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JAXPORT welcomes American Queen Voyages' Ocean Voyager

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JAXPORT's Frederick Wong, second from left, with American Queen Voyages executives, from left, Shawn Bierdz, Ocean Voyager Capt. Geir Lileeng, John Waggoner and Bill Annand
American Queen Voyages marked Presidents' Day with two milestones, one in Florida and one in Louisiana.

Ocean Voyager became the first vessel in the company's lakes and oceans division to return to US waters with passengers in two years. It was welcomed to the Jacksonville Port Authority after completing its maiden Southeast US voyage.

And, in New Orleans, paddlewheeler American Queen departed for Memphis, marking the beginning of the company’s 10th anniversary season on the Mississippi River.

JAXPORT Chief Operating Officer Frederick Wong welcomed Ocean Voyager and company executives John Waggoner, founder and chairman; COO Shawn Beirdz and VP Bill Annand. 

'Ideal host city'

'Our location in the heart of the Southeast US makes Jacksonville an ideal host city for passengers looking to explore the region,' Wong said. 'From beaches and history to world-class golf, shopping and dining, Northeast Florida has so much to offer passengers before and after their cruise. We are proud to welcome American Queen Voyages passengers and thank them for beginning and ending their journey in Jacksonville.'

Ocean Voyager's Southeast US season runs through mid-April. The 12-day round-trips visit Fernandina Beach on Florida's Amelia Island; Brunswick and Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; Port Canaveral, Florida; and Freeport, Bahamas. 

These cruises will then resume in November.

And down in New Orleans ...

Also on Monday, American Queen Voyages’ 2022 rivers season set off with the grande dame American Queen embarking on a nine-day Lower Mississippi River sailing. The voyage connecting the iconic ports of New Orleans and Memphis is the line's most popular itinerary. 

Four added departures

In response to demand, new departures were added June 5, 12, 19 and 26. Ports include Cleveland (Terrene Landing), Ohio; Vicksburg, Natchez and St. Francisville, Mississippi; and Baton Rouge and Nottoway, Louisiana.  

Schedule for the rest of the fleet and Alaska expeditions debut

Ocean Navigator, sister of Ocean Voyager, will return to service in Savannah, Georgia, April 11 and make its way up the Atlantic coast and through the St. Lawrence Seaway for the Great Lakes season.

Boutique paddlewheeler American Duchess sets sail from New Orleans for the Ohio River on March 6, while the newest riverboat in the fleet American Countess returns to service from New Orleans on March 8 and Pacific Northwest paddlewheeler American Empress departs from Vancouver, Washington, on March 13. Expedition ship Ocean Victory will debut May 6 sailing between Vancouver, BC and Sitka, Alaska.

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