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American Queen Voyages shuts down, cancels future cruises amid reported service issues

American Queen Voyages has shut down.

An automated voice message on its customer information hotline said the cruise line "has made the difficult decision" to suspend operations, and all future cruises have been scrapped. “Guests and customers should expect to be fully refunded for canceled cruises,” the message said.

The message directed listeners to www.aqvrefunds.com “to begin the refund process,” and said they could find more information at www.aqvinfo.com.

"Despite our best efforts, demand for overnight cruises has not recovered following the pandemic, and AQV has become financially unsustainable," a guest FAQ section on the second website reads. "We thank you for your support and deeply regret any inconvenience this causes you."

No ships were sailing at the time of the closure. Adam Peakes, president of the line's owner Hornblower Group, said it plans to "sell the company, or, if a sale cannot be achieved, its operations will be wound down."

"Please know this decision was not made lightly," he said in an emailed statement shared with USA TODAY. "We are deeply proud of our employees and crew for the outstanding services they have provided our guests over the years. As the backbone of the AQV experience we extend our deepest appreciation to our team for their unwavering commitment, passion and hard work, which has been exceptional. We would also like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our guests, partners, agents and the local communities where we call who have each been integral to our journey."

Your cruise was canceled: Now what?

The news comes after the line reportedly canceled three season-opening sailings set to take place on the Mississippi River later this month, attributing the changes to an extended layup schedule. Multiple industry groups previously suspended sales of American Queen Voyages cruises because of service issues, including delayed commission payments, Travel Weekly reported in January.

The line began sailing as American Queen Steamboat Company in 2011 and was rebranded as American Queen Voyages in 2021 after merging with Victory Cruise Lines.

Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at ndiller@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: American Queen Voyages shuts down, cancels all future cruises