The River Thames is the longest river in England and the second-longest river in the United Kingdom. For the majority of its length, it is covered by small and large bridges that carry transport and pedestrians across it. Some of the most famous ones are Westminster Bridge; London Bridge and Tower Bridge, and the best way to see some of these bridges is whilst on a cruise on the River Thames. This is because you can see these bridges from different angles and away from the hustle and bustle of people trying to cross the bridges. There are a number of companies that conduct cruises on the River Thames during the day and night including the company, City Cruises, which offers both options and also the opportunity of dining onboard a cruise ship.
Chill out with a relaxing night cruise
As a Londoner, I have sat on cruises both during the day and night and I would recommend enjoying a night cruise with dinner on the River Thames. This is because you can spend your day sightseeing on land and then relax during the evening on a cruise where you can see beautiful landmarks and sites such as the London Eye, Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, The Shard and the O2 whilst dining onboard a beautiful cruise ship.
Whether you’re a tourist or a Londoner, you are likely to experience the hustle and bustle of London during the day when you’re sightseeing or on your way to work. You deserve a break and an opportunity to relax and truly embrace London at night. The Showboat Dinner Cruise run by City Cruises is certainly one way to do that. Having experienced cruise ships across Europe, I would recommend City Cruises in London because of their excellent service, the cleanliness of their cruise ships, the quality of their food and most importantly, the intimate and informal yet special atmosphere that is created on their cruise ships.
Showboat Dinner Cruise
The Showboat Dinner Cruise lasts approximately three hours and includes a four-course meal with live entertainment. It departs from Westminster Pier at 7.45pm and returns to Westminster Pier at 11.00pm having sailed up and down the River Thames. Standard tickets for adults cost 80 GBP (approximately 119.28 USD) and if you want a window seat it will cost 89 GBP (approximately 132.70 USD). The Showboat Dinner Cruise is available daily. Please note that if you have specific dietary requirements, you must highlight this at the point of booking your tickets which you can do through the City Cruises website.
Be greeted by highly professional service staff
The Showboat Dinner Cruise will arrive at Westminster Pier with ample time to ensure that all passengers are able to board the charming medium-sized cruise ship in an orderly fashion. If you’re travelling during a festive period, you will find yourself dazzled by all the interior decorations which are likely to raise your spirits even more. Having enjoyed the Showboat Dinner Cruise during Christmas, I couldn’t help but notice the Christmas tree that was glowing with tinsel and lights as well as the Christmas crackers that were placed on each table.
Upon boarding the ship, you will first meet the host, and a row of highly professional waiters who are ready to greet you, check your ticket, offer you a glass of complimentary wine and escort you to your seats. I would recommend booking the higher-priced window seat because you will definitely be able to get a good view of all the attractions without feeling like you’re imposing yourself on another party. However, please note that the window seats are only available for parties of two.
No waiting for your first course
Once you arrive at your seat, you will find that your first course has already been prepared and is available for you to indulge in immediately, which adds to the excitement as you do not have to worry about being hungry through this experience!
The following options are available for the starter and must be pre-booked:
Different types of bread rolls with butter are also available and the waiters are attentive and frequently offer more throughout the course of the meal.
As you tuck into your first course, a live performance will begin with the host singing either festive tunes or West End classics. The ambience in the cruise is beautiful and cosy and the dim-lighting really adds a romantic touch for those who want to experience this cruise with a partner.
Appetising second and third courses
Shortly after your first course, the waiters will bring the second course which is a Tomato, Roast Pepper and Basil Soup which will be followed by the third course which is either one of the following:
You will be enjoying your second course as you sail under the monumental and beautiful Tower Bridge which was constructed in 1894 and is famous because of its unique architecture and design. Tower Bridge was designed by Sir Horace Jones and combines elements of a suspension bridge and a bascule bridge in its design. The bridge is raised around 850 times a year to allow boats and barges to pass through and has a famous history due to the number of incidents that have occurred on the bridge. For example, in 1952, the number 78 double-decker red bus was caught on the bridge when it rose and the bus driver had to hit the accelerator, so that his bus would jump between the two raising bascules.
You will be enjoying your third course as you sail past London’s financial district, Canary Wharf, where you can view a number of British and international financial institutions such as Barclays, HSBC and Citigroup.
If you find that you need a break from the live music between courses, I would definitely recommend taking a break on the open upper deck of the cruise. This is because it’s an amazing opportunity to take photos of all the sites lit up at night which look so much more majestic than during the day.
Hit the dance floor after a tantalising dessert
The final course, which is the dessert accompanied with tea or coffee, is presented as you sail past Greenwich and arrive at the Thames barrier. The dessert is a white, dark and milk chocolate truffle cake which is sweet and rich yet also pleasantly light at the same time. The lightness of the dessert is definitely appreciated if you want to hit the dance floor as the boat sails back to Westminster Pier. The return trip is smooth and allows you to fully see the London Eye, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben in all of their glory (and especially if you decide to sit on the open upper deck after your dessert).
A unique experience worth the ticket price
Get away from the crowds at night and enjoy London’s attractions such as the London Bridge, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, The Shard, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, Canary Wharf and the O2 from a comfortable seat where you can enjoy a delectable meal accompanied with wine. No other types of tour can show you so much of London at night in such style. It’s costly but worth it. You get a friendly and warm host; attentive and courteous waiting staff; ample quality good food and spectacular views of magical London at night. Get ready to have so much fun that you won’t want to get off the cruise when it docks at the end.
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