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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Bryant: More riverboat visits planned this summer

  • Fans of the large riverboats that have visited Hannibal in recent years will be spending a good deal of time on the riverfront this summer as all three of the craft which docked in America’s Hometown in 2013 will be back.
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  • Fans of the large riverboats that have visited Hannibal in recent years will be spending a good deal of time on the riverfront this summer as all three of the craft which docked in America’s Hometown in 2013 will be back.
    “The great news is they’ve added dates, so we’re excited,” said Gail Bryant, director of the Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Both boats, the American Queen and Queen of the Mississippi, have added dates this year for Hannibal’s dockings. The Spirit of Peoria will be back in mid-July. It just comes back once.”
    While more trips to Hannibal are being planned, there is no worry about docking congestion on the Mississippi River.
    “We’ve talked with the boat companies and either they can tie up to each other, or drop passengers off and then go out and let the other one allow their passengers to disembark,” said Bryant. “Right now we’ve been able to work out the schedule where just one comes in at a time. Everything is good.”
    The possibility that more than one of the large passenger boats will be visiting Hannibal  at the same time increases next year.
    “In 2015 we’re expecting another new boat with Viking Excursions,” said Bryant. “It will be good. They’re building a boat specifically for the river.”
    It’s no secret why the companies that own the riverboats want to return to Hannibal.
    “Their passengers have a great time and wish they could spend more time here in Hannibal,” said Bryant. “That’s what we’re working on, to see if we can work with the excursion companies to extend their schedules.”
    It’s not uncommon for groups of local residents to be on hand to welcome passengers as they disembark a riverboat.
    “We work with the Chamber (of Commerce), the Chamber Ambassadors, the CVB and our board members. Anyone is welcome to come down and help us welcome them. We will get repeat people who really enjoy meeting the passengers,” said Bryant.
    Once passengers come ashore, they frequently find most downtown shops open, regardless of the day and time.
    “The downtown merchants have been very gracious, opening early on Sundays and staying late if we need it if a boat changes its schedule at the last minute,” said Bryant. “It’s wonderful to have great tourism partners. That’s what it takes to bring in visitors.”
    Bryant is quick to note that when a riverboat stops in Hannibal, the economic impact is not just felt along North Main Street.
    Page 2 of 2 - “The American Queen brings along ‘steam’ coaches, which are the buses that take them (passengers) down to the cave and around the community. The Queen of the Mississippi works with the trolley and they transport the visitors also,” she said. “A lot of the taxies are used too, because they (passengers) like to run out and get supplies at Walmart, Walgreens, or different places. It (a riverboat visit) impacts the whole community.”
    The first riverboat visit of the season is scheduled on Sunday, July 6, when the Queen of the Mississippi arrives.
    Following is the riverboat schedule for 2014:
    Queen of the Mississippi – Sunday, July 6, 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.; Thursday, July 17, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 3, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday, Aug. 14, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Sunday, Sept., 28, 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 9, 2 p.m.-6 p.m.
    American Queen – Friday, July 18, 8 a.m.- noon; Tuesday, July 29, 8 a.m.- noon; Thursday, July 31, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Monday, Aug. 4, 8 a.m.- noon; Friday, Aug. 15, 8 a.m.- noon; Monday, Aug. 18, 8 a.m.- noon; Friday, Aug. 29, 8 a.m.- noon; Monday, Sept. 15, 8 a.m.- noon; Friday, Sept. 26, 8 a.m.- noon; Monday, Sept. 29, 8 a.m.- noon; Friday, Oct. 10, 8 a.m.- noon.
    Spirit of Peoria - July 15 and 16.
     

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