering the American Queen Steamboat river cruises in the U.S. in 2012. While the company is expanding its North American cruise offerings, Jack Richards told Travel Market Report, “Cruises continue to be a small portion of the overall business.”

Pleasant Holidays was founded as a Hawaii vacation specialist by Ed Hogan, a former U.S. Naval Air Corps pilot in 1959, the year Hawaii became a state. Hogan and his wife, Marilyn, a former Disney animator with a degree from Pratt Institute, grew the business for 40 years with Hawaii as the core of its business, but expanding to include Mexico, the Caribbean, Tahiti, Fiji, The Cook Islands, Costa Rica and Japan.

Hogan sold a majority holding in Pleasant Holidays to the Automobile Club of Southern California in 1999. The company expanded its operations to the Caribbean in 2003.

In 2007, the company put Jack Richards in charge as CEO. Richards was formerly senior vice president and vice president product marketing and strategy at Hotels.com/Expedia.

The company expanded its operations in 2010 into mainland U.S., with destinations in Arizona, Florida, California and Nevada. The company has since continued to grow its mainland U.S. offerings to destinations across the country, from New York to Seattle, Colorado, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston, Montana and Texas.

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