OPINION: American Cruise Lines chooses wrong name for ship to cruise Pacific Northwest

Upon learning of American Cruise Lines’ decision to rename the Queen of the Mississippi the American Pride before moving it to the Pacific Northwest, I drafted the following email to Charles A. Robinson, Chairman of the Board and CEO of ACL. Because several emails were returned as undeliverable, I am publishing it here as an open letter.

Dear Mr. Robinson:

As a long-time resident of the Pacific Northwest as well as a travel blogger, I am reaching out to express how deeply disappointed I am to learn of the name that American Cruise Lines has chosen for the second ship that will ply the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

Columbia and Snake River Paddlewheeler
This area of the U.S. Northwest and Canadian Southwest is often referred to as Cascadia because of the Cascade Mountains that touch so many political jurisdictions. 

Many of us on both sides of the international boundary relate more closely to our status as residents of the region than citizens of our specific countries. Choosing a jingoistic name like "American Pride" for a ship that will cruise the region and navigate the Columbia, a river that starts in Canada, indicates that American River Cruises may not understand the region and its dynamics as well as it thinks it does.

While I am not going to make any rash predictions like, “People will stay away in droves” (because they probably won’t), choosing a name more in keeping with the region, like Queen of Cascadia would have gone much farther toward giving the impression that ACL is truly striving to be a part of the area instead of merely trying to extract some financial gain from it.

Carl Dombek

Please do not misunderstand: I am neither un-American nor anti-American, and I believe American Pride would be a great name for a ship negotiating the Mississippi. From Minneapolis-St. Paul to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico, it slices through America’s heartland and the name would fit very well indeed. But the Cascadia area in which the ship will now be sailing is a region defined more by its geographical features and its culture than its political boundaries. Renaming the ship as it did, American Cruise Lines failed to take that into consideration and missed an opportunity to connect more closely with the people who live here.

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Photo courtesy American Cruise Lines
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