Mississippi River Cruise Line Adding Stop in River Parishes

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Members of the TBC Brass Band watch the American Heritage, a luxury river cruise ship operated by American Cruise Lines, arrive for a July 26 event at a Port of South Louisiana facility in St. James Parish. (Photo by John McCusker)

VACHERIE, La. — The Louisiana River Parishes Tourist Commission and American Cruise Lines have announced a partnership that means there will be a River Parishes stop for some of the company’s Louisiana voyages.

Officials expect there to be roughly 40 visits to the area each year by ships that will dock at a port owned by the Port of South Louisiana in St. James Parish. The first ship to make the stop was the American Heritage. Tourism boosters are celebrating the move, which should bring increased visibility and visitation to the area after the economic setbacks caused by the pandemic and Hurricane Ida.

American Cruise Lines, based in Connecticut, operates cruises on the Mississippi River that run between Minneapolis, New Orleans and many points in between. Vessels can accommodate nearly 200 passengers. In total, the company oversees 35-plus itineraries in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New England, the southeast and the Mississippi River region.

“We want to thank American Cruise Lines for adding the River Parishes as an official destination on their New Orleans Cruise, where guests can enjoy and learn about the rich history of the Louisiana River Parishes through excursions, trails and more,” said Jay Robichaux, executive director of the Louisiana River Parishes Tourist Commission, in a press release. “This partnership is another step toward improving the economy for our River Parish residents, following the devastating effects of the pandemic and Hurricane Ida. As a destination, the River Parishes will receive increased visibility and visitation.”

“The Louisiana River Parishes offers a variety of experiences and excursions that will contribute to our curated tours exploring historic towns in the Lower Mississippi,” said Frank Klipsch, director for city partnerships and special projects at American Cruise Lines. “As River Parishes’ first partnership with a cruise line, this is a historic moment that will increase visitors and revenue for local small businesses and attractions, as well as economic boosts for River Parish residents following the devastating effects of the pandemic and Hurricane Ida.”

LARPTC is the official destination marketing organization for Louisiana’s River Parishes: St. Charles, St. James, and St. John the Baptist. Attractions include the Andouille Trail and the 1811 Slave Revolt Trail.

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