Not your grandfather’s riverboat.

At first glance, those familiar with riverboats will notice that the Sainte Genevieve is a refreshing departure from the traditional red and white painted paddlewheels. With her deep green coloring and hand-crafted interiors, The Sainte Genevieve greets guests looking for a fresh riverboating experience. Aboard is an enclosed dining area serving catered food curated from local restaurants, a stocked cocktail bar, and an expansive top deck with a 360 view of the Illinois River.

Our crew is well versed in the history of river boating, its time-honored techniques, and modern-day boating innovation. All of these are applied to create an enhanced river boating experience that balances the new with the nostalgia of an American pastime.

We aim to be mentioned in the same breath as the finest riverboating experiences in America, but with a honed approach to hospitality that is distinctly Ottawan. And humble. Because at the end of the day, we’re just a riverboat.

The boat named herself.​

While their boat dates back to 1962, this story begins sixty years later. The husband-and-wife duos, Gentry and Lindsey Nordstrom and Nathan and Jessica Weiss, came together to form the Ottawa Packet Company in December of 2021. Combining Gentry’s entrepreneurial skills, Nathan’s incredible craftsmanship, and a passion for riverboating, the group purchased their voyager and embarked on a new chapter. Much like any story worth telling, the story of Sainte Genevieve is a lesson in triumphing over a challenge. 

A rocky start.

While bringing the boat to Ottawa from Cincinnati, a winter gale blew the boat into some rocks along the shore of the Mississippi River. With her hull taking on water, the crew received help from a local towboat crew and took refuge at their quarry in Sainte Genevieve, Missouri. As fate would have it, the original Sainte Genevieve, the patroness saint of Paris, had enemies who conspired to drown her in a lake but ultimately were unsuccessful. Now fully remodeled, our Sainte Genevieve also prevails. Her story is a testament to remaining steadfast in faith during life’s tribulations.