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Sunset Cruise

Come aboard for a guest favorite – a sunset cruise on the historic Belle of Louisville! Enjoy live music and beautiful river views.


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Belle of Louisville

A New Era for a Louisville Icon

Tribute to The Great Steamboat Race

Belle of Louisville Riverboats to Host a Tribute to the Great Steamboat Race

The tradition of one of Louisville’s signature Derby week events will continue, even in this unprecedented time with the Belle of Louisville Riverboats ‘Tribute to the Great Steamboat Race.’ Instead of racing the Belle of Cincinnati, the Belle of Louisville will race her sister vessel, the Mary M. Miller up the Ohio River. To celebrate, the Belle of Louisville is releasing the commemorative poster promoting the race. The boxing-style artwork mimics old fight posters as the steamboats race to see who is “The Pride of the Louisville Wharf.”

As tradition calls, the race will take place the Wednesday before Derby Day, which in this unusual year is September 2nd. Things will kick-off with a calliope welcome and shooting of the official race day cannon! The race is an opportunity to celebrate what Derby week means to all Louisvillians and spend an evening out on the river from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Each boat will have its own unique party, allowing the race to appeal to the entire community. Those looking for a party can purchase tickets aboard the Mary M. Miller where the 21-and-over sightseeing cruise will be accompanied by a DJ. Ticket holders for the Mary will also receive two drink tickets to use onboard for beer and/or wine.

For families and those looking for something a little more relaxed, the Belle will also be offering a Southern-style picnic dinner cruise, live band and an array of family-friendly activities. Those racing aboard the Belle of Louisville will also have the opportunity to purchase pours of select bottles of Pappy Van Winkle. Get your tickets for the Mary M. Miller for just $34.99. Tickets for the Belle are $49.99 for adults, $48.99 for seniors and $24.99 for kids. All passengers on both boats will receive a commemorative Tribute to the Great Steamboat Race poster and a Kentucky Derby Festival Pegasus Pin good through 2021.

To up the ante, the boats will interact throughout the race with some friendly “smack talk,” live look-ins on social media and challenges.

“We couldn’t let a year go by without the Great Steamboat Race in some form or fashion, and while we’ll miss the Belle of Cincinnati, we’re thrilled to get the Mary M. Miller involved in the action,” said Krista Snider, CEO of the Belle of the Louisville Riverboats. “This gives the community a chance to come out on the water with us and enjoy an evening full of fun, music and a little taste of the Derby spirit at a time when we could all use some.”

Tickets can be purchased here. 


  • David Gray

    August 6, 2020

    In the early- and mid-50s, my father, who was a mechanical engineer and who was also a long-time resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania would take my twin brother and me on day sails on the Avalon, the last local steam-driven paddle wheeler on the Ohio River. Needles to say, we had a ball and I remember it to this day.

    Then, in the 1970s, I was a highway coach driver working out of Atlanta, Georgia and found myself in New Orleans with a group, and with time on my hands, I decided to take a cruise on the Natchez, to see how it compared with my long-ago memories of the Avalon. It was a memorable experience, and I sent a note to the captain, outlining my history with the Avalon and how much I appreciated the Natchez as a result. He replied to me at my hotel, thanking me for the kind note, and advising me that he, as a young man, had been the captain of the Avalon, and if I would be willing and able to return to the Natchez, and come to the bridge, he would like to meet me and give me a personally guided tour of his vessel. I didn’t have time to go, and this is just one of the many serendipitous moments of my life which are only tales now.

  • Sally Brigham

    August 15, 2020

    I’d love to do this…….I’ll have to check with a friend(s) to see if this is possible. I rode the Belle when she was the Avalon back in the 60’s…….Marietta College Fraternity dance. I still have my little hat. I was dating a young man who was attending the college.


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