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World’s largest passenger steamboat to stop in Huntington


The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Queen is coming to Huntington.

Not that Queen, we are talking The American Queen, the world’s most opulent riverboat.

The American Queen Steamboat docks at Harris Riverfront Park in 2014 in downtown Huntington. The American Queen will return July 12.
(Photo by Sholten Singer)

On Wednesday, July 12, The American Queen, which has the ability to carry 414 passengers, will be docked for the day at the port of Huntington at Harris Riverfront Park, where passengers will be able to disembark for land sight-seeing excursions to such Huntington attractions as Pullman Square, The J. Taylor Auto Museum, Old Central City, the Museum of Radio and Technology, Ritter Park Rose Garden, Heritage Farm and Marshall University’s Special Collections.

Local folks will have the chance to come down to the riverbanks at Harris Riverfront Park to see the boat, but will not be able to board it because of security measures, said Huntington river historian Jerry Sutphin, who is traveling on this trip and two other American Queen trips this year, giving narrative talks about the sights and history along the rivers as a guest “riverlorian.”

“It is the world’s largest passenger carrying sternwheel steam boat and it is a legitimate steam boat,” said Sutphin, who has written a number of books and has written and co-produced a series of short films about modern river operations for the Smithsonian Institution including, “Tested By Time To Become An American Legend: The Steamboat Delta Queen.” “This is a great opportunity to see this magnificent steamboat. Because of 911 and the general rules now you have to have a picture ID and card to get on the boat but it is a great opportunity if people want to come down and see it from the shore. When it leaves at 5 p.m. there will be a calliope concert as it heads back downstream.”

Called the Chairman’s Cruise as American Queen Steamboat Company Chairman, John Waggoner, and his wife, Claudette, will be cruising with this trip, the round-trip cruise from their hometown, Louisville, will travel upstream to Huntington and then back to Louisville with shore excursions in quaint towns such as Maysville, Augusta and Madison. The trip runs July 9-17.

For those wanting an actual ride on the river, note that BB Riverboats’ River Queen will be running a full tour schedule on the Kanawha River, Wednesday, June 21 through Saturday, June 24 with a special Friday blues cruise. Get tickets and times online at

 And the BB Riverboats Belle of Cincinnati will be doing its annual summertime Ohio River trip July 20-27. Those stops include: July 20-21, in Portsmouth, Ohio; July 22, Ashland; July 23, Huntington and July 26-27, Maysville, Ky. Go online at more info on the July cruises that include sightseeing, lunch, brunch and dinner cruises. Call 1-800-261-8586 to book a cruise and to make a group reservation for 15 or more.

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