• Sunset at Thames Barrier on the river Thames

 

An Enchanting Evening with City Cruises


Absolutely knackered from a packed conference week with late night parties, I was tempted to skip another social in favour of sleep. But, thanks to persistent friends, I discovered that an enchanting evening with City Cruises is not just “another social.” Effortlessly gliding past London’s iconic landmarks easily ranks as a top highlight from my two years in the city.
 
More than 100 conference attendees eagerly packed onto North Greenwich pier, mesmerized by drivers skilfully docking their vessels. As soon as our ship arrived, the group quickly boarded, grabbed a glass of bubbly from the welcoming staff and climbed up to the large open deck for fresh air. Although seating was plentiful, most of us ambled along to the sides for the best views, naturally dispersing into small groups.

Friends enjoying a glass of Champagne on the river Thames
 
Welcome drinks still in hand, we snapped photos of the domed, porcupine-like roof of the O2, whose arena has hosted music greats like The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Prince. Above head, the Emirates Air Line ferried cable cars over the river to the Emirates Royal Docks, while our boat approached the curious silver-topped structures composing the Thames Barrier at Woolwich Reach.
 
When we safely reached the other side, the captain turned around and navigated through the £500 million flood barrier once again as the sun slipped down into the water. A warm, rosy glow spread across the sky, creating a gorgeous backdrop for the glass buildings of the Canary Wharf business district. While drinking in the view, we chatted over a variety of canapés, sympathetic towards the financiers still stuck in their offices.
 
Although I only headed downstairs for a drink refill, the cosy atmosphere proved too inviting. Many people sat snacking at small tables, proving that the cruise experience can be as social or as intimate as you would like to be. The lower deck features panoramic windows, and I chose a seat right at the prow. This offered the perfect vantage point to admire Tower Bridge, festooned in light.

London skyline at sunset
We approached the beacon, sandwiched between the twilight sky and inky water, and gawked at the sheer verticality of the Shard. The grand finale of the tour also included unparalleled views of the illuminated Parliament building and the London Eye.

London Eye and Big Ben
 
Tourists and Londoners alike will enjoy drifting along the Thames and spotting the famous sights with City Cruises. For me, experiencing the wonders of London City was an antidote to the stressful logistics of everyday local life. The evening cruise left me completely smitten with London.
 
Guest blogger: 
Alison Roberts-Tse
Up&AtEmTravel