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American Jazz repositioning from Mississippi to start California rivers cruises

MAP: AMERICAN CRUISE LINES CRUISE_American_Jazz_reposition.jpg
American Jazz is repositioning from the Mississippi River to the US West Coast via the Panama Canal
American Cruise Lines' American Jazz is en route from the Mississippi River to the US West Coast to launch new California river cruises beginning in February.

Already underway, the modern-style riverboat — one of 10 for the line — is expected to transit the Panama Canal in the coming days.

The arrival to San Francisco Bay will be a new chapter in US river cruising's development which, in the case of the Bay and the California Delta goes back more than 80 years.

A little history

According to American Cruise Lines, the steamboat George Washington began overnight service between Sacramento and San Francisco in 1849 carrying '49ers' to the California Gold Rush hills. The famous riverboats Delta King and Delta Queen plied the Sacramento River to San Francisco from the 1920s until the steamboats were laid up in 1940s.

Steamboats sailed the San Joaquin, Napa and Petaluma River deltas carrying passengers and cargo throughout the Bay for decades until they were driven out of service by the new highway linking San Francisco and Sacramento. Delta King is now a permanently moored hotel in Sacramento and Delta Queen was repositioned to the Mississippi, where it currently remains under restoration.

In the 2000s, Cruise West offered short wine country trips on Spirit of Yorktown.

'Momentous occasion'

Charles B. Robertson, president & CEO of American Cruise Lines, called the new American Jazz service a 'momentous occasion for domestic river cruising, adding: 'We are proud to provide this new opportunity for our guests to experience the joys of cruising close to home, as they discover yet another beautiful area of the country by riverboat.

Robertson said American continues to expand the possibilities for domestic small ship cruises by introducing new US-flag riverboats and small cruise ships each year.

Eight-day cruises

American Jazz is scheduled to embark on its first eight-day San Francisco Bay cruise Feb. 24. The new itinerary explores the heart of wine country along the Napa River and the San Joaquin Valley. Destinations are Napa, Vallejo, Stockton and Sacramento on waterways including San Francisco Bay, San Pablo Bay, Napa River and San Joaquin River.


The round-trip San Francisco cruises will operate in February and March, and again in November and December.


Passengers will have the opportunity to explore San Francisco and wine country, visiting vineyards for experiences ranging from special tastings to becoming a winemaker for a day. Cruises highlight the historical, cultural and geographical influences that gave rise to San Francisco, as well as the vineyards and flourishing agricultural communities throughout the Bay area and its surrounding valleys.

For a limited time, wave-season deals include free domestic airfare for the March 10, March 17 and March 24 San Francisco Bay cruise dates.

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