Officials with the Port of New Orleans Cruise Division conduct a plaque exchange with American Cruise Lines executives to commemorate the inaugural cruise of the "Queen of the Mississippi." Pictured is (left to right) Sharon Reames, Port of New Orleans; Steven Gauthier, Port of New Orleans; Johnny Cefalu, Deputy Director of Cruise and Tourism, Port of New Orleans; Robert Jumonville, Port of New Orleans Director of Cruise and Tourism; Charles Robertson, Chairman & CEO of American Cruise Lines; Paul Taiclet, VP & Hotel Operations - ACL; Capt. John Ayer; Capt. Kenny Williams; Capt. Mike Snyler; and Capt. John Keereweer. American Cruise Lines’ brand new 150-passenger paddlewheel vessel is set to sail on her inaugural voyage Saturday from the Port of New Orleans’ Julia Street Cruise Terminal.

Construction on the 295-foot fully functioning paddle wheeler Queen of the Mississippi was recently completed in Salisbury, MD by Guilford, Conn.-based American Cruise Lines. The vessel is the company’s largest and was previously berthed at Poland Avenue receiving its final touches.

The Queen of the Mississippi will sail between New Orleans and Memphis seasonally from August through November and will berth at the Port’s Poydras Street Wharf.

“The Port of New Orleans’ history is rooted in sternwheelers plying the Mississippi River and it is great to see them back in our harbor,” said Gary LaGrange, Port President and CEO. “I want to thank American Cruise Lines for their confidence in New Orleans to home-port their latest and largest vessel in the Crescent City.”

The Queen of the Mississippi will sail eight-day and seven-night cruises. One itinerary begins in Memphis, Tenn. and ends in New Orleans with stops at Helena, Ark.; Vicksburg, Miss.; Natchez, Miss.; St. Francisville, La.; Baton Rouge, La., and Oak Alley Plantation. The other itinerary begins and ends in New Orleans with stops in Natchez, Vicksburg, St. Francisville, Baton Rouge and Oak Alley Plantation.