The Queen of the Mississippi to dock locally

Published 12:05am Saturday, November 9, 2013

VIDALIA — The Queen of the Mississippi paddleboat will be docking on the Vidalia Riverfront six times before the end of the year.

The first of those stops will be 7:30 p.m. Monday until 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Other stops will be Nov. 19 and 25, and Dec. 2, 23 and 30.

Vidalia Riverfront Director H.L. Irvin said a boat from the Queen of the Mississippi’s parent company — American Cruise Lines — docked on the riverfront earlier this year.

“One of the captains of the boat called me and wanted to dock here on the Vidalia Riverfront, and I said that shouldn’t be a problem,” he said. “We got to know each other, and the passengers enjoyed the river walk so much and had a real pleasurable time.”

After that experience, the company scheduled the six stops in Vidalia, and is considering making 10 more next year, Irvin said.

The Queen of the Mississippi was built in 2012 and can hold 150 passengers. The vessel tours the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, and also makes stops in New Orleans, Memphis and St. Louis.

The river front has four places where docking is possible: in front of the fountain and north of Comfort Suites on the northern end, and the two boat ramps south of the bridge.

Irvin said he hopes for the boat to be able to dock as close to the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center as possible.

When boats have docked in Vidalia in the past, the city has provided transportation for them, and will do so again, he said. Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said the city was “tickled to death” to be able to accommodate the boat.

“We are elated they are coming to the Miss-Lou, and this brings more of those boats to Natchez and Vidalia, which means they are going to have a positive effect on our communities’ economy,” he said.

The Queen of the Mississippi has previously docked in Natchez, including on its pre-inaugural cruise in August 2012.