One of the best ways to escape the glitz and chaos of the Las Vegas Strip is to head out on a Lake Mead cruise. Sailing around the man-made lake is a relaxing way to end your trip to Sin City, and you don't have to be a high roller to afford it.
About Lake Mead
Lake Mead is one of Nevada's most popular tourist attractions. It is located about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas and is listed as the largest reservoir in the United States. The lake is formed by water confined by Hoover Dam. Lake Mead extends 112 miles behind the dam and holds approximately 28.5 million-acre feet of water.
For decades the lake was home to scores of recreational boats and other watercraft. However, environmental factors, including severe droughts and reduced snowfalls have caused Lake Mead's water level to retreat. In 2008 National Park Service Rangers moved the Las Vegas Bay Marina and Lake Mead Ferry Service to Hemenway Harbor to keep them functional. The reduced water level has also forced marinas elsewhere around the lake's edge to migrate down the shoreline.
About Lake Mead Cruises
Fortunately, Lake Mead Cruises is still operating on the popular water resource. The cruise company is a concessionaire of the National Park Service and has been in business since the 1980s. Lake Mead Cruises is the only licensed water tour provider in the area. It operates the Desert Princess, an authentic tri-level Mississippi-style 300-passenger paddlewheel boat, built especially to cruise the blue waters of Lake Mead.
Cruise enthusiasts looking to take a break from Sin City's neon lights and casinos can find refuge in Lake Mead's sailing options. Cruises offered include a variety of year-round itineraries, including:
- Brunch cruises
- Lunch cruises
- Sunset dinner cruises
- Wedding cruises
- Mid-day sightseeing cruises
In addition to the aforementioned public cruises, the company also features charter sailings for groups of 25 or more.
The Desert Princess
Each cruise takes place on the charming paddlewheel powered Desert Princess, which features climate-controlled comfort on enclosed decks for those unaccustomed to Nevada's heat. The vessel also boasts open decks that cater to cruisers who enjoy feeling the wind in their hair and the desert sun on their face. The Desert Princess also offers refreshment centers, handicapped accessible restrooms, state-of-the-art audio systems, and comfortable seating.
Lake Mead's stunning scenery and glassy waters are the main attractions on daily cruises. However there is a host of other highlights that make cruising on Lake Mead memorable, such as:
- Breathtaking sights: Lake Mead is home to an array of colorful landscapes and panoramic views. Photographers of all skill levels will enjoy documenting the lake's incredible landmarks, including Fortification Hill (an extinct volcano), The Arizona Paint Pots, and the mighty Hoover Dam. The engineering masterpiece rises 726 feet high from the base of the Desert Princess and is an incredible 660 feet wide at its base.
- Incredible food: Passengers on dinner cruises enjoy excellent dining choices consisting of beef, chicken, seafood or pasta. In addition, brunch, lunch and dinner cruises come with delectable dessert buffets and open bars.
- Knowledgeable staff: During the two-to-three hour sailings the captain provides commentary about Lake Mead's history plus interesting facts about the flora, fauna and other natural wonders that frame the water resource. In addition, crew members also share fascinating stories about the construction of the Hoover Dam and the formation of the Colorado River.
- Freedom to explore: The cruise around Lake Mead is not restrictive. Rather, staff members encourage passengers to explore the vessel on their own. Guests are allowed to stroll along the open-air sundecks and move about in the enclosed decks to get the best views of Lake Mead's raw beauty.