The Ohio River flows from Pittsburgh to Cairo, before will empty in the Mississippi, and along its way will cross over 1.000 miles. Historically speaking, this river was considered a major link for transportation between the Mississippi River area and several East Coast cities, and the probably the busiest, as a lot of boats plied this river`s waters. In present times, only a few will manage to remain, and they are usually being used to offer a venue for weddings or other special social events or sightseeing cruises.
Belle of Louisville
Belle of Louisville is considered the oldest old-fashioned boat in operation and also a National Historic Landmark. The Belle of Louisville and Spirit of Jefferson are being owned by the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government. Each and every one of these two boats include a wheelchair lift, they feature a dance floor, ample indoor seating, observation deck and climate control. River cruises are usually available during the entire year and are suitable for the whole family. Several cruise options for public tours will include sightseeing or harbor tours with lunch and dinner included in buffet style, and the boats will also be usually available for private events.
BB Riverboats can be found at Newport Landing in Newport. This line will own two luxurious Victorian boats, the Belle of Cincinnati and River Queen. Both of these boats are modern and they include bars, climate-control systems, elevators and a dance floor. You may take a 1 1/2-hour sightseeing cruise with narrations included, or you might want to opt for a dinner our, which will usually last for around 2 1/2 hours. Lunch and dinner will generally be served as buffet style, with a few choices of salad, entrees or dessert. Dinner cruises will feature entertainment, which will include Dixieland jazz music. From June through late September, the company will offer the Pirated of the Ohio, an afternoon family tour, where kids may dress up as pirates and play several related games.
Celebrations Riverboats, which is based in Ludlow, will own several private cruises along the Ohio River. Its boats are modern and handicap accessible. They may be rented for weddings, birthday parties or other social events, with an additional option of two-hour lunch tour or three-hour dinner cruise included. Guests are offered a choice of salad, entrees and dessert. Water, sodas or coffee are complimentary as well, while alcoholic beverages will be available at the bar, which will open after the embarkation process will end. The riverboats are equipped with a state-of-the-art sound system, offering a wide selection of music. In addition, you can also hire live entertainment.
Are you one of those travelers who enjoy the history of United States and are interested in an educational cruise along the Mississippi River?
Twilight Riverboat Cruises
For history buffs, cruising along one of the most important rivers on the globe on one of the most modern North American riverboats is considered truly a dream. Fortunately, any traveler who may want to live the dream can make it real on board the Twilight riverboat.
This historic river ship is a replica of the much more known Victorian steamboats which plied the water of the Mississippi two centuries ago. The classic rounded stern and the details of this boat are reminiscent of those “ancient” boats referred by the great Mark Twain to as “floating hotels.”
Among the many features included into his extraordinary boat are the air conditioned areas for sightseeing, the spacious three decks which will be of around 130 feet, the dining salons, as well as the wonderful quiet engines.
About Mississippi Cruises on board the Twilight
Starting from May through October, the 150-guests Twilight will leave Le Claire, embarking on two-day cruise trips along the waters of the Mississippi, a tour of ten hours to Dubuque. This Mississippi cruise aboard the ship will provide passengers the chance of riding this mighty river in the same fashion Mark Twain did two centuries ago.
Cruises will leave every two days and will offer several types of accommodations for guests, but not aboard the ship. Passengers can spend one night at Grand Harbor Resort before continuing the sail to Le Claire the very next day. The land-based segment of this cruise ship will also include various visits to area wineries, local museum tours, architectural tours, trolley rides, an aquarium and tours of relaxing walks with a few stops included at popular art galleries.
On Board Features
In addition to the large decks which the Twilight ship will feature, passengers are also treated to historical stories by the boat`s captain, who has traveled on the Mississippi for over thirty years.
Other great features will also include life entertainment courtesy of impersonators of the famous Mark Twain as well as high-octane bartenders. Passengers will partake in sightseeing and eagle watching on the upper deck as well. According to the official website of the Twilight riverboat, passengers are able to witness around 30 bald eagles on every cruise trip. In addition, plenty of egrets, blue heron and pelicans can be watched during the months of the summer season as well.
The Mississippi River is considered the second longest river in U.S., having over 2.300 miles. It`s triangular drainage area will cover more than forty percent of the nation and will include over 30 states. The Mississippi River will start in Minnesota and will flow south near the Minnesota, Arkansas, Louisiana or Iowa states, and Tennessee, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Mississippi states in the east. This mighty river has been an essential way of transportation of North America since two centuries ago.
Course of the Mississippi River
Rising at almost 1.465 feet in Lake Itasca, the Mississippi River will flow through a few glacial lakes to Minneapolis, where it will pass over a few rapids, joining the Minnesota River. After their confluence, the Mississippi River will be fringed by 200-300-feet-high bluffs on both sides.
The Missouri River, which drains the Great Plains to the west, will join the Mississippi River at Saint Louis. It`s considered the longest tributary, and will constitute over forty percent of the river`s system drainage area, while furnishing around twenty percent of the total discharge. At Cairo, the Mississippi River will be joined by one of its most important tributaries, the Ohio River.
The Mississippi river will enter the Gulf of Mexico around 100 miles downstream from New Orleans, through a 10.000-square miles delta. Because almost 500.000.000 U.S. tons of sediment will be deposited each year, the delta will extend around three 300 feet every year.
Mean temperatures over a certain year will range from around 4 degrees to 10 degrees C at the source of the river to around 21 degrees to 27 degrees C at its mouth. Precipitation on the course of the Mississippi will vary quite widely, from 500-1.000 mm in the north side to 1.500-1.800 mm at its delta in New Orleans.
In the lowest section of the river is subject to disastrous flooding. Great efforts are being made to contain this river. In 1927 around 26.000 square miles of land have been flooded and the Mississippi rose 57 feet at Cairo. The federal government tried to build artificial levees of 15-20 feet high and dredged waterways which will release the floodwater sideways to the Gulf of Mexico.
Navigation and Economic Use
The lower Mississippi River, which has a narrow and deep channel, is considered navigable for ocean liners upstream to Baton Rouge. From there to Cairo a 12-feet-deep channel is maintained. From Cairo to Minneapolis as well as on the other streams which are navigable, a 9-feet channel is maintained in most areas. Around 15.000 miles of the system are navigable at the present time, and Mississippi River traffic has experienced quite a development in the last couple of years.
It is kind of obvious what your thoughts were when you heard the bad news about the ending of Cruise West`s services: “What about cruising on the Mississippi River?” In June, the company has announced two new cruise routes in 2011 on board the 102-guest Spirit of America along the Mississippi.
But you shouldn`t worry, there will still be hope. These days, American Cruise Lines says that it`s launching a new paddle-wheeler on the Mississippi in August 2012.
The 140-guest cruise ship will be built at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury. It will sail along the Mississippi, Cumberland, Ohio and Tennessee rivers. American Cruise Lines wouldn`t disclose how much it`s investing in the ship.
The vessel will be designed after those traditional riverboats from two centuries ago, but will include more specious cabins than the cruise ship which have been known to ply the Mississippi in the nineteenth century, like the American Queen and Delta Queen.
According to Tim Beebe, the ACL`s vice-president, having engines which have greater horsepower, and a more modern design of the hull, the cruise ship will sail faster than authentic paddle-wheelers. The ship will feature a dining salon, elevator service, 6 lounges and a library.
Existing ships “just did not meet the high quality of our standards. Those vessels had small cabins, small public areas. They move too slowly. They took too much time to get up the river, which usually led them to have limited cruise route,” said Beebe, regarding to why American Cruise Lines is launching a new cruise ship rather than purchasing an existing Mississippi River cruise ship.
In 2008, Majestic America Line was shut down by Ambassadors International Inc., taking it`s 3-storied Mississippi cruise ships – the 436-guest American Queen, the 412-guest Mississippi Queen and the 176-guest Delta Queen – out of service with the line.
Mississippi Queen has been sold by Ambassadors for salvage value. The United States Maritime Administration presently has possession of the American Queen, which has been placed on the market for over $15.000.000. The Delta Queen is presently being used as a floating hotel in Chattanooga.
Since the demise of the Majestic America Line, there was little river cruise ship activity in the area. Blount Small Ship Adventures, known as American Canadian Caribbean Line, owns the 68-guest Niagara Prince, which in 2011 sailed three Southeastern cruise route, from Chattanooga to Nashville, from Nashville to Chicago, and from New Orleans to Chattanooga.
American Cruise Line`s first cruise along the Mississippi River has been scheduled to leave in August 11, 2012 from New Orleans. The cruise will include seven nights on it`s way to Memphis. The cruise ship will then start several seven-night cruise tours traveling as far as St. Paul.
Tim Beebe said the new cruise ship is not released until 2012 because of the busy schedule of the shipyard.
As for the potential market of the Mississippi, said Tim Beebe, “We think that there has been too much capacity along the Mississippi River before. With the right capacity, you may be quite successful operating a Mississippi cruise vessel. We are responding to the passengers` demand.”
The Mississippi Queen will sail the waters of the Mississippi River during the summer season, providing tourists a distinct way to explore the Deep South. The Mississippi Queen is considered a unique cruise ship, which will feature the largest calliope in the world, having forty four brass pipes.
About the Mississippi Queen
The cruise ship has been designed to look like an authentic nineteenth-century steamboat inside as well as outside. It includes seventy three inside cabins and 135 cabins which will include river views. From these 135 cabins with river views, 104 of them will include verandas. Additionally, the Mississippi Queen will boast twenty six suites as well. It is able to accommodate around 415 guests, with a maximum of 3 passengers for each room. Cabin varieties will feature:
- Exterior Veranda Suites – this type of suites may either include two twin beds or one single queen bed, and a pull out sofa bed. The bath will include both shower and bathtub.
- Luxury Veranda Suites – this type of suites may include the same kind of features as the exterior veranda suites; additionally, they have a more streamlined layout.
- Deluxe Veranda Cabins A – this type of cabins will include two twin beds, a bed for during the day and a private foyer right at the entrance.
- Deluxe Veranda Cabins B – this type of cabins are a bit smaller and include two twin beds or one double bed. The bath will also include a shower.
- Outside Cabins – this type of cabins do not have a veranda, but they have a portfolio, a large window and two twin beds or one double bed.
- Inside Cabins A – this type of cabins don` include a window; they only include two twin beds.
- Inside Cabins E & F – this type of cabins will feature bunk beds. They F cabins are slightly larger than the E ones.
Each cabin sports a name which has been taken from the history of the United States. For instance, a few are named for old riverboats, river towns or Civil War battles.
What You Should Expect on Mississippi River Cruises
Choosing a Mississippi River cruise isn`t exactly the same as sailing as one of those massive ocean liners. The cruise ship does not have twenty-four-hour room service, or hot tubs for that matter. It will include a smaller service staff, at only 155 members. This does not mean, however, that there will be nothing to do on such a cruise. Guests will be able to enjoy the following features:
- A fitness center – exercise equipment and free weights.
- Five distinct bars where a wide variety of beverages will be served.
- Shopping areas for luxury items as well as souvenirs.
- A swimming pool, a library and a movie theater.
- A dance club which will let guests dance to the latest music.
- A beauty salon where makeup or spa services will be available.
Among the most relaxing places on board this cruise ship will be the Paddlewheel Lounge, an area with overstuffed Victorian couches.
When the cruise ship will be in operation, breakfast and lunch will be open seating, but each and every passenger will be assigned to a certain seating time to have their dinner. There will be two main seatings: one at 17.15 and one at 19.45. The 2nd night of each and every cruise will be “Captain Night,” which will require semi-formal attire. There will also be a formal dinner on the last night of each and every cruise.