It’s not just a boat.It’s a time machine.

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About The Belle

Steamboat travel and transportation revolutionized our river, our city, and our nation. To board the Belle of Louisville is to do more than to see Louisville and the Ohio River from a unique perspective — it’s also to step into a piece of living American history. And no matter what you’re boarding for — a river cruise, a corporate event, or a wedding — it’s always a very special occasion.

1914James Rees & Sons Company, Pittsburgh, PA, named Idlewild

Comfort Passenger Capacity
650 • 180 Dining

Seasonal Passenger Capacities
April–October, Cruises or Dockside: 650 • November–March, Limited Cruises and Dockside: 200

Fully heated and air conditioned • Concession stand and bar • Dance floor • Stage • Full on-board Sound system • Indoor and outdoor seating • Non-smoking

Line art of the Belle of Louisville
View our history
  • 1914

    The Idlewild was launched on October 18th at Pittsburgh, PA. She served as a ferry between Memphis, Tennessee and West Memphis, Arkansas and moved freight as a day packet.

  • 1931

    The Idlewild spent a season in Louisville running trips to Rose Island and Fontaine Ferry amusement parks.

  • 1934

    After years of traveling U.S. waterways from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and Montana to Pennsylvania, the Belle returned to Louisville and stayed through World War II.

  • 1940's

    The Idlewild offered moonlight cruises during the Big Band era and occasionally served as a USO nightspot on the Mississippi River to help the war effort.

  • 1948

    Idlewild Master Ben Winters' death-bed wish was granted by renaming the boat Avalon.

  • 1949

    The Avalon was sold to a group of Cincinnati investors. Over the next 13 years, she became the most widely-traveled river steamboat in American history.

  • 1962

    The Avalon was put up for auction at Cincinnati. She was purchased by Jefferson County Judge Executive Marlow Cook for $34,000 and renamed the Belle of Louisville.

  • 1963

    Countless hours were spent rebuilding and repairing the Belle. On April 30th, she began her new life by racing against the Delta Queen in the first Great Steamboat Race.

  • 1988

    The Belle was highlighted as the nation’s oldest and most authentic river steamboat at the first celebration of the steamboat era, Tall Stacks in Cincinnati, Ohio.

  • 2005

    In August, the Waterfront Development Corporation assumed the operation of the Belle of Louisville on behalf of Louisville Metro.

  • 2014

    The Belle of Louisville celebrates her 100th birthday with a 5-day gathering of her peers on Louisville's Waterfront.

Upcoming Cruises

  • Apr. 16


    Belle of Louisville
    1:00 PM–3:00 PM
    More Info Less Info Book now

    Hop on down to Louisville’s waterfront and have a bunny fun day on the Steamer Belle of Louisville! The Easter Bunny will be on board to add to the children’s delight as we take a two-hour cruise on the Ohio River. A scrumptious brunch buffet is included, and music from a DJ will round out the day! Bring a basket or bag for your youngsters for gathering Easter candy! Tickets (plus tax): Adults – $40, Seniors – $39, Children (ages 4 – 12) – $26

  • Apr. 22


    Belle of Louisville
    3:00 PM–10:30 PM
    More Info Less Info Book now

    If you’re looking for a great way to view one of the largest fireworks displays in the country, then it’s the Historic Belle of Louisville for you! A delicious dinner buffet, cash bar & concessions. This is a kickoff event for the Kentucky Derby festivities, and while activities and times are determined by the Kentucky Derby Festival.  Dockside Event. This event goes on regardless of the weather or river conditions, so there is no refund or exchange for tickets on the day of the event. Please note our cancellation policy requires cancellations no less than two weeks prior to the event date, and there is a 10% cancellation fee. Open seating, no reserved seats. Please come prepared for an outdoor experience for viewing the fireworks! Tickets (tax added on at purchase): $100 per person – all ages (including all children)

  • Apr. 28


    Belle of Louisville
    7:00 PM–9:00 PM
    Book now
More cruises
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    There’s no time like the present to preserve the past.

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