5 Reasons to take a River Cruise this Summer

Written by Ava Belle Ferree, Social Media and Communications Intern

Now that it’s officially summer, there’s no better time to grab your family and friends and enjoy an afternoon or evening aboard the historic steamboat, the Belle of Louisville, and her sister vessel, the Mary M. Miller. This season, we are offering a variety of new cruises, all with different themes and activities, so there is sure to be something for everyone!

Cruise Season-Long with an Annual Pass

New this year is the Belle of Louisville Riverboats Annual Pass! This one-year pass provides passholders the opportunity and flexibility to enjoy cruises all season long with the whole family. While passholders enjoy regular cruising, they will also be preserving the legacy of the boats, assisting in the expansion of our educational programming and supporting our mission of connecting the community to the river through meaningful, on-the-water experiences!

This annual pass can be purchased for $100 and includes many benefits, such as:

  • Unlimited leisure cruises (pass is valid for passholder and up to 3 additional people within the household)
  • Option to upgrade to a meal cruise ticket for a discount
  • Priority boarding for all cruises
  • Free popcorn every time you’re onboard
  • 10% discount off all ticket types (including special events)
  • 10% off all souvenirs and retail

New Cruise Offerings offer Something New for Everyone!

This season, we’re offering a variety of new cruises in addition to some returning favorites that are sure to lead to new experiences and memories onboard! Some of this season’s new cruises will include dinner and interactive cruises, as well as additional (and highly requested) narrated cruises.

In addition, some previous special event cruises are now becoming regularly offered cruises due to high demand and popularity! A list of new cruise options is below.

Anchors Away Wednesdays

Take a mid-week pause and leave your stress behind on the shore! Grab a cocktail, sit back and relax to a Yacht Rock playlist. With a chill 1980’s vibe, this cruise and onboard entertainment is the perfect place to unwind! Anchors Away Wednesday cruises are two hours aboard the Mary M. Miller riverboat. Learn more about Anchors Away Wednesdays.

“On the River” Series

While aboard the world’s oldest-operating Mississippi River-style steamboat, guests will enjoy exciting programming, including music, interactive activities and content from community partners and other area attractions. Each cruise has a unique theme, ranging from history to music or culture!

Our “On the River” cruise series includes Juneteenth on the River, Locust Grove on the River, Speakeasy on the River, Bourbon on the River, and Ghosts on the River.

Murder Mystery Dinner Cruise

Come aboard for a spooky and memorable journey on the historic Belle of Louisville—the perfect immersive setting for mystery and intrigue! While cruising the Ohio River, enjoy an amazing meal and a live, interactive murder mystery show that you can only see onboard the Belle. Can you figure out who the killer is? Learn more about the Murder Mystery Dinner Cruise.

Historic Louisville Narrated Cruise

As part of this special two-hour narrated journey, learn more about our beautiful city, its history and our community’s connection to the river. As we cruise up the Ohio River, guests will learn about Louisville’s origins and connection to the river, the factors that determined Louisville’s location, the role steamboats played in the city’s early growth and development and much more. Between narration highlights, relax to music from a Kentucky-inspired playlist as you take in the sights along the Ohio River. Learn more about the Historic Louisville Narrated Cruise.

McAlpine Locks Lunch Cruise

This one-of-a-kind, highly requested river cruise aboard the Mary M. Miller riverboat is unlike any other experience we offer, allowing guests the first-hand experience of passing through the McAlpine Locks. Built in the 1920s, the McAlpine Locks are the only way to safely navigate past the Falls of the Ohio, the only obstruction along the Ohio River… which spans 981 miles throughout six states!

While onboard, you will be treated to a special narration about the history of the Locks and what is happening as we pass through them, in addition to a delicious box lunch. Learn more about the McAlpine Locks Lunch Cruise.

Explore Louisville History

Whether you’re a Louisville local or an out-of-town visitor this summer, cruising aboard the Belle offers passengers the opportunity to see Louisville from a new perspective and learn more about the city’s rich history. This season, we are offering three narrated cruises that will highlight some key historical points. Passengers will learn more about the history of Louisville and its placement along the river. For example, did you know that before the construction of the Louisville and Portland canal, there were only two months out of the year in which traversing the Falls of the Ohio was even possible? In the years following the canal’s construction, between 1830 and 1860, the population of Louisville increased from just 10,341 to 68,033!

To learn more about Louisville’s history, join us on one of our narrated cruises this season: Historic Louisville Narrated Cruise, McAlpine Locks Lunch Cruise and Harbor History Cruise.

Visit 2 of Louisville’s 8 National Historic Landmarks

Not only are river cruises the perfect summertime activity, but every time you’re onboard the Belle, you have the chance to explore and enjoy a living, operating museum. The 108-year-old steamboat is the only remaining authentic steamboat from the great American packet boat era. In fact, both the Belle of Louisville and the historic wharf boat, the Mayor Andrew Broaddus (where our gift shop is located), have been recognized as two of Louisville’s eight National Historic Landmarks. Cruising aboard the Belle also offers a chance to visit the historic engine and boiler rooms, where guests can learn about the vintage and modern technology that power the historic vessel. Guests who join us aboard a Bubbly Brunch or Captain’s Dinner will also receive VIP access to see the Pilot House, the most original area onboard the historic vessel!

Enjoy Summer Vacation on an Iconic Louisville Tourist Attraction

What’s better than spending time with family and friends? Cruising with family and friends!

Grab your loved ones and cruise along the Ohio River while you experience spectacular views of downtown Louisville and explore the area’s history. As an icon of the Louisville waterfront, cruising aboard the Belle of Louisville or Mary M. Miller is sure to be an unforgettable experience and provide memories to last a lifetime!

How to Take a River Cruise with Belle of Louisville Riverboats this Summer

Interested in adding a Belle of Louisville Riverboats cruise to your summer to-do list? Visit our brand-new website, BelleofLouisville.org to browse our Dining Cruises, Leisure Cruises, Special Events and more! To express our gratitude for our local community and supporters, we also offer Louisville locals a special discount of 10% off most cruises when using code “Ville” at checkout. We hope to see you onboard soon!

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