One of the greatest highlights and the cap to a perfect holiday experience in Bangkok is a dinner cruise on one of the luxury liners that ply the mighty Chao Phraya River every night. The music wafting from their decks and tables laid out with scrumptious food that is not only a feast for the eyes but also the palate. While spectators on the shore eye these ships with a tinge of envy at the diners on board who seem to be having a wonderful time. One can’t help but also think of the life of the rich and famous where such luxury cruises are a part of their life entertainment.
Bangkok is not short of luxury cruise ship dinners as one of the sightseeing in Bangkok attractions. Scenes along the Chao Phraya River with its historic monuments and city scape offer a beautiful scenic view in the evenings with their twinkling lights and flashing neon. With so many vendors offering these cruises for a reasonable price, tourists are spoilt for choice but how would they select one of these cruise dinners and have the best experience to make their trip a memorable one?
Thaitourismguide offers a few choices of dinner cruise in Bangkok options in their online booking page. Their choice of dinner cruise includes the Chaopraya Princess Cruise, LoyNava Dinner Cruise, Grand Pearl Amazing Dinner Cruise, RiverStar Princess Dinner Cruise and the Manohra Dinner Cruise. With so many to select from, tourists intending to book online will have a difficult time choosing between these many choices unless they have the option to return and try different cruise liners every trip they make to Bangkok!
A quick overview of their itinerary will cite almost the same contents. All the luxury dinner cruise ships depart from the River City Pier in Bangkok and each offers a two hour cruise and dining experience along the same route. The cruise starts around 7.00pm ending at around 9.00pm daily. If you are keen to select one of these dinner cruises in Bangkok on your next trip from the Thaitourismguide online site, do bear these few points in mind. As almost all the cruise ships offer the same length of time per cruise, identical start off points and almost similar buffet menu options, one deciding factor will stand out which is price options. So if you want something a little cheaper, there are a few good selections available or look out for offers which are sometimes offered by Thaitourismguide on their site.
Another option is the type of cruise experience that you would like to have. While most of these cruise dinners are on board modern luxury triple deck cruise liners, there are a few exceptions such as the Manohra Dinner Cruise or the LoyNava Dinner Cruise which is offered on converted rice barges and hold fewer passengers which makes for a more intimate dining experience. The menu offered is also a little more personalized and authentic be it the Thai cuisine or International selection. There is a romantic atmosphere when sailing in these historic old rice barges which have been comfortably decked out reminisce of the golden days of luxury cruise sailing experiences. On the other hand, cruise ships such as the Chaopraya Princess Cruise and the Grand Pearl Amazing Dinner Cruise are on board high end modern triple deck cruise ships. These cruise ships are shallow bottomed, offering a wide seating berth from the first deck up. Off course most passenger will opt for the top deck which is an open deck and offers a better view of the cruise experience but is on a first come serve basis. Some cruise services, such as the Grand Pearl Cruise has a more pompous boarding routine where passengers are given a warm welcome on the pier before boarding with a live entertainment performance.
The Chaopraya Princess Cruise, Grand Pearl Amazing Dinner Cruise and the RiverStar Princess Cruise are considered to be in the same category of cruise ships. All three provide similar sized cruise ships which have a capacity to seat around two hundred and fifty passengers. The tables set for dinner are comparatively high end hotel styled set for a western dinner. The Grand Pearl differs in their reception presentation from the boarding ceremony to their crew attendance which is formally in line with what you would experience for service on board the Queen Elizabeth II ships, and for those who like a little pomp and splendour, then the Grand Pearl Amazing Dinner Cruise is a good choice. Quality of the buffet dinner selections on board the Chaopraya Princess Cruise and the River Star Princess Cruise are very similar but a little better on board the Grand Pearl Amazing Dinner Cruise. All three serve a mix of Thai and International dinner buffet with a rotating menu every two or three months. Live entertainment performance on board is also a little better on the Grand Pearl cruise with their “Khon” classical performance. The three cruise companies provide the same sailing route along the Chao Praya River which starts from the River City Pier, past the iconic Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), the Royal Grand Palace and Wat Pra Kaew, pass the Rama VIII Bridge (where you get an amazing view of the bridge as you approach it), down to Asiatique the Riverfront and a glimpse of the Bangkok Eye (this is currently one of the trendiest shopping and entertainment districts in Bangkok) and a little further before making a U turn for the return trip. Along the way you would also see the Holy Rosary Church (the oldest Church in Bangkok), several colonial Government buildings and the scenic riverside lifestyle. In comparison price wise, the Chaopraya Princess Cruise and the RiverStar Princess Cruise offers more competitive and cheaper dining rates that make them more attractive for tourists who would like to enjoy a romantic dinner cruise without burning a hole in their pockets. So in the choice of which to choose between the three cruise options it would be service versus price as the deciding factor.
For those who have a deeper pocket and where price is not an option then you may want to try something a little different with the Manohra Dinner Cruise and the LoyNava Dinner Cruise. These two cruise ships are the classical converted Rice Barge wooden ships with a seating capacity of only forty to fifty five passengers. These cruise ships have a more private atmosphere and suitable for more intimate or private functions. The Loy Nava Dinner Cruise departs from River City Pier but the Manohra Dinner Cruise departs from Manohra Cruise pier or from the Thaksin Pier. Both cruise services offer direct pick up from the guest’s hotels or from Thaksin Pier. These two classes of cruise ships are considered original antique luxury teakwood rice barges, converted into plush seating arrangements with silk fabric seating and a grandiose interior setting. They are fitted with the most modern naval navigation equipment and safety features and both cruises offer comprehensive insurance policies for their guests on board. Both offer a first class dining experience whereby the Manohra offers a Thai style buffet selection and the LoyNava offers a set sit down dinner course of authentic Royal Thai cuisine (something which is a rarity in local Thai cuisine selections). These cruises are on an open deck giving the feel of an authentic Thai river cruise as taken by the Kings of ancient Siam when they sailed down the Chao Praya River.
The Manohra and the Tahsaneeya Nava cruise ships are reputed to have served high end guests such as dignitaries, celebrities and VIPs over their years of service, so you can expect similar service on board these two cruise vessels if you are looking for something extra special on your trip to Bangkok in terms of cruise dinners in Bangkok. Each cruise has a narrative history in English of the sights and iconic monuments as you sail past them which gives you an insight into Thai history of the Chao Praya River. The difference between the Manohra Dinner Cruise and the LoyNava Dinner Cruise is the type of dinner setting and menu available. The Manohra offers a buffet style setting and the LoyNava offers a formal sit down dinner complete with servings of different wines per dinner stage and personal table butler service. The Manohra offers one set standard package while the LoyNava offers a selection of three different packages according to the discerning taste of the guest. However, the LoyNava pays a little more attention to guest service and has a better guest presentation in terms of souvenirs and reception on board. One can expect a traditional Thai style welcome ceremony of flower garlands and water sprinkling with a cool towel for that refreshing feeling. The table settings are also more elegant with thoughtful touches for the lady guests. Guests on board will also enjoy a true traditional Thai classical performance with a live traditional band to provide entertainment while you cruise and dine. There is a full bar service on board both cruise ships with ample selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and cocktails but bear in mind that the drinks are chargeable as they are not included in the cruise and dinner price package. The LoyNava has a token souvenir of a booklet with reproduction paintings and images of the iconic sites that makes a good collector’s item of your trip on board. Where the Manohra serves a Thai buffet style dinner, the LoyNava is a little more personal with a set dinner menu of hors d’oeuvres, entrees, soups, main course and desserts with a good selection of wines for that romantic personal dining experience.
Therefore, depending on your preference of cruise and dining experience, guests do have a choice of a budget cruise dinner or a more romantic ambience. All the cruise services provide transfer to and from hotels within the city to the pier and advance bookings of the cruise dinners in Bangkok are strongly advised as these tours are very popular and mostly fully booked on short notices. Facilities for the disabled are available on request and those on wheelchairs will not have a problem boarding as there are ample hands on board to help with the wheelchair access. Your sightseeing in Thailand itinerary is not complete without an experience on one of these dinner cruise in Bangkok tours and a sail down the mighty River of Kings which offers a different perspective of sight and sound from the Chao Praya River in Thailand!