Sternwheelers to visit

Photo courtesy of American Queen Steamboat Company/ The American Queen, pictured in this publicity photo, will make a stop in Marietta on Saturday.

Two of the largest sternwheel boats on the Ohio River system are scheduled for stops at the Ohio River levee this weekend, transporting spectators back to a bygone era.

The stops have been much-anticipated but weather and water conditions can change the schedule on short notice, as was the case when The Queen of the Mississippi was first scheduled to visit on June 24 but was held up due to high water south of Marietta.

“We found out about two hours before that they weren’t able to come and then that affected the visit on June 28,” explained Shannon Folts, visitor experience director at the Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Queen of the Mississippi, built in 2015 in Maryland, is a 150-passenger riverboat that cruises the Ohio, Mississippi and Cumberland river systems, operated by American Cruise Lines. It is scheduled to stop in Marietta on Sunday evening and will be departing Monday afternoon.

The American Queen, promoted as the largest steamboat ever built, will arrive in Marietta first on Saturday morning before departing roughly nine hours later. The boat will return the following Wednesday morning.

“The stops on July 14 and 18 in Marietta are the only two this year for Marietta,” explained Christopher Nelson, public relations for American Queen Steamboat Company. “Marietta is a stop when the American Queen makes Pittsburgh trips. There were no Pittsburgh trips last year, but there are two this year.”

Passengers book excursions on these ships and often visit ports of call. The itinerary, according to Nelson, includes visits to the mounds, The Castle, the Campus Martius and Ohio River museums as well as the Children’s Toy and Doll Museum and the Henry Fearing House.

Only passengers have access to the boats as tours are not available to the general public.

“There are people though who will come and set up lawn chairs and sit on the levee all day,” Folts said. “It brings back memories for a lot of people. They bring their kids or grandkids, get ice cream, listen to the caliope and make a whole day of it.”

The CVB will have a tent set up at the levee to greet boat passengers as well as visitors from out of town and locals who just want to see the spectacle of the large ships passing through.

There is always a chance that the schedule could change at the last minute so the CVB recommends following updates on their Facebook page,

If you go

¯ Saturday: The American Queen will be arriving in Marietta at 8 a.m. and departing at 5 p.m.

¯ Sunday: The Queen of the Mississippi will be arriving in Marietta at 10:30 p.m. and will be departing at 1:30 p.m. the following afternoon.

¯ Wednesday: The American Queen will be arriving at 8 a.m. and departing at 5 p.m.

¯ Dates and times are subject to change without notice.

¯ Contact: or 800-288-2577.