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NRHS 2014 Convention Showboat Branson Belle 6/11/2014

by Chris Guenzler

We arrived at the Showboat Branson Belle and was met by the lady with the tickets for us. I signed for them and she talked to my bus then passed them out to my passengers.

The Showboat Branson Belle 6/11/2014

The Showboat Branson Belle operates regular 2-hour lunch and dinner sailings on the waters of Table Rock Lake, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the late 1950s. The lake impounds the White River, which starts along the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad south of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The Showboat Branson Belle is a modern vessel, launched from a Table Rock Lake shipyard on August 13, 1994 (actually christened April 13, 1995). The ship sails only on Table Rock Lake, a large lake with almost 800 shore-miles. It is claimed that the Branson Belle is the largest ship on a landlocked lake in the United States. Reportedly, its original launching was a large tourist attraction. When launched, the ship slid for nine seconds at a speed of 14 miles per hour, sliding on two tons of bananas. The bananas were used as lubricant since they met the required environmental standards, they were biodegradable and would not pollute Table Rock Lake like grease.

The Showboat Branson Belle is 278 feet long and 78 feet wide and holds up to 700 passengers. It stands 112 feet, 3 inches to top of the stacks, and has a draft of 7.5 feet. The reported weight of the ship is 2.5 million pounds, or 1250 tons. To power the ship, the boat features 2 twin paddle wheels, each 16 feet wide and 24 feet in diameter. During each cruise, the Showboat Branson Belle travels at an average speed of 6 miles per hour, but has a peak speed of 11 miles per hour. The captain's wheel is a real classic, saved from the former C.C. Slider, which operated 1928-1952. The wheel, made of solid oak, is more than 10 feet in diameter.

The Showboat Branson Belle is one of four attractions that are associated with Silver Dollar City. The others are the White Water waterpark and the Silver Dollar City Wilderness Campground.

The Showboat Branson Belle Trip 6/11/2014

I walked down to the dock to get a picture of the Showboat Branson Belle.

Showboat Branson Belle. I knew I could get a better picture of this boat.

Two views of Table Rock Lake.

The gift shop building here. I walked around the buildings and down to the water to get a good picture of the boat.

Showboat Branson Belle. I walked back to the dock and now it was time to board the boat.

After I boarded the Showboat Branson Belle, here are some NRHS members boarding the boat.

Now some views from the upper deck of the Showboat Branson Belle.

Ride the Ducks.

Here is where the Ducks enter the water.

Two Ducks returning to shore.

A power boat went by the Showboat Branson Belle.

A Duck Photo Runby.

Another Duck Photo Runby. Now I walked to the lowest deck to the dinner theater.

The stage of the Showboat Branson Belle.

Aaron Radatz was a Las Vegas magician who is part of the show on the Showboat Branson Belle. Lunch was a beef and chicken meal. After I ate I went to the top deck to take pictures of the cruise. Now let us enjoy those pictures from the Showboat Branson Belle.

Views from the Showboat Branson Belle.

The puddles of the Showboat Branson Belle were not moving the boat today.

A tug boat was pushing the Showboat Branson Belle today. The pilot was making his final check ride today. This tug boat must always be 15 minutes away in case of engine failure of the Showboat Branson Belle. Now back to views from our cruise.

Views from the Showboat Branson Belle. We docked and I headed up to the bus. About forty people came up after I did but we had a departure time of 2:00 PM to get to Eureka Springs. I waited and now more came. I walked back to the Showboat Branson Belle went inside the theather and found the rest of them still watching the show. I then in the dark had to get them all out to get on the bus. Thank God for those NRHS tags that we wear around our necks at this convention. I found everyone and after I checked all the decks I got out to the buses and we left for Eureka Springs about twenty two minutes late. I was a great trip aboard the Showboat Branson Belle.

Click here for the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway Trip