BB Riverboats will resume cruises on the Ohio River this weekend – with social distancing policies in place

BB Riverboats, which has been closed since March 16 due to COVID-19, will resume cruising the Ohio River this weekend with reduced fares and social distancing policies in place on its ships.

Along with other restaurants and retail businesses, the company will reopen operations this weekend offering reduced cruise fares of $15 per person. Cruises will run from 3-4:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and 24, and 3-4:30 p.m. on Monday, Memorial Day. Discounted cruises will continue next weekend — May 29-31 — Friday and Saturday from 3-4:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m. and Sunday from 3-4:30 p.m.

With social distancing protocols in place, BB Riverboats will offer cash bar service as well as a full range of meal options for purchase during cruises. The company will not be offering table service at this time. Instead, its staff members will serve buffet-style meals instead of allowing customers to serve themselves, as had been the case in the past, said Ben Bernstein, the company’s chief financial officer. family business.

“During these cruises, we will strictly follow the state mandate that we operate at a reduced capacity of one-third of our maximum capacity,” Bernstein said. “In fact, we’ll be able to operate well below that capacity level because of our unique large space.”

“Unlike other entertainment and dining venues with limited space, our boats have enough space – inside and out – to accommodate a number of guests while adhering to all policies. social distancing,” he continued.

“From our parking lot to our expanded embarkation space on our dock to our paddle steamers, we have the ability to dispatch people, get them on and off our boats safely, and allow them to exit their homes for a few hours to enjoy the beautiful springtime scenery found along the Ohio River this time of year.”

Bernstein said the company has changed the floor plans of its boats to provide dedicated seating for each person taking the cruise, including allowing family members of up to 10 people to sit at a table, as permitted by state rules. On his outside decks, Bernstein said all seats will be stacked as guests arrive and BB Riverboats staff members will help guests arrange those seats into appropriate groups, he said.

“We have created an excellent return to business plan to ensure that our customers can enjoy our facilities safely and in compliance with all state regulations,” Bernstein said. “But everyone has to do their part too, if it works properly.”

In June, BB Riverboats plans to resume its regular seasonal cruise schedule, operating cruises Thursday through Sunday, including lunch cruises, sightseeing cruises and dinner cruises.

Last year, BB Riverboats spent about $2 million to haul, upgrade and rebuild a 300-by-54-foot barge that was once part of an Argosy casino in Sioux City, Iowa. The new facility features a 250-seat event center with a full-service bar and new kitchen called River’s Edge, an expanded waiting area for cruise passengers, and a wraparound outdoor terrace with fabulous views over the skyline of Cincinnati.

The new wharf, which opened last November, is three times larger than its previous facility. The River’s Edge receiving facility remains closed until the company receives further instructions from the state on when and how to reopen this facility. However, the company plans to use this space for social distancing purposes as part of its onboarding process for its cruises.

BB Riverboats operates two paddle steamers – the 1,000-passenger M/V Belle of Cincinnati and the 500-passenger M/V River Queen – from its riverside dock.

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