In its first cruise on this part of the Mississippi River since the onset of COVID-19, American Cruise Lines is expected to add hundreds of people to the crowd gathered Saturday at the Quad-City Times Bix 7.
About 200 passengers and crew will be brought in by bus around 9:30 a.m. so they can take part in the festivities, former Davenport Mayor Frank J. Klipsch, now the cruise line’s Mississippi River city partnerships and special projects director, said. The riverboat on which they are traveling, the America, will arrive in Davenport about 6 p.m.
“This trip, I know everyone is excited about seeing all of the Bix activities,” Klipsch said Friday.
The visit is the first of 22 planned this season on the American Cruise Lines’ route that includes Davenport, he said. It is also the first trip on the route since the pandemic’s outbreak. There have been cruises on the southern Mississippi River route for a few months.
Saturday’s passengers will be from all over America, he said.
“Literally from coast to coast,” Klipsch said
While here, the passengers will have opportunities to shop and visit Quad-Cities fixtures such as Isabel Bloom, Schwiebert Riverfront Park and the Quad City Botanical Center, Klipsch said.
The America is a classic paddlewheel riverboat, according to a news release from the company. It is one of four in the company’s Mississippi River fleet. The others are the Queen of the Mississippi, the American Jazz and the American Melody.
The company’s total fleet has 13 vessels, Klipsch said. Five more are scheduled to be built in the next few years, with two of those expected to be assigned to the Mississippi.
“We anticipate being in Davenport even more in the future,” Klipsch said.