- Avery Newmark For the AJC
Georgia's waterways − the rivers and lakes that crisscross and dot the landscape and those ports of call along the coast −are places where millions look to relax, unwind, enjoy sunshine and even roll dice. Here are five of the best riverboat (and lake and ocean) cruises in the state.
9 East River St., Savannah. 912-232-6404. www.savannahriverboat.com/dinner
You want to talk about cruises? Savannah has them. They've got brunch cruises, they've got gospel cruises. They've got private cruises. Dinner cruises. Moonlight cruises. All the cruises. The Savannah River Queen and the Georgia Queen, the two giant red-white-and-blue paddle-wheel riverboats that are a fixture on the historic Savannah riverfront, are a great way to see Georgia's famous old port city.
203 Azalea Drive, Roswell. 770-650-1008. www.shootthehooch.com/spirit-roswell-riverboat/
From the same company that brought us the term "shoot the hooch," literally the Shoot the Hooch company, comes The
Spirit of Roswell, a 63-foot, two-deck old-fashioned paddle boat. Guests on The Spirit of Roswell enjoy the ambiance, trees and wildlife of the Chattahoochee River, 20 minutes north of Atlanta. The Spirit of Roswell has occasional public trips made available through contacting the company, and the boat is available for charter from 11 a.m. until sunset daily.
6950 Lanier Islands Pkwy., Buford. 770-271-1888. www.lordnelsoncharters.com/lake-lanier-charter-sailboat-sunset-cruise/
From the same swashbuckling entrepreneurs, like Lord Nelson Charters, that run a pirate cruise on Lake Lanier comes private sailing cruises, perfect for couples, families and small groups. The sailing charters on Lake Lanier are perfect for unwinding and relaxing. Guests can choose whether to pack a picnic aboard the charter, or enjoy the fine dining at Lake Lanier Islands Resort (sailing charters depart from the resort docks).
One Emerald Princess Drive, Brunswick. 1-800-842-0115. www.emeraldprincesscasino.com/
Sailing out of Brunswick, Georgia, the Emerald Princess cruise ship is four decks of gambling fun, including 220 slot machines, 12 blackjack tables, six Texas Hold' em tables, two Roulette wheels, two stud poker tables, and one craps table for guests who want to roll dice on the boat. The ship also boasts a Bistro Deck, an observation deck and ocean views that can't be beat (even if your 2/7 off suit can be).
1450 Greene Street, Suite 400, Augusta. 706-823-0440. www.augustacanal.com/boat-tours.php
Visitors to the Augusta Canal Boat Tours cruise the canal in a historic Petersburg boat, where guides offer the history of the 19th century mills, gunpowder factory, and some of Georgia's oldest homes. The tours − there are history and nature tours, Civil War tours, a music cruise, and a full-length sunset cruise − are regularly scheduled, and depart from the dock at Enterprise Mill.