Disclosure: I was invited to Branson on a Press Trip. I received complimentary Showboat Branson Belle tickets for myself and my husband. All opinions are my own and 100% honest!
Showboat Branson Belle, America’s Most Entertaining Dinner Cruise
While aboard the Showboat Branson Belle we enjoyed the popular show Made in the USA with new American-favorite musical selections. We were immediately captivated by the show! It kicked off with Christopher James Hyper Magic Show and my friend Clueless Mama‘s son went up on stage! He makes a great magician’s assistant!
Comedian and magician Christopher James is the mega-funny master of ceremonies who performs improv-flavored comedy along with original magic stunts. He was very funny and even our waitress said she can’t figure out his dollar trick!
The show features Janice Martin, the world’s only violin-playing aerialist, and the male vocal group the ShowMen in a celebration of all-American music, this year highlighting American regional songs and the best of Motown. The show and a three-course meal are featured on all cruises aboard the authentic 700-seat paddlewheeler, which cruises Table Rock Lake March through December.
Martin, a multi-talented and multifaceted entertainer, performs on piano and violin as well as vocal selections before soaring above the stage in a mesmerizing acrobatic aerial act — as she plays the violin. Her unique artistry, which has been highlighted in The New York Times, Miami Herald and Washington Post, brings a five-star phenomenal offering to the Branson entertainment lineup. After the show we were able to take our photo with Janet who is a Veteran. She did her basic training at Fort Leonard Wood where my husband was stationed for ten years!
From rich harmonies to standout solos, The ShowMen, five talented male vocalists and dancers, fill the stage with clap-along fun, showcasing musical styles with pitch-perfect appeal. Performers are accompanied by the Showboat’s signature live band Rockin’ Dockers, who fill the atrium-style dinner theater with a feast of live music. I loved how you can really tell that they enjoy what they do and are having a good time while up on stage!
Beginning in late May, a second Made in the USA show is presented on noon and Sunday cruises, featuring master pianist Julie McClarey, fiddler Dean Church, the female quartet The ShowBelles, plus the Showboat’s live band The Castaways.
My Video Recap of the Showboat
Premium dining options where guests choose from a specialty menu include the Captain’s Row on first row balcony and the Paddle Wheel Club Room, offering a private dining area overlooking the ship’s paddlewheels. Menu options include Captain’s Special-Cut Rib Eye Steak, Pan-seared Chicken with Lemon & Rosemary Beurre Blanc Sauce, the fresh catch such as Grilled Mahi Mahi,and a choice of desserts.
The food was delicious and the waitstaff is quick to check on you and bring around the next course. We chatted with our waitress a bit and she was happy to tell us about her experience on the Boat.
The Showboat Branson Belle cruises Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, March 8 through December 31. Details and schedules: www.showboatbransonbelle.comor 800-775-BOAT(2628).
CAPTAIN’S FACTS ABOUT THE SHOWBOAT
Christened: April 13, 1995
Length: 278 feet (almost the size of a football field)
Width: 78 feet
Height: 112 feet and 3 inches (to the top of the stacks)
Draft: 7 ½ feet (the part of the Showboat under the water)
Paddlewheels: Twin wheels; each is 24 feet in diameter and 16 feet wide
Most people don’t realize that the Showboat Branson Belle is a true sternwheeler, propelled through the water by the two huge rear paddlewheels, each with its own dedicated, independent motor. The bow and stern thrusters are used only in docking and undocking maneuvering.
Captain’s Wheel: 10 feet, 2 inches in diameter, made of solid maple wood Restored from the C.C. Slider which operated 1928 – 1952 And, yes, it does steer the Showboat!
Weight: 2.5 million pounds
Speed: Peak – 11 m.p.h.; Average – 6 m.p.h.
Cruise Duration: Lunch Cruise: 12:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Early Dinner Cruise: 4:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. Sunset Dinner Cruise: 8:00 p.m. – 10:15 p.m.
Passengers: 700, plus the crew
Cost: $8 million for the Showboat Branson Belle!
Location: Highway 165, south of Table Rock Dam, just south from Branson Highway 76.