Madam Carroll, Indiana’s Largest Boat, Releases New Cruise Options in Response to COVID

In February of this year we began a mechanical and operational overhaul on Indiana’s largest boat, preparing her for our 2nd season of operation and what was, at the time, the busiest and most aggressive cruising schedule the boat has seen in nearly 20 years. The start of any cruising season for the Madam is heavy with maintenance and investment – a cost typically offset with private charters like weddings, formals, and fundraising events on the boat. With recent upgrades, the vessel has two new engines, all new plumbing and in a move previously thought to be impossible – was outfitted to continue her operation through the winter months. In just the past few weeks, the Madam Carroll was pulled from Lake Freeman and passed both her dockside and dry dock DNR inspections with zero deficiencies. What else could two 30-something year old owners who invested their life savings into a business ask for, right? Oh, a global pandemic? Perfect.

Our 2020 operational schedule was slated to begin with cruises in March…

aggressively early, but we had recently retrofitted the 2nd deck for weather-proof events. As news of the COVID-19 outbreak came to light, the reality of a bleak financial forecast emerged. Fundraising cruises in March were cancelled. As Purdue University cancelled all in-person events we lost all the previously booked sorority and fraternity formals on the boat. Public school systems followed suit, and we lost all our previously booked proms. Following the mandate from the Governor, the Luse Lounge was shut down and all dockside revenues came to a halt. Because of restrictions on our liquor license, we do not have the option to offer carry out booze. Our Easter Sunday Family cruise, cancelled. Mother’s Day Family cruise, cancelled. Our first Dinner Cruise with the Sportsman Inn, cancelled. The Kentucky Derby Cruise, cancelled. With no time left to adequately plan for the unknown, all our previously booked weddings in May and June were either cancelled or rescheduled for another year. The reality of this situation and its financial consequences on the Madam Carroll are terrible.

As pragmatic owners, we have not wasted time feeling sorry about the situation. Nor are we wasting time dancing with “that’s not fair” and “if only” scenarios. The COVID-19 pandemic is a horrific situation that the entire globe is facing. However, a much worse scenario for us and the community would be the collapse of a historic business because of the financial fall out. Let us be clear – we are not looking for sympathy and we’re not ask for charity. We have spent the last month, between maintenance projects, programing and testing a few new opportunities for our customers to continue to support the boat while we weather this storm. It’s our belief that you, as our customers, will take advantage of these new opportunities and at minimum, share them with your family and friends to ensure the continued operation of the Historic Madam Carroll – Indiana’s Largest Boat.

We are excited to share with the community the following opportunities for you to continue to enjoy everything the Madam Carroll has to offer without the fear or unknown that comes with the current global health crisis:

The Madam Carroll Membership

Unlimited free access, with very few restrictions, to all our entertainment cruises this summer AND all next year. The $125 membership also gets you first access to tickets on newly released events, significantly discounted tickets on all our dinner and brunch cruises, 50% off all private table reservations, and 20% off all the merchandise from our new online store. Get all the Membership Details Online Here.

Madam Carroll Gear Online

Show your support of the boat when you’re rocking any of the Madam Carroll gear we now have available for purchase online. Shop around, choose your size, check out online and we will ship your order anywhere in the United States. New gear is being added daily. Shop Online for Madam Carroll Gear Here.

Additional Operational Updates

As we are operating with a skeleton crew, we appreciate your patience with our communication via phone, email and Facebook messages. We will return your questions as quickly as possible and apologize for the delay.

  • The Luse Lounge the Madam Carroll’s new dockside “boat bar” operation aptly named in commemoration of Madam Carroll founder, Bill Luse Sr. and family, will return to operation Wednesday, June 17th.
  • Our first public cruise of the year, the Father’s Day Family Cruise, will take place Sunday, June 21st. Tickets for this cruise have been limited to 50% capacity and are available online.
  • Our first Dinner Cruise with the Historic Sportsman Inn will take place Friday, June 26th with entertainment from local celebrity Davey Allen and the Midnights.
  • Our first Flying Toasters cruise of the year, previously scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 27th, has been rescheduled for Saturday, July 18th.
  • Our first cruise with Piano Man Bruce Barker, scheduled for May 22nd, has been postponed. A new date is forthcoming in the next few days as we work with Bruce to align schedules.
  • The Frenzy on Freeman Cruise, a fundraising event for SFLECC, previously scheduled for June 5th has been postponed. A new date is forthcoming.
  • For continued updates from the boat, we would encourage all our guests to sign up for our email newsletter – you can do so by clicking here.