by D. Otoni
Our St. Johns River is certainly the life-blood of Jacksonville. Its majestic scenery abounds, showcasing our shore’s bounty of tranquil vistas and teeming Downtown developments. We’ve come a long way since Cowford, and the best way to take in the delightful sights is by boat on Jacksonville’s newest river cruise, soon to be named the “Lady of Jacksonville,” operated by Foxy Lady Cruises.
The yacht is a magnificent 96-foot Skipperliner boat which can hold up to 149 people. She has two climate-controlled salons, as well as open-air decks and a galley. The boat has a 20 foot beam (width at waterline) which means smooth sailing, even in choppy water. The captain and crew keep this seven-year-old vessel in immaculate condition and go out of their way to provide every guest a great experience.
Ship’s captain and owner John Michkowski, known as Capt. Mitch, brought the boat to Jacksonville from Naples. The company also operates a vessel in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and says he finds Jacksonville a wonderful port for their brand of maritime excursions. “I’ve been delighted to find Jacksonville such a friendly and laid-back town. The weather here provides sailing year round, unlike Wisconsin where the rivers are frozen for seven months of the year.”
When asked how it was dealing with the City’s regulations and local authorities, Capt. Mitch smiled and said, “The Coast Guard is the Coast Guard. They do a great job and inspect our vessel on a regular basis, which is good, and the City has been very friendly and accommodating.”
Capt. Mitch brings a restauranteur’s expertise to the food service aboard. The galley is expansive and equipped with the latest food prep technology. The lunch cruise I took delighted me with some of the best galley-made chicken salad to be had. Evening cruises feature catering from Biscotti’s Restaurant. Their menu is online and features two entrées on Friday dinner cruises and two different entrées on Saturday dinner cruises. And, they offer a fully-stocked bar, manned by an experienced mixologist. You can sit back and sip your favorite cocktail, enjoy the ride and leave the driving to Capt. Mitch.
Scheduled excursions include sunset dinner cruises, lunch, sightseeing, cocktail cruises and Sunday brunch. There’s no better place to take in the beauty and charm of Downtown. The ship departs from the Northbank, directly behind the old Courthouse, where there’s plenty of riverfront parking available. Reservations can be booked at or by calling 398-9553.