Written by Ava Belle Ferree, Social Media and Communications Intern
One of the things that makes cruising aboard the Belle of Louisville so unique is the opportunity to enjoy cruising along the Ohio River while simultaneously visiting a living, operating museum! Not only this, but visiting the historic steamer allows guests the chance to learn more about the Belle’s history and watch how 19th and 20th century technology work together to keep the boat operating. Continue reading to learn more about what to do next time you’re aboard a Belle of Louisville cruise!
Visit the Historic Engine Room to See the Antique Machinery That Makes the Boat Operate
Something unique to cruising aboard the Belle of Louisville is the opportunity for guests to visit the boat’s historic Engine Room. The Belle’s Engine Room features two 450 horsepower single piston engines, which belonged to another boat prior to being placed on the Belle, making them older than the Belle herself! While onboard, make sure to greet our engineers who are happy to answer any questions you may have about the machinery at work!
Visit the Boiler Room to Discover How Steam is Created
Guests also have the opportunity to visit the Belle’s Boiler Room while onboard! The boilers, which were converted from coal to diesel in the 1950s, can hold up to around 6,500 gallons of water, which is heated up to create the steam that powers the engines and other steam equipment onboard. Just like our engineers, the fireman, who keeps an eye on the boilers to make sure they maintain the proper steam pressure, is happy to answer any questions you have while onboard!
Sit Back and Relax aboard the Hurricane and Texas Decks
If you’re looking to just sit back and relax while taking in impressive views of both the river and downtown Louisville, the Hurricane and Texas Decks are the perfect spots for you! These areas include both seating options and areas to walk around to enjoy your cruise and take in the views!
Complete Fun Activities with an Adventure Passport
Adventure Passports, available on select cruises, are booklets full of entertaining activities for children to complete as your family embarks on a relaxing cruise! These activities range from a scavenger hunt around the boat to a map of landmarks to look for along your cruise. This booklet is sure to not only be an educational and entertaining experience for your child, but also a fun souvenir to take home!
Request a Song on the Belle’s Famous Calliope
On the Belle, guests can request a song to be played on the infamous calliope. The calliope was originally invented with the intention to replace church bells, but eventually became an advertising tool to draw people to the riverbank to take a cruise. The Belle’s calliope is a steam calliope that features copper whistle bells and brass bases and caps. The Belle has had a calliope onboard since the 1930s, with the current one having been built in 1969, and the whistles having been replaced in 1989. On a clear day, the calliope can be heard up to five miles away. Next time you’re onboard, make sure to meet the calliopist and request a song!
Explore Everything Belle of Louisville Riverboats has to Offer!
At Belle of Louisville Riverboats, we offer a variety of different cruise options, which all offer something unique! Whether you’re interested in history, culture, music or just spending quality time with the people you love, we’re sure to have the perfect cruise for you!
New this year is our Belle of Louisville Riverboats Annual Pass! This one-year pass provides passholders with unlimited leisure cruises, as well as other exciting benefits! 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!