A brand-new Christmas cruise aboard the Showboat Branson Belle debuted last weekend. We talked with some of the first families aboard this new Christmas tradition to get their first-hand experience!
Christina Gutierrez stood on the deck of the Showboat Branson Belle in her Christmas Pjs trying to snap a selfie with her kids Malachi, 10, and Junalee, 8, but the two siblings had something else on their minds.
“Come on, we’re going to miss the show — it’s gonna start!” exclaimed Malachi as the sounds of Christmas music echoed around the boat.
“Hold on buddy,” said Christina, trying to get that perfect shot overlooking Table Rock Lake.
The Gutierrez family, all clad in matching red pjs that said ‘Mama Bear,’ Papa Bear’ and ‘Little Bears’ on the front, made the trip from Kansas City, Missouri, to take the first-ever Santa’s Pancakes & Pjs Cruise on the Showboat Branson Belle.
“We came down for the weekend just for this,” said Gutierrez. “It’s a lot of fun and the kids are loving it! We've never done anything like this for Christmas before, and I work a lot during this time of year, so this is the perfect mini-vacation for us.”
As Malachi drags his family back inside, it’s clear he’s having a good time getting in the Christmas spirit. “This is awesome,” he said. “We get pancakes and chocolate chips and plus, I’m on the nice list!”
He’s not the only one on the nice list. In fact, kids of all ages are on the ‘nice list’ for this one-of-a-kind Christmas cruise.
Families boarded the cruise an hour before departure where they were able to take part in a number of kid’s activities that included face painting, a visit to the Captain in the Wheelhouse, mailing letters to Santa and even tracking down the Holiday Sugar Plum Fairies for sweet treats.
Then, as guests sat down for a breakfast of pancakes, sausage, bacon, and fresh fruit, the stage of the Belle came alive with Story Time, a Sing-A-Long and a opportunity for kids to become part of the show.
After the warm-up, the main show delights with kid-friendly comedy, dancing, Christmas songs and an aerial act that had the audience gasping. The big guy himself makes an appearance at the end and then heads out to the deck for picture time with the kids after the cruise.
Larry and Patty McGregor of Joplin, Missouri, walk off the boat with four happy granddaughters all dressed in matching red flannel pjs — grandma and grandpa too!
“The little ones just loved it!” said Patty. “It just turned out to be something so fun that we could do with all of the grandkids and we’ve already talked about making this a family tradition," and said, "we’d do it again next year.”