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La Crosse to see fewer big boats with shutdown of American Queen paddlewheeler



There could be less big riverboats in La Crosse, now that the American Queen company has announced it is shutting down and cancelling cruises on the Mississippi River.

The company has a recorded message on its hotline stating it has made the difficult decision to shut down and all future cruises have been cancelled.

American Queen Voyages operates the American Queen, American Countess, American Duchess, American Empress and the Queen Victory cruiseships.

A.J. Frels from the Explore La Crosse tourism bureau said that about 20 to 24 cruise boat stops have been planned for La Crosse this summer and fall. Many of those visits will be made by the Viking cruise line, which will travel on the Mississippi for the third straight summer.

Frels hopes that travelers, who might otherwise have gone on the American Queen, will still consider visiting the area.

“We certainly hope that the folks that would have, or have booked with American Queen would find their way to another provider, another carrier, and still find their way up the river and to the La Crosse region,” Frels told WIZM News.

The American Queen paddlewheeler was scheduled for six stops in La Crosse this season.

Frels said the riverboat passengers, who come here, enjoy what they find in La Crosse.

“When people get off the boats, we have a welcome trailer there, and it’s our mobile visitor center,” Frels said. “People stop by and they’re always impressed with how beautiful our region is, and surprised of what this side of the state has to offer, including La Crescent, Minnesota.”

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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