New riverboat to dock in Natchez Friday

Published 12:16 am Tuesday, August 15, 2017

By Christian Coffman

NATCHEZ — The Mississippi River has its American Queen. Starting Friday, it will have an American Duchess, too.

The newest steamboat on the river will pull into port in Natchez, and local tourism officials say they hope residents will be there to greet her.

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The American Duchess steamboat will have its inaugural port ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday at the Natchez Under-the-Hill boat ramp.

Natchez Director of Tourism Jennifer Combs said she is excited that the American Queen Steamboat Company is adding another boat to its lineup.

“I am sure the quality that the American Queen stands for will be evident in the same standards in the American Duchess,” Combs said.

Senior director of product development and guest experience with Shore Excursions of America Ruth R. Richebacher said the captain and an American Queen representative would present a gift to Natchez during the ceremony.

“(It will be) a thank-you gift for being part of the American Duchess’ first docking of the year,” Richebacher said.

The inaugural celebration will take place in front of the boat, and the public is invited to celebrate, Richebacher said.

Afterward, the boat will celebrate with a tour and lunch for invited-guests only.

Richebacher said the vessel would be visiting other ports along the Mississippi River, such as Vicksburg, Greenville and St. Francisville.

Combs said the company is a tremendously important partner and asset to the Natchez tourism industry, bringing thousands of visitors to the city every year.

“I have no doubt the American Duchess will be a fantastic partner too,” Combs said.

Combs said she is excited to learn more about the American Duchess during Friday’s ceremonies.

Combs said she invites everyone to come out and have a first look at the newest addition to the American Queen family.

“Let’s extend the warm Natchez welcome and hospitality we are so famous for,” she said.