Jul. 24—ASHLAND — The Belle of Cincinnati cruised into the Tri-state with various stops, including Saturday at the Ashland Riverport.
The ship, an authentic riverboat, is the flagship of B&B Riverboats headquartered in Cincinnati. The Belle features three climate-controlled decks, full bar, a buffet and dance floors, an open-air upper viewing deck, and elevator access.
Patrons boarded the riverboat at Ashland and cruised the river in period style with modern comforts. Some who set sail from Ashland were veteran passengers, and others experienced a new perspective of the Ohio River for the first time.
Five friends from the Ironton and Colegrove areas decided to embark on the Saturday cruise in Ashland for various reasons, but all the reasons included fun.
Barbara Martin, Judy Harper, Rayetta Maddy, Terri Pelfrey and Wendy Boyer shared reasons for the cruise ranging from good music, good food, to dancing and simply "getting out of the house." Martin had been on a Cincinnati Belle cruise before
"The best part is sitting on the top deck, watching everything, and just relaxing," she said. "And you don't realize you are moving that fast until you look down and see the water rushing by."
The middle deck of the riverboat was taken over this year for a fundraiser for Hope's Place in Ashland. Executive Director Lisa Phelps said this was the third year her organization had the fundraiser on the Belle of Cincinnati. "We rent out the middle deck and do an all inclusive dinner, dancing and party to raise money for our services to children and families," she said.
B&B Riverboats had a luncheon cruise, a dinner cruise, and a sightseeing cruise out of Ashland on Saturday, with plans to repeat that process in Huntington, on Sunday, Terry Bernstein, of B&B Riverboats said. Ticket sales were brisk in Ashland, she added, and they expected a repeat of that in Huntington.
The Cincinnati Belle docks at the Port of Ashland each year, so those wishing to sail down the river can buy their tickets in advance for next year's cruise. Visit bbriverboats.com for more information on the types of cruises and launch dates, or to buy a season pass.