Vista King cruise boat moved from Duluth to MilwaukeeLongtime Vista Fleet cruise boat the Vista King will find new life as an excursion boat in Milwaukee.
By: By Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune , Superior Telegram
Longtime Vista Fleet cruise boat the Vista King will find new life as an excursion boat in Milwaukee.
And by the looks of its itinerary, the “luxurious” and “magnificent” Vista King,” as it’s being touted, has got some lively days ahead. Concert cruises.
History tours. Festivals and special parties, as well as sightseeing outings on the Milwaukee River and venturing into the open waters of Lake Michigan.
“They’re excited,” Vista Fleet spokesman John Goldfine said of the new owners. “It’s a very old family business. It’s got a good reputation.”
The Vista King, which can carry up to 200 passengers, was pulled from Vista Fleet operations after the 2009 season and put up for sale.
The fleet was reduced from three boats to two — the 300-capacity Vista Star and 70-capacity Vista Queen — to streamline operations and increase efficiency. The Vista King, built in 1978, was sacrificed because it was the fleet’s oldest.
Working with a broker, prospective buyers were found who came to Duluth to give the Vista King a test run last fall.
“Everybody test drives a boat if they’re serious,” Goldfine said. And apparently the Vista King passed the test, because a deal was struck in November.
“They bought it. They showed up. They got on it and drove it away,” Goldfine said, meaning by water. “It happened very fast.”
Goldfine declined to reveal the purchase price. But he said: “We felt it was a fair price.”
Like the Goldfine family’s longtime ownership of the Vista Fleet in Duluth, the Milwaukee Boat Line is a longtime family business. Also like the Vista Fleet, it is based downtown where its boats depart.
The Vista King, which was dwarfed by the Vista Star in Duluth, is now the largest tour vessel in Milwaukee. Its sister boats are the double-decker
Iroquois and the three-level Voyageur that accommodate 150 passengers each.
The Vista King is scheduled to cruise Milwaukee waters from April through October, beginning April 25 with a series of harbor history cruises as part of a Water Week celebration.
Meanwhile, the Vista Fleet is doing well as a two–vessel fleet, Goldfine said.
“It worked out spectacularly,” he said.