We were on the road as soon as the granddaughters got on the school bus Friday, and in Branson by noon. Heading into the tourist mecca, we saw a "tourist information" sign, and because I wanted to get one of the free magazines that abound in that area (they contain dollars-off coupons for various shows and attractions), we stopped in at the first one we saw.
Bad mistake; they were pushing time-shares: You listen to a sales pitch for a couple of hours and get $25 tickets for $5. Now, I'd do it, myself. We had a really cheap Branson vacation a couple of years ago by doing this. We got practically free tickets to two shows, and they handed us a nice, crisp $100 bill at the end of the pitch.
Cliff, however, would rather spend his own money than listen to hours of hard-sell salesmen making a pitch. If you tell the first guy you aren't interested, they send you to the boss, who offers you a secret "better deal". Yeah, right. I'm going to invest $100,000 in something that will never actually belong to me.
The time wasn't totally wasted, although when I asked for the coupon book, the girl said, "They don't do that any more; everybody got tired of all the coupons." (Needless to say, once I stopped in at the right place, I got my coupon book.) Anyway, she said she could sell us the Baldknobber tickets we were interested in. Not at a discount though. But it would get us on the sixth row. So we bought tickets for Saturday night.
The Showboat Branson Belle is right next to the state park where we set up our camper, so we opted to do the cruise at 4 PM Friday.
The food was great. The cruise itself got somewhat ruined, though. We'd no more that set off from the dock and hadn't evenfinished our salads when Cliff said, "It looks like we're making a sharp turn and going back."
Turns out a lady with one of the tour groups had gotten sick, and we had to dock, wait for the ambulance to pick her up, then wait for the boat physician to re-boardafter the lady was safely heading to the hospital. There's a half-hour or so of time between the meal and showtime when you can stroll the decks and enjoy the cruise around Table Rock Lake. Most of this time, in our case, was spent at the dock, rather than cruising. Oh, we made a brief little foray in a circle around a tiny island, but that lasted only a few minutes before we heard the announcement that the show was about to begin.
The show was enjoyable, although the songs weren't our kind of music. Todd Oliver and his talking dogs were pretty funny, but since Cliff's hearing isn't the best, even with a hearing aid, he missed a lot of the jokes.
I won't even try to describe their act, but there was a Russian couple that did a breathtaking show on the little stage.
I'm sorry that we were docked on most of our riverboat cruise, but that was simply a twist of fate that wouldn't likely happen next time. Would I recommend the Showboat to others? Yes, if you enjoy show tunes and great food, it's probably worth the money. It isn't something we'd do again, though. I'd take the same amount of money and go see the Dixie Stampede!