The Travel Professor
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

A final goodbye to two Queens

Two elegant ladies of the seas and inland waterways of the world have paid their last respects to the United States. The Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE) and Delta Queen recently made or are making their last American voyages.

Cunard’s QE2 sailed past the Statue of Liberty in New York’s harbor on her 710th and final call to the Big Apple. This queen completes her service with Cunard in November with a sailing to Dubai. She’ll remain there and eventually become a luxury hotel, maritime museum and entertainment destination.

Closer to home the paddle-wheeler Delta Queen is churning up the "Big Muddy" between Memphis and Baton Rouge before the national historic landmark ties up for the last time. The boat itself is the experience," said Franz Neumeier, who has organized a Save the Delta Queen group. "It's an experience of history; it feels so familiar, so like home. The smell of the old furniture, the little shortcomings of an old boat that give her character. On a modern cruise ship, well, I take a cruise because it's a comfortable, modern hotel that takes me from Miami to the Bahamas to do some sightseeing and shopping. I really don't care too much about the ship itself. This is the big difference - the big cruise ships are somewhat generic."

Tougher safety laws have grounded the Delta Queen while a sour economy and increased competition from modern mega-liners has reduced the demand for luxury products.

Happy travels!