Supanniga Cruise passes the taste test with flying colours, but is it a dinner boat we might want to be spotted on, asks Max Crosbie-Jones
undown at bangkok’s River City pier is tourist central. Forty-metre-long dinner cruisers, each overdressed in retinasearing neon, slink up and open up their doors in anticipation of hundreds of famished guests. Waitresses who appear to have tottered out of The Jetsons— think retro-futuristic air hostesses—greet them with painted-on smiles. Crowds jostle and the dull thud of EDM beats contaminates the sticky evening air.
None of this nightly hustle-and-bustle is news of course—boorish cruise ships have dominated Bangkok’s dinner cruise scene for years now—but in recent weeks a more sophisticated alternative has coasted gracefully into eyeline. And while it departs from the same stretch as the tacky, pack-’em-in competition, Supanniga Cruise plies a slower, more exclusive—and dare-we-say romantic— course. Think impeccable home-style cooking, lounge beats you can hear the sound of your own voice over, and the occasional clink of Tattinger-branded champagne glasses.
“We looked for the gaps in what the typical cruises offered and have tried to fill them,” says owner Thanaruek Laoraowirodge as this handsome, muddy orange 40-seater sets off upriver for its evening tour of the higgledy-piggledy parade of architecture that is the city’s waterside milieu: old churches, monolithic bridges, dilapidated godowns, gabled temples and shimmering stupas.
Thanaruek has already made several big splashes in the Thai restaurant industry. His Isan restaurant Somtum Der is a popular
crowd pleasers (From top) The tom yum goong soup with jumbo prawn; a daintily-carved rendition of mango with sticky rice