American Queen moves Vicksburg arrival back to mid-July

Published 8:17 am Friday, May 29, 2020

Earlier this month the American Queen Steamboat Company announced it would resume riverboat cruises along the Mississippi River in late June, with the American Queen being the first riverboat to visit Vicksburg since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the suspension of cruises in March.

In a letter to partner and tourism agencies, the company announced it was extending its shutdown and would return cruise operations along the Mississippi River July 15. The American Queen, which had been scheduled to visit June 24 is now scheduled to arrive at Vicksburg’s riverfront July 17.

“We had previously alerted you to the temporary suspension of all AQSC vessels through June 22nd, that date has now been adjusted for a tentative return to operation date of July 15th for the American Duchess, American Countess, and American Queen,” the letter read. “Please be advised that we will continue to monitor the situation and the schedules and as the situation changes, we will be in touch with all our valued partners across the country to update and communicate our next arrival date.”

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So, instead of the American Queen being the first riverboat to arrive back in Vicksburg after the virus-related shutdown, the first boat back will be the American Harmony, part of American Cruise Lines. The Harmony is scheduled to arrive in Vicksburg June 29.

In a letter to guests, AQSC founder and CEO John Waggoner said the delay was done with safety of guests and crew in mind.

“This difficult decision to extend our suspension was made to adhere to federal and state mandates, and to reassure our guests and crew that your health and safety are our number one goal and priority,” Waggoner said. “We appreciate your patience and loyalty, wish you the very best in health and look forward to welcoming you aboard in the near future.”

Even though the American Queen is now delayed an additional three weeks, the return of riverboat cruises to the Mississippi River is good economic news for Vicksburg.

In 2019, Vicksburg welcomed 26,158 visitors by way of the riverboat cruises, which accounted for a $2.26 million in economic impact on the local economy.

And before the pandemic forced the shutdown of the cruise industry, Vicksburg was set for a record year when it came to riverboat traffic. In 2018, the city saw 118 total dockings with 131 in 2019. In 2020, the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau was expecting 181 visits from riverboats.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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