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tvl Mississippi River cruises abound

New York Times News Service

Q. I would like some information about boat trips on the Mississippi.

A. You have a wide choice of Mississippi River cruises, from an hour and a half on a paddlewheeler to an 11-night voyage on the 382-foot paddlewheel steamboat Mississippi Queen.

If you are interested in a day trip, the Memphis Queen Line offers daily cruises on the paddlewheeler Island Queen March through November. Information: 1-800-221-6197; www.memphisqueen.com.

The New Orleans Steamboat Co. offers two-hour cruises from the French Quarter in New Orleans downriver and back aboard the Natchez, a sternwheel steamboat, for $17; with lunch it's $23.50. A nightly jazz cruise is $28; $49 with dinner. 1-800-233-2628; steamboatnatchez.com.

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For longer cruises, RiverBarge Excursion Lines offers four- to 10-day trips on the River Explorer, consisting of two connected barges. The cost is $2,080 to $2,340, all inclusive (alcohol extra), per person, double occupancy. Information: 1-888-462-2743; www.riverbarge.com.

The Delta Queen Steamboat Co. has long operated some of the largest and grandest steam-powered paddlewheelers plying the Mississippi -- the 442-passenger American Queen, the 174-passenger Delta Queen and the 416-passenger Mississippi Queen. It ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy in October. Delaware North Cos. recently acquired all three ships. The Mississippi Queen resumed service in May.

The Delta Queen is scheduled to resume sailing Aug. 26; the American Queen Jan. 18. Prices for all three ships are $375 to $1,605 a person, double occupancy, for a three-night cruise; $1,000 to $4,280 for eight nights; excursions, $10 to $48. 1-800-543-1949; www.deltaqueen.com.

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