It was eerily quite around the boat during this morning’s disembarkation. Usually, this time is bustling and busy and noisy and guests prepare to return home. But today, guests sat visiting with each other quietly, waiting for their assigned bus to be announced ready for boarding. Many roamed around the boat taking some last photographs. There was a pall of sadness hovering over us all. Any yet, we all looked at each other, hugged, and bid farewell with the connection and bond of having shared something very special together. I will miss our cruise guests. They have been delightful and entertaining. I wouldn’t trade for the stories and experiences we’ve shared together.

We roamed around and visited with other crew members who also were preparing to depart as we watched the bustling boat grow more still and quiet. I have often expressed the belief that it is the steam engine that gives the Delta Queen its life, but I realize now it is even more so her guests. These ardent fans, passionate travelers, and returning friends are the heart of this precious experience. I will miss them all.

The boat finally grew so quiet that it became disturbing, and so Laura and I began to gather our things and laboriously haul them over to the American Queen. Both boats will go down together, but due to passenger restrictions, we will ride in a stateroom aboard the AQ. At the cities along the lower river, we will continue to conduct Tribute Events to thank the towns for the years of support.

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