The Spirit of Peoria was designed by architect Alan Bates, and built in 1988 at the Walker Boat Yard in Paducah, Kentucky, making it the first paddleboat vessel to ever be built there. The propulsion system was designed by Norm Rittenhouse, with steering by Custom Hydraulics.

The Spirit has no props or thrusters, and is powered by twin Caterpillar 3412 diesel gensets, producing 700 kilowatts combined in 208 volt 3-phase voltage. The power is rectified using railroad-style rectifiers, probably from a GM GP38. The DC voltage goes to two traction engines, also from a GM locomotive, which drive the paddlewheel via two forty-foot-long by one-foot-wide chains. This allows the boat to be comparatively fast and efficient, burning approximately 15 gallons (57L) of diesel fuel an hour, with a top speed of over 15 mph (24 km/h).

Its shallow draft of 4′ enables the Spirit to land in just about any river town. Boarding is by 30′ long boarding stages

The boat is owned and captained by G. Alex Grieves, and co-captained by Alice Grady and Dylan Masonholder. It routinely travels up and down the Illinois River and Mississippi River.

Overnights

  • Peoria to Hannibal Excursion 5-day, 4-night Do we have an adventure for you!!! This five day trip takes you from Peoria, IL to the riverfront town of Hannibal, MO. Best known for being the boyhood home of author Mark Twain. Included with the cruise are meals, entertainment and some shore excursions. Tickets More Info
  • Peoria to St. Louis 5-day Excursion Illinois Bicentennial Celebration Cruise We only know one way to celebrate any special day…with a boat ride. It’s the 200th anniversary of Illinois becoming an official and essential part of the United States! We’re also celebrating the Spirit of Peoria’s own 30th anniversary. This cruise features extra time in Springfield visiting historic sites as well as some extra time in St Louis. Tickets More Info
  • Peoria to St. Louis Excursion 3-day, 2-night Cruise from Peoria, IL to St. Louis, MO on this relaxing three-day, two-night trip. Trip includes all-you-can-eat buffet meals—including the chef’s prime rib dinner—and live entertainment, such as live singing, guitar, banjo, and ragtime piano, storytelling, calliope playing, historical information, and wildlife sightings. Lodging is provided at various points along the river. A two-hour self-guided tour of the President Abraham Lincoln Museum is included with your ticket. Experience the slower pace of life with three peaceful days of cruising the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers! Tickets More Info
  • Peoria to Starved Rock Excursion 2-day, 1-night This wonderful overnight trip includes two relaxing days of cruising down the river. All-you-can-eat buffet meals—including the chef’s prime rib dinner—are served throughout the day. Entertainment includes live singing, guitar, banjo, and ragtime piano, storytelling, historical information at various spots, wildlife sightings, and an optional hike to the Starved Rock Historic Site. Lodging provided by the Starved Rock Lodge. Enjoy the slower pace of life on this unique paddleboat! Tickets More Info
  • Peoria to Starved Rock Excursion 3-day, 2-night This three-day, two-night trip includes relaxing days of cruising down the river, all-you-can-eat buffet meals—including the chef’s prime rib dinner—and more. Entertainment includes live singing, guitar, banjo, and ragtime piano, storytelling, historical information at various spots, wildlife sightings, and a tour of Starved Rock. Lodging provided by the Starved Rock Lodge. Enjoy the slower pace of life on this unique paddleboat! Tickets More Info

Themed Cruises

Join the Captain and crew for one of our spectacular themed cruises. Relax, dine and cruise as you listen to local musicians. Food and beverage will be themed towards the music of each cruise. Coffee, tea and soft drinks are complimentary. Remember advanced reservation and payment is necessary for all cruises, as only advance paid reservations have guaranteed seating!

Remember, all themed cruises depart from and return to the riverfront dock in Peoria, IL!

  • Blues & BBQ Dinner Bringing Beale Street to Water Street! The Smoker’s Blues Band will be performing live. Smoked brisket, Pulled pork, Roasted corn grits, Macaroni & cheese and more Tickets More Info
  • Concert Cruise Book your tickets early! First come, First serve. Listen to some great music as you cruise down the Illinois River! Tickets More Info
  • Concert Dinner Cruise Come and enjoy the music of Kenny Rogers performed by Dave Karl Biehl Tickets More Info
  • Concert Lunch CruiseA cruise full of the magical music of a company made famous by a certain mouse and a whole bunch of princesses! Tickets More Info
  • Dixieland Dinner Cruise Join us for an evening on the Spirit of Peoria with Dixieland music by Chuck & C-notes and a Southern inspired dinner! Tickets More Info
  • Dixieland Lunch Cruise Take the afternoon off for a Dixieland lunch cruise! The ever popular band Chuck & The C-Notes will be aboard along with a Southern inspired buffet! Tickets More Info
  • Fall Foliage Lunch Cruise Are you a “leaf peeper?” Do you know one? Sit back while the Spirit of Peoria cruises between river valley bluffs brimming with fall color. Our 2 hour cruise features a hot lunch buffet, live entertainment and the best view of Illinois’ fall color. Tickets More Info
  • Father’s Day Dixieland Dinner Cruise Tell him to put down the tongs—we’re doing the grilling on our dock! The cookout features all the trimmings along with a 2 hour cruise and live music from a live Dixieland Band. Tickets More Info
  • Father’s Day Dixieland Lunch Cruise Tell him to put down the tongs—we’re doing the grilling on our dock! The cookout features all the trimmings along with a 2 hour cruise and live music from a live Dixieland Band. Tickets More Info
  • Fireworks Dinner Cruise Dinner, Music, Fireworks and a Cruise! What better way to start off the 4th of July holiday. Bring the family for a unique view of the ever popular Glen Oak Fireworks Display. This 2 hour cruise includes a buffet dinner, sundae bar. Music is brought to you by Chuck and the C-Notes. Reservations are required; don’t miss out on this no-hassle firework celebration. Tickets More Info
  • Grafton CruiseJoin us for a sightseeing, brunch, lunch, or dinner cruise in historic Grafton, IL where the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers meet. More Info
  • Holiday Dinner Show Join Barry Cloyd and Brian “Fox” Ellis as Prairie Folklore Theatre celebrates the Spirit of the Holidays on the Spirit of Peoria with “A Civil War Christmas.” Celebrate love, family and friends with songs and stories from the Civil War Era. Tickets More Info
  • Holiday Lunch Show Join Barry Cloyd and Brian “Fox” Ellis as Prairie Folklore Theatre celebrates the Spirit of the Holidays on the Spirit of Peoria with “A Civil War Christmas.” Celebrate love, family and friends with songs and stories from the Civil War Era. Tickets More Info
  • Jazz on the River Bring your dancing shoes for an evening with Bradley’s Hilltop Jazz Combo! Dance the night away on the river. Buffet dinner is included.Tickets More Info
  • Moonlight Cruise Enjoy Peoria’s evening skyline by the light of the moon. Live entertainment is included with your ticket for this 2 hour cruise. A cash bar is available. Dinner is not served, but concessions are available. Ask about private deck rental at reduced rates—perfect for rehearsal dinners or class reunions! 

    Tickets available at the dock. No reservations required. Tickets More Info
  • Mother’s Day Dixieland Dinner Cruise Doesn’t she deserve a night off, too? Take mom on a relaxing 2 hour dinner cruise this year! Ticket includes cruise, hot lunch buffet, live music from a live Dixieland Band, taxes and gratuities. Tickets More Info
  • Mother’s Day Dixieland Lunch Cruise Doesn’t she deserve a day off, too? Take mom on a relaxing 2 hour lunch cruise this year! Ticket includes cruise, hot lunch buffet, live music from a live Dixieland Band, taxes and gratuities. Tickets More Info
  • Murder Mystery Dinner Cruise Who done it? And why? This interactive cruise is more than a shot in the dark. The cast of the Champaign Urbana Theatre Co will dine and mingle with you as the mystery unfolds! Price includes a Prime Rib buffet, entertainment and the cruise. Cash bar available. Vegetarian meal available upon request. Ask about our group rates. Boarding: 6pm Dinner 6:30pm Cruise: 7-9pm Tickets More Info
  • Music Dinner Cruise Various artist and a hot dinner buffet. We have a Kenny Rogers show and a Show Tune & Movie Magic Dinner Cruise by Paul Orsi. More shows to be added! Go to the “Details” tab for cruise dates & times! Tickets More Info
  • New Year’s Eve Dinner & Dance Join the Captain and crew for our first New Year’s Eve Dinner and Dance event! We will have a prime rib buffet with all the trimmings. Chuck & the C-Notes will be performing big band dance music. There will be a cruise if the weather is fair. Tickets More Info
  • Patriot Day Dinner Cruise Help support Greater Peoria Honor Flight! Join us for an all-American style dinner served dockside from 6-7pm with the cruise from 7-9pm. Tickets More Info
  • Riverlife Gospel Dinner Cruise Celebrating their 21st year, RiverLife gospel music lunch cruises combine quality family-oriented entertainment with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. RiverLife cruises are sponsored by Hands of Love Ministry and hosted by The Kramers. Tickets More Info
  • Riverlife Gospel Lunch Cruise Celebrating their 21st year, RiverLife gospel music lunch cruises combine quality family-oriented entertainment with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. RiverLife cruises are sponsored by Hands of Love Ministry and hosted by The Kramers. Tickets More Info
  • Sundae Cruise These incredible cruises feature some of the best talent the country has to offer and compliments it with wonderful ice cream and scenery.

    Build your own sundae featuring live music! Tickets More Info
  • Tasting Cruise Beer, Wine & Whiskey This cruise features local beer, wine, and whiskey samples along with some light appetizers.The cruise is for adults 21 and over only! Tickets More Info
  • Tropical Rock & Roll for Your Soul A tropical themed Dinner Cruise is a perennial SELL-OUT! Get your advance tickets early. There will be cheeseburgers grilled on the dock at 6pm, the Boat leaves promptly at 7:15pm Tickets More Info
  • Zombie Cruise Are you a fan of the Walking Dead or just Halloween in general? Well we have a treat for you! Dress up as your favorite zombie or Halloween character for a hauntingly good time on the Illinois River. Kickapoo Junction will be performing. Hors D’oeuvre buffet is included. Tickets More Info
  • Zombie Cruise for Kids!!Bring your little ghouls and goblins for a fun and family friendly cruise on the river!! Kid friendly dinner and trick or treating along with games and a treat bag for every child!! Tickets More Info

Sightseeing Cruises

  • Early Sightseeing Cruise Departure time: 11am These cruises are1.5 hours-long and generally run once a week. They begin and end at the riverfront dock in downtown Peoria, with the Spirit cruising up and down the Illinois River. 

    Kids and adults alike will be fascinated by the boat’s tall fluted stacks and gigantic candy-apple red paddlewheel churning through the water. It’s great entertainment for all ages. Trip includes Captain’s Commentary. Gift shop and concessions are available Tickets More Info
  • Regular Sightseeing Cruise Departure time: 2pm These cruises are1.5 hours-long and run 2 to 5 times a week. They begin and end at the riverfront dock in downtown Peoria, with the Spirit cruising up and down the Illinois River. 

    Kids and adults alike will be fascinated by the boat’s tall fluted stacks and gigantic candy-apple red paddlewheel churning through the water. It’s great entertainment for all ages. Trip includes Captain’s Commentary. Gift shop and concessions are available. Tickets More Info

Single Day Trips

These are single-day versions of our overnight cruises.

  • Grafton, IL to Florence, IL 1-day only Our single-day cruises are essentially abbreviated versions of our multiple-day trips, just without the overnight lodging. Entertainment includes live singing, guitar, banjo, and ragtime piano, storytelling, historical information at various spots, wilflife sightings, and more. Enjoy the slower pace of life on this unique paddleboat! Tickets More Info
  • Hannibal, MO to Grafton, IL1-day only Tickets More Info
  • Peoria Lock & DamThis day long cruise will feature locking through at the Peoria Lock and Dam twice. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks along with complimentary non-alcoholic drinks will be served. Tickets More Info
  • St. Louis, MO to Grafton, IL1-day only Join us for a trip from the historic Saint Louis levee to Grafton, IL. This day long excursion includes breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, non-alcoholic drinks, and entertainment. We also shuttle you back to Saint Louis. Tickets More Info
  • Starved Rock to Peoria 1-day only Tickets More Info

Private Charters & Rentals

  • Private Charters & Rentals The Spirit of Peoria is available for private parties to rent, either for an actual private cruise, or just for the use of its beautiful facilities. Perfect for weddings, corporate events, birthday parties, and more! More Info
  • Travel Day out of town We have to get the boat back to Peoria which means a “down” day! This could be a whole 24 hour 
Phone(309) 637-8000
Toll Free(800) 676-8988
Emailinfo@spiritofpeoria.com
Address100 Water Street
Peoria, IL 61602