New series of cruises planned on Mississippi River

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A Seattle cruise line plans Mississippi River
excursions next year with routes between New Orleans and Memphis,
Tenn., and between Memphis and Nashville, Tenn.
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
Each will cost $3,499 to $5,099 and include five 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, Tenn.
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, Tenn., and the Mississippi Queen was sold in
May for scrap.
The steamboat Natchez remains in New Orleans, but makes only
local trips.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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