Friday, October 17, 2003

How to pick the best party boat

You just knew the WVXU-FM party on the Belle of Louisville was going to be a good one even before the first guest boarded the boat.

Here's how you could tell: A half-hour before guests were even allowed to board, let alone sail, a gigantically long line already had built up. With, dare we say it, people passing cold beers back and forth.

This was a group bent on a good time.

The early dinner cruise was sold out, with 324 people paying $180 a ticket for cocktails and a prime rib and chicken dinner.

Most of the hard-core partying was on Level 2 - the bar and dining room with the most incredibly highly polished hardwood floors you've ever seen - and outdoors on Level 3.

Michael Marshall of Bethel, a former Navy man, was taken with the whole thing. "I love the river. I used to swim in it and its tributaries when I was a kid. We just moved back to Cincinnati, so I'm still getting reacquainted with it."

Down at the other end of the Public Landing, the Creole Queen was playing host to the Mariemont Preservation Society and its 102 guests there for cocktails and a Cajun dinner.

The Mariemont party was in the Queen's Room (there were three parties going at once on the huge boat). Talk about ornate! Talk about riverboat chic! Red satin drapes, mirrors, crystal everywhere, elaborate wall sconces on tall white pillars. Whew.

Leadership Cincinnati, the program that trains young up-and-comers for larger roles in the community, took over the Spirit of Jefferson - where the crew was feeling mighty festive thanks to the martini cruise it was freshly back from. About 160 grads of the program paid $100 to be there.

One of them was Museum Center president Doug McDonald (1999's Leadership Class 23), who joked that "I'm here just to see how this compares to our Cincinnati Landing exhibit at the museum. No really, this is my first Tall Stacks - and I think it's great. A great way to introduce people to the city."

Dan Bennie, an attorney with Baron Peck Bennie and a grad of Leadership Class 4, said: "I'm just here to party. To take advantage of the river and enjoy these wonderful green olives. Honestly, the vodka doesn't mean anything to me at all."

If you're having a party with a view, contact Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513, e-mail

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