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May 30, 2024

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It’s Showtime! Step On Board the General Jackson Showboat

Cruises offer a dining and live entertainment experience that is uniquely Nashville, opening for the spring March 5.

The General Jackson Showboat, one of Gaylord Opryland Resort’s most popular attractions for the past 36 years, will begin rolling on the Cumberland River for the spring season on March 5 with midday lunch and evening dinner cruises.

The year-round cruises include live entertainment, meals and views of Nashville not found anywhere else. 

“We’re excited to welcome guests back on board The General Jackson Showboat this spring, just as the Tennessee weather begins to warm up again,” said Patrick Walker, general manager of the Showboat. “The lively shows, delicious food served with our well-known Southern hospitality, and lovely views of Nashville from the Cumberland River make this a truly one-of-a-kind experience.”

With four massive decks offering outside and inside access, the boat hosts not only show cruises, but it is also an in-demand venue for private events, such as corporate meetings, parties, weddings, and proms. Guests can also choose to enhance their holidays by booking a special event cruise.

General Jackson Showboat | Visit Nashville TN

Whether cruising for lunch or dinner, inside the Victorian Theater guests will partake in meals prepared by Gaylord Opryland Resort’s award-winning chefs. Midday and dinner cruises alike feature a three-course Southern meal.

Afterwards, guests will enjoy music-filled, on-board entertainment. The Tennessee Legends afternoon show (also performed on evening cruises thru June 30) pays tribute to world-famous musicians who have roots in Tennessee, including Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley and more, complete with guitars, fiddles, and live singing. Music City Nights, the evening show performed July 1 through November 13, is a celebration of the many musical styles making up the Nashville nightlife, featuring a live band, dynamic musical arrangements, choreography and costumes, all supported by state-of-the-art lighting and sound.

The General Jackson Showboat, built by Indiana-based Jeffboat, was launched April 20, 1985, and was christened July 2, 1985. The boat can hold 1,000 passengers and up to 172 crew members. The paddlewheel riverboat stands 77 feet tall and 300 feet long, making it one of the country’s largest showboats. The paddlewheel itself is 36 feet long, 24 feet wide and weighs 36 tons. Two Caterpillar 3512 engines, each with 1050 horsepower and 880 kilowatt generators, are responsible for powering the vessel, which has a maximum speed of 13 miles per hour.

As the safety of its guests and STARS (employees) is of paramount importance, the General Jackson Showboat’s cruise experience has been developed in accordance with Marriott’s “Commitment to Clean” program and with enhanced protocols and social-distancing measures. Face coverings must be worn by all guests ages 2 and older in all indoor/outdoor public areas; face coverings may be removed while seated to enjoy a cocktail or for dining in the Victorian Theater. Programming will also operate in consideration with the latest local, state and federal legislation. 

Cruise options include main floor seating, second floor seating or a Captain’s Table experience featuring a tableside greeting and tour of the pilothouse by the captain, upgraded dessert plus a souvenir specialty drink and shirt from the on-board gift shop. 

For tickets and more information on the General Jackson Showboat, please visit

About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.