Spirit of Peoria & Hakuna Matata Offer Themed River Cruises | Quimby's Cruising Guide

Live in the moment with a flair of yesteryear as you cruise on one of the few remaining paddlewheel boats on the Mississippi River or enjoy the river breeze on the Hakuna Matata excursion boat.

The Alton Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau (ARCVB) is partnering with the Spirit of Peoria and Grafton River Adventures to offer relaxing river cruises along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers throughout the year. Specialty-themed cruises include sunset wine tasting, bird watching, sweets on the Mississippi, dinner and lunch cruises, and more.

The Spirit of Peoria paddlewheel boat is one of the few authentic paddlewheel driven boats in the country. Based in Peoria, Ill., the boat cruises along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers between St. Louis and Peoria from May through September. The Hakuna Matata, run by Grafton River Adventures, is an all-weather, 53-foot, 49-passenger tour boat. The first level of the boat is fully enclosed with large windows and is seasonally air-conditioned and heated.

Cruises begin April 25 with a Sunset Wine Cruise on the Hakuna Matata. The 90-minute cruise includes wine tasting while watching the sun set over the Mississippi River. Boarding begins at 6 p.m. at Alton Marina and the boat will take off at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 per person.

The first date of Spirit of Peoria cruises is May 19 with a sightseeing cruise from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and a dinner cruise from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Boarding will be at Alton Riverfront Park. Tickets are $25/adult, $23/senior and $14 child (4-12) for the sightseeing cruise and $55 for the dinner cruise. On May 20, there will are two sightseeing cruises, a lunch and dinner cruise. Lunch cruises are $45 per person. Lunch and dinner cruises include full meals served during a two-hour river cruise.

For more details on the cruising schedule and prices, go to www.VisitAlton.com/Cruise or call the Alton Visitor Center at (800) 258-6645. Cruise reservations can be made online or via telephone. Seating is limited and reservations are required.