Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Pickwick Belle

The Pickwick Belle is an old-time paddle riverboat that offers musically themed dinner cruises on the Tennessee River. Back in May, the riverboat made Florence Harbor here in the Shoals it's home port after moving from Pickwick, Tennessee.

The boat offers several public sightseeing tours that include holiday-related cruises, family nights, fall-foliage tours and pirate, murder-mystery and wine-tasting events. Of all the tours offered, the most popular is the country legends comedy tour, coming at the end of August, where performers sing and perform music and commercial jingles from the '40s, '50s and '60s. In addition to sightseeing cruises, the Pickwick Belle will be available for special-occasion rentals, including birthdays or anniversaries, as well as dinner cruises and themed cruises.

Prices typically range from $7 to $60 depending on the type of cruise, menu and entertainment involved.

The two-deck Belle has capacity for 149 people. The vessel is 90 feet long, 20 feet wide and has a 1,000-square-foot dining room. It includes a captain, hospitality director, three sailors, two chefs and three attendants. The bottom deck is enclosed and temperature controlled and the top deck is covered but has open sides.