Friday, June 5th, 2009

Shortly after 3pm on June 5, 2009, Jill and Eddie Wade became the first guests to check in to the Delta Queen Hotel.

Shortly after 3pm on June 5, 2009, Jill and Eddie Wade became the first guests to check in to the Delta Queen Hotel.

Well, it’s official. The Delta Queen Hotel is open! Laura and I are so excited that this day is finally here. After the April 1 opening was delayed, we arrived in Chattanooga on Apirl 8 to prepare for the planned April 15 opening. We’ve worked hard with the dedicated staff to prepare the vessel and our entertainment programming as the ownership waded through the beurocratic hassels to obtain all the necessary permits.

But now…(trumpets sound) with a certificate of occupancy from the city and liquor and beer permits, they are raring to go.

They will open the hotel in phases. So far, just the rooms in the Aft Cabin deck are available as they are still waiting on more power from the city. Other cabins and the dining room will be operational soon. The staff are so excited to be open!

More power is forthcoming to expand needed services, more guests are booked, the restaurant and mainstage shows open on June 19. Things are moving!

Laura and I did our first evening of programming including a guided vessel tour, my riverboat gambler card magic act, and then four sets in the Texas Lounge. Despite very little publicity during the soft opening, we had a nice crowd and everyone seemed to be very happy and really enjoying themselves. We are so glad to be here and to have things up and running!!!!!!!

For any previous crew out there, you remember coming out of layup. That’s where we are now. The boat used to tie up for maintenance a month or two each winter and then the first crew of the season helped get her ready for passengers. It seemed that on embarkation day at 11am we always still had cardboard on the floors, plastic over furniture, equipment in the hallways, etc. I was always filled with a panic that we would never be ready in time for the first guests to arrive. But somehow it all always magically comes together just minutes before the first guest.

Well, today is the day. The hotel opens at 3pm and this morning is still a flurry of activity. Hoses are being relaid under the dock, equipment is being put away, things are being organized, etc. But having survived many a first cruise out of layup, I know things will come together in time.