BB Riverboats Kicks Off Reopening with Sightseeing Cruise Special For Memorial Day Weekend

BB Riverboats will kick off its Grand Reopening this Memorial Day Weekend.
(Img: Provided)

By Jessie Eden

BB Riverboats has been around for a long time. The company, started in 1979, was forced to close on March 16 due to Covid-19…but it is set to reopen this weekend for Memorial Day.

According to owner Ben Bernstein, BB Riverboats will start with a soft opening on May 23 with five cruise times throughout the last two weekends in May. 

The cost will be considerably reduced for these May cruises — from the normal price of $25 per person to just $15 per person. May cruise times include;


3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.


3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Going forward, BB Riverboats will begin offering lunch and dinner cruises, Thursday through Sundays in June. “We are able to socially distance with reserved seating. Guests can get up and move outside to our ample deck space and we are certainly grateful that we are able to offer that to everybody.”

In June, BB Riverboats will begin offering lunch and dinner cruises again.
(Img: Provided)

Bernstein says one of the nice things about BB Riverboats is that the boats have space for social distancing. The boat has a 1,000 person capacity and 40,000 square feet of deck space. “We are able to adhere to social distancing principle quite easily. We want to welcome everybody back and show case the things we’re doing and help people feel safe about going out. It’s certainly an eerie world out there not knowing what is coming a week or two or three from now,” said Bernstein. “It’s a very uneasy time for Americans but I think, as a whole, we are ready to restart the economy locally.”

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Although masks will not be required for cruises, Bernstein said there are several special protocols that will be put into place to keep everyone safe. “Requiring a mask at a place where you eat and drink is difficult to do. We don’t want to discount anyone’s fears or concerns so if you are concerned about those things, you need to take those precautions to the best you can. If you want to wear a mask, you can.”

Last year, BB Riverboats spent approximately $2 million to transport, retrofit, and rebuild a 300- by 54-foot barge that formerly served as a part of an Argosy Casino in Sioux City, Iowa. The new facility has a 250-seat event center with full-service bar and new kitchen called the River’s Edge, an expanded waiting area for cruise passengers, and a wrap-around outdoor deck with a fabulous view of the Cincinnati skyline. The new wharf facility, which opened last November, is three times larger than its previous facility. The River’s Edge reception facility remains closed until the company receives further direction 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 on-boarding process for its cruises.

Guests aboard the boat enjoy the top deck as they cruise down the river.
(Img: Provided)

Keeping the boats sanitized and cleaned will also be a number one priority according to Bernstein. “We will have a very forward action on sanitizing and all of that and we’ll be doing it on every single cruise. When we do have our food service, we will be doing a served buffet. We want to make everyone comfortable. Staff will be in mask and gloves and we’ll be seating people in reserved places, your party will be seated 6 ft from other parties. There will not be table service but the bar will be staffed appropriately for servicing drinks in that nature. 

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Bernstein admitted that things will definitely be different, especially since BB Riverboats thrives on tourism and things won’t exactly be the same for awhile…but he has hope locally, the community will look at BB Riverboats as a fun way to kick off summer. “Things will look different but our hope is that it feels like the same, enjoyable experience. Kicking off these cruises will be a nice way to roll into the season. We’re excited about it.”

An aerial view of one fo the BB Riverboats cruising down the river.
(Img: Provided)

At the end of the day, Bernstein wants people to remember that BB Riverboats is dedicated to showing guests a good time. “The biggest thing is that we’ve always been in the business of fun and showing people a good time. Things will have to change a little bit. We’re going to adhere to all the policies and procedures that we have to do. But, make no doubt about it, regardless of a mask, gloves or being 6 ft apart, we’re going to show you a good time.” 

To learn more about BB Riverboats, visit their website here.