A River Cruise on the Edmonton Queen

I’d been on the Edmonton Queen once before, with my family the year it was announced that the boat would be docked for good. I don’t remember much, and truth be told, it was so crowded that it wasn’t as enjoyable as it could have been – the cruises were free to the public because of its farewell voyage. Well, needless to say, the Queen reigns again, and with the push provided by a 2-for-1 cruise coupon, I took Mack on his first journey down the river two weeks ago.

On the Edmonton Queen

Edmonton Queen

We walked to the south side of the river, a pleasant stroll through Louise McKinney Park and across the footbridge. I know it’s a moot point since the hires are probably seasonal, but for an attraction, the ticket staff were less than friendly. In my two phone interactions and one in-person visit, they were a bit curt – not the best representation of our city (it’s also a pet peeve of ours that the base assumption is for one to have driven to the destination – we were greeted with a “Did you drive?” instead of a “Do you need a parking pass?”).

On the Edmonton Queen

Can you say tourist?

Thankfully, the staff on the Queen were better, friendly and welcoming as they were. We had some time before we would be setting sail, so bought drinks to sip on the deck. Surprisingly, the prices were pretty reasonable ($4.50 for Mack’s Grasshopper, and $6.50 for a refreshing slush cocktail).

On the Edmonton Queen

Drinks

The boat was decidedly under capacity compared with my previous ride, and meant we were able to easily navigate the different parts of the deck for the best vantage point at various points in the cruise.

On the Edmonton Queen

Beautiful day for sailing

On the Edmonton Queen

Mack hearts downtown!

We set sail upstream on the North Saskatchewan first. It provided a view of Edmonton’s skyline we don’t normally see, and on that sunny and clear day, a picture perfect opportunity to capture it for future reference.

On the Edmonton Queen

Under the bridge

On the Edmonton Queen

Skyline

We didn’t quite reach the Walterdale Bridge before we turned back and headed downstream for a bit. From the river, it was a nice reminder of how fortunate we are in Edmonton to have such a lush green valley with trees that seems to go on forever.

On the Edmonton Queen

Rossdale from the water

On the Edmonton Queen

Kayaker

On the Edmonton Queen

Another skyline shot

In all, the cruise was an hour in length, but felt longer because we were travelling a path that allowed us to see the city from a different point of view. We highly recommend it!

On the Edmonton Queen

Rainbow

You can see the full photo set here.

9 thoughts on “A River Cruise on the Edmonton Queen

  1. Just curious, do you seriously have that big of a problem with people driving? We live in a city in which a car is basically required to get around. I’ve been following your blog for years and it seems that whenever a restaurant isn’t on a bus route you slam them for not being “transit-friendly”. Of course it’s assumed that you would have driven to the boat, it’s Edmonton – people use cars!

  2. Somewhat echoing Curious’s comment, don’t both statements (“Did you drive?” and “Do you need a parking pass?”) carry with them the implicit assumption that you used a car, and thus are equally loathsome?

    As far as the agents and their assumption, I’d argue that a good many people probably drive. There is parking available, there aren’t a lot of transit links in the area (especially given the reroutings for Scona Road construction) and while there are certainly excellent pedestrian facilities nearby it’s still quite a hike for a lot of potential riders.

  3. Given that there is limited parking at the Edmonton Queen site (which is also shared with the EDBFA for dragonboat practices) it’s fairly normal for them to ask if you will be driving. Why would that make them rude? Edmonton was never designed to be transit friendly – just try to get home during off peak hours and you’re probably looking at an extra 30 minutes to an hour for your commute.

  4. Not having lived here that long, I appreciated the review- thx.
    Were the drinks any good? Did they have finger food that was worth considering?

  5. Curious – yes, you’ve been reading that right. Sure, many people use cars to get around, but many don’t as well. In the example of the Edmonton Queen, it’s a little funny – in the “contact us” page, they say it’s within walking distance of the downtown core, but in the F.A.Q. they don’t provide explicit directions. It might be obvious to some, but for tourists, it wouldn’t be. They do, of course, mention where you can park.

    Neumanic – you’re probably right. I think most people do drive. But they don’t make it any easier for those who would perhaps choose to take transit. No mention on the website of bus routes that would take one there.

    Tetsuwan – I wasn’t suggesting the staff was rude for asking about parking. I was just saying it was a pet peeve of mine for people to assume that driving is the only way of reaching a destination. And sure, it might take half an hour longer sometimes to reach home, but much of it has to do with your starting point and ending point.

    Greg – I can only speak to the drinks we had, but yes, they were enjoyable! I didn’t peek at the menu, but the folks next to us had a bruschetta that looked okay, and if anything, seemed like a really large serving.

    Valerie – it was definitely a nice way to spend a Saturday.

  6. I’m surprised you gave the Edmonton Queen such a positive review. I’ve gone three times (once with a work function, once a wedding and once a regular cruise) and I have found the Queen to be run-down, dingy and in need of a makeover. I also think the tour route is lame – they turn around at the Rossdale Power Plant, not exactly a tourist-friendly attraction. I can honestly say that the Edmonton Queen is never on our recommended must-see list for our friends/family from out of town.

  7. I love Sharon’s use of politeness when she writes.

    “Decidedly under capacity” is a great way to say “there weren’t very many people on the boat when we were there.”

  8. Jo – we didn’t wander anywhere below the deck – I’m not sure if that made a difference. And really for us, given we didn’t have any food, it was just about being on the boat, and seeing Edmonton from the water. I wonder if not going further down the river past the Rossdale has something to do with the water levels?

    Buddha Pest – yes, well, that’s just my style :).

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