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BOB STRICKLEY


PDT Staff Writer


In 1886 Mark Twain published the memoir “Life on the Mississippi” that took readers through the day-to-day life of a boat pilot in the height of the steamboat era. This summer, Portsmouth residents will have a chance revisit history as BB Riverboats’ Belle of Cincinnati will return for its Summer Cruise Tour.


The flagship of the Cincinnati-based BB Riverboating fleet, the Belle will be embarking on an eight-day tour to five Ohio River cities from July 24 to August 1.


“These cruises give a glance back to how entertainment used to be,” Ben Bernstein of BB Riverboats said. “At the height of the steamboat era, people would go on river cruises on showboats and excursion boats. If you lived near the river, you would travel on the river and take in the scenery and these cruises give an opportunity to revisit that age of entertainment.”


The Belle will visit Portsmouth July 25 for a dinner cruise and July 26 for lunch, sightseeing and dinner cruises. Other cities that will have cruises include Gallipolis, Ironton, Huntington, WVa., and Maysville, Ky. Each trip lasts two hours and according to Berstein, provides a look into the past while enjoying contemporary comforts.


“We want to give a modern day twist on boat entertainment from that era,” he said. “We can’t capture that fully as we do not have overnight accommodations on board, but we try to make it as authentic and enjoyable as we can.”


Bernstein said that passengers may be surprised over the modern amenities featured on the Belle of Cincinnati.


“It is the largest excursion boat in operation on the Ohio River,” Bernstein said. “It was an old casino boat in Iowa before it became part of our fleet and it has all the modern amenities you might expect at a convention center.”


Built in Jennings, La. in 1988, the 225-foot Belle of Cincinnati features four decks — three enclosed, one open air — and each enclosed deck features a full bar, dance floor and elevators. The open air deck provides passengers with a firsthand view of Ohio River scenery or a downward glimpse at the authentic paddlewheel at the stern of the boat.


Passengers can expect a family friendly atmosphere the Bernstein family has cultivated over their 32 years of operating BB Riverboats.


“We are very proud to be a family company and our whole culture is based around a family-type setting,” Bernstein said.


For more information on the river cruises, visit www.bbriverboats.com/summertour or call 1-800-261-8586.


Bob Strickley may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 203, or bstrickley@heartlandpublications.com.


Cruise Dates


July 24, 2012 - Maysville, KY


Lunch Cruise - 12:00pm to 2:00pm


Sightseeing Cruise - 3:30pm to 5:00pm


Dinner Cruise - 7:30pm to 9:30pm


July 25, 2012 - Portsmouth, OH


Dinner Cruise - 7:30pm to 9:30pm


July 26, 2012 - Portsmouth, OH


Lunch Cruise - 12:00pm to 2:00pm


Sightseeing Cruise - 3:30pm to 5:00pm


Dinner Cruise - 7:30pm to 9:30pm


July 27, 2012 - Ironton, OH


Lunch Cruise - 12:00pm to 2:00pm


Sightseeing Cruise - 3:30pm to 5:00pm


Dinner Cruise - 7:30pm to 9:30pm


July 29, 2012 - Huntington, WV


Brunch Cruise - 12:00pm to 2:00pm


Sightseeing Cruise - 3:30pm to 5:00pm


Dinner Cruise - 7:30pm to 9:30pm


July 30, 2012 - Huntington, WV


Lunch Cruise - 12:00pm to 2:00pm


Dinner Cruise - 7:30pm to 9:30pm


August 1, 2012 - Gallipolis, OH


Lunch Cruise - 12:00pm to 2:00pm


Dinner Cruise - 7:30pm to 9:30pm

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