American Queen Voyages Ceases Operations, Terminates Employees

American Queen Voyages (AQV) has shut down permanently. All voyages have been canceled. All employees have been terminated in a notice that Travel Agent acquired. 

In that notice the line cited both "unforeseen business circumstances" and an "inability to obtain sufficient capital at a commercially reasonable rate" as the reasons for the cessation of operations.

"It is most unfortunate that, despite great efforts by our team, crew and partners, AQV has been unable to fully rebound from the effects of the pandemic," said Adam Peakes, President, Hornblower Group, in a statement provided to Travel Agent. As a result, the financial impact has proven unsustainable and we have made the very difficult decision to sell the company, or, if a sale cannot be achieved, its operations will be wound down."

He continued: "Please know this decision was not made lightly. We are deeply proud of our employees and crew for the outstanding services they have provided our guests over the years. As the backbone of the AQV experience, we extend our deepest appreciation to our team for their unwavering commitment, passion and hard work, which has been exceptional. We would also like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our guests, partners, agents and the local communities where we call who have each been integral to our journey."

While the line was not yet sailing in 2024, several February voyages had previously been canceled by the American-flagged small-ship line. In addition, several major trade groups had dropped the line as a preferred supplier. 

American Queen Voyages notice to employees about the line's cessation of all operations and terminations.
American Queen Voyages' notice to employees. (Notice by AQV)

A message on AQV's customer service hotline tells callers, "American Queen Voyages has made the difficult decision to shut down and all future cruises have been canceled. Guests and customers should expect to be fully refunded for canceled cruises. To begin the refund process, visit" While that page didn't seem to be operational at times on Tuesday, today (Wednesday) Travel Agent was able to pull it up online. 

Since AQV sailed on continental U.S. rivers and in Alaska, it was required to set a bond or financial surety, which could then refund passenger payments in the event of any failure to operate. (See this Federal Maritime Administration website page about refunds for passenger deposits in the event of nonperformance.)

This is a developing story, and we've asked several travel agency groups for information on what they've been told for advisor commission payments. When we receive that, we'll post here.

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