BB Riverboats began with a deceptive motto and a fleet of zero. In 1977, Ben Bernstein opened a restaurant in a converted steamboat, whose motto was “The Romance of Riverboat Dining.” Intended as tongue-in-cheek, the motto instead confused customers, who arrived hoping for a scenic cruise down the Ohio River. To placate his clientele, Ben Bernstein went into business with riverboat industry veteran Betty Blake, and BB Riverboats—named for their shared initials—was born.
Now run by Bernstein’s son, BB Riverboats has increased its fleet to three vessels, including the Belle of Cincinnati, a riverboat outfitted with Victorian details and two climate-controlled decks. On daily cruises down the Ohio, historical narration complements the scenery, while passengers play swashbuckling games and learn to read treasure maps on family-friendly pirate cruises. On the company’s dining cruises, visitors drink in the scenery while noshing on a Hawaiian buffet spread or sampling award-winning wines from StoneBrook Winery. Additionally, holiday cruises honor occasions from Valentine’s Day to Thanksgiving.