Delta Queen cruises in for a visit to Riverfront Park

Monday, June 9, 2003


Delta Queen At Riverfront Park

Greeting passengers debarking the Delta Queen with a little Dixieland music were, from left, Jerry Ford on trumpet, Dr. Dan Cotner on trombone, John Quinn on clarinet and Joe Blackwell on banjo. "Cape is the only stop that greets passengers with Dixieland tunes appropriate for such a tour," said Ford.

By Chris Pagano ~ Southeast Missourian

Docking at Cape Girardeau's Riverfront Park recently, The Delta Queen was home to 110 passengers who reached their final destination of St. Louis on June 7. They boarded in Louisville, Kentucky on June 1.

As passengers stepped off the old-fashioned steam powered paddlewheeler their senses were aroused by live music from The Jerry Ford Dixieland band. Ford offered, "Cape is the only stop that greets passengers with Dixieland tunes appropriate for such a tour." Souvenir pins provided by the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau were distributed and the Paddlewheelers (Cape Girardeau convention and visitors bureau part-time staff), friendly and ready to assist tourists, were located at key points in hopes of serving steamboat passengers well.

Barbara Meyer of Koloa Kauai, Hawaii, who stood waiting for the bus, said, "River cruises are just fun. You don't get seasick; they have good food and good entertainment." This is Meyer's third river cruise. She has already cruised the American and Mississippi Queens. The opportunity to meet and get to know people intimately is more likely on a steamboat cruise like the Delta Queen, holding a maximum of 174 passengers, as opposed to an average of 2,000 to 3,000 passengers on a typical cruise ship.

Equipped with maps of the downtown section of Cape Girardeau, a brochure on the points of interest and a calendar of events, passengers are ready to tour the town on foot. The Paddlewheelers provide a 50-minute to one-hour guided walking tour of the downtown area.

Arranged by the steamboat company, a motor coach was ready to take the group to Bollinger Mill. Paddlewheelers serve as step on guides pointing out historical sites and points of interest to passengers.

Susan Quillen from Tuscon, Arizona promised her mom a cruise for her 80th birthday. "That didn't happen so we're here to relax, eat and enjoy on her 81st birthday." Quillen booked the cruise with her husband, mother and sister. They see three live shows per day, eat before and after every event and with lodging Quillen said she felt the cost was reasonable. Tish Sampson her sister, highly recommended the trip.

Tourists return at 4 p.m. to board the Delta Queen. Some have crisscrossed the downtown streets, others have ventured out to nearby historical sites. All have been influenced by our community. Many return to Cape Girardeau on subsequent tours.

Interested in a tour? Contact a travel agent or the steamboat company at (800) 862-2452.

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