Delta Queen: Historic steamboat may be on last cruise

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The great paddlewheel turned the Ohio River water to a froth as the Delta Queen steamboat, a floating National Historic Landmark, departed Cincinnati, Ohio, on its final schedule.

The boat is a throwback to the 1800s and the era of Mark Twain, when thousands of steam-driven paddlewheelers plied the Mississippi River system.

The Delta Queen is the last of those operating as overnight passenger boats on U.S. waterways, giving riders a 19th-century experience on cruises complete with the carnival-like sounds of the steam-whistle calliope.

But it will dock permanently if Congress doesn't grant a safety exemption.

It left Cincinnati on Tuesday on a 10-day cruise down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to Memphis, Tennessee, where it will unload what could be its final passengers.

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