Modern day regulations require that sea-going vessels have steel superstructures as protection against the possibility of fire. The old Delta Queen was built before the regulation went into affect, and has a wooden superstructure (although she does have a steel hull). For the past 40 years or so, she has gotten a waiver. Her owners have spent tens of thousands of dollars on fireproofing her wooden areas, putting in state of the art fire-fighting equipment, training the crew in fire-fighting and fire prevention, guest evacuation drills, etc etc - in addition to the fact the the boat is never more than a mile from land, where she can be run ashore and evacuated, unlike a vessel out in the ocean.
Why Congress has decided now to not renew the waiver? -- nobody seems to know. But this boat is a national treasure, and to ban her from the waterways is not rational. Her safety record is something you'd think they would want to emulate, not eliminate.