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The American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) has partnered with the American Heart Association (AHA) to launch a new Heart of the Mississippi Cruise departing on Valentine’s Day 2021.

As part of its new charitable giving series, AQSC will donate $50,000 in 2021 plus 100 percent of the proceeds from a special 5k fundraiser towards heart and stroke research and awareness.

“We are excited to partner with the American Heart Association since these issues are not only important to our team here at AQSC, but for many of our guests as well,” said John Waggoner, founder and CEO of American Queen Steamboat Company, in a press release statement. “Giving back is important to our mission at AQSC and our new charitable giving series is designed not only to give back to key organizations, but also to our guests with new tools and skills they can incorporate into their daily lives.”

The Heart of the Mississippi Cruise will sail from Memphis to New Orleans on the American Countess from Feb. 14-21, 2021 with a pre-cruise hotel stay in Memphis on Feb. 13, 2021.

The cruise will culminate with a 5k, or abbreviated 3k, run/walk at Nottoway, a member of Historic Hotels of America and an AQSC exclusive port. Participating guests will receive a souvenir t-shirt and medal and 100 percent of the $25 entry fee will be donated directly to the Life is Why We Give campaign. Guests who do not wish to participate in the 5k/3k may also donate directly on board, or via AQSC’s public donation portal.

The itinerary will visit Vicksburg, MS; Natchez, MS; St. Francisville, LA and Baton Rouge, LA. Guests can enjoy activities such as a heart-healthy cooking demonstration and wellness presentation led by an AHA representative. Special, heart-healthy entrees including salmon e papillote and chicken piccata will be served alongside the standard, regionally inspired menu on Valentine’s Day. A hands-only CPR class will be led by an AHA representative, and daily morning stretching will take place on the top deck or in the Theatre, weather permitting.

“The American Heart Association is always looking for engaging and innovative ways to educate the public on heart health and stroke prevention, so the partnership with American Queen Steamboat Company was a perfect fit for both,” said Whitten Montgomery, AHA development director, in a press release statement. “This cruise will raise money for heart and stroke research, and what better time to focus on the heart than during the week of Valentine’s Day.”

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