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Dining Downriver of Detroit: Diamond Jack’s Recommendations

Looking forward to your upcoming Diamond Jack river cruise in Wyandotte? Why not make it a fun day out and eat at one of the many delicious restaurants in the area?

The Detroit Free Press recently rolled out a list of “9 definitive Downriver dining destinations.” The list ranges from your classic diner to authentic Hungarian fare. Whether you want to get a filling lunch before your cruise or cap your day with dinner and drinks near the water, Downriver and Wyandotte offer plenty of mouthwatering options for you.

Let’s dig in!

Sibley Gardens

Craving some classic Italian food? Sibley Gardens is open for lunch and dinner on Friday, and dinner only on Saturday. Since 1935, this restaurant has been offering pasta, steak, chicken and more. They also offer private rooms and family-style dining, if you’d like to take your group out after a river tour. For more information, give them a call at (734) 285-1707 or visit sibleygardens.com.

TV’s Deli & Diner

Not only does this diner offer a great retro feel, but it also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner — perfect for the group where everyone wants something different to eat! TV’s also offers delectable desserts and a wide variety of alcoholic beverages. Be sure to check out their daily specials online or call (734) 671-9005.

Frank’s Café

Once a Prohibition blind pig in a Civil War–era farmhouse, Frank’s is a cozy establishment that has changed little since its founding close to 100 years ago. They offer bar staples like burgers and beer, plus the renowned fried perch that has been made the same way for 80 years. They don’t have a website, but call (734) 283-4660 for more information and hours.

Moro’s Dining

Labeled as a “unique dining experience,” Moro’s Dining offers elegant Italian fare and a show — you can request flaming entrees and desserts to be prepared tableside. If the décor and service take you back in time, that’s because Thomas Moro, who started the restaurant, trained at the legendary Mario’s Restaurant in Detroit during its 1960s heyday. Moro’s does not accept reservations, but they do offer the option to host private parties. Learn more at their website or by calling (313) 382-7152.

R.P. McMurphy’s

Although it sounds like your typical Irish pub, McMurphy’s is housed in an early-20th-century German pub. And just a two-minute drive from Diamond Jack’s Wyandotte dock, it’s a great place to stop after your cruise. R.P. McMurphy’s offers classic bar staples like burgers, sandwiches and salads. Check out their website at rpmcmurphys.com or call (734) 285-4885.

Oak Café

If craft beer is your thing, then Oak Café is the place for you to visit before or after your river cruise. They’ve got 40 beers on tap, plus great appetizers, burgers, sandwiches and Tex-Mex fare. This bar only accepts cash, so be sure to bring some or stop by the ATM. Their menu is available online, or you can call (734) 283-8380.

Portofino

If you want to keep the nautical theme going after your river cruise, Portofino is a great place to cap your Diamond Jack day. It’s also a five-minute drive south of our Wyandotte dock! This nautical themed restaurant right on the Detroit River offers lunch and dinner (and brunch on Sundays). Sit by the large windows and watch boats go by on the river or admire the murals on the inside walls during your meal. See their menu at portofinoontheriver.com, or give the restaurant a call at (734) 281-6700.

Auburn Café

Opa! Mouthwatering Greek food awaits you at Auburn Café. Lunch and dinner could be authentic Greek food or traditional American staples. You can make a reservation for before or after your cruise, order carry-out or even have it delivered if you live nearby! (As much as we would love to smell your Greek food delivery to the Diamond Jack dock, we don’t allow outside food on cruises.) You can see their menu and make a reservation online or by calling (313) 381-8133.

Hungarian Rhapsody

Last but certainly not least, Hungarian Rhapsody offers authentic Hungarian food right in the heart of Downriver! Lunch and dinner options include turos teszta, chicken paprikas with dumplings, salads and soups. The Rhapsody, as it’s known, also has a mini museum with Hungarian artifacts. View their menu online at therhapsodyrestaurant.com or call (734) 283-9622 for more information.

Be sure to stop by these great Downriver partners if you’re planning a full-day outing to Wyandotte for our river tour. All aboard Detroit!

March 2020 Newsletter: Spring Is Almost Here!

Sunset on the Detroit River

It’s almost spring, Diamond Jack family! March 19 is the official first day of spring. And while it might not be warm enough to be on the water yet, we’re preparing the boats for cruising the Detroit River.

As we start to creep out of winter hibernation, there’s still plenty to talk about in the upcoming season. Let’s dive in!

Sightseeing Tour Spectacles

Diamond Jack boats on river in front of Renaissance Center

We’re so excited to get on the water with you! In just a few short months, public tours will be offered on all three of our boats. Tours begin June 4th at the Detroit dock and June 5th at the Wyandotte dock. Tours are available Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Please note: we’ve changed the Wyandotte tours to only be offered Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

We offer two convenient docks for you to experience Diamond Jack River Tours: the Rivard (Cullen) Plaza dock in Detroit and the Bishop Park tour dock in Wyandotte. We have videos on our website about how to get to our docks and where to park.

There are so many exciting places to view on the Detroit River from the comfort of your Diamond Jack boat seat. Take in the beauty of Belle Isle, Grosse Isle, Boblo Island, historic homes, prominent buildings and more on the tours.

Diamond Jack School Field Trips Are a Hit!

Middle school students on a river boat field trip

Students of all ages will love a Diamond Jack field trip! What better way to learn about local history, geography, maritime safety and more than by spending an afternoon sailing the Detroit River?

With a wide variety of departure times and dates available, a Diamond Jack field trip is an excellent way to keep students engaged or entertain faculty and alumni. Our hour-and-a-half-long field trips departing from the Detroit dock are perfectly suitable for grades kindergarten through 12th. If you or someone you know is a teacher, let them know about our field trips! Tell them to call (313) 843-9376 soon to book their trip. The cost is $10 per person.

Book Your Private Charter

Diamond Jack River Boat on Detroit River with rainbow in background

While public touring may still be a few months away, private chartered trips can start setting sail on May 1! Our private charter boats are ideal for office parties, proms, family reunions, senior groups and parties. On a Diamond Jack private charter, you won’t have to worry about entertaining your guests – they’ll be entertained with our fabulous narrated tour or just enjoying time on the river. Your event will be the talk of the town aboard your private Diamond Jack tour.

And tours don’t have to be limited to the summer season – we offer private charters until October 31!

We offer three different departure locations, flexible departure times, indoor and outdoor areas on the boats and catering and bar options. When you choose Diamond Jack for your affair, you don’t have to worry about a thing!

There is still availability for private charters during the 2020 season, but spots are filling fast! Call (313) 843-9376 to book your charter today, or fill out our contact form.

Featured Tour Site: The Detroit Yacht Club

Aerial view of the Detroit Yacht Club

Rising from the shores of Belle Isle is the Mediterranean-style Detroit Yacht Club. The current building was built in 1923, but the history of the club hearkens back long before that. The first “clubhouse” was built in the late 1870s on McDougall Street in Detroit for sailing enthusiasts. The Roaring Twenties was boomtime for the club, when membership swelled to 3,000 and the current clubhouse was built. Some notable past members of the club include Edsel Ford, Horace Dodge and Charles Kettering. Some members you might see around today are General Motors executives and Detroit mayor Mike Duggan.

Today, the DYC has 300 boat docks and hosts public tours monthly during summer. From your perch in a Diamond Jack boat, you can marvel at the sweeping structure and spot sunbathers and bocce ball players. Maybe you’ll even witness a special event taking place, like a wedding!

If you’d like to see the Detroit Yacht Club from the river, be sure to take a Diamond Jack tour when touring opens up this June.

Stay tuned for our next featured tour site…it’s going to be big!

All Aboard, Detroit!

We’re counting down the days until it’s time to set sail on the Detroit River. Until then, Diamond Jack family: make it a Diamond Jack day!

Still Time to Save 20% on 2020 Charters

Detroit River Ambassador Bridge at Sunset

Happy February, Diamond Jack family! Although it’s cold and quiet on the water now, the staff at Diamond Jack is busy preparing for the upcoming season of tours.

If you haven’t taken advantage of our special discount for private charters, please do so now! We are offering 20% off private charters that are booked and paid for by March 1. There isn’t much time left, so book now!

If you’re hosting a large special event, like a corporate party, family reunion, or a group outing, Diamond Jack private boat tours are an excellent way to make your event unforgettable. What is a more unique experience than taking your group on a private tour of the beautiful Detroit River? It’s also an excellent idea if you have a large group – our three vessels have maximum capacities of 125, 175, and 225. Don’t worry about providing food and beverages for your guests, either, as the Diamond Jack boats are fully equipped to serve food and drinks with a dozen catering menus. Diamond Jack also has three docking locations with parking for your convenience.

So, don’t worry about hosting your next big event – let Diamond Jack do it for you. Your guests will rave about the unique experience of their own private riverboat experience on the Detroit River. Be sure to book your charter before March 1 to get 20% off the cost of your charter! Call our office to book your private charter at (313) 843-9376 or fill out our contact form.

We’re Getting Ready for You!

Diamond Jack riverboat being cleaned with lifeboats stacked on table.

Take a peek at our very own Diamond Queen getting pampered for the upcoming boat season! Each winter, our boats undergo maintenance to make sure they’re in tip-top shape for everyone who wants to cruise the Detroit River the following summer. Because the Diamond Queen was built in 1956, she needs regular maintenance to make sure everything is working properly – kind of like humans.

Sightseeing Tours on the Detroit River

Diamond Jack Riverboat Diamond Queen on the Detroit River

Diamond Jack is gearing up for another great summer of two-hour, narrated sightseeing riverboat tours along the historic Detroit River. Our fun and educational tours have attractions for everyone to get excited about, from the Renaissance Center to the Post Office Boat. Diamond Jack Riverboat Tours are appropriate for all ages to enjoy.

With tours departing from the dock at the Rivard (Cullen) Plaza and the Bishop Park dock in Wyandotte, our summer touring schedule is sure to be busy. Tours begin June 4th at the Detroit dock and June 5th at the Wyandotte dock. Tours end September 6 at both docks, and are available Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Please note: we’ve changed the Wyandotte tours to only be offered Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

To buy tour tickets, you can come your preferred dock 20 minutes before the tour. We accept cash and major credit cards. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis. Be sure to bring your money on the boat, too – we sell snacks and drinks for you to enjoy on your ride!

Out of the Classroom and Onto the Water

Little boy on a Diamond Jack Riverboat field trip

If you’re a teacher in the metro Detroit area looking for an exciting, educational field trip, or just a fun day for your students with a learning aspect, you’ve come to the right place. Diamond Jack Riverboat Tours are an excellent way for students to learn about their community, history of Michigan, geography and more! The hour-and-a-half long tours are perfect for grades kindergarten through 12th grade (or even faculty and alumni of your school).

To learn more information about Diamond Jack’s educational field trips, feel free to call us at (313) 843-9376 or fill out our contact form. Please be sure to book your Diamond Jack field trip in advance.

Featured Tour Site: The Manoogian Mansion

Detroit Mayor's residence Manoogian Mansion

Nestled in the Berry Subdivision Historic District right along the Detroit River, the Manoogian Mansion is the official residence of the mayor of Detroit. The mansion was built in 1928 in the Mediterranean-Revival/Spanish Colonial Revival style for $300,000. The original owner lost the mansion during the Great Depression, and Alex Manoogian bought the mansion in 1939. Manoogian, an Armenian immigrant and founder of the Masco Corporation, paid only $25,000 for the mansion at auction.

In 1965, Manoogian donated the mansion to the city of Detroit. The 4,000-square-foot dwelling has been the official residence of the mayor of Detroit ever since, although not every mayor since then has lived in the mansion. While Coleman Young was mayor, he hosted a reception for foreign dignitaries who were in town for the World Economic Summit in 1974. And the next year, Gladys Knight got married at the mansion!

You can see the Manoogian Mansion, plus other beautiful homes along the Gold Coast, on your Diamond Jack Riverboat tour!
Make it a Diamond Jack Day!

January 2020 Newsletter – Save 20% on 2020 Charters

Detroit River private boat charter

Happy New Year, Diamond Jack family! We hope you had a wonderful holiday season. Now that it’s 2020, it’s time to start thinking about warmer days on the water.

Private boat charters are an excellent way to host the perfect event. Hosting an event on one of Diamond Jack’s boats ensures privacy and safety for all your guests. Three docking locations offer convenience for all around Metro Detroit, with easy parking at the docks. Whether it’s a corporate event or private party, Diamond Jack private boat charters are an excellent setting for an unforgettable event. And, if you book your private boat charter and pay before March 1, you’ll save 20%!

Diamond Jack offers private charters seven days a week and welcomes groups of all sizes with a max of 225. Charters run from May 1st through October 31st, 2020. We offer private boats, flexible departure times, convenient parking, and indoor and outdoor areas on board. Don’t worry about food and beverages – we have a delicious catering menu that’s certain to appeal to all tastes, and each boat has a bar serving beer and wine.

Don’t wait to book your private charter – summer will be here before you know it! To book your own private boat charter, call (313) 843-9376 or visit our website, diamondjack.com. Remember to book your 2020 private charter and pay before March 1 to get 20% off the price.

Educational Field Trips for Students, Faculty and Alumni

Smiling students on a Diamond Jack river tour field trip

The Detroit Riverfront is filled with rich history, from the first Native American settlements to the roar of automotive industry today. A recent study by the University of Arkansas found that children who were taken on educational field trips performed better in school and on standardized testing than their cohorts who were not taken on field trips. Take your students’ learning out of the classroom and on the water with Diamond Jack field trips for an enriching and fun experience!

The educational tours by Diamond Jacks offer a unique experience to see the riverfront. The educational tour sites include the following: Renaissance Center, Bell Isle, U.S. Coast Guard Stations, Ambassador Bridge, Fort Wayne, J.W. Westcott II Floating Post Office, TCF Arena, the cities of Detroit and Windsor and much more.

Student Groups available by reservation only. Call our office or visit our website to book.

Spend a Day on the River with Sightseeing Tours

Diamond Jack river boat crew

It may seem cold and dreary now, but soon, bright sunshine and hot temperatures will make excellent conditions for riverfront sightseeing tours. Come spend a summer day viewing and learning about 16 miles of shoreline between the United States and Canada on one of our tours offered on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in Detroit. You can tour the riverfront from Wyandotte on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Our two-hour sightseeing tour is narrated by our amazing staff members and open to the public for all ages to come aboard. Check out dozens of exciting sites on our tours, like Bob-Lo Island or the Detroit Yacht Club. Starting June 4th, 2020 and running through September 6th, 2020, there’s something for everyone on Diamond Jack’s River Tours!

Featured Tour Site: Hiram Walker Distillery

Established in 1858, the Hiram Walker Distillery in Windsor, Ontario is considered the largest distillery in North America. Although the founder, Hiram Walker, was an American citizen who lived in Detroit, he bought land across the river because it was cheaper in Canada. Walker started off as a grocery clerk, then slowly built his fortune in the whiskey distillery business.

The Civil War boosted the new distillery’s business. Demand for foreign whiskey soared because most American distilleries were caught up in the middle of the war. Legend has it that Walker built a “smuggling pipeline” underneath the distillery to smuggle jugs of whiskey into Detroit during the Civil War.

Hiram Walker Distillery still produces 180,000 liters of alcohol every 24 hours, five days a week. One of the most iconic brands to come out of the distillery is Canadian Club Whiskey.

You can see the sprawling complex along the Detroit River on Diamond Jack’s Detroit Riverfront tour from our Rivard Plaza dock. The Hiram Walker Distillery is just one of dozens of sites you’ll get to see from our boats. Book your preferred tour in advance! Make it a Diamond Jack day!

Detroit School Field Trips Along the Detroit River

School Field Trips Along the Detroit River

Students on a cruise ship enjoying their Diamond Jack Detroit River tour field trip.

Do you ever wish you could get out of the classroom and teach your kids in a more fun and exciting environment? The day-to-day grind can get monotonous pretty fast and students can start to feel bored with the same old curriculum each day. Getting out of your comfort zone to go on an exciting, yet educational, adventure might be right up your alley.

Field trips can be tremendously beneficial for both the teachers as well as the students. Not only do they encourage education in a fun and interesting setting instead of a set curriculum, it can also give students a chance to learn in other environments. The next time you consider taking your students on a road trip or field trip, especially to see the sites, consider taking them “out to sea” with Diamond Jack Detroit river tours!

Come aboard any three of our vessels for a chance to see all kinds of historical landmarks along the Detroit river including Renaissance Center, Belle Isle, U.S. Coast Guard Stations, Ambassador Bridge, Fort Wayne, J.W. Westcott II Floating Post Office, TCF Center, the cities of Detroit and Windsor and much more.

Detroit building on the horizon of the Detroit River during sunset.

Narrated Tours that Bring History to Life

Equipped with a knowledgeable and accommodating staff, Diamond Jack is completely dedicated toward catering to the students. We strongly believe in the education of future generations and are fully committed to students of all ages. Our trips bring history to life with an interactive two-hour narrated tour that explains both the historical as well as geographical landmarks in a very exciting and engaging way.

Not only will the students learn about the history of Detroit, they will have a lot of fun at the same time! With over 25 years of experience sailing the waters, our crew helps to bring the River to life by highlighting all the major aspects of the Detroit River along the way. Our team strives to create a memorable experience for everyone on board, giving them a chance to sit back, relax in the cool breeze, and enjoy the remarkable view.

Schools We’ve Worked With

There’s no greater feeling than inspiring our state’s next generation of thinkers. Diamond Jack’s variety of narrated tours do exactly that. Each option showcases a distinct blend of history, architecture and ecosystems that are sure to captivate your students.

Since our start in 1991, we’ve had the privilege of contributing to the education of young minds across metro Detroit, and the entire state. Some schools we’ve entertained on field trips in the past include:

  • Detroit Public Schools
  • Grand Rapids
  • Hazel Park School District
  • Troy School District
  • Grosse Pointe Public Schools
  • East Detroit Public Schools
  • Highland Park City Schools
  • Plymouth canton
  • Armada
  • Dearborn
  • Royal Oak
  • Livonia
  • Dearborn Heights
  • Clinton Township
  • Roseville
  • Madison heights
  • Romulus
  • Woodhaven
  • Oak park
  • Ferndale
  • Inkster
  • St. Clair Shores
  • Macomb Chippewa valley
  • Harper Woods
  • Westland
  • Lincoln Park
  • Redford
  • Warren
  • Romeo
  • Naperville, IL
  • Taylor
  • Melvindale
  • Southgate
  • Ecorse
  • Ohio
  • Naperville, IL

Our premier Detroit River tours are second to none and the proof will be in the amazement on your students’ faces. So, what are you waiting for? Ditch the classroom and make it a memorable day for your students today!

Celebrating with fireworks on one of Diamond Jack's cruise ships going down the Detroit River.

Planning School Events with Diamond Jack

Diamond Jack is not only great for teaching your students, it is also a spectacular place to host your next big event. Whether it’s prom night, homecoming, fundraisers, a graduation celebration, or your next teacher conference, taking your next event to the river for a getaway may be the best idea you’ve had all year! With our new beautiful dock area, snack bar, restrooms, a state park right next door, and even a carousel, we offer an exciting environment with all sorts of activities to make sure your next event is everything you could ask for.

If you’re looking for something educational, historical, fun, and affordable, the narrated Detroit River Tour is something both teachers and students can really enjoy. For a low cost of $10 per person, all students from kindergarten to high school seniors are welcome!

Cruises are available Monday through Friday beginning May 1st through October 31st (Thursday and Fridays only in July and August). Departures times are 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. (Only 10:30 a.m. in July and August).

So, if you’re wondering what to plan for your school’s next trip away from the classroom, look no further! Embark on a journey with Diamond Jack this year to plan your next field trip, big event, or even a staff meeting. We promise, you won’t be disappointed.

We’ve already received reservations for the upcoming season! Book now and guarantee your spot today by calling (313) 843-9376 or visiting our website: https://diamondjack.com/

November 2019 Newsletter – Our Private Charters Season is Over for 2019

docked Detroit tour boat

Hey there, Diamond Jack family! We hope that you’re holding up against this rainy transition into November. We would give anything for another sunny day on the water, but with the leaves falling like the temperatures, our crew has had to prepare our fleet for winter storage.

We would like to take this time and extend our sincerest thanks to all of you that made this 2019 sightseeing and private charter season so memorable. Our hope is that you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did while on the Detroit River.

Over the coming months we will be hard at work updating our tour schedule, making improvements to our boats and updating the sites to explore during sightseeing tours.

This is an exciting time for us, and we cannot wait to unveil our progress when our sailing seasons begins next year.

Be sure to check out our website for special promotions and updates in the meantime.

Private Charters Resume May 1st, 2020

Private charter tour on Detroit River

It MAY seem like quite a way out, but we’ve already received many bookings for our 2020 Private Charter season. Our private charters begin just about a month before our sightseeing tours run in June.

Private charters are perfect for nearly any event including: corporate parties, weddings, family reunions, senior groups, school field trips, proms, religious retreats, organizational events and promotional parties.

Reserving a private charter through Diamond Jack gives you exclusive privileges like:

  • Private Boats for Your Group
  • Flexible Departure Times
  • Convenient Parking
  • Indoor and Outdoor Areas on Board
  • Catering and Bar Available
  • Three Boats to Choose From

We encourage you to read up on our private charters, so you can find the ideal combination of food, entertainment and space for your event. If at any time you have questions, please do not hesitate to call our responsive staff at (313) 843-9376 for assistance with questions and bookings.

Book now and pay in full by March 1st, 2020 to save 20% on your charter.

2020 Sightseeing Tour Dates Revealed!

Detroit River sightseeing tour

We know that the boats have barely had a chance to dry, but we’re so eager to get back out on the water that we’ve announced our 2020 sightseeing tour dates.
Be sure to mark your calendars for Thursday, June 4th, 2020 so you don’t miss the first day of a great season! We’ve made some changes to our schedule, which you can learn more about below.

***SCHEDULE CHANGE: WYANDOTTE TOURS NOW RUNNING FRIDAYS-SUNDAYS ONLY***

Remember, you have the choice of three different sightseeing tours to explore.

The first departs from the Rivard (Cullen) Plaza in Detroit and takes to you great destinations like the Ambassador Bridge, Historic Fort Wayne, the Hiram Walker Distillery. These tours will still run Thursdays-Sundays at 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm.

Our next two sightseeing tours sail from our Wyandotte Dock in Bishop Park from 1:00 and 3:30 pm exclusively on Fridays-Sundays. Our Wyandotte tours explore a slew of historic and culturally significant downriver landmarks like Bob-Lo Island, Zug Island, Fort Malden and more.

Diamond Jack is sure that you will find something to marvel at during your sightseeing tour. For a full list of sightseeing sites along the way, as well as pricing options and dock directions, check out this page.

Featured Tour Site – 1906 Grosse Ile Light

It wouldn’t be a Diamond Jack Tour if you didn’t see something that wowed you! This month’s featured site is the 1906 Grosse Ile Light House.
You can catch this marvel of American engineering on our 3:30 p.m. Wyandotte tour.

During the 19th century, industry and commerce rapidly expanded throughout the Midwest, and all the ports of the Upper and Western Great Lakes were accessed by transiting the Detroit River. As traffic in the river increased, the Cleveland Vessel Owners Association petitioned Congress to establish navigation lights to enable 24-hour operations of their steam powered ships.

The request was granted in 1891 when the first pair of channel guidance lights – range lights – were established on Hennepin Point to guide up-bound ships past the sandbar off the southwest point of Fighting Island.

Three years later Congress appropriated money to establish another set of lights to serve down-bound traffic, the Grosse Ile North Channel range lights. They were lighted on July 16, 1894 and identified the Fighting Island channel north of Mamajuda Island.

The northernmost of these lights was the Grosse Ile North Channel Front Range Light, now the only remaining light on the island.

The original 1894 front range light resembled a water tower on stilts as it was constructed on wooden pilings along a 170-foot pier from the shore. It was rebuilt in 1906 and remains the classic white structure that still exists today.

The interior of the lighthouse is paneled with the traditional Michigan tongue and groove varnished pine while the exterior is painted cedar. An impressive circular wooden staircase winds to the light stanchion, now empty.

A lighthouse keeper, with his family, lived in a one room cabin near the rear tower until a larger house was built on the property in 1904 (and still stands today as a private residence).

The keeper was responsible for maintaining the lighthouse. Oil for the lamps was stored in metal structures near the lights, as was a supply of glycerin which was used to clean the windows and keep them from freezing during the winter.

In the 1920s the remaining lights were electrified, with the Grosse Ile Light an occulting (flashing) white beacon, one second on and one second off. The light was permanently extinguished in 1963 and the Fresnel lens was removed by the Coast Guard. Of the original four lights on Grosse Ile, only this light was saved from demolition.

In 1965, the Township purchased the light from the Interior Department for $350, with funds provided by the Grosse Ile Historical Society. The Society has the responsibility to preserve and maintain the lighthouse and is supported strictly by private contributions.

The Grosse Ile Historical Society now maintains the light and it can be toured by calling (734) 675-1250.

Have Fun while Learning on the Water

private charter boat tour field trip

Diamond Jack believes in making every trip on the water a memorable learning experience. Supporting the communities within our great state is an enriching process.

If you’re a teacher looking for an exciting school field trip that brings a different perspective of Michigan’s largest city, give us a call! We can help plan a custom charter tour. Whether it be history or architecture, we have tour destinations sure to captivate and inspire.

Intrigue your students by observing the natural ecosystems along the banks of the U.S. and Canadian borders or bring the past to life with a narrated tour discussion of historic forts and establishments along the Detroit River.

If you really want to wow your students, you could choose our “Pizza 48222” catering option. It combines two childhood favorites: pizza and adventure.

Have pizza personally made and delivered by the crew of the J.W. Wescott II, the world’s only floating post office, who will pull along side our boat with the pies ready.

There is something for everyone on a Diamond Jack tour! To learn more about options for school field trips contact us today or give us a call at (313) 843-9376.

October 2019 Newsletter – Experience Fall Like Never Before with our Private Charters!

Fall In with Diamond Jack’s Crew

Diamond Jack’s Private Charter Voyage

Summer has officially come and gone – but that doesn’t mean the chances for outdoor fun have. If you’re looking to entertain your closest colleagues, flabbergast friends or revel with relatives, then our private charters are a perfect solution! You’ll have your choice between the Diamond Jack, the Diamond Queen or the Diamond Belle. No matter the choice, our crew will make it an unforgettable experience for all onboard. A simple check of our reviews page will prove it. We’ve hosted hundreds of private charter events since 1993 including:

  • Corporate Parties
  • Family Reunions
  • Weddings
  • Birthday Parties
  • Organizational Events
  • Fraternity/Sorority Mixers
  • Business Gatherings
  • LGBTQ Events
  • Promotional Parties
  • Churches/Religious Organizations
  • Employee/Staff Parties
  • Freshman Orientations
  • Prom Parties
  • Corporate Mixers

Our private charters are available seven days a week and can accommodate groups with up to 225 persons. Sailing from Rivard (Cullen) Plaza, Bishop Park-Wyandotte or Stroh’s River Place, our exclusive private charters make it feel like you own the river. But, don’t wait too long! Diamond Jack’s private charter season concludes on October 31st and will resume again May 1st, 2020.

Commonly Asked Questions about Private Charters

Private Charter Party aboard the Diamond Belle

If you’re sailing with us, or just mulling the idea over, here are some frequently asked questions we’re heard from our patrons:

Q: Can I bring my own caterers on board?

A: You won’t need to! We have 10+ meal options, so why fuss with extra logistics? Sit back and relax on the river while we handle menu options like pizza, Middle Eastern, BBQ, chicken, Italian, Mexican and more. Our delicious catering menu has something for even the most particular pallets, so check it out! Hospitality is our strong suit which is why we’ll make sure your every need is met during your private charter. From preparing and serving to entertaining and cleaning, our catering options will make a great time on the river even better.


Q: Can I hire entertainment to be on board? (Band, Magician, etc.)

A: Yes. To make sure that our boat can accommodate the entertainment in question we require approval from of our office seven days prior to the event. We do this to determine if the size of the entertainment and its content is appropriate for the vessel your charter will take place on. If staff or entertainment wish to board early to prepare setup they can board up to an hour before sailing.


Q: I want to rent out a charter and sell the tickets out to people to make a quick profit. Is this possible?

A: We realize that our private charter options are also popular among non-profit and charity organizations. Our crew has welcomed the Knights of Columbus, Friends of the Rouge, JARC, The Pope Francis Center and many others aboard. We at Diamond Jack respect the positive change these organizations enact within their communities. For this reason, we allow non-profits and charity organizations to upsell tickets in this fashion. If you are interested in selling private charter tickets for a profit, approval from our staff is needed. Once we can authenticate that you are a federally approved non-profit charitable organization with 501©(3) status.


Q: Can I bring my own alcohol on board for my event?

Diamond Jack crew by bar for private charters

A: Unfortunately, no. As a fully licensed distributor for alcohol sales in the state of Michigan we must be responsible for any alcohol brought on or consumed on board by law. Therefore, to regulate the distribution of alcohol and to make sure that no one under the age of 21 is served alcohol we sell alcohol on board and check IDs of your guests.


Q: How many people can your boats accommodate:

A: There is a two-fold answer for this. If you are planning on having a dinner buffet then the passengers are limited to: 70 for the Diamond Jack, 95 for the Diamond Queen and 150 for the Diamond Belle. If you are planning on just having guests on board with no food options then the maximum capacity for each ship is: 125 for the Diamond Jack, 175 for the Diamond Queen and 225 for the Diamond Belle.

Private Charter Rates and Off-Season Specials

Since we’re entering our last month of private charters, we offering all of our customers special off-season rates. Now, night rates will just cost the same as day rates. Say goodbye to skirting specific times of day for your next event. Check out our rates here and get out on the water without a hassle!

We want you to have an outstanding time, no matter what. If you still have questions about our private charters, please consult our policy page. If you still cannot find what you are looking for, give us a call at Make sure to know all the details so you can make the most out of your private excursion on the Detroit river. If there is a question you have here that has not been answered feel free to call (313) 843-9376 or email us here.

Featured Private Charter Tour Option

Only floating post office in the U.S.

One of the most unique sights you might see on the tour may not even be on land. If you are lucky enough you might get to see one of Detroit’s most famous boats, the “J.W. Westcott II.” Don’t be fooled by the “J.W. Westcott II’s” modest size of 45 feet and a beam height of 13 feet. This boat is the only floating post office in the United States!!!

The Detroit Mailboat, as its more commonly referred to, is a ship that delivers mail and packages to lake freighters and carriers traversing through the Detroit International Riverfront while they are underway. The boat operates 252 days a year and is 24-hour service mail ship. The most impressive fact of all is that the J.W. Wescott Company has had the ownership pass through 5 generations of the family.

The ship’s namesake Captain John Ward Wescott ferried supplies back when he created the Wescott company in 1874. However, Mr. Wescott didn’t have the luxury of driving an engine boat, but transported supplies, and eventually the mail, to lake and river freighters. Fast forward 74 years and the “J.W. Westcott II” ship was commissioned to be built in 1948. Today, owner Jim Hogan and his son, Jimmy, manage the business alongside their 20 employees.

As the only floating post office in the country, the Detroit Mailboat is designated with its own unique zip code. If you wish to deliver a parcel, mail, freight delivery, storage, forwarding or messenger and passenger service amongst boats in the port of Detroit use address below:

“Vessel Name”
Marine Post Office
Detroit, MI 48222

But the Detroit Mailboat doesn’t only deliver mail, it also delivers Pizza! In our “Pizza 48222” catering package we include a pizza meal delivery from this famous boat to ours. Whet your appetite as you watch the system of ropes and buckets deliver your pizza meal directly onto the boat. The Detroit Mailboat will make sure the pizza doesn’t get wet before you sink your teeth into it. Now that’s a pizza delivery service that everyone can be on board for!

2019 September Newsletter — Final Weekend for Sightseeing Tours

Turn Your Labor Day Weekend into a Memorable Adventure

Hi Diamond Jack Family! This August has been a busy one. And, with the holiday weekend approaching, we’re gearing up for one final send off for our sightseeing tours in 2019!

If you haven’t spent some time with us on the water this season – or if you already have and want to see more of our featured attractions – now’s your final chance for this summer.

Our last sightseeing tours of the season run Thursday-Sunday from both our dock locations.

You have the choice between two separate tours departing from Rivard (Cullen) Plaza in Detroit at either 1:00 or 3:30 pm.

Or, if you want an entirely separate sightseeing experience, consider our downriver tours from Bishop Park dock. We also run two tours from this location departing at 1:00 pm 3:30 pm respectively.

No matter which tour you decide on, you can rely on us to make it an unforgettable experience.

Featured Tour Site

Sailing the Detroit River since 1993 means that we know some of the most popular and hidden sightseeing gems on the water. Our engaging crew brings these locations to life with our interactive narrated tours.

Regardless of which tour you set out on, you’ll be sure to find something that captivates you.

We spotlight over 50 distinct destinations along our tours. Each have their own unique history with the city of Detroit.

With so many destinations to choose from, narrowing down our favorite for this month was a challenge.

Our top pick for featured tour site of the month is Milliken State Park and Harbor. It’s practically a hop skip and a jump from our Rivard (Cullen) Plaza dock too!

The first urban state park of its kind in Michigan, Milliken park is a hub for activity.

You can explore the park’s 31 acres, home to a harbor, a picnic area, wetland, paved trails (biking, walking, rollerblading) and much more.

Bringing friends or the whole family down to Milliken State Park for a picnic before your tour is a perfect way to start a memorable day and just pack one time. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture all the great sights!

Photo Contest Winners

Detroit Skyline at Night

Speaking of cameras, we saw some amazing photos from you all during our photo contest this season. Thank you to everyone that participated.

Your smiling faces captured the spirit of Diamond Jack and warmed our hearts. Congratulations to our winners:

  • Bill M. in Taylor, MI
  • Shelly A. in Hazel Park, MI
  • Rachel D. in Belleville, MI
  • Melvin R. in Romulus, MI
  • Sherry in Monroe, MI
  • Pam S.

If you weren’t picked this time around, don’t get rid of your pictures from aboard our boats! We run our photo contest annually, so be sure to check back for emails come June 2020.

Still Time for Private Charters

Sightseeing tours might mark the end of the summer tour season, but we’ll be on the water until October 31st! Consider booking a private charter tour if you want to experience Detroit like never before.

Private charters are great for family reunions, proms, corporate gatherings and parties, senior groups and more.

Our private charters can easily accommodate up to 225 guests on board.

But what good would a private party be without some food, drinks and entertainment?

When you book a private charter with us, you’ll have the choice of over a dozen tantalizing catering options featuring authentic tastes from around the country and world!

Diamond Jack also has a bar on board featuring soft drinks, juices and popular beverages like Atwater’s signature Dirty Blonde and Summer Shandy.

It is always humbling to help give back to those that give so much. The Diamond Jack Crew is looking forward to our private charter with JARC (Jewish Assistance Residential Care) on August 19th. Our captains can’t wait to bring the history of Detroit to life for all on board.

A big thanks to the Pope Francis Center for scheduling a private charter with us on August 29th. They have been feeding the hungry, clothing the bare and helping people get back on their feet since 1990. The Diamond Jack crew is honored to have such a community-committed group aboard.

Send Summer off the Right Way

group of people by riverfront

Don’t spend your dog days of summer pent up inside. Get moving outside and change it up!

Summer is a time of warm sunshine and outdoor activities. Diamond Jack’s sightseeing tours and private boat charters will provide you with both of those.

Along with our riverboat tours, there are so many great events happening downtown.

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, check out the Detroit Jazz Festival and grab some stellar food truck grub during Downtown Street Eats.

If you’re planning something for September it’ll be worth your time to check out the Detroit Free Press Food and Wine experience on Saturday, Sept. 14th. The following weekend is Cider in the City and the 5th Annual Parktoberfest.

The possibilities for fun never end when you sail with Diamond Jack. Our friendly and engaging staff will make you feel like part of the crew.

As always, that you for a great sightseeing season and we hope to see you all on the water again next year!

All aboard Detroit and make it “A Diamond Jack’s Day!”

2019 August Newsletter — Dog Days of Summer on the Detroit River

Last Chance for Summer Sightseeing Tours

Detroit River Boat Tour

Are you ready to send this summer off the right way? We cannot believe that August is already here. Running hundreds of tours in July made the time fly!

Our captains were happy to see all of you come out and spend a day with us on the magnificent Detroit River. Patrons like yourselves make the job well worth it. There’s no better feeling than providing our customers with an entertainingly interactive sightseeing tour.

Speaking of our summer sightseeing tours, don’t miss out on your last chance to ride with Diamond Jack this season! Our sightseeing cruises run Thursday-Sunday at 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm now through September 1st.

Whether you’re looking for unfiltered nature landscapes, marvels of engineering or stories of local folklore and mystery, Diamond Jack will deliver.

Depending on your interests, we have three captivating sightseeing tour options. Sightseeing tours depart from either the Detroit Rivard (Cullen) Plaza Dock or Wyandotte Bishop Park Dock. The dock you sail from directly stems from your summer sightseeing tour choice.

If you need some extra help with directions or finding parking, check out our Detroit and Wyandotte Dock pages.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out our discount coupon! For the entire month of August, sightseeing tours departing from the Wyandotte Dock will cost only $16.00. Simply print out the coupon from our website and present it to the crew the day of your cruise.

Photo Contest – Smile, You’re a Winner

We’ve been seeing a lot of great photos on our Facebook page from all of you. Keep them coming! There are still a few more weeks left for our photo contest, which means you still have time to win two free tickets.

Photo Contest Rules

Congratulations to our past winners: Shelly from Hazel Park and Bill from Taylor. Thank you for making memories and sharing stories with our crew.

Getting your chance at two free sightseeing tour tickets is easy. Simply share a photo of your cruise with us on our Facebook page with the #saildiamondjack. Winners are picked weekly, so keep an eye out for a message from us!

Private Charters Sailing Through October 31st

July was jumping. From family reunions to charity events, our private charter boats were constantly packed with great times and even better people! We had the pleasure of having Michigan Special Olympics, Leader Dogs for the Blind and many more organizations on board our boats this past month. Visit our Reviews page to read what some of them had to say about their experience on our private charters!

Diamond Jack’s River Tours can help take your party to the next level. Our boats can accommodate up to 225 guests, so be sure to bring everyone along. We provide a variety of catering options along with a wine and a beer menu too. Some popular drinks include Miller Lite, Molson, Summer Shandy and Atwater Dirty Blonde. There are dates still available through October 31st so contact us today at (313) 843-9376 for more information.

Ask The Captain a Question!

Captain Steve Carrothers of Diamond Jack’s River Tours.

Captain Steve Carrothers of Diamond Jack’s River Tours.

Questions are only normal, and our crew encourages them. If you see something that piques your interest or are just curious about our operation, feel free to ask away. You just might score two free tickets for an upcoming cruise!

For your chance to be featured in our “Ask the Captain Question” section, email your question to info@diamondjack.com. Winners will be announced on our Facebook page.

Congratulations to last month’s winner, June.

June asked our captains, “What is the farthest round-trip the boats are capable of traveling without needing more fuel or supplies? Has there been any thoughts of trips beyond the Detroit River?”

The answer to that captivating question is as follows:

The question of fuel & supplies is somewhat of a moot point. The boats are constricted by the US Coast Guard and there are limitations based on equipment carried on board. For example – to travel offshore any farther than 1 mile – the US Coast Guard requires more lifesaving equipment. Based on the fleet that 99% of our business is in the river – it would make no sense to carry the extra equipment. If we were not constricted by US Coast Guard the boat could travel approximately 600-700 miles before needing fuel.

Spend the End of Summer in Downtown Detroit

Summer might be winding down, but that doesn’t mean your fun has to! Check out these events if you’re looking to have a good time in Detroit this summer:

Yoga on the Riverfront

Friday, Aug. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Join Urban Solace studio for Yoga on the Riverfront. Classes are held Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. and Friday morning at 10 a.m. in the wetland area of Milliken State Park. Classes are free and provided by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. No registration is necessary for the yoga classes. Participants are encouraged to bring their own yoga mats and water. Free parking is available at Cullen Plaza (1340 Atwater St.)

Rockin’ on the Riverfront

Friday, August 2, 9, 16 7:30pm – 10:00pm

This free concert series held along the Detroit River, in partnership with Detroit’s Classic Rock 94.7 WCSX-FM, is the perfect Friday night activity to wind down from the week. A new artist performs each Friday starting with Loverboy (Aug. 2), Jon Anderson (Aug. 9), and Little River Band (Aug. 16).

July 2019 Newsletter – Summer Tours Have Already Begun

Summer Sun & Sightseeing Fun

Picture this: You’re outside with a blowing breeze at your back. Above you, the warmth of the sun radiates down. You scan the open horizon and get lost in the repetitive flow of the current. Sounds nice, right?

A ride with Diamond Jack is anything but typical. We know what it takes to make lasting summer memories because we’ve been doing it since 1991. Our friendly and engaging crew keeps the good times rolling on the water. Whether you’re a first-timer or a regular, we’ll make sure this your best summer yet.

Summer is well underway, which means it’s time to maximize your fun! Do yourself a favor and ditch a stuffy weekend inside for a choice between three different Detroit river sightseeing tours instead. Our sightseeing tours are a surefire way to kick off your summer festivities with dozens of attractions to see along the way.

Whether it’s rain or shine, Diamond Jack’s River Tours offers sightseeing tours to the public every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday! Tours depart from one of two dock locations – Detroit Cullen Plaza Dock and Wyandotte Bishop Park Dock. Depending on what you’d like to see, you can choose from tours at 1:00 PM and 3:30 PM.

And while you’re aboard, don’t forget to grab a snack or a refreshing cold beverage from our onboard snack bar. We keep Miller Lite, Molson, Summer Shandy and Atwater Dirty Blonde in stock!

Each cruise features an interactive 2-hour narrated tour with various attractions along the way. You can learn more about your options by reading our Tour Maps. No matter if you’re adventuring upriver or cruising downriver, you are sure to encounter captivating sights.

Fog around Zug Island

One attraction you’ll want to keep your ear out for is the Windsor Hum! The unpredictable noise resonates from Zug Island, another site on the tour. The sound is so pervasive that even VICE news wrote a feature story on it.

The origin of the mysterious sound still baffles scientists and our Canadian neighbors, but Captain Jack might be able to shed some light on the subject! Will you hear it during your next cruise?

There’s never been a better time to sail with Diamond Jack. Add a sightseeing tour coupon into the mix and it becomes a must-do! You can snag your $16 sightseeing tour today by visiting our discount coupons page.

Take a Pic and Get Picked: Photo Contest

People on a Boat

We enjoyed your pictures from that last photo contest so much that we decided to bring it back again this year! That’s right, now you can score a free ride for two with a simple snap of your camera. Diamond Jack’s Photo Contest runs through September, so make sure to keep sharing all the good times you capture on our boats.

The game is the same and the rules haven’t changed. To enter, choose your favorite photo you’ve taken on one of our past tours. From there, head to social media. Choose one photo to share on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn using the #SailDiamondJack.

Winning 2 FREE tickets is easy! Each week we’ll go through all the submissions and choose one lucky winner. We’ll be posting the winning photos to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so be sure to look out for yours!

Own the River with Private Charters

Boat beneath bridge

Have a corporate outing coming up? How about a family reunion this summer? No matter what your gathering brings, Diamond Jack’s is ready! Our private charters are available seven days a week and can handle up to 225 passengers.

June was filled with laughs and smiles and we’re keeping the same energy going through July! If you want to get out on the Detroit river for some rest and relaxation among friends and family, then our private charters are an easy choice. All you need to do is choose which of our three docking locations you’d like to depart from.

We have three docking locations for private charters: Rivard (Cullen) Plaza, Wyandotte, and Stroh’s River Place.

No private charter party would be complete without some fine dining. Diamond Jack’s offers a variety of options on our catering menu. Chow down on tastes from Italy, Motown, South of the Border, the Middle East and more! Whether you’re feeding 20 or 200 everyone’s stomach will be happy.

Ask the Captain / Winners

Friendliness is our forte at Diamond Jack’s River Tours. Next time you sail with us feel free to ask the captain any questions you have. You just might get free tickets from us for doing so!

Last month’s ask the captain winner is June C. from Monroe, MI. June was curious about the travel abilities of our fleet. Specifically, she wanted to know the farthest round trip that could be sailed without having to refuel.

Parking Directions to Get Here Faster

We don’t want you missing out on any of the good times on board. Avoid any confusion when traveling to our docks with our easy to follow directions. We’ve taken the time to break down how to get to each dock from all major routes.

We even have videos explaining parking for our three dock locations. To watch our “Where to Park” videos, click on the link below of the dock you are visiting. All aboard, Detroit!

Detroit Rivard Plaza Dock

Wyandotte Bishop Park Dock

Stroh’s River Place Dock

All aboard, Detroit!