Missouri is famous for Mark Twain and the Mississippi River, so it is only natural that river boat cruises are a thriving tourist activity. Many replica river boats—from the days of Mark Twain's characters—operate on the rivers with dinner cruises and just about any other kind of cruise you can imagine. The major river boat areas are Twain's area of Hannibal, the classic river town of St. Louis, and the modern entertainment mecca of Branson.
Mark Twain Riverboat
The Mark Twain Riverboat has been cruising the Mississippi for more than 20 years out of its docks at Hannibal, Missouri. The boat is a steamer like one of Mark Twain's characters might have ridden on. As of 2010, dinner cruises leave daily at 6:30 p.m., June through September, and Fridays and Saturdays in May and October. The dinner cruises are buffet style and last two hours. Sliced roast beef or chicken breasts may be on the menu. A one-man band with a banjo and harmonica plays riverboat era tunes during the week. On weekends, a jazz and blues band plays while you eat and cruise the Mississippi. Reservations are recommended. Sightseeing tours and lunch tours are also available.
Mark Twain Riverboat Center Street Landing Hannibal, MO 63401 573-221-3222 marktwainriverboat.com
Branson Landing Cruises
There are a variety of cruises on replicas of riverboats that once plied the White River—the Lake Queen and the Landing Princess. The cruises now are on Table Rock Lake and Lake Tanneycomo in the Branson area. Boats run from May through December. Both boats offer dinners of pulled pork and barbecue along with some of the finest entertainment that has made Branson famous. The Landing Princess has three open air decks, two cash bars and lots of sightseeing, historic narration and musical entertainment. The Lake Queen is a classic paddle wheel boat modeled after the classic riverboats. Dinners on this boat are a less formal. In the summer, there is a fireworks display at the end of the two-hour cruise. The cruises include entertainment and some narration and history of the area.
Branson Landing Cruises 7 North Boardwalk Branson, MO 65616 877-382-6287 bransonlandingcruises.com
Gateway Arch Riverboat Cruises
St. Louis may be famous for the arch, but it has always been a river town, and riverboats have always been important here. The Gateway Arch Riverfront is host to many river- and arch-related tourist activities, and they host riverboat cruises of various kinds. Riverboat tours are available year round on the docks. In the summer, there are dinner cruises that feature great sightseeing and fine dining. There is a separate children's menu, with beef filet or chicken saltimocca for adults. The tour lasts a little more than two hours and features musicians and great views of the St. Louis skyline at night.
Gateway Arch Riverboat Cruises 707 North First St. St Louis, MO 63102 877-982-1410 gatewayarch.com/Arch/info/act.riverboat.din.sky.aspx