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Savannah Riverboat Cruises adds one of the country's largest riverboats to its fleet

  • Captain Johnathan Claughton, owner of Savannah Riverboat Cruises, speaks in front of their newest cruise ship, The Georgia Queen. (Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News)
  • The Georgia Queen is welcome to the Savannah area during a ceremony Tuesday morning. (Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News)
  • Visitors tour the top deck of the Georgia Queen during welcome ceremonies of the new paddlewheel-style riverboat operated by Savannah Riverboat Cruises. (Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News)
At 230 feet long and more than six stories high, it’s hard to miss the Georgia Queen riverboat anchored at the Savannah Riverboat Cruises’ dock on River Street.
 
With three floors and an open-air top deck, the boat encompasses about 38,000 square feet and can accommodate 1,000 passengers plus 240 crew members, making it one of the biggest operating riverboats in the country.
 
“A lot of hard work has gone into getting the Georgia Queen here,” Johnathan Claughton, owner of Savannah Riverboat Cruises, said Tuesday morning on River Street as he, alongside City of Savannah and tourism officials welcomed the boat to the company’s fleet. The boat joins the Savannah River Queen, which at 128 feet long can accommodate a total of 600 passengers, including staff.
 
“… Put simply, we are very, very proud to have the new Georgia Queen here and we’re looking forward to getting the vessel in operation over the next couple of weeks.”
 
Built in 1995 as a luxury floating casino on the Mississippi River, the Georgia Queen sailed into Savannah early Sunday morning after completing a 2,800-mile journey down the Mississippi River, across the Gulf of Mexico, around the tip of Florida and up the Atlantic Coast.
 
The boat features three grand ballrooms — which can accommodate 250 people each — flanked by crystal chandeliers, marble inspired columns and grand entry staircases. The boat also offers smaller rooms, three bars, passenger elevators and a fully equipped gourmet kitchen.
 
Before docking on River Street, the boat made a stop in Charleston, S.C., for a fresh paint job with the company’s signature red, white and blue colors and routine maintenance. Looking at the ship, Mayor Eddie DeLoach said it was a great day for Savannah.
 
“I met with them a couple of months ago and we talked about it coming in, but until I came around the corner, I couldn’t appreciate the size of this vessel,” DeLoach said, praising the company’s commitment and success in Savannah.
 
“… It’s important that we make our merchants successful here in Chatham County and the City of Savannah … The most important thing is that you’re here and you’ve been a part of this community and we’re glad to have you. I look forward to many years of riding down the river enjoying myself.”
 
The boat will create about 100 new jobs for the company and her maiden voyage in Savannah will happen in early December after the crew is fully trained and inspections are complete. The boat will be available for private events as well as dinner, entertainment and harbor cruises.
 
“The new Georgia Queen will play a major part in Savannah’s growing tourism and hospitality industry,” Claughton said.

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About Savannah Riverboat Cruises
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Savannah Riverboat Cruises offers lunch, dinner, entertainment and harbor cruises along the Savannah River. For more information or to make reservations, go to www.savannahriverboat.com or call 912-232-6404.
 

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