ALTON - A steamboat docked near the Argosy Casino today in downtown Alton to load up on supplies and pick up additional crew members.

The boat is with American Queen Voyages, a cruise line that offers river tours throughout North America. Over the next week, they will travel up the Mississippi River to Red Wing, Minnesota.

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“It is definitely nice to be able to travel for work, to be able to see all the different sections of the country that you wouldn’t normally be able to see on a road trip or by flying, even,” Alex Schuchter, one of the ship’s watchmen, said. “Getting to see things that most people aren’t going to see, the scenery and the nature; when we get up toward Minnesota, the cliffs and the mountains that we go through, and down towards Mississippi, all the plains and the forests and all that.”

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Like during any cruise, passengers stay in hotel rooms on the steamboat and enjoy amenities like buffets, open bars and live entertainment. American Queen Voyages ships often dock in major cities along the river so that passengers can disembark for excursions.

The steamboat that docked in Alton will remain in the area for the next two days. Today, July 17, marks the beginning of the tour, with many passengers traveling from where they stayed overnight in St. Louis to board the boat. They can enjoy excursions in St. Louis or explore by themselves in Alton, which American Queen Voyages describes as “an important river town.” The boat will then continue north and dock in Hannibal, Missouri on July 19.

To learn more about the river cruise industry in the Riverbend area, click here. For information about upcoming river cruises and future steamboat stops in Alton, visit the American Queen Voyages website.

“It’s a beautiful job,” Schuchter added. “In my opinion, it’s just one of the most unique ways of travel we’ve got here in the States.”

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