Passengers of the American Cruise Lines’ American Jazz arrived at the Haggin Museum on the Motor Coast West bus and were greeted by Haggin security at 10 a.m. sharp, with the doors opening two hours earlier for the visitors.

The guests are seen with cameras, name tags and maps wandering around the outside and inside of the Museum.

“I really liked the museum,” said tourist Bonnie Hebben, who’s from Michigan, describing the experience as excellent. 

Every 30 minutes from opening until closing, the bus makes back and forth trips from the cruise ship to the museum, shuttling more than 60 tourists throughout the day, according to Susan Obert, chief executive officer of the Haggin Museum. She described the intervals of the cruise ship’s visitors as “sporadic.”

Museum guests have the option to go on self-guided tours throughout the museum or be given a tour by one of the many docents available. A docent is someone who acts as a guide in a museum.

Locals often take what’s around them for granted, Ober said. But tourists can make someone appreciate what their hometown has to offer.

“It’s always fun to see your community through fresh eyes and visitors’ eyes, and to see how much they appreciate it,” Obert said. “And how beautiful they think that delta is.”

Aside from the Museum, visitors can also experience how olive oil is developed at the award-winning CaliVirgen, wine tasting and on the boat activities leaving the day’s adventure up to the visitors.

California cruises haven’t occurred since the 1940’s according to the American Cruise Lines press release, with ticket prices ranging from $5,000-$6,000 per person.

A couple months prior to the announcement of the California Cruise, Stockton Officials were unaware the city was selected as part of the itinerary.

On average about 3-4 million visitors come to Stockton year-round, leaving hotels at 70% occupancy with 16-17 hundred visitors staying overnight every day, explained Wes Rhea, chief executive officer of Visit Stockton, who stated  “there’s a lot of reasons why people visit Stockton.”

“The cruise line chose us before we knew they had already selected Stockton,” said Rhea, having knowledge of the cruise prior to the announcement last year. “It’s gonna bring people who probably would’ve never visited Stockton before to Stockton so it’s a really kind of a positive thing all around for us.”

With visitors cruising in and out of Stockton, city officials hope to make a lasting impression in hopes our visitors return for more.

“We know that San Joaquin County and the City of Stockton have great history and wonderful entertainment value,” said Connie Cochran, Community Relations Officer. “Sharing our farm-to-table experience, particularly through the tasting of food, including olive oil and wines, as well as historically significant art and architecture, will help those outside the region enjoy and experience the richness of our community and hopefully return for more tourism and tasting.”

Even residents of California purchased tickets to experience this part of the state.

“I couldn’t believe there were people from California on this ship, North Carolina and New York and Michigan,” Hebben said. “I met two people from California and I just couldn’t believe it!”

Passengers say what happens on the boat is equally thrilling.

The cruise ship “American Jazz” docked in Stockton. (Jada Portillo)

“In the afternoon quite often they’ll be lectures and in the evening there’ll be music,” Hebben said, explaining how there’s something for everyone to do on the boat. “There was a guy singing and playing the piano last night, there will be something different each evening.”

According to passengers  Hebben and McMahon the food has been amazing with amazing staff.

“They do a wonderful job,” Wisconsin resident and Delta voyager Jim McMahon said. “The entire staff bends over backwards to make sure that everybody has just a very wonderful experience.”

However, the 3rd maiden voyage did have one or two hiccups, such as docking problems in San Francisco due to the weather, which reportedly confused some passengers. The cruise line had to change its starting and ending dock to a port in Sacramento.

“The weather kind of got in the way.” McMahon said, adding that the travel itinerary was changed several times. They missed the opportunity to cruise the San Francisco Bay, he said. 

Cody Wilson, a Motor Coach West bus driver from Portland, explained that it was a hassle to dock, especially with the rising water levels following a series of large storms in the region.

“The rain and the water kind of flew off the schedule a little bit,” said Wilson. “So you know that you have to adapt to that, unfortunately.”

The cruise lasts for eight days with a pre-cruise package included a day prior to the Day 1 of the voyage. Passengers will visit Sacramento, San Francisco and Napa as well as cruise through the Delta and Napa Rivers.
This cruise will return in November and December. For further info you can visit the American Cruise Lines Website: Cruises in California | American Cruise Lines

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1 Comment

  1. We’ve done several river cruises and enjoyed them. Never thought of a cruise through the Delta. But why not? And the Haggin is a great museum.

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