On December 31st 2004 three of us took a midnight dinner cruise on the LOY NAVA in Bangkok.  Oh! and how we wish we hadn't.  

This page is to recommend those people who are thinking of booking a dinner cruise on the Loy Nava not to bother wasting your money.  There are many other much nicer boats with much nicer, more polite and infinitely more professional owners.

Firstly I'd like to stress that we're the kind of people who try to make the best of any situation, and we were out to have fun, not to complain or get our money back.  Being typical Brits, we're generally happier to keep our heads down than make a big noise about something, but our treatment aboard the Loy Nava has prompted us to write to those whom we booked the cruise through, and to dedicate this page with the hope of deterring as many people as possible from making the same mistake as us.  

It's also worth mentioning that the tragic tsunami disaster had occurred just days before, and many of the New Year festivities had been cancelled.  We'd phoned ahead to find out if the Loy Nava would still be sailing in light of recent events, and were told indeed it was - we were also informed that there was no change to the schedule, but to expect fewer fireworks.  In all honesty, we were surprised it was going ahead at all.  We naturally assumed it would be a more somber occasion than a normal New Year celebration.

Finally I would like to stress that those who were working aboard the Loy Nava were professional and cheerful, and did their best to make our evening enjoyable.  Our main complaint is with the owner, Derek, who quite simply is one of the rudest individuals I have ever met.

Now...here's an account of what happened, and please bear in mind we paid 60 each for this fiasco (an absolute fortune in Thailand):

- The cruise was scheduled to start at 10.30pm, and our free transport arrived at our hotel at 9pm.  We arrived at the quay at 9.10pm.  No one met us at the darkened quay, and although it wasn't particularly cold it was rather boring and uncomfortable fending off mosquitoes as we waited until 10.45 before we could board the Loy Nava.

- We were shown to our table at the back of the boat.  Although we'd paid as much as anyone else, we were sat just over the engine.  The table was not fixed down and was at a very precarious angle, tilting down towards two of us. 

- Within five minutes of getting on board we had our first conversation with the Loy Nava's Derek (we assume he's the owner).  He came over to apologise about the chairs, advising us to get up and walk around every so often so we wouldn't get back ache.  That is literally how we were greeted by him...before we'd even said anything!  The advice may have been quite sound, except there was no-where to go on the tiny boat.

- Within ten minutes we'd discovered a serious design-flaw to our seating arrangements.  The following happened twice:
        >  The vibration of the engine caused the chairs to slip backwards on the deck.  On grabbing at the table to steady ourselves, the already unstable table tipped up spilling water everywhere.
        >  We complained to Derek about this, and were told this had never happened before - in fact he all but said it was our fault.  The first of the personal insults.  He also offered to put us off at the next quay.  10 minutes in.  For spilling two glasses of water.  ?!!!   Right from the outset this guy was defensive  We should have got off at our earliest convenience.  But we didn't...
       > Incidentally, we fixed our table predicament by turning it round 90o

- Live music had been advertised for the evening, and indeed there did appear to be some.  However, the musicians were down at the other end of the boat, and although a speaker system was available, microphones weren't used.  With the roar of the engine, there was no way we could hear any of the music.  We also couldn't stand nearer, as the other tables were in the way, and waiters were flitting between them.

- Also billed was "dancing" - which was basically no more than 5 minutes of Thai dancing. 

- The food was ok - nothing special, but the smell of engine fumes, and the attitude we'd been getting from Derek completely put us off.

- The main courses were served at 11.50pm (talk about timing), and soon after the lights were put out ready for the New Year countdown...

...which never happened. 
We only knew the New Year had begun as we sailed past another boat and heard the DJ announce the end of their countdown.  We sat in the dark a bit longer and were given a glass of Champagne just after midnight.
- I tried to ask Derek about the lack of a countdown, and he made some very personal comments about my expectations considering how many people had died in the recent disaster.  The comments he made were very hurtful and extremely unnecessary.  Derek eventually admitted that they never have a countdown, and usually pull up alongside one of the bigger boats and listen to them.  Not exactly what we thought we were paying for.

- In the end we were so insulted by Derek's attitude and insinuations that we asked to be put ashore early.  He then avoided us completely.

In short, the owner/manager of the Loy Nava (Derek) is the rudest, self-centered, most unprofessional person I have had the misfortune of meeting.  He never apologised for any the short-comings, opting instead to blame everyone and everything else, including the tsunami - which is about as distasteful as you can get.  He never attempted any damage control of any sort, and chose instead to make personal insults to paying customers.  Not advisable if you want to keep turning a profit. 

The rest of our holiday in Thailand was fantastic - we loved every minute of it, it was a shame it had to be slightly marred by the Loy Nava trip. 

So, for the above reasons, I am dedicating this section of my corner of the web to advise people NOT TO BOOK  ON THE LOY NAVA DINNER CRUISE!!!

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