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“Skip the buffet” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Belle of Louisville & Spirit of Jefferson

Belle of Louisville & Spirit of Jefferson
Ranked #7 of 32 Tours in Louisville
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Belle of Louisville is the oldest operating Mississippi River style steamboat in the world. She and her sister vessel, the Spirit of Jefferson, offer river cruises perfect for all ages. We offer cruises nearly year-round, and have special events throughout the season.
Dayton, Ohio
Level Contributor
49 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Skip the buffet”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2012

We enjoyed the steamboat ride, but the buffet was not anything to wrtie home about. The rock music seemed out of place on a steamboat excursion. We would have preferred to hear the boat's wheel churning the water. As we waited to board the ship, we were treated to a beautiful interlude on the calliope.

Visited June 2012
2 Thank hpeer46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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269 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Lebanon, Ohio
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Not scenic, no info”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 June 2012

My husband and I took this 2-hour cruise in June of 2012. I expected that a "sightseeing tour" would include both sights and a tour (to explain what we were seeing), but was very disappointed. The boat heads upstream past recycling yards, dumps, other generally unattractive sights, and some houses, and then turns around to take you past it all again. Beyond a 60-second history of the boat, there is no information about what you are seeing, the history of Louisville, or steam travel, etc., offered either over loudspeakers (what I expected) or in print form. This seems like such an easy thing to offer to interested passengers to improve the quality of the trip, especially at the price.

I am sad to say it was BORING. A paddleboat ride for the sake of it would be OK at 1 hour, not 2. When we returned, we all lined up to disembark and had to wait while the caterers removed all of their equipment. I thought it was tacky to allow people being paid to be there to go first.

Another note, which I know is not the fault of the operator per se, is that we listened to a very foul collection of language from fellow passengers who spent the trip guzzling overpriced beer from the concession stand. Between that and the boring nature of the ride, I was glad we did not have our young children with us for this one.

Visited June 2012
7 Thank sarah a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BelleOfLouisville, Sales and Marketing at Belle of Louisville & Spirit of Jefferson, responded to this review, 18 June 2012
Thank you, Sarah, for taking the time to write to us about your recent experience aboard the Belle of Louisville. We appreciate the feedback, and would like to address a few of your concerns:

We are proud to offer a scenic sightseeing tour upriver from Louisville’s 4th Street Wharf on most cruises. While there is a certain amount of industry along the Waterfront, we assure you that we do not pass by any dumps or recycling yards. Some of the noteworthy sights we pass are the 85 acre award winning Waterfront park, the historic Louisville Water Tower, and Jeff Boat – the largest inland shipyard in the USA. We also offer narrated cruises through the McAlpine Locks, which offer a unique view through an important piece of Ohio River infrastructure.

While our live bands do not offer narration, the DJs on all of our lunch cruises do offer limited sightseeing details between songs. If you wish for a more independent experience, our Education Coordinator has published a fantastic self-guided walking tour brochure which is available for free for all guests at our souvenir stand. We also offer a one-hour Harbor History cruise which is narrated by a local historian, which sounds like it would have been a perfect option for you.

We strive to create a family-friendly atmosphere on all of our cruises, and can assure you that we would have addressed any excessive foul language from other guests had we been alerted to it. In regards to our bar pricing, we are much lower than many comparable attractions, and are happy to offer fairly-priced concessions with beers starting at $3.00.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write to us. We hope you will come by for a Harbor History cruise, as it sounds like something you would really enjoy.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hodgenville, Kentucky
Level Contributor
50 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“great taste of history”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 June 2012

Touching History on this 98 year old Steam-boat was awesome! The boat was clean. The staff were friendly & accomodating. The food on the buffet was slightly above average. The bathroom was spacious & clean. The band that entertained was A++++. My only real complaint was the wait time to board...There needs to be shady seating where you don't lose your place in line.

Visited June 2012
2 Thank chrisnaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Prospect, Kentucky
1 review
“Trip on Belle of Louisville”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 June 2012

I just took my family and extended family on a trip aboard the Belle of Louisville. It was a wonderful experience with top honors going to the very welcoming and hospitable Captain and his crew and the Business Development / Marketing person, Ms. Witten. I cannot imagine how it could have been better. The time of the cruise, which was about 2 hours was just right and the little ones enjoyed dancing on the dance floor (and running...) with great music. It's something different and something fun that no one should miss.

Visited June 2012
Thank Greg H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Great entertainment for in-laws”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 May 2012

We wanted something low-intensity for my in-laws during our day-trip to Louisville. The lunch cruise on the Belle of Louisville was perfect. It is a 2 hour trip along the Ohio starting with great views of the city skyline and bridges and then morphing into some quaint rural scenery. The boat is very comfortable. If you are on a lunch/dinner cruise you can stay in the cool 2nd floor and watch the view from the windows. If you do not plan to go out at all to avoid the heat make sure to pay the $10 for window seating. If you are on the sightseeing cruise only, you have to sit upstairs. Sit upfront to catch the breeze and keep cool. You must take a walk down to the back to see the paddles in action. There is ample seating for everybody upstairs.

Some things to note:
1. Directions and Parking: If you are using GPS use the Joe's Crab Shack address: 131 River Road Louisville, KY 40202. This will take you the Belle parking lot ($3) at the end of River Road under the Interstate 64. Don't park right way once you get in. The walk in 90+ F heat will be painful. Make a left inside and keep on going as far as you can towards the boat.
2. Tickets: Remember, if you have paid online you still don't have your ticket. Pick them up using your confirmation number at the ticket office which is in a green+white boat just prior to the Belle. They have some trinkets too.
3. Waiting in line: This is the worst part of the trip because the sun can be a torture. Bring an umbrella or sun hat. You can not bring water because they don't allow even empty bottles into the boat. There is free iced water and a couple of garden umbrellas for the older folk available at the dock.
4. Buffet: The buffet was OK. I loved the crispy fried chicken, the smoked ham, steamed veggies and coleslaw. The roast beef and green beans were bad. The salads and mash were OK. Contrary to what I read in the other reviews, they buffet was quite organized. They were letting people go to the buffet one table at a time. I guess the company reads the reviews on Tripadvisor!
5. Bar and concession: The bar was well stocked. A Sam Adams draft was $3.50 and a premixed Mint Julep (not recommended) was $7. I ate the lunch buffet but heard that the concession stand food was reasonable.

Visited May 2012
8 Thank kachhim k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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