American Queen GSA reassures agents after cruise line closes

By Lisa James
21/02/2024
Home » American Queen GSA reassures agents after cruise line closes

The UK GSA for American Queen Voyages has stepped in to reassure agents following the announcement the cruise line has ceased trading.

Staff at the Fort Lauderdale-based company were informed it would close at 5pm local time on Tuesday 20 February and all future sailings would be cancelled.

American Queen is represented in the UK by AQGSA Ltd, administered by Light Blue Travel, which said it will shortly contact all trade partners who hold bookings and will offer a similar cruise or a full refund.

The cruise line is part of the Hornblower Group. It operated American river cruises as well as expeditions to Alaska, the Canadian Inside Passage and along the Pacific seaboard to the Mexican Riviera and Costa Rica.

A message on the cruise line’s website says: “American Queen Voyages has made the difficult decision to shut down.”

It adds: “Despite great efforts by our team, crew and partners, American Queen Voyages (AQV) unfortunately has been unable to rebound from the effects of the pandemic. The overnight cruise industry was especially affected by changes in travel preferences and, as a result, AQV has become financially unsustainable.

“We are therefore shutting down the business, and all future AQV cruises have been cancelled.

“We are deeply proud of our crew and the outstanding travel experiences and service we have provided to our guests. As we reflect on the journey we have shared over the years, we are filled with gratitude for the privilege of serving our guests, partners and agents and for being part of our incredible local communities.

“It has been an honor to bring joy to so many lives, and we are deeply touched by the relationships we have formed and the memorable experiences we have created.

“We sincerely regret any inconvenience this decision causes. Our goal is to ensure a smooth process for all AQV stakeholders.”

At the beginning of this month, the company cancelled February cruises, but said voyages would resume in March.

Light Blue Travel Managing Director Rupert Thomson said: “We were saddened to hear that American Queen Voyages ceased trading yesterday.

“AQGSA, as administered by Light Blue Travel, acted as GSA for American Queen Voyages in the UK and Europe, both for the trade and direct bookings. All those who have made bookings through the UK office will be offered one of two options.  We will either source a similar cruise through another supplier, or give a full refund of monies paid to AQGSA Ltd.

“We understand this news may cause concern to those with bookings and will be very disappointing, but if they choose to reschedule an alternative cruise, they can rest assured that we will do our utmost to find the most suitable solution.  Nobody need worry about their money, it is held by AQGSA Ltd in the UK in designated bank accounts. We can only apologise for the disruption, which is totally beyond our control.

“We will contact all trade partners who hold bookings shortly, and anyone with a direct booking should contact their travel provider.

“We have worked with American Queen Voyages since the early days, nearly 10 years, and are very sad that the company has ceased trading. We hope that the iconic paddlewheel steamboats will be rescued in the future and can re-commence their unique North American river cruises, on the Mississippi.”

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