The Shangri-La Horizon Cruise – A Review By Punam Mohandas
One of the most pleasurable ways of spending an evening in Bangkok would surely be enjoying dinner on a leisurely sail down the sluggish Chao Phraya, with a balmy breeze and the twinkling lights on the bridges adding to your sense of contentment, on board the Shangri-La Horizon Cruise.
Accordingly, I board the Shangri-La Horizon Cruise one evening. The boat has open-air seating on the upper fore and aft decks, as well as indoor seating in air-conditioned cabins on levels one and two, where the dinner too is laid out. It is fairly humid as we set sail, however, the weather improves as the evening wears on, indeed, there are flashes of lightning and, elsewhere in the city there are downpours but fortunately, we are spared the rain.
As the diners settle in, the staff bustle around with the drinks menu; the cruise price includes a welcome drink (non-alcoholic) dinner, drinking water and tea/coffee, but alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic beverages are charged extra. The signature drink is of course the blue curacao Horizon cocktail that comes in a tall glass decorated by a pineapple slice.
The dinner is served buffet-style. At 7.30pm, the buffet is declared open and a long queue quickly forms at the counter. The dinner is a mix of traditional Thai and international cuisines, such as chilled tiger prawns and Norwegian salmon, Som Tam, yellow curry, stir-fried river prawns in tamarind sauce, Tom Yam Talay soup, sushi, sashimi, salmon in cream sauce, chicken roulade in mushroom sauce, Coq Au Vin, Lyonnaise potatoes, slow roasted leg of lamb, braised duck, ratatouille en Provencale and more. Dessert comprises of an array of Thai fruits and some incredible chocolate innovations such as a delicate chocolate and mango cake, chocolate mousse atop brownies, panna cotta with caramelised nuts and so on.
As we enjoy dinner and conversation, our host – a member of the Shangri-La F&B team – keeps us regaled by pointing out the sights such as the Wat Arun, Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, the new Yod Piman riverside market and more, culminating with the Rama VIII bridge, from whence the boat does a turn-around. This is usually about when dinner finishes and guests are now savouring a cup of coffee to the tune of some piped western numbers, although, hospitably, the buffet counter is left open till all guests disembark.
The F&B service on the Shangri-La Horizon Cruise is brisk, helpful and friendly. If mine host had his way, the guests would be too sated and well fed to even get off the boat! Replete after all the good food and even better desserts, conversation dwindles to a minimum as we chug along gently in the cool night breeze, back to our destination.
The Shangri-La’s Horizon Cruise operates daily and can accommodate 120-pax. The dinner cruise departs promptly at 7.30pm from the hotel’s pier and returns a couple of hours later, at 9.30pm.
The Horizon dinner cruise is offered at THB 2,300 nett per person. Beverage packages are available at 588 baht, 888 baht and 1,288 baht net per person.
Please note: Children aged two years and below are not allowed.
Advance reservation is recommended. Please call 02 2369952/02 236 7777 for reservations.
The hotel has another boat that can accommodate 150-pax which is available for private charters, with an option of day or night cruising, with breakfast, lunch or dinner served aboard. Private charter prices start from THB 120,000 minimum.