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Showboat Branson Belle   
4800 Hwy 165
Branson, 65616
Branson Reviewed rated
  • Currently 1.5/5 Stars.
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" Unfortunately, there are a number of people who think of Branson as sort-of seedy strip of highway 76, jammed with all of those shows “voted” best this or that. Many visitors base their opinions of Branson on their first impression and that’s too bad, because that old saying is true: “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” 

If you want to come to Branson in the right way, to start your next visit to the Ozarks in high style, then BRANSON REVIEWED! recommends that you check-out the Showboat Branson Belle first. That’s right - when you arrive, don’t drive the strip looking for your hotel or timeshare resort - not yet. Before checking in, consider checking-out the Showboat Branson Belle. If you come and cruise, you will have a new and unique view of Branson impressed on you. 


The beautifully landscaped and well-maintained grounds provide an early indication of the Hershend family’s commitment to quality. The dock and boarding areas are not just clean, but immaculately so. The staff, ticket-takers and assorted pre-cruise greeters go out of their way to be friendly, but in a genuine way. Oh, look at that great view of Table Rock Lake! And before you know it, you’re on board, viewing an informative short film documenting the building of the Branson Belle, the creation of Table Rock Lake and the birth of Branson itself. 

It is impossible to review the show presented on the Branson Belle without being overwhelmed by the venue: a three-million pound vessel designed to house shows and fine dining. The setting is so impressive and the expectations so high that the on- board entertainment has to be great just to be good. And it is. If the show is at times a little uncomfortable with itself, it ultimately settles-down into a very entertaining experience. 

Although it seemed like way-too-much (although probably necessary) up-front talking, emcee Bob Nichols performs his difficult job like a real pro. He is his own pre-show warm-up act; co-pilot, cruise attendant and head-waiter, expertly answering every single question the audience could call- out. From cruising speed (12MPH) to naming every single fish in the lake, Nichols is informative and entertaining. “And remember that your wait staff is working hard for you, so please remember to tip,” he adds, but it is he who is doing the hard work. Bob Nichols is likeable, genuinely funny and the perfect host. 

Limited by a small stage, the show producers smartly make the most of things by not trying to be more than they are. With a live band and great sound and lights, the production snaps and sparkles from front to finale, or should I say, from stem to stern. Most of the musical numbers are presented as medleys, with the talented singers-dancers coming on and offstage one by one. Quick-changing into dozens of beautiful costumes, the cast does snippets from the best of Broadway and Hollywood. And by the time the cast cuts loose... “Footloose,’ the crowd does too, singing and clapping- along like they meant it. And the high-energy from the performers is almost exceeded by the now-high- voltage audience. 

The Showboat Branson Belle provides the perfect adventure for the kids. Family-friendly special guest star ventriloquist Todd Oliver uses real dogs rather than dummies, finding humor more in the fast-pace than the actual jokes. He is straight- man and funny-man, human and dog, and he is just great. And if you ever wondered what ever happened to all of the wonderful specialty acts now that Las Vegas has become “Cirque-ified,” well, look no further than the Branson Belle 

The next time you hear somebody complain that show business isn’t what it used to be, you could tell them: “Go jump in the lake.’ Or, better yet, just take them to the Showboat Branson Belle. And if you really want to impress them- drive directly there. 

The meal, prepared on board, consisting of roast beef and chicken cordon bleu, mashed potatoes, mixed-vegetables and salad, was well-served and received. More than a few passengers mentioned that the still-warm, fresh-baked bread was a nice touch.
" - Branson Reviewed

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