THURSDAY, June 6 — In a joint effort between Princess Riverboats and Rivertown Adventures, the Grand River Princess is returning today to the route of its namesake after being docked in Grand Ledge for years.
It last ran in Lansing for the Common Ground Music Festival in 2008.
Christopher Chamberlain, owner of Princess Riverboats, said the return is sentimental. He designed and helped build the Grand River Princess from the ground up.
“It feels cool to be back where it all started,” Chamberlain said. “I don’t think enough people really get on the river in Lansing to appreciate it.”
The boat will mark its return at 5 p.m. today for Dam Jam, a Lansing 5:01 event featuring a series of 12 concerts along the Lansing River Trail. Docking into Cherry Hill Park at 5 p.m., the Grand River Princess will take on its first passengers with a steel drum band on the top deck for entertainment.
From there, it will travel a round trip route with stops at the Lansing Center and Adado Riverfront Park for the next three hours.
Chamberlain will be at the helm. Also owning the Detroit Princess and Michigan Princess, Princess Riverboats eyed its comeback for the Grand River Princess with the right partnership.
Paul Brogan, co-owner of Rivertown Adventures, was the match, Chamberlain said.
“Paul is the right person in the right place at the right time. We have a lot more planned together and this is our trial run.”
Brogan said the partnership sprang from an idea to get people to experience the river without necessarily being in a kayak.
“Our vision is to see Lansing put more docking systems along the river to actually use the river as an active commuting river and another form of transportation,” Brogan said. “The end goal is to regularly be able to get people from REO Town to Old Town to go to a few bars and have a good time.”
The boat will eventually be able to operate from the footbridge of Adado Riverfront Park to Moores Park depending on water levels. It has a capacity of over 100 passengers depending on its flexible two deck layout. It is also in the process of acquiring a liquor license.
The boat plans to cruise again this year for Common Ground, Brogan said.
Within the next few weeks, the joint effort will hire and train captains to run the ship for additional summer events. There are immediate openings for booking bachelor and bachelorette parties, wedding receptions and other rentals.
(For more information or booking, contact Princess Riverboats at 517-627-2154 or River Town Adventures at 517-253-7523)