- Beau Brand
Now in its 10th season, Oklahoma River Cruises has grown both in the number of riders and in the services it offers.
It started with just two landings and now has four as well as three boats that offer daily ferry service in addition to private charters and specialty themed cruises in the afternoons and evenings.
Last year, Oklahoma River Cruises had more than 15,000 passengers, and while the largest proportion of those riders come from right here in the state, the service also gets passengers from across the country and around the world, including Germany, Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka and England, said Che Loessberg, who oversees sales, events, marketing and program development.
Each excursion lasts about an hour and a half and costs $6 per stop with a $15 maximum for adults and $3 per stop with a $7.50 maximum for children and special patrons.
In addition to regular ferry service, Oklahoma River Cruises offers several themed trips, including its Cartoon Cruise, which departs at 1:15 p.m. on Saturdays through November and features vintage caricatures.
After the kids have had lunch, mom and dad or grandma and grandpa can bring them on the boat and kids can come and show up and sit in an air-conditioned cabin and watch cartoons while [grown-ups] hang out on the deck and enjoy the scenery, Loessberg said.
The ferry service originally appealed primarily to seniors, Loessberg said. In recent years, it has accumulated a following among people ages 35-55 in part because of its themed Friday and Saturday night cruises.
The evening rides, open to guests age 21 and up, feature themes such as Western Waters, Luau, Disco and Margaritaville. They feature a full cash bar and complimentary snacks. Another popular offering is the Sunset Cruise for adults, offered the last three Fridays of each month from June through September.
It costs $35 per person and includes music, light refreshments and a cash bar.
The History Comes Alive series, ideal for all ages, features a costumed re-enactor making a presentation about key people, times and places from Oklahoma and U.S. history.
Characters have included a pioneer woman, a mail-order bride, a cowboy, a buffalo hunter and Rosie the Riveter.
The re-enactors, who are experts from Oklahoma History Center, spend the first half of the excursion making a presentation and the second half interacting and visiting with passengers while still in character.
Passengers can also charter private cruises with audio/visual equipment and Sirius Radio, along with the option for a bar or catering. Charter cruises are available for 28-35 people and cost $375 for the first hour and $150 for each additional hour.
It offers Oklahoma City one of the most unique venues for a private event, Loessberg said. We have birthday parties, wedding showers, we have weddings on board, we do family reunions, private dinners, so the skys the limit, really.
Oklahoma River Cruises departs from four landings: Regatta Park, 701 S. Lincoln Blvd.; Meridian, 4345 SW 15th St.; Exchange, 1503 Exchange Ave.; and Bricktown, 334 Centennial Drive. Ferry service starts at 11:40 a.m. daily.
Headline: Oklahoma River Cruises offers a voyage for every occasion