Detroit River Tours Stories from Our Sightseeing Tours


February 2018 Newsletter: Preparing for Summer Cruisin’ on the Detroit River

Ask The Captain a Question!

Do you have questions for the captain? We have answers! Submit your questions to Whether you’re curious about the innerworkings of a boat or have any other sailing-related inquiries, we’ll provide you with answers straight from one of our captains. Each month, we will pick 5 winners and publish those questions (with the answers) to our website. The winners will receive two free tickets for a scenic cruise with Diamond Jack’s River Tours!

Jack’s Happenings

New Gangway

Gangway for The Diamond Queen

Here at Diamond Jack’s River Tours (DJRT), we look forward to our summer boat rides, but we’re also busy during the winter months. We’re currently working on getting our boats in good shape for the coming sailing season. Our visitors can look forward to new carpeting in all three of our boats: The Diamond Queen, The Diamond Belle and The Diamond Jack. The Diamond Jack will be going into drydock shortly for its check-up and overhaul, and The Diamond Queen will be getting a new ceiling. Climb aboard our new gangway on The Queen this upcoming season and experience our revamped mini-ships. We hope you enjoy the new improvements we’ve made to our boats!

Boat Facts
Featuring: The Diamond Jack

Catch a ride on The Diamond Jack, one of our three mini-ships. Whether you’re looking for some entertainment with a group of friends, family, coworkers or a school group, a 2-hour cruise on this delightful mini-ship is the perfect choice. The Diamond Jack, originally named “Emerald Isle,” was first constructed in 1955. The boat had a few different homes before it arrived at Diamond Jack’s River Tours. It started off being used by the Beaver Island Ferry Company located on Lake Michigan.

In 1962, the Emerald Isle was used as a ferry for the Arnold Line Ferry Company, and in 1982, the boat was used for charters in Milwaukee. Finally, in 1991, the mini-ship was bought by Diamond Jack’s River Tours and renamed “The Diamond Jack.” Now, you can book a Private Charter or take a Sightseeing Tour on The Diamond Jack. Enjoy a serene cruise down the Detroit River in a Private Charter including delightful catering options or try our Sightseeing Tours narrated by one of our staff members. Book your Private Charter on The Diamond Jack now for a celebration to remember with a group of friends, family, colleagues or schoolmates.

Themes For Our Private Charters

There are so many different ways to enjoy a celebration on our Private Charters. We’ve seen a multitude of exciting themes over the years from our guests. Take a trip to Margaritaville in a cocktail-themed celebration with a group of close friends. Try your hand at golf in a putt-putt gathering with your sports buddies. Get spooky in October with a Halloween costume party, or make some magic with a magician-themed river boat Private Charter. Another popular festivity we like to see is the ever-popular prom party! Whatever your theme idea may be, our Private Charters are the perfect place to make it happen.

Our Private Charters are fun for all ages – small children, teenagers, adults and seniors. Grab your coworkers, friends, family members and classmates for a tranquil cruise along the Detroit River or a destination of your choosing. Whether you’re putting together a wedding celebration, a family reunion or a school field trip, at DJRT we can accommodate Private Charters for any of these occasions.

Save 20% On Your 2018 Private Charter

It’s the last 30 days to get 20% off on your 2018 Private Charter when you book and pay before March 1st! Be sure to book your Private Charter as soon as possible and we’ll see you this upcoming sailing season.

Newsletter: 90 Days Left To Fit-Out. Here Before You Know It!

Captain’s Corner:
Featuring Paul LaMarre

Captain Paul LaMarre of the Diamond Jack

Captain Paul LaMarre of Diamond Jack’s River Tours.

Meet Captain Paul LaMarre, a member of our crew who captains the Diamond Jack from Wyandotte, MI. Paul has been interested in boats since he was a young boy. His dad did work for a local shipyard, Great Lakes Engineering, where ships were worked on and repaired. Two of Paul’s uncles were freighter captains, thus strongly reinforcing the boating family tradition. In time, Paul began doing artwork of popular lake ships. Paul also had friends who worked on tugboats and ships, and eventually met Bill Hoey, who was formerly the owner of Diamond Jack’s River Tours.

“I eventually wound up taking fill-in deckhand jobs aboard Hoey’s tugboats and on freighters,” Paul said. “Captain Hoey eventually offered me a management position in 1978, and I have worked for him and his family full time ever since for 40 years!”

Paul learned the duties of being a professional captain while working aboard tugs and freighters. He has been a captain for 21 years now. Some duties the captain handles include navigation of the boat, making sure the passengers and crew are safe, vessel deck maintenance and cleanliness, otherwise, “seaworthiness,” inventory, coordinating daily activities, supervision of boarding and making customers happy! Plus, Paul said that there’s always more to learn.

“I was very fortunate to have veteran mentors along the way,” Paul said.

Paul explained that there are so many exciting stories about fun times had with Diamond Jack. The crew at Diamond Jack tours with thousands of people with different stories to share. He loves hearing stories about people who have experienced hard times and tragedies but were blessed to make it through. It makes him happy to be able to see these people enjoy a day out on the boat with Diamond Jack.

“Every day is different – Every day brings a new story,” Paul said.

Save 20% on Your 2018 Private Charter

Save 20% on your 2018 Private Charters when paid in full by March 1, 2018. A small deposit is required, and it’s worth it when you have your summer festivity planned in advance. Book your private charter now. The Diamond Jack is still available for the Detroit Fireworks display. The boat sails out of the Wyandotte dock where it will then cruise to an area for viewing the fireworks. Enjoy a five-hour long boat ride with ample time to admire Detroit’s annual fireworks display. $90 per person, 55 people minimum. Book this or any other private charters now while prime weekend dates are still available. Call (313) 843-9376 for details.

Jack’s Happenings

Catch up on what we’re working on at Diamond Jack’s River Tours right now! We’ve been working non-stop on revamping our boats for the coming season. You can look forward to a new feel for our boats with our new equipment. During the 2018 season, you’ll get to experience the power of our new generators and board more effortlessly with our gangways installed. We’re also working on engine overhauls so you can be 100% satisfied with your Detroit River tour experience. During the engine overhaul, we remove the boat engine to examine it and clean it, and then take the necessary steps to repair it if needed. With so much excitement awaiting in 2018, we’re so eager to tour with you guys!

Don’t forget that Wi-Fi is now installed in all our boats! Upload the pictures you take immediately to social media while touring with us. Share group photos and picturesque views of the Detroit River with your friends and family on social media.

Boat Facts
Featuring: The Diamond Queen

One of our boats here at Diamond Jack is the Diamond Queen, formerly known as “Mohawk.” The boat was built in 1956. Like the Diamond Belle, the mini-ship used to operate as a Mackinac Island Ferry for the Arnold Line Ferry Company. Arnold Transit Company has served residents of Mackinaw Island longer than any other boat company. Diamond Jack bought the mini-ship in 1995, and renamed her the Diamond Queen. The boat is used for a variety of activities including group tours, school fieldtrips, special cruises and private charters.

Catering Menu:
Highlighting A “Taste of Italy”

Are you interested in starting off your 2018 summer with a river cruise featuring some delicious food? Reserve a private charter with us so you can cruise along the Detroit River while enjoying a mouthwatering meal. We offer gourmet catering with your private charter so you can have an exquisite meal all while admiring picturesque views from the Detroit River.

You won’t have to travel far to sample some of Italy’s finest cuisines. Get a taste of Italy from right here in Detroit! One of the specials on our catering menu is a “Taste of Italy.” The “Taste of Italy” menu offers tasty delicacies such as baked chicken parmesan, vegetable and beef lasagna, penne pasta marinara and rotini pasta alfredo. Add a side of meatballs or grilled sliced chicken, some delectable vegetables, and your feast is complete! So plan your event now for next year, and savor an Italian meal to remember on the Detroit River.

Diamond Jack’s River Tours Newsletter Nov. 2017

Captain’s Corner:
Featuring Steve Carrothers

Captain Steve Carrothers of Diamond Jack’s River Tours.

Meet Captain Steve Carrothers, one of Diamond Jack’s captains. Steve entered the marine business in 1991 when Diamond Jack’s River Tours was started. He began his work with DJRT running the bar and concession stand on the Diamond Jack.

“My father in law and owner at the time, Bill Hoey, said that the only way to run a business was to be able to do all the jobs on the boat,” Steve said. “So, I started paying attention to our captains and started driving boats under their supervision.”

Steve learned to become a captain from working as a crewman and practicing alongside experienced captains. To become a captain, you have to take a written test through United States Coast Guard to prove you know the rules and navigation. Steve received his captain’s license in 1995. Now, his duties as captain include knowledge of the engine room, loading and unloading passengers, managing the crew and everything else that’s involved with manning the boat.

Steve said that he loves getting celebrities on board. Some celebrities who’ve sailed with Diamond Jack include Jimmy Fallon, Drew Barrymore, Ray Liotta, Eminem and some prominent Red Wings hockey players. He said that his most cherished sailing moments, though, are when kids from children’s hospitals sail with Diamond Jack.

“Knowing that these kids were dealt a pretty tough go in life, and to see them smile and forget some of their problems for a few hours with us on the boat is pretty special,” Steve said.

Jack’s Happenings

Even during the off-season, we’re very busy over here at Diamond Jack’s. We’re currently working on renovating the boats before the 2018 cruising season arrives. Our river boats – The Diamond Jack, The Diamond Queen, and The Diamond Belle – will all be in spectacular shape for our passengers next year. All of our boats are getting new carpeting, and we are installing a new ceiling on The Diamond Queen. The Diamond Jack will be going into dry dock with Nicholson Terminal & Dock Company in Ecourse after January 1st for its check-up and overhaul. The Jack will remain at the dry dock for maintenance and a U.S. Coast Guard Inspection, along with a complete re-painting of the bottom of the boat!

Our staff is looking forward to the 2018 sailing season, so we are doing everything we can to get the boats prepared for our riders. Wifi is now installed in all boats for summer 2018 for your pleasure. You can upload the photos you take to Instagram and Facebook during your exciting boat ride. We can’t wait to see you all again in 2018!

Save 20% on your 2018 Private Charters when paid in full by March 1, 2018. (Small deposit required).

Boat Facts
Featuring: The Diamond Belle

Diamond Belle Boat

The Diamond Belle is a “mini-ship” that holds up to 225 passengers. With quite the history behind it, and several name changes over the years, the ship was built in 1958 and originally was used as a Mackinac Island ferry by The Arnold Line Ferry Company. Also known as Arnold Transit Company, the company has served Mackinac Island longer than any other ferry boat company in history. The Belle was originally named the Mackinac Islander because of its time spent on Mackinac Island.

The Belle was later bought by a charter company in Chicago during the 1980’s. During The Belle’s time spent chartering with this company, the boat was referred to as The Sir Richard. After Diamond Jack bought Sir Richard, we named it The Diamond Belle. Now that The Belle belongs to Diamond Jack’s River Tours, this mini-ship has even more of a history behind it. The chronicles of The Diamond Belle continue to grow with every new sailing season! 

Summer 2018 Events in Detroit

Already planning for your summer in Detroit? We don’t blame you! It may be cold out now, but there’s always summer to look forward to. Every year in Detroit, you can participate in GM River Days in June. 2018 will be the 12th year of the annual festival. Experience an exciting celebration of the Detroit RiverWalk with fun activities for people of all ages.

The Ford Fireworks in Detroit will be taking place June 25, 2018 at 9:55 p.m. at the Hart Plaza. The Diamond Jack is our only boat still available for charter. It departs from Bishop Park in Downtown Wyandotte. We hope you enjoy your summer in Detroit, but for now, snuggle up by the fire, drink some warm hot chocolate, and enjoy your holiday celebrations! Season’s greetings from all of us at Diamond Jack’s River Tours!

2017 Detroit River Public Tours Recap

Lined up for Diamond Jack’s Detroit River Tour

The votes are in! 2017 was another wonderful year for our sightseeing tours along the Detroit River. We enjoyed giving our passengers tours of Detroit and watching the smiles on their faces as we cruised along the river. Let’s recap a few of our most treasured moments of 2017:

This year, our passengers enjoyed free wi-fi on our river boats so they could feel free to upload pics of the tour for their friends and family to see on social media. One of the best parts of sailing the Detroit River is snapping pictures along the way. Documenting your travels is a way to look back on fond memories and a way to share your experiences on social media. We truly hope you enjoyed sharing your pictures of your time spent on Diamond Jack’s tours during our photo contest. We had a blast seeing all the pictures you guys posted from our public sightseeing tours, and we always love to see more!

Witnessing History On Our Detroit River Cruise

2017 on the Detroit River was a sailing season full of history lessons, that’s for sure. This year, our passengers got to observe replicas of Christopher Columbus’ Niña and Pinta—the famous ships that he sailed the seas in. This August, the two ships made a stop in Wyandotte, Michigan. While passing by on our sightseeing tours, our passengers got to have a look and get a feel for the 15th century!

Another historic boat came to visit Detroit in 2017… This year, our customers got to see the Boblo Boat during our Detroit River tours. A historic icon of Detroit, Boblo Boat first launched in 1910! We were more than happy to share another piece of Detroit history with our passengers.

Detroit Events on the River

From events like Detroit River Days to watching the Detroit fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday, it was certainly a season to remember. We truly appreciated being in your company during our Detroit River boat tours, but even more importantly, we’re glad to have provided you with a fun time. We hope you’ll join us again next season for our 2018 Sightseeing Tours starting June 7th!

Christopher Columbus’ Ships the Niña and Pinta Sail Detroit!

Columbus Ship Replicas

Explorer Christopher Columbus sailed the seas and discovered the New World in 1492. His famous ships the Niña and Pinta allowed him to embark on his long voyage and you can get a chance to jump back in time to see what it was like!

Get a feel for what it was like to travel in the 15th century this weekend! The most historically accurate replicas of Columbus’ two ships will be sailing the Great Lakes and they’re making a stop in Wyandotte from Thursday, August 10 to Sunday, August 13. Make your way to our Wyandotte Dock in Bishop Park where you can do some exploring of your own on board these giant floating museums.

Both ships, operated by the Columbus Foundation, are open to the general public from 9am to 6pm. It is not often that the Niña and Pinta come around our parts of town. The ships last visit to Michigan was in 2014, so don’t miss out on this exciting and educational opportunity! Bring out your friends, family, kids, and of course the explorer in you!

La Niña La Pinta by Thomas R Machnitzki used under CC BY 3.0

2017 Sailing Season

diamond jack boat on the detroit river

The sun is out and the chill in the air has turned into a refreshing breeze! Sailing season is upon us once again! It’s time to get out to the docks and climb aboard one of Diamond Jack’s River Boats. Be sure to book your Detroit River Tour on the Diamond Jack, Diamond Queen or Diamond Belle! Reserve a Private Charter for a special event or join in on a Sightseeing Tour along the shores of U.S. and Canada.

Whether you’re celebrating a graduation or a wedding, hosting a family reunion, or holding a corporate event, give your guests an experience they won’t forget! With a full catering menu, beer and wine, a Detroit River Private Charter is the perfect way to spend time with family, friends and coworkers. Our private charters are available 7 days a week and great for large groups of up to 225 guests. Book a private charter river tour with Diamond Jack this year for an unforgettable event!

Public Sightseeing Tours begin June 1st at our Wyandotte Dock and Detroit Rivard Plaza Dock. Experience the sights of Detroit from a new perspective. Enjoy a 2-hour narrated ride and learn about Detroit’s rich history as you take in the summer breeze. Now that all our boats come with free WiFi, be sure to take photos and share on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter while sailing! Don’t forget to tag us!

We want you to kick off your summer right, so we’re offering a coupon for 25% off all public river tours in June! Grab your coupon now and we’ll meet you at the docks!

Final Weeks


Join us for a tour on the Detroit River as we wind down with our final few weeks of cruises in 2016.

If you haven’t had a chance to join us yet, hurry down to one of our two locations—the Detroit Dock or the Wyandotte Dock—before September 4th and climb aboard one of our famous tour boats.

It’s been a great season of sailing on the Detroit River! For those of you who remain on dry land, welcome to our new website. Take a look around, and we hope to see you soon.

Fall Charters


Fall is finally upon us, but it isn’t too late to book a private charter with Diamond Jack’s River Tours. We have our fair share of social, family or business events throughout our sailing season, but the months of September and October lend themselves to so many unique sailing ideas! Why not make your Oktoberfest celebration special by spending it with us on the Detroit River, with the history of this great city as your backdrop? Or throw a Halloween party aboard one of our tour boats that will be remembered for years to come? Fall is a special time of year, so hold an autumn-themed work party as you take in the beautiful sights of the Motor City. The possibilities are endless, so don’t be afraid to get creative!

We’re also honored to announce another successful year of having Captain Cathy’s Cruise for Kids on the Diamond Belle. We’d like to share with you some pictures of the wonderful children from the Children’s Hospital of Michigan enjoying the annual cruise hosted by Captain Cathy’s friends and family.

We look forward to spending time with you this fall season on our one-of-a-kind riverboat tours. Take your pick of the Diamond Belle, Diamond Queen or Diamond Jack for an experience you won’t forget! Our private charters run seven days a week until October 31, so hurry up and book your private charter with us today. It’s going to be an eventful fall season, and we hope to see you soon. All aboard!

The 2016 Sailing Season is Finally Here

Spring time for the Diamond Belle

The weather is finally turning, trees and flowers are blooming and summer is almost here. You know what that means, it’s time to book your Detroit River tour with one of our three vessels. Join us for a public tour
or a private charter as we get started on a magnificent summer on the Detroit River! There’s never been a better time to sail!

Public tours start on June 2nd at both of our Detroit area docks. Come down to the Rivard Plaza Dock near the Renaissance Center in Downtown Detroit, or our Wyandotte Dock at Bishop Park to experience one of Diamond Jack’s unique sightseeing experience on the Detroit River. We couldn’t be more excited for a season of fun in the sun. For the first time this summer, we’re proud to announce all of our boats now come with free WiFi so you can stay connected while sailing. That’s not all though, we’re also offering 25% off of all tours public in June, so make sure to bring our coupon with to the dock.

It’s going to be a hot summer, get it off to a great start by booking your cruise now with Diamond Jack’s River Tours. Start making your summer plans now and take advantage of our great deals and new features. All aboard Detroit!

A Detroit tradition for 25 years

When Captain Bill Hoey launched Diamond Jack’s River Tours in 1991, few put their trust behind the idea of touring the Detroit River. But Mr. Hoey was determined to share his adoration for the Great Lakes by offering a family-oriented and affordable way to enjoy the River during the summer. Sadly, Mr. Hoey passed away in December of 2013, but his spirit is still very much present as Diamond Jack’s begins its tours once again, running Thursdays-Sundays. In this, the legacy of Captain Bill Hoey continues with each trip on the Detroit River.

Major League Baseball And Mapquest Features Diamond Jack

Major League Baseball and Mapquest have combined efforts to create a city-by-city video guide for baseball fans, titled “Key To The City.” Hosted by comedian and baseball enthusiast Matt Fisher, the series is setting its sights on Comerica Park and surrounding local hotspots found in Detroit. Fisher makes his way through the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, Lafayette Coney Island, Nemo’s Bar & Grill, The Motown Museum, and, of course, down to our very own Diamond Jack’s River Tours. Detroit is a beautiful city, rich with history and a fervent sense of pride, and we applaud Major League Baseball and Mapquest for letting us be a part of their stunning web series, shining a light on some of the exciting places in the city we love most. So be sure to watch Matt soak up the sun on the Diamond Belle and his other Detroit adventures showcased on the episode, “Key To The City: Detroit.”