Stepping onto the S.S. Atlantica is a step back into the glamorous golden age of travel; the era of the bow ties and swing bands. Welcomed on board by the well-dressed and efficient crew, with jazz playing soothingly over the ship’s speakers; you are immediately transported onto an ocean liner in 1931, about to embark on a decadent cruise across the Atlantic.
Finding their place in the stern of the ship, ladies relieve themselves of their fur and guests approached the bar to wet their whistle before the S.S. Atlantica set sail down the Thames. A sociable buzz filled the dimly-lit cabin as couples and groups of friends mingled on the floor. Such was the vibe of the night that strangers chattered in the curved leather booths, like old friends – all united by their approaching adventure down the Thames.
Taking the stairs to the upstairs deck, even the cold could not deter the bravest of smokers and those couples wanting a private moment to enjoy the sights of London from the river. Four flaming column heaters stood on the main deck, and chattering groups gathered around them clutching Champagne. The sights of London were truly inspiring; nothing can beat the views of the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral at night, and there was something about being on the boat that made it truly magical.
All aboard the S.S. Atlantica for a sophisticated journey down the Thames!
The Clientele and Atmosphere
Low-lighting added to the mystery of the S.S. Atlantica; the two cabins were bursting with a young and sociable crowd who flitted between each. Women were adorned in cocktail dresses, as pearls and fur glowed in the evening light, many of the ladies glistened on the arm of their men who sported smart smoking jackets and bow ties.
As the night progressed, the ship passed below Tower Bridge and an announcement of an eminent start to the entertainment brought the party goers together in the bow of the boat. Excitedly, the crowd circled the band and a single burlesque dancer wowed the crowds with her sparkles and graceful moves. Once the jazz band started off their live performances everyone moved as one to the dance floor; men whirled their partners around to the affective tones of the singer, and swing music, which kept the floor full all night.
Gambling and drinking - the perfect past times for a stunning 1930s cruise!
An era-specific cocktail menu was offered with nods to big influences of the time in each cocktail name; from the moreish Raspberry Collins, which was a refreshing cocktail for dancers; to The Gatsby, which was a sharper tasting mix and decadently presented. All the drinks looked great and fellow party goers remarked about the great flavours and clever mixology in every glass.
Bartenders shake up delicious cocktail the Re-Bourne Royale behind the S.S. Atlantica bar.
An infectious buzz holds onto you on these sorts of nights and I found it a struggle to leave the dance floor. Even when my legs ached, the last bubbles of Champagne induced energy in me were deflated and the clock was close to striking the end of the night, the fantastic jazz kept you Charleston-ing. A must visit for anyone wanting to step back in time for the night and enjoy a decadent evening and fun London boat party.