Seattle line plans cruises on Mississippi River
Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010 8:01 pm
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Seattle cruise line plans Mississippi River excursions next year with routes between New Orleans and Memphis and between Memphis and Nashville.
They’ll be the first overnight cruises on the river since 2008.
Cruise West says the 207-foot Spirit of America — formerly used in Alaska as The Spirit of Glacier Bay — will leave New Orleans on March 19, 2011, for an eight-day trip to Memphis.
It will leave Memphis for Nashville via the Mississippi, Ohio and Cumberland rivers on March 26.
The trips back will leave Nashville on April 2 and Memphis on April 9.
The second set of trips will start April 16, 23 and 30 and May 7.
Each will cost $3,499 to $5,099 and include several stops. Between New Orleans and Memphis, they are Vacherie and St. Francisville, La., Vicksburg and Natchez, Miss., and Helena, Ark. Between Memphis and Nashville, the stops are New Madrid, Mo., Paducah and Smithland, Ky., and Dover and Clarksville.
Steamboats plied the river on excursions to and from New Orleans until two years ago.
The Delta Queen, built about 1926, the Mississippi Queen, which began cruising in 1976, and the American Queen (1995) all originally were owned by the Delta Queen Steamboat Co., which was founded in 1890.
But the line was sold at a bankruptcy auction in 2002 to Delaware North Cos. Inc. of Buffalo, N.Y., which kept the Delta Queen headquarters in New Orleans but sold the three boats in 2006, the year after Hurricane Katrina.
That buyer, Ambassadors International Inc. of Newport Beach, Calif., announced in 2008 that the cruises were over and put the boats up for sale.
The American Queen remains docked. The Delta Queen is a floating hotel in Chattanooga and the Mississippi Queen was sold in May for scrap.
The steamboat Natchez remains in New Orleans but makes only local trips.
Published in The Messenger 6.24.10