Located in Louisville, Kentucky, the Belle of Louisville is a fully operational steamboat from 1914. Visitors will step back in time as they board the revolutionary boat and cruise the Ohio River in style on a piece of living American history. Whether it’s a casual cruise, a corporate event, or even a wedding, this boat is sure to make any occasion special.
The Belle of Louisville was built and designed by James Rees & Sons Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1914. The boat was then named Idlewild and served as a ferry between Memphis, Tennessee, and West Memphis, Arkansas.
During the 1930s, the Idlewild spent years traveling through various waterways in Canada and the Gulf of Mexico until ultimately returning to Louisville. After that, the Belle remained in Louisville all the way through the World War II era. In the 1940s, the Idlewild began hosting beautiful moonlight cruises and USO events to help fund World War II. By 1949, the Belle was officially renamed the Avalon and became the most extensively traveled river steamboat in all of American history.
In the 1960s, the Belle was purchased yet again and received her current name, The Belle of Louisville. In 1963, after years of rebuilding efforts, The Belle started her new life as a racing steamboat in the First Great Steamboat Race.
By 1988, she was the highlight of steamboat history and was recognized as the nation’s oldest and most authentic river steamboat. She celebrated her 100th birthday in the year 2014 with a 5-day party on the waterfront.
Currently, The Belle offers a variety of cruises and events all year round. She is fully heated and air conditioned, has a dance floor, stage, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, and even a concession and snack bar.
There are a variety of specialized cruises offered all year round for visitors to discover, however, daily sightseeing lunch and dinner cruises are the most popular. Cruises are typically 2 hours long with lunch cruises launching at noon and the dinner cruises launching at 7:00pm.
Through the months of April – October, there are 650 sightseeing cruises offered, while through the months of November – March, there are 200 sightseeing cruises offered. Some upcoming specialized cruises are the following:
Mother’s Day Brunch: This cruise will launch at noon on May 14, 2017 and includes a fabulous brunch buffet for visitors and their moms. The cruise along the Ohio River will be 2 hours long and is sure to give mom a special day to remember.
Mother’s Day Dinner: This cruise will launch at 5:30pm on May 14, 2017 and includes a fantastic evening with a dinner buffet. The cruise along the Ohio River will be 2 hours long and is sure to give mom a special evening to remember.
Louisville Crashers Dance Cruise: This cruise departs at 8:00pm on May 27, 2017 and is the official launch of the cruising season. This 2-hour cruise is complete with fabulous music, dancing, concessions, and a cash bar.
McAlpine Lock Brunch Cruise: This 4-hour cruise will depart at 1:00pm on May 28, 2017 and features a cruise through McAlpine Lock with a narrated history of the area.
Moonshine / Moonlight Cruise: This cruise departs at 10:00pm on June 3, 2017 and is 1.5 hours long. This late-night party is sponsored by Kentucky Peerless Lucky Moonshine and features a moonshine tasting and a dance party with a DJ.
Father’s Day BBQ: This 2-hour cruise departs at 1:00pm on June 18, 2017 and is sure to give dad a day to remember. It comes complete with a BBQ buffet lunch alongside a steamboat adventure.
Independence Day Sightseeing Cruise: This annual cruise features cocktails, an evening buffet, and a grand finale filled with fireworks and dancing. Come celebrate Independence Day with the Belle of Louisville.
Belle of Louisville, 401 West River Road, Louisville, KY 40202, Phone: 866-832-0011