Every now and then that annual thing comes around where all of your family and friends scramble about to find the perfect item to give you. Of course it’s your birthday and after a certain number of years and as you get older, their knowing what to buy you starts to dwindle. It becomes that classic situation of what do you buy the person that has everything!?
Now in these situations there’s a pretty safe and staple go to gift – actually there’s two – the first being a gift card (Amazon or a national book club one will typically do) or if your friends and family are feeling especially flush that month you may receive an experience day. That was exactly what I received this year with a Sunday lunch jazz cruise down the River Thames with Bateaux London Cruises from Red Letter Days.
Sunday lunch jazz cruise
Bateaux London Cruises offer quite a few different options for cruising down the River Thames including dinner, lunch, afternoon tea and Sunday jazz. Luckily for me I was given the Sunday jazz option which had I been asked would absolutely have been the one I would pick first. I love music and eating dinner with it being played live just really creates such a fantastic atmosphere.
As with all gift experiences, the ticket you receive in the box isn’t the ticket that you actually board with. To validate my Red Letter Days ticket I had to phone Bateaux London Cruises and confirm which time and date I was interested in booking for. An additional part of this process was that 48 hours before the cruise I had to call again to check that the cruise would be running. The first time I made my booking the boat that I was scheduled to depart on had developed a fault and so I had to re-book for a few weeks later. It wasn’t really an issue but definitely something to be aware of if booking the trip that there may well be last minute cancellations due to either the boat or weather.
Boarding at Embankment Pier
With the cruise confirmed to set sail I headed down to London from Milton Keynes and made my way to Embankment where Bateaux Cruises London are based. On arrival from Embankment station the mooring was really obvious and easy to find.
It was then simply a case of heading to the reception desk, checking in with my voucher and exchanging it for a ticket. Once checked in there was around a 15 minute wait time before everyone was allowed to board.
The order for the day was then scheduled as follows:
- Boarding: 11:30
- Departure: 12:00
- Return: 14:30
Once boarded and seated the cruise was then due to take us past the Houses of Parliament, the Coca-Cola London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London amongst other famous landmarks and pass under several of London’s bridges.
Bateaux London Cruises run 2 different boats for their excursions, the Symphony and the Harmony. For our Sunday jazz cruise we were on the Symphony which was really clean and well presented.
With glass windows on every side the Symphony offered everyone on board an excellent and uninterrupted view of London throughout the 2 and half hours on the water. The jazz trio were located towards the back of the boat and provided an excellent accompaniment to the the cruise playing both old and new jazz numbers.
The boat is fully air conditioned and has toilet facilities on board so you can be rest assured that you will be dining in complete comfort.
3 course dinner set menu
Once initially seated we were greeted by our waiter and were served our drinks. As our first booking had been cancelled due to issues with the boat, the Bateaux team had actually upgraded us from the standard “Classic” package to the “Premier” package, free of charge which was fantastic. The Premier package included half a bottle of wine, half a bottle of wine and a guaranteed window table, which for us was front and centre on the boat – best seat in the house!
Following the drinks being served the main event of the Sunday dinner jazz cruise was then served to us around 30 minutes after setting off from Embankment Pier, our 3 course meal. This was a smoked mackerel fillet starter followed by roast red cap chicken and finishing with sticky toffee pudding.
The food served to us tasted great, was hot and was served very quickly so there wasn’t any sitting around waiting and hungry. It really was a great experience eating, listening to the 3 piece band and watching London go by.
Bateaux London Cruises Sunday lunch jazz cruise review
Although there is always the hassle of making a booking for an experience day I absolutely love receiving them over getting some random crap that I’ll use once and then throw away. The Bateaux London Cruises Sunday lunch jazz cruise was the perfect gift and I would absolutely recommend this trip to you if you are short of ideas around what to buy someone for Christmas/their birthday.
The Bateaux team did an excellent job with my experience and certainly made me feel like a welcome and valued customer throughout with excellent booking information provided and superb waiting service on the day itself.
Don’t hesitate with this one (today’s price us £60), it’s a great choice that people both young and old can enjoy so make a booking today – take a look at the Sunday lunch jazz cruise on Red Letter Days here.