LivingTravelThe Bateaux London Thames Dinner Cruise

The Bateaux London Thames Dinner Cruise

Bateaux London offers many dining options on cruises along the River Thames, including lunch, Sunday lunch, jazz, afternoon tea and dinner. The most popular tend to be dinner cruises, so I tried this on the Symphony, London’s largest restaurant cruise.

Symphony was designed by French architect Gerard Ronzatti and has floor-to-ceiling glass sides so you can really enjoy the views while dining. There is also access to outside observation decks which are worth visiting, but the views inside are just as good, so there’s no need to go out and get cold on a London night. The wooden dance floor in the center is perfect for dancing after your meal, while those who relax and soak up the atmosphere can still enjoy sightseeing.

Sobre Bateaux London

Bateaux London’s former sister company was Catamaran Cruisers, operating Thames sightseeing tours since 1967. Bateaux London was added to the brand in 1992 to also host private dining and events.

Catamaran Cruisers’ tourism services ceased operations in 2007, while Bateaux London and its three restaurant vessels, Harmony, Symphony and Naticia, continue to operate cruise experiences on the River Thames.

Live entertainment

The resident house band plays classic tunes to entertain and set the mood. We smiled when one of the songs in the afternoon was the Pink Panther theme! The night I was at the Symphony there was a live pianist, a saxophonist and a singer. Dinner cruises are meant for special romantic occasions, so when the main meals were served, the singer took to the dance floor with the saxophonist. It feels like a wonderfully sophisticated night and a great show.

Dinner cruise

It’s a great location to find as the Bateaux London reception is on the embankment, opposite the Royal Festival Hall. You will board the moored reception boat first where your tickets are checked and there is a waiting area. You are issued a ticket with your table number, so when you board the Symphony, you will be welcomed and escorted to your assigned table. A waiting staff member introduces himself and brings your welcome drink to the table.

At Silver Sturgeon, things were a bit different as they have an area to mix in with your welcome drink, more like a drinks reception, and there is also a cloakroom. The Symphony doesn’t have a wardrobe and the tables and chairs were a bit close together, so once I had my coat over the back of the chair, and the couple at the next table arrived, we were a little squeezed. As I was there at a quiet time of year, there were a couple of empty tables and the staff were kind enough to take our coats and leave them on the unused seats.

The menu is on the table and you have to choose all three dishes before the meal. There is a good selection and this really is quality food so you can be sure that whatever you choose will be delicious. All dishes are prepared and cooked fresh on board and the menu varies according to the use of seasonal British produce. Dinner also included a wonderful palate-cleansing sorbet before the main meal and tea or coffee at the end.

Wine and water are included in the price for the dinner cruise, and other drinks can be ordered through the staff or from the bar.

The dinner cruise is relaxed and lasts two and three quarters of an hour. We traveled west to Chelsea before turning around and seeing the sights of central London again and continuing to Canary Wharf in the east before heading back to the Embankment.

For anyone concerned about being on the water, this is a very quiet boat and you have plenty of time to enjoy the views. London looks magnificent from the water, and it’s a memorable way to take in the sights while enjoying some divine dishes.

The lights were turned off later at lunch and the dance floor was available for loved ones to dance together while the resident house band performed classic love songs. The dinner cruise is perfect for a romantic special occasion and many anniversaries have been celebrated.


This was a much more sophisticated evening than I expected and the staff are fantastic – friendly, welcoming and very professional. You feel like you are dining in a very exclusive restaurant, and the dishes are visually stunning while also tasting exceptional. The dinner cruise is clearly the best for couples, but larger couples’ parties, perhaps for a family celebration, would enjoy it too, and there are tables for groups of all sizes.

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