The owners of two river boats on the Mississippi River are marketing their product as an alternative to the now-stationary river vessels the Delta Queen, American Queen and Mississippi Queen river cruise vessels.
"We have already received some reservations from passengers that were hoping to ride a 'Queen' boat, and while we are a much smaller cousin, we hope we will not disappoint," said Carrie Stier, the owner of the Twilight Riverboat in Le Claire, Iowa.
Stier has partnered with Scott Schadler, the owner of the Celebration Belle in Moline, Ill., and the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote the Mississippi River cruising options of the Quad Cities: Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline and Rock Island, Ill.
Neither the 149-passenger Twilight nor the 800-passenger Celebration Belle is an overnight passenger vessel, although the Twilight does run a two-day, roundtrip cruise on the Mississippi between Le Claire and Dubuque, Iowa, with an overnight stay at a hotel in Dubuque.
The Celebration Belle specializes in half- and full-day Mississippi River excursions in Moline; Dubuque, Le Claire, Guttenberg and Lansing, Iowa; Winona, Minn.; and La Crosse and Prairie Du Chien, Wis.
St. Louis is being added in 2010.
"After the loss of the Majestic Queens, we decided it was important and vital to add expanded river cruises so people could continue to enjoy the beauty and history of the Mississippi River," Schadler, who is also captain of the Celebration Belle, said in a release. "It is unfortunate that the Queens are not cruising any longer and providing people with that overnight riverboat experience. We are not looking to replace any of the nostalgic vessels; we just hope to help fill a void."