DAVENPORT, Iowa — The Queen of the Mississippi arrived in the Quad Cities on Friday, July 30 for day four of its eight day upper Mississippi River cruise. 133 passengers from all over the country were onboard and spent the morning exploring the Quad Cities.
Passenger, Alan Jaffe, who lives near Seattle, Washington, said the Quad Cities was the highlight of his trip so far.
"The information historically, and actual, about Davenport is beautiful," he said. "The whole thing was wonderful."
Jaffe and the other visitors got the chance to go to the Figge Art Museum. His opinion of it: "outstanding."
"I've been to museums all over the world and it, for a city this size, it is highly representative and a wonderful gift to the public," Jaffe said.
The Figge is not a new destination for passengers on the American Cruise Lines, but Heather Aaronson, the Figge's Education Programs Coordinator, said this is the first time they've organized guided museum tours for the passengers.
"Our mission is kind of to bring art and people together," Aaronson said. "It's wonderful when we get art lovers from all over the world or all over the country to come in. And I think our docents have a wonderful time just having these great conversations with people who have shared experiences all over the place."
It also doesn't hurt that it brings more business to the museum. She said they're excited to partner with Viking Cruise Lines next year when it adds the Quad Cities to its destination list.
American Cruise Lines has a total of 22 trips to the Quad Cities from July 24-November 8, bringing approximately 5,000 tourists to the area. That number will increase next year with the Viking River Cruises.
Current construction at River Heritage Park, the new dock site for cruise ships, is part of Davenport's Riverfront Improvement efforts to restore the sea wall and extend the Riverwalk through the park. The project has so far come under its $1 million budget at $835,000, according to Steve Ahrens, Executive Officer of Davenport's Riverfront Improvements. He explained even though the project has been in the works for awhile to help make the park more accessible to people, it will also make it more accessible to these large boats.
When construction is finished, he said up to three cruise ships will be able to dock at the park at once. Work is expected to be completed by 2022 before the cruise season.
The Queen of the Mississippi will make its final stop in St. Paul, Minnesota in early August.