The City of Alton, IL recently inked a 5-year deal with American Cruise Lines for three of their vessels to use the Mississippi dock as a point of entry for full-length river cruises and day excursions. The development is meant to be a huge boon to the river town. According to Brett Stawar, president for The Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau, the deal is projected to bring in 2.8 million dollars to the city within the first 5 years and over 8 million dollars within 15 years, if extended.

The Mississippi Queen

The projected revenue includes a per person charge to dock, refueling costs, room cleaning & general boat maintenance and does not account for the potential revenue earned from outbound guest hotel stays and inbound visitors to the many local businesses in the area. Other than the full-length river cruises upstream and downstream on the Mississippi, the boats will also offer day excursions to locations near Alton, including the esoteric Gateway Arch downriver.

Multi-day passengers will have the option to fly into St. Louis Lambert International Airport and receive a shuttle to the river town — with an overnight stay typically being booked the day prior to climbing aboard.

The Harmony

With a history intrinsically linked to the river, Alton provides the ideal backdrop for the steamboat inspired vessels. Along with two steamboat replicas, The American Jazz & Mississippi Queen, American Cruise Lines will also dock one of their contemporary riverboats known as the Harmony — fueling a rejuvenated interest in river transport that has surfaced over the past 10 years. The American Cruise Lines addition — coupled with the 5-star Alton Marina, a distinct cable bridge over the Mississippi and the historic town center — is proving to further enrich an already must stop on the Inland Waterways.

For more information on the American Cruise Line offerings, visit their site here: www.americancruiselines.com

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