This article was originally published on wrcb-TV online.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -The historical Delta Queen sailed away this afternoon after docking on Chattanooga’s north shore for more than five years.
The boat is on its way to Louisiana where it will receive a full renovation inside and out, before being put back on the water to begin a new chapter of river tours.
“It’s been a great day. It’s an exciting day. It’s the first day in the next chapter of the delta queen,” said Cornel Martin, CEO and President of the Delta Queen.
It’s been a long and exciting voyage for the Delta Queen, which hit the water ways in 1927.
“Operating on the west coast between Sacramento and San Francisco, worked in WWII as a navy vessel,” said Martin. “Moving after WWII to the Mississippi river and entering into the overnight crew service; coming here in 2009 as a dock side hotel.”
While she’s spent five years stagnant, her time in Chattanooga is what saved her from becoming scrap metal.
“We’re very appreciative of Chattanooga, the community who supported her and kept her alive all these years; so that we can bring her back to river cruise service,” said Martin.
She’ll undergo a five million dollar facelift just for the occasion.
“Complete renovation of the hotel side of the vessel, going down to the marina side, replacing the 1919 vintage boilers,” said Martin.
Dana Jones first climbed aboard the delta queen 20 years ago, he says he’s happy to see her history continue.
“You could walk onboard and you still felt the pulse of her legend and to see it revitalized. Incredible. She’s Americana at its best,” said Jones. “She’s still got a lot of life left in her and we’re looking forward to being able to share her with the world again.”
This isn’t the last time you will see the Delta Queen. She’s expected to be cruising the river ways once again in 2016, and will be making stops in Chattanooga along the way.