By Jim Knippenberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Architect Joan Wurtenberger was on the second deck of the Harriet Bishop Saturday and she was gloating: "What I really like about the cruises is when the boat pulls away from the dock and I look at all the people on shore and I get to wave bye-bye."
She was kidding, but here and there a head nodded when she said it.
Wurtenberger, along with her pal Kit Andrews, WKRC-TV (Channel 12) anchor, were there for the St. Elizabeth Medical Center cruise for 300 guests. They were there for cocktails, a beef and chicken dinner, a 21/2-hour cruise and a lot of music from the lively Dixieland trio Schreyer Banjos.
"I'm really looking forward to this," Andrews added. "On my first Tall Stacks cruise in 1988 I was pregnant with my first child and got sick. I'm looking forward to feeling good on this one."
Northern Kentucky radiologist Charlie Allnutt and wife Kathy, both new to Tall Stacks, were also pretty pumped about the cruise. "My first impression," Charlie said, "was that I had no idea it was so big, so many people, so many boats, such a great party."
Bob Allbright of Milford was also looking forward to it but wasn't sure what to expect: "I've never been before, so I'm a Tall Stacks virgin. But so far, I've seen nothing but positives. This St. E group did a really fantastic job of going above and beyond."
Nancee Splitt agreed. This was her second cruise and she's convinced "There's no experience like it - going up and down the river on one of these big boats."
Allbright's son Jason wanted to go badly enough that he faked feeling well: "I love this. I used to do summer camp with B&B Riverboats. I was sick all week, but I faked being well so I could come."
That confession got him a sharp look from dad.
Off on another part of the landing, 470 guests were piling onto all three decks of the Creole Queen for the Rotary Cincinnati cruise, something the group has done every Tall Stacks since 1988.
"We have 500 members, and this is such a good way to get them all together and to support the city at the same time," said executive director Leslie Gibbs.
Yeah, and feed them well, too. Rotary really went the distance with the menu: beef tenderloin, pork tenderloin, seafood eggplant parmesan, roasted salmon, tons of side dishes, not to mention a generous pour at the bar. The entire party was set to the bluegrass music of the Kenton County Regulators.
"I am just blown away by all this," said radio sales exec Deborah Rogowski as she was enjoying the sun on deck three. "I can't believe this is my first Tall Stacks. I used to live in Mount Adams and see it from the hill, but I never walked down the hill."
So maybe she will again? "Probably. I've never been on a paddle-wheeler before, so I have nothing to compare this boat to. But just being on this one, it's so beautiful, I feel like I've really done Tall Stacks."
For Tom and Susie Osha, it was their second Rotary cruise aboard the Creole Queen. "They get this one whenever they can because it's such a superior boat," Osha said. "And Rotary always does such and outstanding event - first class all the way. Look at all this - you get to come on board this beautiful boat, have a cocktail, eat great food and as a bonus you get to mingle with business leaders from all over the city.
"Why go anywhere else?"
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