City port welcomes The Spirit of Washington

Published 9:46 am Thursday, November 13, 2008

By Staff
Cruise boat arrives after months of waiting
Staff Writer
The Spirit of Washington anchored at the Washington waterfront for the first time Wednesday afternoon amid much revelry and celebration.
Washington entrepreneur A.G. Swanner bought the cruise boat in May. The Spirit of Washington has spent the last two-plus months docked at Jarrett’s Bay in Beaufort, where it was being remodeled and revved-up for its long-awaited voyage to Washington.
Swanner and Whitehurst hope to have the boat open to the public within 30 days, but they said it may take two to three months to work out all the fine details with the city.
The behemoth cruise boat is currently docked at Dock L on the waterfront, which Swanner and Whitehurst said they have issues with.
Dock L does not provide an electrical outlet and has limited visibility to the hustle and bustle on Main Street and Stewart Parkway.
Swanner said he hopes to house The Spirit of Washington at Dock F when the opportunity presents itself.
For now, the cruise boat will be more of a party boat, said Whitehurst.
The partners intend on holding an open house in the near future to give the public a taste of The Spirit of Washington.
Once the cruise boat is officially open for business, Swanner and Whitehurst plan to take guests on three-hour tours.
The boat will feature a festive atmosphere, with a cash bar in the downstairs cabin and another on the party deck.
In the summertime, Whitehurst said the boat will book two- or three-piece bands to play on the deck.
Whitehurst said the boat, which holds a maximum of 85 people, “has a lot of potential to draw in people.”
In addition to party cruises, the boat hopes to host dinner cruises and afternoon cruises for senior citizens and school-aged children.
Whitehurst said he’s had inquiries about the boat from people living as far away as Raleigh.