Floating venues have a charm and elegance that elevates mundane functions to an all-new level. This concept was first brought about on Showboats by combining a dinner cruise with a show ranging from comedy plays to serious dramas to bands. We look at some of the long-standing iconic floating venues around the world that are worth a mention because of their unique history!
Sydney Showboats, Sydney Harbour
Celebrating 30 Years of Spectacular Cruising, Sydney Showboats is a floating venue on Sydney Harbour that celebrates the best of dining cruises with cabaret performances that form the main entertainment for the evening.
A vessel that exudes old-world charm with a retro-style construction and wrap-around verandas, Showboat mixes contemporary construction with modern luxuries to give its guests an exquisite time. The cabaret show is a visual treat and the main highlight of the Showboat.
The speciality of Sydney Showboats is that it was a purpose-built vessel for hosting shows and awards functions, so all the amenities were thought out and designed at infancy. The glitz and glamour of the cabaret show and deluxe dining experience makes the Showboat a unique venue resulting in its continuing success.
The Thekla, Britain
Another iconic ship that is a famous floating venue is the Thekla. In existence for over 33 years, the venue has hosted a variety of events from operas to concerts. Known before as the Old Profanity Showboat, it was a happy hunting ground for numerous budding actors and comedians. John Entwistle, bass guitarist of the famous band ‘The Who’ had graced these stages during the Old Profanity days.
Starting life as a coastal trading vessel in 1958, she was left abandoned for seven years, only to be brought back to life and converted to a showboat. Renamed as ‘Old Profanity Showboat’, she has been moored in Bristol ever since.
The boat changed hands in 1986 to become the Thekla again. It became a thriving spot for the local bands of Bristol. By the early 2000s till now, the Thekla has been around as a thriving nightclub and one of the iconic landmarks of Britain.
The father of showboats, the Goldenrod is the original iteration straight from the 19th century. Plying the waters of Mississippi from 1909 (the centre stage for Showboats then), the Goldenrod continued service till 2001 after which it was unceremoniously abandoned on the Missouri River at St. Charles where it still lies in a dilapidated stage.
In its glory days, the Goldenrod was the most well-appointed and ornate of all Showboats with opulent interiors, making it stand a head higher than its competition. Like the Showboats during this time period, the Goldenrod didn’t have propulsion of its own and had to use the services of a tug boat to move from place to place.
The Goldenrod continued to live on despite being in many catastrophes like a terrible fire in 1962 which destroyed the entire vessel except for the superstructure. It was brought back to its original glory as the vessel was considered a national treasure. Being a host to a variety of events like minstrel shows, dramas, jazz bands and the like, the Goldenrod is an important part of diverse American entertainment history.