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Belle of Cincinnati Trip

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    Belle of Cincinnati Trip

    I meant to get a report on the trip before this, but my mother has been ill--that's where my energy has been (she's getting better!). Lance Larsen's post in another thread prompted me to get this started, but I hope others will add to this.
    Of course, as Riverlorian for the trip, my experience will be different from that of a passenger. But I thought the trip went very well. It is an honor to work for the Bernsteins. Captain Al can take any situation and make it work--and get a great story out of it, too!
    Every effort was extended to make this trip what the guests wanted. For example, on day one, we were running on "river time"--a little too late to make our scheduled tour of the LST in Evansville, IN. But we had passengers who REALLY wanted to see it. Captain Al arranged with the folks on the LST for an early-morning tour the next day. We simply moved the schedule around a bit. When we grounded on a sand bar in the channel on the TN, the passengers had a great time. They disembarked on our motorized barge, met up with tour busses and continued on with a visit to Helen Keller's house as planned, ate dinner, and went to their hotel. Rather than miss Wilson Lock, Captain Al re-arranged the schedule again. He made a point of telling the guests what happened while they were off the boat, and did it in such a way that you feel you were there--and laughing your head off at the re-telling.
    Of course, everyone would rather sleep on the boat--but when you can't, the Belle of Cincinnati offers a lot of room for people to stretch out. Some people thought there were too MANY activities--of course, you can opt out, and sit on the deck, or stretch out on a couch and nap! Sometimes, there were bus rides to the hotel for the night. Captain Al insists on good accommodations, and when you are in the middle of nowhere as we were, that might mean driving longer than you'd like--but for a good hotel, it might be necessary.

    Our reunion with the Delta Queen was wonderful. There were MANY former DQ passengers on this trip, and I have to say, I did not hear any complaints. It was beautiful weather after the first day, and a very compatible crowd. We laughed a lot. What excitement there was as we first saw the Legendary Lady! Leah Ann and Randy were right there, and made every effort to make the experience go well.
    I'd planned to say a thousand wonderful things about the new proprietors of the Delta Queen, but after reading Keith's words from the Great Steam-Up, I find he has said everything I wanted to say! Our vessel is in the right hands. Go visit the Delta Queen--she is still alive, and waiting for you!
    Anyone else care to chime in on the trip? Thanks, Captain Al, for a great time!

    Nice trip

    Yes, there were lots of happy and memorable things about this trip, and I'm happy I had the opportunity to be onboard. I particularly liked the boat and how it was set up with the couches in various places such as back by the paddlewheel. I also enjoyed the "quiet room" with its couches and chairs. Mary did some good talks, as did Charles. I enjoyed visiting with lots of passengers who were wearing DQ shirts.

    I also particularly liked the stories Capt Al told, and how well the sand bar situation was handled. I have good pictures as we left the boat, and the story the next day was well done. I'm glad we did stop briefly at the LST and I was able to get something I had hoped to get from the gift shop. I also really enjoyed the 13 hour "Steamboatin' style" day -- the kind of days I loved best when I traveled on the DQ and AQ.

    And yes, the arrival at the DQ in the afternoon was really cool -- approaching the boat, going by to turn around and then landing next to her. Lots of folks out there to meet us!


      Belle of Cincinnati Trip

      I'd just like to add to Mary's comments on the trip. It was great and YES my wife and I would do it again. In my opinion the most beautiful stretch of rivers are the Cumberland going into Kentucky Lake then on to the Tennessee and that is exactly what Captain Al selected for this trip. Yes there were times when we spent more time on buses than we would have liked and packing up every morning then unpacking again at night is a pain but until we can get the DQ running again it’s the only way we’ll be able to get out and go Steamboatin and support the river community. The food on the Belle of Cincinnati was great and I probably put on as much weight as I would have on a DQ cruise. Because of navigational conditions we couldn’t always make it to where we were supposed to but we sure enjoyed the time on the river. When we found Al’s Island in the Tennessee River and had to get off onto the barge it was a sight to behold pulling away from the Belle. Reminded my wife and I about the time we had to do just about the same thing in the middle of the Mississippi on a DQ cruise back in 1978 when high water and some engine problems had us running way behind schedule but that’s another story.

      In short, good food, great views, great entertainment, decent beds most nights the trip was just what the doctor ordered to relax and unwind.


        BoC At Decatur, Alabama

        On Wednesday, the 10th, the BoC was in Decatur, Alabama for a lunch and dinner cruise on their return trip down the Tennessee River. I would have taken the luncheon ride, but as I was expecting a call, and visit, from a diesel mechanic, I only stopped by the boat to visit my former deckhand from the DELTA QUEEN, Captain Al Bernstein and his jolly crew. On the way back across the stage to shore, I met fellow Dot-Orger Dave Steelman and another DQ crewman whose name escaped my fading memory. We three talked on the landing, for about half an hour while a sizeable amount of passengers queued around Captain / Chief Kerry Snowden for their passage rights and table assignments. The mechanic was NCNS.

        The 'moonlight ride', later that evening, say well-over three-hundred eager, and hungry, Alabamanians lined up before Kerry's table set up on shore. As I had been invited to ride as a guest, earlier, I volunteered myself to help with the stage and the spring line, like Captain Al used to do when he was a busboy and waiter on the QUEEN forty-years before. Before I went up top for a tasty meal, I met a young fellow, Eady Hayward, who was a diesel mechanic, and he and his brother, Hayden Hayward, of the same trade, came over to my SUN*FISH a couple of days later and proclaimed that my Ford Lehman engine was "the smoothest running diesel" either had ever heard. What a stroke of fortune meeting Eady ... in many, many ways.

        Cap'n Al was at the sticks, that night, and after a very leisurely trip 'dog-paddling' up and back from the landing on the island at Riverwalk Marina, he executed a rather delicate landing and showed his 'stuff' as an accomplished boat-handler. We bid farewell, later, and I saw the BELLE resting snugly back at her berth in Newport on Tuesday, last.


          We have to add our praise to the list. We had a good River Hop, thoroughly enjoyed Capt. Al's humor, Terri's resourcefullness, great food, excellent music and the companionship of fellow river rats and dear friends.
          The boat is well laid out with plenty of room for whatever strikes your fancy- and there was lots of river time. Capt. Al's sand bar was just one more adventure to add to the list.
          We'll surely plan on going again if possible.