American Duchess docks at Cape Girardeau riverfront

Updated: Apr. 8, 2021 at 11:07 AM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - For the first time in more than a year a riverboat is stopping along the Cape Girardeau riverfront.

The American Duchess docked at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday, April 8.

The coronavirus pandemic caused the riverboat tourism industry to stay grounded in 2020.

As COVID-19 restrictions ease and more people receive vaccinations, tours are set to resume for the upcoming river cruise season.

Five riverboats are scheduled to dock in downtown Cape Girardeau from April through mid-December.

Stops from the riverboat tours have a big economic impact on downtown Cape Girardeau and they were certainly missed.

“Especially for our small venues and attractions, you can only imagine, they’re bringing in if you think about it over time, 1,100, over 1,000 visitors,” said Cape Convention and Tourism Bureau Executive Director Brenda Newbern. “Those are visitors you know that are coming. For small attractions, that does have an impact on their bottom line.”

Even with riverboats operating at about 50-percent capacity, downtown merchants and attractions are very excited to see the tourists.

The tours and activities will also look a little different this year, as well.

The tourists will taking a bus tour of the city.

Two major stops on the tour will be at Old St. Vincent’s Church and the River Heritage Museum.

”I do have to compliment the cruise lines because they are trying to make sure they are taking care of not only their patrons on the cruise lines, but also the city, so they are not going to be recommending that they do self-exploration, you know where they get off and go wherever they want,” said Newbern. “They are going to ask them stay close to the riverfront and stay in their own little pods of groups that they are getting on and off with.”

Visit Cape invites anyone who wants to see the riverboat to feel free to do so.

The boat is scheduled to leave Cape Girardeau around 5 p.m. on Thursday.

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