Quad Cities to launch, celebrate cruise season Sunday

The Quad Cities will strike up the band, literally, to mark the region’s first cruise line visit of the season when the American Melody docks at River Heritage Park in Davenport on Sunday, June 26. 

The City of Davenport will welcome the return of the American Cruise Line (ACL) ship – which first docked here in 2021 – with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Mayor Mike Matson. He also will greet passengers after the ship docks at around 8 a.m. on the city’s riverfront, where visitors will be able to enjoy live shoreline music and then explore downtown.

Visit Quad Cities said in a news release that it is excited to welcome the 2022 cruise season, adding that it is a crucial regional economic driver that highlights one of the Quad Cities most valuable assets: the Mississippi River. 

Visit Quad Cities also sang the praises of the entire Quad Cities river cruise industry that includes ACL, American Queen Voyages (AQV), Celebration River Cruises, Riverboat Twilight, Channel Cat Water Taxis and, for the first time this year, Viking Cruise Line’s new Viking Mississippi cruises. 

American Melody’s Davenport docking is just one of more than 50 stops by national cruise lines that the Quad Cities will welcome this year. Cruise lines have scheduled visits in the Quad Cities until early November, though the schedule is subject to change. (The cruise lines also warn that public tours of the vessels are unavailable.)

Those national cruise lines visits are not only a way to tell the Quad Cities story, they are a way for hundreds of passengers who disembark to experience the Quad Cities first-hand, Visit Quad Cities, the region’s official destination management and marketing organization, said. 

“We are thrilled about the upcoming cruise season and the positive impact it delivers for the region,” President and CEO Dave Herrell said. “This is a vitally important industry for tourism, our visitor economy, and how we amplify and activate the incredible story of the Mississippi River. This year will be unique for us as Viking embarks on its maiden voyage beginning in August on the Mississippi.

“We are fortunate to have so many wonderful partners, such as ACL, AQV, Celebration, Riverboat Twilight, and the Channel Cat,” he added. “They each do a phenomenal job of creating authentic experiences for their customers. We look forward to helping them leverage the best of what the Quad Cities offers.”

The Mississippi River also is a crucial recreational asset in the Quad Cities, Visit Quad Cities said. Passengers go on tours, visit local attractions and gain authentic experiences while they are here.

Upcoming cruise stops

Those opportunities for passengers to experience the Quad Cities will continue on Friday, July 15, when American Queen Voyages’ American Countess docks at the Isle Casino in Bettendorf. 

Later, Viking’s new Mississippi River cruises will make their maiden voyages on the Mississippi River. Its first Quad Cities stop is planned for Tuesday, Aug. 16, at Davenport’s River Heritage Park. Adding Viking’s globally-recognized brand to the cruise lines sailing on the Mississippi is important to the visibility of the Quad Cities regional destination, Visit Quad Cities said.

Viking isn’t the only new addition for the Quad Cities cruises. ACL also said it is getting ready to add new features to its tours of the Mississippi River.

For example, after its Sunday, June 26, stop in Davenport, ACL’s American Melody, will head north on the Mississippi, where it will begin seasonal Upper Mississippi River cruises between St. Louis and St. Paul. Also, the company is offering complimentary domestic airfare for late July and August for some Upper Mississippi cruise departures aboard American Melody.

With more than 10 different Mississippi itineraries, the company said guests experience the rich history and classic American mystique embodied by the Mississippi as they explore the towns, distinct cultures, and colorful characters that give life to the country’s most vital and storied waterway. 

Cruises include a range of cultural experiences from literary inspired visits to Mark Twain’s boyhood home in Hannibal, Missouri, to more active experiences such as a Cajun Pride Swamp Adventures in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

ACL has about 20 Upper Mississippi River cruises, including the one that docks in Davenport,  which begin in July and run through October, according to the company’s website.

American Cruise Lines is the only domestic line to offer two styles of riverboat for explorations along the Mississippi – classic paddlewheelers and new modern riverboats. The company said it boasts the newest riverboats in the country and its classic paddlewheel fleet has just been completely renovated and redecorated for 2022. In August, the company will introduce a fifth new riverboat for the Mississippi, American Symphony. For more information, go to www.AmericanCruiseLines.com

Content Editor Dave Thompson contributed to this report.

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