Unusual Tourist Sites: Delta Queen Riverboat in Cincinatti Ohio Part 2

About the unusual tourist site the Delta Queen Riverboat in Cincinatti Ohio, history and information about the boat.

Cincinnati, Ohio

The sturdy 4-deck riverboat has a capacity of 192 overnight passengers, and 75 officers and crew. It cruises around 35,000 mi. each year in 17 States, and to more than 110 river towns--including a colorful cross section of the Midwest and Deep South. As it does only about 8 mph, passengers have plenty of time to savor the scenery.

Cruises vary in length. In late spring and summer, the ship operates out of its home port in Cincinnati, heads up to St. Paul in late summer, and also uses New Orleans as a port of embarkation. Ports of call on the "Lower Mississippi" are New Orleans, Baton Rouge, St. Francisville, Natchez, Vicksburg, and Memphis. On the "Upper Mississippi," there is Cape Girardeau, St. Louis, Hannibal, Nauvoo, Muscatine, La Crosse, and St. Paul. Moving onto the Ohio River, the riverboat visits Cairo, Paducah, Evansville, Louisville, Madison, Marietta, Wheeling, and Pittsburgh. On the Tennessee River, the vessel goes to Kentucky Lake, the largest man-made lake in the world. Lastly, on the Illinois River, the ship cruises to the Koster Farm, Starved Rock Park and Peoria.

Shipboard life is another reflection of the past with calliope concerts, Dixieland bands belting out old favorites from showboat days, while banjo players strum familiar rhythms. Old movies, vaudeville acts, and sing-alongs also lend a yesteryear charm. A sort of antediluvian ambiance envelops the Orleans Room at show time.

A similar mood is generated at mealtimes, which are engagingly announced by a smiling waiter who circles each deck while playing the traditional riverboat chimes. Cuisine includes such hearty and vintage repasts as Southern fried Chicken, catfish, and shrimp creole. Cocktails like the "Scarlet O'Hara" and the famed mint julep are served at such watering holes as the Mark Twain Lounge.

Lectures and talks aboard the riverboat tell how the craft operates and how it navigates through the various river channels, chutes, bends, bars, reaches, as well as locks and dams. Passengers also hear about the points of interest being passed, such as parks, farms, plantations, towns, monuments, and antebellum homes. There is also literature on the ports of call, stressing the various attractions, historical and otherwise.

The crew, from the captain or master of the ship down, also enjoys relating a few tall tales, part of the riverboat's folklore, and reliving famous steamboat races in which the Delta Queen still participates.

Location: Home port office: 322 E. 4th Street, Cincinnati, O. Admission: Reservations to sail are made through travel agents or with the line itself. Visitors may arrange to board on sailing nights and other occasions by contacting the line or its agents in the various ports of call. Hours: The cruise schedule is in effect for the greater part of each year.

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