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General Jackson Showboat Captures Musical Heart of Tennessee

The Nashville skyline glitters in the warm summer evening. Sounds of merriment float across the water from Riverfront Park as the showboat slides past the dock, paddlewheel churning and lights aglow.

Guests line the rails on the General Jackson Showboat, savoring the magical view of Music City from the Cumberland River. Styled after the Mississippi riverboats, the 300-foot-long General Jackson was built in 1985 to offer visitors to Nashville the ultimate experience of Southern hospitality. First class entertainment, delicious meals and stunning views of Nashville from the water create memories that last a lifetime.

Six days a week the boat departs from Gaylord Opryland on a three-hour round trip cruise down the Cumberland River.

Reminiscent of the days of the riverboat gamblers, guests are treated to music, dance and elegant dining while the General Jackson follows the lazy curves of the river with its steep bluffs. After boarding, the party begins with an outdoor band on the upper Hurricane Deck. Jazz, blues and libations in the fresh air are a prelude to a Southern buffet lunch or elegant three-course dinner, including Memphis-style barbecue ribs, in the Victorian Theater on the lower deck.

Riverfront Park in Downtown Nashville is the turn-around point for every cruise, and then the show begins! Non-stop entertainment continues in the Victorian Theater with a musical extravanganza. Showcasing Tennessee’s amazing musical heritage, a new evening show debuted in the spring and will continue through November. The Heart of Tennessee: A Musical Journey celebrates the state’s rich musical traditions, and is a can’t miss experience for tourists and locals alike. Every Tennessean has good reason to have incredible pride in their state’s rich contribution to the music we all enjoy today.

The musicians and entertainers put their heart and soul into expressing the stories through music and dance, and many pursue solo careers as session players or singer/songwriters.

In high energy Broadway-style song and dance, the story follows the evolution of music from its roots in the Appalachian Mountains…bluegrass, gospel and country, to the rock and roll, soul and jazz from Memphis. The cast of seven singers and band of seven perform songs by Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Williams, Otis Redding, Loretta Lynn, Garth Brooks, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and many more. Adding dramatic realism is simultaneous film footage of the original artists.

The shorter, two-hour luncheon cruise features comedian Steve Hall and the Shotgun Red Show, the perfect animated and interactive entertainment for all the family.

Beginning November 15, entertainment changes for the holiday season with a Christmas musical production and sumptuous food to celebrate the season.

The General Jackson is named after President Andrew Jackson, whose historic home, The Hermitage, is only 10 minutes away from the showboat dock. Special event cruises to celebrate the 4th of July, Valentine’s Day, Easter and New Year’s Eve make the General Jackson a popular venue for parties, reunions and special occasions.

This may be the best deal around for July 4th. At no extra charge the regular cruise positions itself downtown for one of the best views of Nashville’s spectacular Riverfront Park 4th of July fireworks displays at 9:00 p.m. Check out their website for details.

Gaylord’s smaller sister boat, the Music City Queen, with room for 300 guests as opposed to the General Jackson’s 1037, is mainly used for private charters, and is very popular for weddings. Light meals to full banquets complete with bands cater for every need and desire.

Looking for the best tailgate party on the river? The Music City Queen will cruise to every Titans home game, and includes a delicious buffet brunch and satellite TV pre-game coverage.

It’s time to go cruising!

Hi! I’m Dayle Fergusson. As a transplanted Aussie living in Middle Tennessee since 1986, I have been a freelance travel...Read on

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    Claude Reese

    Sounds like something interesting for another get together if we could all three find the time. We are all so busy!!

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