American Cruise Lines expects to complete docking ramp soon at Vicksburg waterfront

Published 4:08 pm Thursday, September 15, 2022

Officials with American Cruise Lines Inc. hope to have the ramp for the company’s cruise boats ready within the next few weeks, a company spokesperson said.

Alexa Paolella, public relations manager for American Cruise Lines, said construction workers have been in the process of building the company’s 500-foot docking area on the city’s waterfront along the Yazoo Diversion Canal.

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen in November 2020 approved a 20-year lease with American Cruise Lines Inc. involving approximately 500 feet on the waterfront along the Yazoo Diversion Canal from the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad Depot on Levee Street south to the China Street flood gate.

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Paolella said the construction crews are repairing the existing ramp at the site and extending the ramp 200 feet.

“The purpose of that would be to accommodate two of our riverboats at the same time without blocking the public boat ramp,” she said. “And the new extension will also have an additional vehicle access ramp.”

Paolella said the ramp will be static and will not move up or down with the level of the river “but the 200-foot extension will be helpful in all regards. Currently, we just dock higher or lower along the ramp depending on the current water level and that works well.”

She said the vehicle access ramp is intended for normal passenger vehicles as well as golf carts.

She said the company will also add landscaping and clean the area up.

And while the ramp will belong to American Cruise Lines, Paolella said, “We do want to promote and encourage tourism in Vicksburg and the region, so we are open to allowing or having other companies as our customers use the ramp.”

One company is already taking American Cruise Lines’ offer. Viking Cruise Lines in May signed an agreement with American to sublease its docking space. Viking will pay a sublease fee and submit the third-party passenger fee to the city, along with the $2 per passenger fee American Cruise Lines pays the city.

American Cruise Lines was the second river cruise company to sign a lease for riverfront docking space with the city.

The board on Nov. 16, 2020, approved a 20-year ground lease with Viking USA LLC at a rate of $1 per passenger to use the site, which is located behind the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad Depot on Levee Street and goes north.

Viking is leasing a 600-foot section of Vicksburg’s riverfront along the Yazoo Diversion Canal north of the American Cruise Lines.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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