Recently, major cruise lines have been taking popular features of new ships and adding them to older vessels, giving them a new life as a relevant travel option. Onboard dining and entertainment features on today’s newest ships are a big hit on older ships, at one time the latest and greatest of all passenger vessels. One cruise line though, is going a different direction and looking back in time to the 1880s for a feature that should prove popular with today’s cruise traveler.
Honoring its river-going past, American Cruise Lines acquired a 132-year-old Nichol steam calliope to be placed aboard its new 150-guest paddlewheeler, Queen of the Mississippi.
“The instrument perfectly suits our new paddlewheeler,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President, American Cruise Lines, in a statement. “Blending both old and new, Queen of the Mississippi provides a truly authentic and nostalgic cruise experience, while offering the best and most comfortable accommodations ever available on the Mississippi River. Guests will be truly delighted with the addition of this impressive piece of history.”
When ships go through dry-dock maintenance, clever cruise line operators add new dining venues and onboard programming options like state-of-the-art communications with the outside world, destination-specific lectures and enrichment programs and more.The vintage 1880 calliope, built in Wheeling, West Virginia, will serve as a reminder of the golden era of steam boating. Dismantled in 1938, American Cruise Line will rebuild and use the fully functioning steam-powered instrument to play familiar songs as Queen of the Mississippi makes her way up and down the Mississippi River.
Once owned by St. Louis-based Streekfus Line, the purchase of the calliope includes its original brass whistles and valves, keyboard, recordings and books. Unique to this steam calliope only, is one elevated whistle, which sits above the rest, an uncommon feature not known to be on any other existing calliope.
Not sure what a steam calliope is? Check this video:
[Photo credit -Flickr user w rollins]