CHICAGO — Docked on Chicago’s vibrant Riverwalk, Chicago’s First Lady Cruises is a Chicago experience that connects locals and visitors alike.

The city’s rich architectural history and breathtaking beauty is on display through the official Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise. And the cruises are also a first-class venue for private events.

This year marks the 29th anniversary of the Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise. The tour was recently named the “#1 Boat Tour in North America” by USA Today’s 10 Best

For 87 years, Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and its sister company, Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruiseline have seen the development of Chicago’s vibrant Riverwalk.

Perhaps the most impressive feat is that both cruise lines are fourth-generation family-owned and operated, and committed to enviro-friendly practices for continued sustainability.

Holly Agra will step down as the President of Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and assume the new role of Board Chair/

“Captain Bob and I are thrilled to charge our sons with leading our fourth-generation, family-owned and operated business into an exciting contemporary chapter of our legacy,” she said. “As a mom and business leader, I couldn’t imagine a grander way of celebrating 87 years than by passing the torch to our sons.”

Bob Agra Sr. with Paul Harvey on the first speedboat

Captain Bob Agra, Jr. will remain in his role as Lead Captain and Chief Financial Officer of both cruise lines.

“Our family has been lucky to witness the growth of Chicago’s downtown business district and waterfront neighborhood,” he said.  “Real estate developers and city officials have worked to highlight downtown waterfronts making them more accessible and enjoyable for guests. Due to their efforts, the Chicago River is now flanked with cafe’s, Riverwalk parkland, and a new generation of modern skyscrapers, offering a completely different perspective than during my parent’s career on the river.

Agra Jr. took the helm of Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruiseline in 1976 at the age of 18 following the death of his father, Captain Bob Agra Sr. Mercury Cruises, which began as a single speedboat operation, was founded by Portuguese immigrant Arthur Agra and his wife Myrtle in the 1930s.

The Agras and their team of 128 professionals operate a fleet of nine passenger carbon neutral vessels docked at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive on Chicago’s Riverwalk and cruise along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan from April through November. 

To book your own ride and to learn more about the company, click here.

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Touring with the King of Norway