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Majestic Cruise

Belle of Louisville nears 100 years old

Two-for-one ticket deal
to be offered this summer season

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 2013) – Many recognize the Belle of Louisville as a landmark attraction. Docked in Louisville for 50 years, the Belle will celebrate its 100th birthday next year.
Taking a cruise on the Belle “is like stepping back in time,” said Linda Harris, the first CEO of the Belle. She was brought onboard in 2005 by the Waterfront Development Corp. to oversee the daily operations historic river steamboat.
Since 1963, the Belle of Louisville has taken nearly 7 million people for cruises on the Ohio River. It is America’s oldest operating Mississippi River steamboat still in operation in the world.

Belle of Louisville

Photo provided

The Belle of Louisville is
among the oldest operating steamboats in the world.

Harris said she is excited that the Belle will celebrate its 100th birthday next year. “This is phenomenal for a riverboat, since the life expectancy of a riverboat was three to five years.”
A birthday celebration will be held Oct. 15-19, 2014. Harris said nine riverboats from all over the country will be brought in for special cruises, and various land activities will be held from Louisville’s Waterfront Park to where the Belle is wharfed. The five day celebration will include bands, fireworks, balloon glow, boat races and a parade on Oct. 18 to mark the Belle’s historic birthday.
Known today as the Belle of Louisville, this river steamboat was originally named the Idlewild when built in 1914 at Pittsburgh, Pa. She was originally designed to do the work of a ferry and day packet vessel (for freight work).
Completely paddlewheel-driven with a steel hull that draws only five feet of water, the Belle has been able to travel on virtually every navigable inland waterway, earning her the distinction of being the most widely traveled river steamboat in the nation. The Belle on June 30, 1989, was named a National Historic Landmark.
Special two-for-one pricing opportunities are making it affordable for many people enjoy a leisurely cruise this summer aboard the Belle of Louisville. A riverboat with an old history, it appeals to younger and older generations alike, all of whom can experience some of its nostalgia for a fraction of the original ticket price during the month of June.
“It’s not just what you see, it’s what you experience on the Belle,” said Harris. “People like the river experience as well as the historical value.”
During June, five sightseeing cruises will be offered weekly aboard the Belle and the Spirit of Jefferson. (If customers bring the coupon from the RoundAbout ad, they will receive a two-for-one special discount price.)
Customers can upgrade to a meal ticket for these sightseeing cruises, but there is an additional charge per person.
Harris said this special two-for-one price is a way for customers to come out “and fall in love with the Belle.” Known as one of the most traveled riverboats in history, it is “an icon for the Kentuckiana area.”
The Belle will also be hosting its inaugural Ghost Cruise on the Belle of Louisville from 10 p.m. to midnight on June 8. Storytellers and mediums will be part of the entertainment for the evening. The Belle and its haunted past was highlighted on an episode of cable TV’s Ghost Hunters on March 2013.
A special Father’s Day Barbecue & Bourbon Cruise will set sail June 16. Every Saturday in June will feature Harbor Historic Cruises aboard the Belle’s sister boat, Spirit of Jefferson.
The Spirit of Jefferson and Life-Saving Station No. 10 are two important components of the Belle’s operation. The latter is the Belle’s office boat, known as the Mayor Andrew Broaddus.
A favorite of many customers is the Fourth of July cruise, said Harris. These cruises take place on July 3-4, and anyone onboard can view a special fireworks display provided by the City of Louisville.
“We’re offering three hour Lock Cruises again this year,” Harris said. The McAlpine Lock Sightseeing-Dinner Cruises include a river narrative and buffet.

• For more information or to book a tour, call (502) 574-2992 or visit: www.BelleofLouisville.org.

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