As new paddle boats are launched in 2012, stow away together in style for a trip on America's most iconic river
Couples entranced by America can honeymoon in true southern
style this year as cruising is set to return to the Mississippi
River. Cruises have been virtually non-existent since 2008 when the
river was beset with flooding, an oil spill, and two lines
operating on the river went bust.
This year, two new ships will come into service on the mighty Mississippi, the first for 15 years. The Great American Steamboat Company announced this week that construction has started on a 150-passenger paddlewheel ship. This is in addition to its 'American Queen' paddleboat, which was relaunched in April by Priscilla Presley. The American Queen carries up to 436 passengers and sails voyages out of different ports along the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers, from New Orleans to Cincinnati.
American Cruise Lines' new vessel, the 'Queen of the Mississippi,' will cruise from Memphis, Tennessee from August and will carry 150 passengers. The upsurge in Mississippi cruising was kick-started last year by Blount Small Ship Adventures, which ran three departures on the 96-passenger 'Grand Caribe.'
The golden age of Mississippi steamboats (around 1830 to 1870) is being recreated and updated for 21st century couples. The Victorian-style riverboats plying the Mississippi this year recapture the glamour of the Deep South but with modern amenities. Rooms aboard modern boats come complete with large balconies for watching the sunset, wi-fi in every stateroom and satellite TVs.
The Mississippi River, the biggest river system in North America, runs 2,530 miles (4,070 km) through ten states from Minnesota to its delta in the Gulf of Mexico. It also runs deeply through American culture.
American Cruise Lines' Chief Executive Charles Robertson describes the allure of the Mississippi River: "The culture and tradition is woven through the American fabric."
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