The Tennessee River is a popular place in the Shoals. Tourism officials hope a new riverboat will attract even more people and visitors. The Pickwick Belle Riverboat will soon be cruising the waters of the Tennessee River. “I think the Pickwick Belle is going to be bringing this area a new form of entertainment while enjoying the historical part of the area at the same time,” says Pickwick Belle Marketing Director Tanya Irwin. The authentic paddle boat is 90 feet long and can carry 149 passengers. The Pickwick Belle will offer lunch and dinner cruises. Tourism officials say the riverboat is the first of its kind to really meet the needs of people in the Shoals.
“This is the first, real true paddle riverboat we’ve had where the public could actually go on and take the cruise,” says Alison Stanfield with Florence-Lauderdale Tourism. The riverboat will also feature local entertainment and provide sight-seeing cruises. “We’re real excited that they’re going to be offering some lock through cruises, where people actually get to lock through Wilson Dam,” says Stanfield. The owners of Pickwick Belle partnered with Florence-Lauderdale Tourism, the city of Florence, the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa, and Florence Harbor to bring the riverboat to the Shoals. They all want the riverboat to be a success. “It is definitely a unique experience and I think it will be very popular here in the Shoals,” says Stanfield. The Pickwick Belle riverboat will be in the Shoals for a trial period during the months of September, October, and November. If the riverboat is very popular during that time, it’s possible there could be a year-round schedule. http://www.visitflorenceal.com/
From reports broadcast on WHNT-TV Channel 19 in Huntsville: