° empty

American Queen returning to Natchez

Other passengers will explore the area on their own, with help from several American Queen buses.

Three buses wrapped in an image of the American Queen run a continuous loop from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from the boat dock through downtown Natchez. The buses will stop eight times along the way, letting travelers get on and off as they please, according to Ruth Richebacher operation manager for Shore Excursions.

Trial runs

The American Queen hosted two test runs in recent weeks to give the boat’s crew experience with real passengers on board.

The first of what the industry calls a “shakedown” cruise was expected to be an overnight cruise in the waters around New Orleans. The boat never left the dock due to mechanical problems — which have been corrected, Rubacky said — but passengers still enjoyed their stay.

Colson was among a handful of Natchez residents on board.

“It was wonderful,” she said. “The menus were beautiful and the food was wonderful.”

Colson, like many others on board, said the service sealed the deal.

“One thing I always look for in any kind of visitor experience is excellent customer service, and I got it. Every single person, crew, housekeeping, every one of them smiled and stopped and said, ‘How are you.’”

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