Showboat Branson Belle dinner cruise is a delight

BRANSON, Mo. – It takes a lot of energy to spin the paddlewheels that propel the Showboat Branson Belle.

But you could argue that there is even more energy in the Celebrate! on stage of the boat billed as “America’s Most Entertaining Dinner Cruise.”

The 700-seat Mark-Twain-style Showboat Branson Belle was built on the shore of Table Rock Lake and it is thought to be the biggest inland vessel in the nation. It is so big that most passengers seated in the theater don’t notice that it is moving until they begin to see the scenery drift by.

The show starts with emcee Christopher James, whose rapid-fire wit is a perfect complement to his magic tricks. He is more comedian than magician, much to the delight of the audience.

He was my favorite part of the show.

In our show, he got a volunteer from Oklahoma and stole her cell phone. He placed it in one of four bags and asked her what the odds were in picking an incorrect bag. She said one in four. It was really three in four. James asked her what she did for a living and when she said she was a teacher, he couldn’t stop laughing.

The ShowMen are a male vocal group that have fantastic voices with incredible range. Their selection of songs were mostly oldies but they did a stunning three-minute compilation of 27 show tunes that were a real crowd pleaser.

Cassandre Faimon-Haygood is a female vocalist who sings with the ShowMen. She did a medley of hits from Disney films, much to the delight of the little girls in the audience.

One incredible performance was given by the dance troupe, Rhythm, billed as “The fastest feet west of the Mississippi.” In perfect time with the music, they danced perfectly to a frantic pace. I got tired just watching them. And it’s obvious that they really enjoy performing together, as they did before a packed house on a Saturday night cruise.

In the background was the Rockin’ Dockers, a salty band with members from all over the country. The music they played during dinner was just the right way to set the stage for the show.

The dinner on the Showboat Branson Belle is always good. It’s amazing that once they start service, around 700 people can get their salads in less than five minutes. You get a tasty salad and a dinner with juicy pot roast and baked chicken with mashed potatoes. The dessert is a sweet/tart frozen slice of pie. It is really, really good.

Showboat Branson Belle is owned and operated by Herschend Family Entertainment and is totally safe for all ages. The Herschend Family are devoted Christians and that is clearly evident in the operation of their theme parks (they own Silver Dollar City) and in the attitude of their employees.

The cruises are at noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. through most of August. Some Southern Gospel Cruises, featuring Gold City, McKameys, Soul’d Out Quartet, The Perrys, The Pfeifers, Michael English and the Dixie Melody Boys are scheduled for cruises in August and September.

The schedule for the Showboat Branson Belle continues through December 31 and includes a special Christmas season. For information, call 800-775-BOAT (2628) or go online at www.showboatbransonbelle.com.