Cameras were in the hands of many Hannibalians as they gathered at Glascock's Landing on the riverfront on Sunday, Sept. 2, to get their first look at the new Queen of the Mississippi.
This brand-new paddlewheel riverboat made its first stop in Hannibal earlier Sunday, and remained until evening.
Many of the 150 passengers spent the day touring Hannibal on the trolley, shopping - the downtown stores were open - and visiting Mark Twain points of interest.
A crew member who provided a private tour for the Courier-Post explained the crew had been concerned about the low water in the Mississippi during the cruise from New Orleans to St. Louis, but the river was high enough and the cruise was on schedule when it docked in Hannibal Sunday morning. Sunday was the second day of an eight-day cruise from St. Louis to Minneapolis/St. Paul.
This followed an eight-day cruise from New Orleans to St. Louis, and the boat was carrying its maximum passenger count of 150.
Some passengers were veteran travelers. Bruce Hartel of Cortez, Colo., has traveled on several riverboats up and down the Mississippi.
Hartel said the new boat was "very nice but it suffers from comparison to the old Delta Queen. I loved that baby.
"I am spoiled from the Delta Queen," he added. In the past, he has taken riverboat cruises on all the tributaries of the Mississippi.
The current cruise, all the way to Minneapolis, is "the last stretch of the Mississippi I haven't covered in a paddlewheel," Cartel said.
He signed up for this cruise because the woman who christened the new riverboat on Aug. 25 in Nashville is his friend.
Hartel was relaxing in one of the "theme" lounges, which are on each deck. The large Magnolia Lounge provides a forward view, while some have side views, where passengers may watch passing towboats with a 15-barge tow.
In the Paddlewheel Lounge, Ray Williams of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was viewing the chart plotter from satellite on the television screen. This is also available in each cabin and shows the boat's location on the river, along with its course speed and other navigational data.
Williams has taken numerous cruises with the American Cruise Line (ACL), owner of the Queen of the Mississippi. Most of its boats are on the East Coast. Williams said his wife has taken 27 cruises.
Some of Williams' favorite cruises have been the rivers of Florida, the islands of New England and from Charlotte to Baltimore.
The new paddlewheel riverboat has several more stops in Hannibal scheduled in 2012. They are on Thursday, Sept. 13; Monday, Sept. 17; Sunday, Oct. 21; and Thursday, Nov. 1.
The Sept. 18 stop will be during a round trip cruise from St. Louis to Iowa. This is called a Mark Twain Tribute. The ACL description of the cruise states Mark Twain will be aboard.
Page 2 of 2 - Also, in Hannibal Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn will come on board. It will also have stops in Alton, Ill., Burlington and Davenport, Iowa, and Grafton, Ill., before returning to St. Louis.
For more details see americancruiselines.com.