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Avalon to sell river cruises down the Mississippi

Courtesy American Queen Steamboat Company

Avalon Waterways has partnered with American Queen Steamboat Co. to offer Mississippi River cruises on the American Queen. The partnership makes Avalon Waterways the first European river cruise operator to offer Mississippi cruises.

“We have had great success partnering with top-of-the-line cruise ship companies on the Yangtze, the Nile and in the Galapagos Islands, and look forward to our first-ever U.S. partnership,” said Patrick Clark, managing director of Avalon Waterways, in a statement.

American Queen executives had hinted at a potential partnership with Avalon when the 436-passenger paddlewheeler relaunched in April. The partnership was officially announced on Oct. 3.

In 2013, Avalon will sell eight departures of the 12-day “America’s Heartland: From Music City to the Big Easy” cruise that begins in Nashville and ends in New Orleans. Passengers will stay for two days in Nashville, two day in Memphis where they board the American Queen for a seven-day cruise to New Orleans.

Avalon will also sell two departures for the 11-day “Fall Foliage Spectacular: From the Windy City to the Twin Cities” itinerary. The trip starts in Chicago for three days before a transfer to St. Louis for the cruise portion, which ends in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

All cruises will feature an Avalon tour director onboard the American Queen.

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