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18 Avalon Waterways Asia River Cruise Reviews

This was a wonderful trip. Rather than repeating everything I'll just say I agree with everything the main cruise critic review said. Terrific food. Comfortable cabin. Really interesting trips off the boat with very knowledgeable ... Read More
This was a wonderful trip. Rather than repeating everything I'll just say I agree with everything the main cruise critic review said. Terrific food. Comfortable cabin. Really interesting trips off the boat with very knowledgeable guides. The only reason I didn't give it the extra star is because of how hard it was to get any information from the cruise line. When you call their number you talk to someone who sounds like they are just reading the same information from the website that you are. We booked the cruise only. I asked where and when we would meet the boat. They told us to be at a hotel at 9:30am. We got there at 9:30 and sat around in the lobby for 2 hours waiting to leave. I called to see if they could arrange a flight to our next stop in Siem Reap. They said sure and sent me information about a package with hotel and tour. I asked again about just the flight and they said "No we don't arrange flights" Fine we'll get to Siem Reap on our own. Can you tell us where and when we dock in Phnom Penh? "No clue" They made a point about Visas. They said that although you could easily get a Cambodian visa when you got to Cambodia the one place you couldn't get an instant visa was at the river crossing from Vietnam to Cambodia. So we spent $250 on a visa agency since we had no Cambodian embassy here. Sure enough, every other person on the boat gave the cruise director $40 and got one. Once again, My only problems were communication with Avalon. Once we were aboard we couldn't have been happier. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Can't speak highly enough of the whole experience aboard the Avalon Myanmar cruising the Irrawaddy river, not forgetting the 2 days in the capital Yangon pre -cruise. Myanmar is a fascinating country as yet almost untouched by ... Read More
Can't speak highly enough of the whole experience aboard the Avalon Myanmar cruising the Irrawaddy river, not forgetting the 2 days in the capital Yangon pre -cruise. Myanmar is a fascinating country as yet almost untouched by tourism, and seeing it from the river stopping every day at villages and towns is a great way to get close to Burmese life. The excursions were well planned and varied, but you do need to be mobile and able to walk distances as well as negotiating river banks which are mostly without steps. The cruise director, the local guide, who stayed with the cruise throughout, and the ship's crew were all excellent and the Burmese people in the countryside are just delightful. The accommodation and food exceeded our expectations, and the small passenger capacity ensures a family like feeling within a few days. We were all good friends by the end of the journey. Thoroughly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We had decided it was time to take a River Cruise ,but wanted somewhere less crowded and more exotic than Europe So we chose Myanmar and The Avalon Myanmar River Cruise looked the most interesting The Itinerary also looked ... Read More
We had decided it was time to take a River Cruise ,but wanted somewhere less crowded and more exotic than Europe So we chose Myanmar and The Avalon Myanmar River Cruise looked the most interesting The Itinerary also looked intriguing ,traveling further north than any other riverboat into remote areas.We decided to take the Southbound route starting in the north and gradually returning to "civilization" . Our Journey started with two nights in Yangon at The Sule Shangri La Hotel, an enormous luxury property beautifully decorated with lovely rooms and great views . A tip if you need an extra night, book direct with the Hotel it is easy and more economical than using Avalon. We met up with our Cruise Director Myo and our local guide Andrew at our first day in Yangon for a briefing, both are Burmese, also their English was very good.This was a huge plus for us as you get so much more from someone who is native to the country. After a day in Yangon, seeing the main sights we were ready to get out of the big city and board our riverboat. We flew from Yangon to Bhamo on a charter flight and on arrival it felt we were somewhere really remote,they closed the airport gate when we left on our Tuk Tuks through Bhamo for, our embarkation . This ship is gorgeous, only two years old decorated throughout in Burmese Teak with lovely indoor and outdoor lounges . a perfect size , the staff are the best, all Burmese, most speaking at least a little English wonderful smiley and helpful, forever cleaning and polishing with cries of Mingalabar at every turn (the Burmese greeting ). The ship had a nice gym ,small but adequate ,a spa , a selection of books to borrow and a very nice bar open for early risers coffee or tea and drinks throughout the day. All the food was delicious , a great selection for all tastes with a nice mixture of Burmese Dishes and Western staples, wonderfully prepared, Breakfast and Lunch selections were from the buffet with hot and cold options . The Dinner Menu had a large selection of choices served at your table. The dining room was set up in tables of 4 or 6 with open seating. Our cruise comprised of 28 travelers, with an age range from 40 to mid 70,s mostly well traveled North Americans , Australians, Austrians and British. We sailed mostly in the afternoons and had tours and excursions in the mornings.The crew stood along the river bank assisting everyone up the slopes, mostly we moored by tying up to trees and no formal jetty. On our return to the ship we were given a refreshing fruit drink while we took our shoes off and wore slippers provided .The crew then cleaned our shoes every day. When we sailed Myo or Andrew , alerted us to sights to watch out for including the famed Irrawady Dolphins, a rare sighting. For Entertainment after Dinner there were several Movies shown also a puppet show and Burmese Dancing. Plus some interesting lectures and demonstrations during the day. We would recommend Avalon Myanmar to anyone with a sense of Adventure ,without giving up the niceties in life . Hot water, comfy beds great food and wine etc! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was an educational, informative and in many ways an emotional cruise from Siem Reap to Saigon. The other reviews do a wonderful job of describing the ship,the meals and the tours. I would like to concentrate on the people who did such ... Read More
This was an educational, informative and in many ways an emotional cruise from Siem Reap to Saigon. The other reviews do a wonderful job of describing the ship,the meals and the tours. I would like to concentrate on the people who did such a superb job putting this cruise together as well as looking after all the guests. I will start with Phiem our cruise director . He was always on looking after us and had planned and developed a great program. He was very outgoing in a natural way. I really appreciated the fact that he made an effort on every tour to keep us hydrated as these countries are very hot. I appreciated that we didn't just see the great temples at Angkor but that we got to understand the history, culture and day to day life of people living along the Mekong. If you are looking for a cruise of beautiful sights this is not a cruise for you although there are beautiful things to see. It was the intimate look at the lives of the people of the region and their history that really appealed to us. Varack our Cambodian guide for the first part of the trip was very personable as well as knowledgeable as he shared stories of his life and experiences which brought the whole trip alive. He was also very easy and fun to be with. Nam our guide in Vietnam was also very informative and knew his stuff, I am just mentioning two of the staff who we really enjoyed although all the staff were excellent, Dini and Sophia looked after us in the dining room and were always smiling and friendly and fun to be around. . I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone with a sense of adventure who wants to learn about this area of the world. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We have been on quite a few cruises. This was unique. 29 passengers 24 of them Canadian. We soon knew everyones name and home town. They were a friendly group. Its not often you can say you have chatted with everyone on the ship. The ship ... Read More
We have been on quite a few cruises. This was unique. 29 passengers 24 of them Canadian. We soon knew everyones name and home town. They were a friendly group. Its not often you can say you have chatted with everyone on the ship. The ship was comfortable in a quiet non flashy way. The crew were very friendly and helpful. Phiem, the cruise director was the boss and an exceptional man. Quietly warm, sincere and friendly he was willing to help with any question or problem. The hotels in Siem Reap and Saigon were very nice - better than I would book for myself. The itinerary was interesting and about the right amount of activity. It was not particularly vigorous but required some agility getting in and out of sampans, oxcarts tuk tuks and tunnels. The guides were completely familiar with the history of the sites we visited. Angkor Wat was incredible. Definitely worthy of a spot high on your bucket list. If you are tired of Miami to Miami this will knock your socks off. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We selected this tour based on the itinerary. We loved the fact the boat was really small with 18 cabins. Our tour was fully booked...a very good mix of Americans, Canadians, Aussies and Kiwi's. The tour started out in Siem Reap ... Read More
We selected this tour based on the itinerary. We loved the fact the boat was really small with 18 cabins. Our tour was fully booked...a very good mix of Americans, Canadians, Aussies and Kiwi's. The tour started out in Siem Reap and we stayed in a beautiful hotel, Park Hyatt. We spent 3 nights in Siem Reap....the 1st day was an open day and we toured the city and spent time at the pool...the next morning the tours began with a trip to Angkor Wat, Banteay Srei, and other temples (Fantastic tours). At night we had a private dinner and a Apsara dance show. We spend the next 2 days on tours and the last morning took an early am (5AM) tuk tuk to Angkor Wat for sunrise. Now off to the boat....the boat is fantastic and perfect in all ways. The staff on the boat is incredible...the food top notch. I won't go into details on all the tours but will say they are so well planned and executed. Our tour director, Phiem, was absolutely the BEST...I can't say enough great things about him and his abilities. Our tour guide in Cambodia, Sean, was also just the best. We loved being on the Mekong and all we experienced. At the end we spent 2 nights in Ho Chi Minh City...once again Avalon did a great job. One thing you need to know...March in SE Asia is HOT and HUMID. Do not hesitate to book this trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Christmas-New Years 2016-2017 I cannot say enough great things about this trip. Every time I thought it couldn’t get any better, it did. Fun every day. The Avalon Siem Reap riverboat was small, only 31 passengers. After one night ... Read More
Christmas-New Years 2016-2017 I cannot say enough great things about this trip. Every time I thought it couldn’t get any better, it did. Fun every day. The Avalon Siem Reap riverboat was small, only 31 passengers. After one night on the boat the staff remembered everyone’s names. How did they do that? One of the many highlights of the trip was cruise director Phiem. He took care of us every moment with water, Purell, snacks, cold wipes, toilet paper, etc. etc. During the tours we carried a small device with an earpiece so everyone could hear the guide. Tour director Virak, in Cambodia was very personable and fun. He called the bathroom stops “happy houses.” Another highlight was taking local transportation, such as ox carts, tuk tuks, a cyclo, sampans. One thing I liked about this trip was this: you wake up really early (didn’t like that part) and take a morning excursion, then back to the boat for lunch and a short rest. Then back out for an afternoon excursion. So you didn’t feel exhausted at the end of the day because you had a little break in between. Beautiful show on New Year’s Eve put on by children from local orphanage. Another highlight was blessing and chanting by Buddhist monks in Wat Hanchey, Cambodia. This being such a small boat, on the last night, you don’t have to put your luggage out the night before. Also, there is something to be said about not getting dressed up for dinner and no makeup or contact lenses. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
From the very start of our Land/River boat cruise our selection of Avalon proved to be the right choice - The hotel choice in Bangkok (InterContinental) and all other land component hotels were excellent 5*. Our least favourite was the ... Read More
From the very start of our Land/River boat cruise our selection of Avalon proved to be the right choice - The hotel choice in Bangkok (InterContinental) and all other land component hotels were excellent 5*. Our least favourite was the Novotel in Ha Long bay, perhaps due to the quality of the others in Bangkok, Siem Reap Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. To be fair though, there are not many choices in Ha Long Bay and the Novotel is possibly one of the best hotels there., but we would give it a 4.5 rather than 5. From the start, our tour Director, Phiem Ho Huu, was absolutely superb and a delightful personality. I believe most regarded him as a friend by the time the cruise ended in Saigon and we bid him farewell. pity he did not accompany us on the land portion to Hanoi. The small Avalon Siem Reap, is well appointed and the layout is good, and the cabins are extremely large, with wall to wall windows, which we were able to open and use the fan rather than the air-conditioning. It would have been nice to have a bath, with overhead shower rather than just a shower. Nevertheless the shower pressure and hot water availability were excellent. The Cambodian and two Vietnamese guides were very good, although I did find that I was given some misinformation when visiting the notorious S21 prison in Pnohm Pehn. Nevertheless all the guides were very personable. We have done a few River cruises previously and chose Avalon as it is one of two boats that usually travel all the way from Siem Reap to Saigon, without having to endure long bus transfers. Unfortunately the water in Ton Le Sap lake was too low and we therefore boarded the Siem Reap in Pnohm Pehn rather than Siem Reap. The transfer was by air, nevertheless, we did go up the Ton Le Sap river so that we did not miss any of the scheduled itinerary stops. We perhaps found the size a little small, as there are times when one prefers to eat as a couple, rather than a foursome and this is not possible. Tables are for four or more. The meals were good with a good selection, however we are gourmands and would not rate the food as excellent. The staff, especially the dining room and bar staff were excellent and extremely affable. The facilities are very clean and the kitchen absolutely spotless. The wine glasses were constantly refilled at dinner and the quality of wines generally good. Other local free spirits from the bars were quite acceptable and there was a lot of imbibing, especially on New Years eve. The makeup of the passengers was mostly American, with 6 from Oz, 2 from Canada, and 2 from Germany. There were 31 passengers on board (capacity is 36). Mostly in 50's and 60's and well travelled. No children, which for us was a definite positive. The local tours to villages and towns was interesting and informative although at times we felt that they were staged, which is understandable given that there are many riverboats that visit the villages on a weekly basis. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, except for the four hour bus trip (each way) from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay. We did discover that there is a float plane service. As there were only 6 of us on this land sector, this would have made the trip worthwhile, especially given that Avalon does not skimp and all other services, and hotels are first rate. If we have one negative, it is that on the final day, when I reached for our bags under the bed, we discovered several dust balls. The cabin make up service is very superficial. All in all this Avalon tour of the Mekong was a delightful way to experience Cambodia and Vietnam and well worth the cost. No regrets at all. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Exceptional cruise. Attention to detail from beginning to end. Cultural excursions well thought out and timed so you don't feel exhausted at the end. Food was great; maybe a bit too good ;). Staff was attentive and rooms perfect. ... Read More
Exceptional cruise. Attention to detail from beginning to end. Cultural excursions well thought out and timed so you don't feel exhausted at the end. Food was great; maybe a bit too good ;). Staff was attentive and rooms perfect. Because of the limited number of guest on board everyone had time to dine with each other and get to know one another during our time on board. The ship is comfortable and just the right size for this kind of trip. I would call the style understated elegance. For us, Cambodia was the highlight as the people are so friendly and approachable. Ankor Wat was awesome and our guide throughout the trip was knowledgeable and very good at imparting information. We also enjoyed the village tours in both Cambodia and Vietnam. Visiting the 'Killing Fields" was difficult but necessary to understand the country. Vietnam is much more populous with Saigon more like New York on steroids. For me, walking across a street with hundreds of scooters, cars and buses barreling towards you as you hold up your hand and hope you don't get hit while crossing was exciting. I should also mention that scooters drive on the sidewalks so be alert. The ballet in Saigon should not be missed. Very professional, moving and poignant. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this ship due to its small size and floor to ceiling windows in the 245 square foot cabins. Really enjoyed having just 31 passengers and a ship small enough to dock at rural villages to experience life in rural Viet Nam and ... Read More
We chose this ship due to its small size and floor to ceiling windows in the 245 square foot cabins. Really enjoyed having just 31 passengers and a ship small enough to dock at rural villages to experience life in rural Viet Nam and Cambodia. The cabin had plenty of closet space, large bathroom, desk and mini bar with included drinks. King size bed was too hard for me but husband liked it my only real complaint was pillow menu that featured soft and hard pillows, really they were small very hard large semi hard would love to see addition of feather pillow. The covered outdoor deck was favorite gathering spot while cruising on the river. There was lounge that had full service bar with most drinks included. Wine was $5.00 a glass but included at dinner. Not much for evening entertainment other that couple of movies but we were up early and active all day so most of us for ready to retire early. For the cruise most of the stops were small villages to see things like silk weaving, silver and copper works visiting a school and seeing everyday life of villages. Food was good with large buffet breakfast and lunches and choice of entree plated dinners. Staff was exceptional. The other guests were adventurous folks mostly 50's-60's interested in the culture and history of the countries. We enjoyed the guests almost as much as the cruise. We booked the land package that included Ho Chi Min City, Angkor Wat and Siem Reap and are glad we did as well as Bangkok extension. Angkor Wat was highlight of trip. Hotels were first class with excellent rooms, beds and breakfasts. Service was good at the hotels. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
food was fantastic, almost felt like being fattened up for Christmas,so too bad if diet conscience, The river itself didn't do much for me, but it still was interesting & there was various opportunities to get off & look ... Read More
food was fantastic, almost felt like being fattened up for Christmas,so too bad if diet conscience, The river itself didn't do much for me, but it still was interesting & there was various opportunities to get off & look around. Phenom Penh had plenty to do. Royal Palace, National & Genocide Museums, The guides gave plenty of information regarding the history of Vietnam & Cambodia, the killing fields, Silk making loom set up in Cambodia was very interesting as was the village silversmith all tour guides had very clear English so language was never a problem. It can be any type of cruise you want, relaxing, cultural, historical be continually pampered or just read a book. The rooms were very well appointed, the staff were genuinely pleasant & so helpful a real pleasure to meet. I don't think it matters which floor one takes, but a stair case is the only way to get up & down. River crossing entry into Cambodia Do not do visa for Cambodia on line as it will not be accepted. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
You begin your trip with an overnight stay at the Shangra-la Hotel Yangon. A very well kept hotel with a restaurant, bar, bakery and more. The hotel employees are very helpful at all times. Centrally located downtown and convenient for the ... Read More
You begin your trip with an overnight stay at the Shangra-la Hotel Yangon. A very well kept hotel with a restaurant, bar, bakery and more. The hotel employees are very helpful at all times. Centrally located downtown and convenient for the tours provided. To start your South bound cruise you fly to Bhamo and sail south (cruises can go either North or South bound) on the Irrawaddy River stopping at 10-12 villages along the way to Bagan where your river trip ends. As you explore each site along the way you take off your shoes and socks to view the Pagodas, walking trips to a farmers home, shops and more. Since the River Ship docks along the banks of the river and you take your shoes off when re-entering the boat and are given slip-ons to wear or your shoes that you left behind on the ship. The crew is excellent and most helpful such as Aye in the dining room, where Western and Asian food is served and Sai in the lounge/bar, where the addictive sesame seed snacks are provided. All the crew is very helpful and do not forget to use the Spa. With 18 cabins you will only have a maximum of 36 passengers Mark is an excellent and informative cruise director and Myo is his most capable assistant and is from Myanmar. Excellent movies are shown about the history of Myanmar that will enhance your trip. An adventuresome trip not to miss while the country is open to tourism. Our Excellent ratings are given as the value exceeded are expectations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose this cruise because we hoped to be able to cross the lake to Siem Reap, and didn't want to do the bus trip that other cruises do. Everything about our holiday was amazing. From the moment we were collected at the airport in ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we hoped to be able to cross the lake to Siem Reap, and didn't want to do the bus trip that other cruises do. Everything about our holiday was amazing. From the moment we were collected at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City, to when we were dropped off at Siem Reap airport, we were not only looked after, we were pampered. The days in Ho Chi Minh were really valuable to get to know the other passengers, and get into the swing of things, so that when we boarded the boat, we were already very relaxed. The pace of the trip is superb. Enough to do to avoid boredom, but lots of breaks so that the days aren't exhausting. The excursions were all very interesting and well organised. The Vietnamese guide and the Cambodian guide really knew their stuff and added so much to the experiences. The boat was amazing - cabins a great size, clean, well maintained, comfortable, the food was truly amazing - so much variety, but possibly the best part was the crew. They seemed to genuinely want us all to have a great time. All the passengers were sad to get off the boat. The best parts of the trip? Hard to say. Perhaps the temples in Siem Reap, perhaps the variety of excursions, perhaps having everything so well organised and easy that it was possible to just forget about worrying about anything. It has been a shock to the system to have to organise myself since I've been home! This isn't a cheap holiday, but it was worth every cent. I hear good things about the Avalon Danube cruise, so we are going to have to start saving for that now.... Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We chose this cruise because we enjoy small ship cruising where you get to meet and get to know the people on board. Also, the crew gets to know you. We spent a few days in Vietnam before the cruise and a few days in Siem reap Cambodia at ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we enjoy small ship cruising where you get to meet and get to know the people on board. Also, the crew gets to know you. We spent a few days in Vietnam before the cruise and a few days in Siem reap Cambodia at the end of the cruise included with Avalon. One of the great things about the small river boat cruise is all the excursions are included and very unique. Often times the ship would just pull up to the bank of the river and setup a small walkway to venture out on. We visited many small villages, schools and other sites (silver making village, weaving silk, brick making operation, the killing fields, war tunnels, markets, monisteraries, etc.). We rode tuk-Tuks, visited Angkor watt, rode a ox cart, etc. everyone in every town and village were super nice. The cruise director Ha, was exceptional as were the local guides. The food on board was amazing, you were able to try all the local favorites. All the local beer and spirits were included in the trip. One of the greatest trips we've ever been on. This is not what you think of when you think of cruises, this is more like a personal riverboat tour. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was my first cruise ever. I had no idea what to expect from a ship that would cruise on the river. The Avalon Siem Reap was an excellent surprise. The boat is quite new and is tastefully done with lots of dark wood and bright open ... Read More
This was my first cruise ever. I had no idea what to expect from a ship that would cruise on the river. The Avalon Siem Reap was an excellent surprise. The boat is quite new and is tastefully done with lots of dark wood and bright open spaces. The rooms were surprisingly big with lovely bathrooms and comfortable beds. Every room had an exterior wall of windows with a sliding glass door. But the real treasure here was the amazing crew. They were gregarious, funny, efficient and attentive. They took time to get to know each of us and shared information about their lives and their countries. It added so much to the trip. The food was amazing and plentiful with a wide variety of Asian and western items available. But really, you have to eat the Asian food, it was so delicious. The pace of the activities was good. At first I thought their might be more free time that was necessary but due to the extreme heat I understood that they did not want to overtax us. The extra time to nap and relax was welcome. The tour director and tour guides were professional and extremely competent. I am amazed at everything the tour director organized and managed. The tour guides did an amazing job of getting us where we needed to go when we needed to be there. Their English was excellent and their attitudes welcoming. All in all this was so much more than I expected it to be. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Great trip. Avalon was first class. Staff were wonderful, helpful and friendly. Stops were so interesting and the guide was very informative. Moy was a great help. Mark was a very good Cruise director . The ship overall is new and ... Read More
Great trip. Avalon was first class. Staff were wonderful, helpful and friendly. Stops were so interesting and the guide was very informative. Moy was a great help. Mark was a very good Cruise director . The ship overall is new and beautifully appointed. Rooms are very comfortable and give such a great view of the scenery. There was a surprise at most stops. Rickshaw rides, gondola rides at sunset. Ox cart rides and sand bar entertainment complete with fireworks. There was local entertainment nightly or movies with Myanmar history. Couldn't have asked for more. Food was delicious varied. Especially enjoyed the iced ginger tea. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We have just completed a downstream journey on the Avalon Myanmar from Bhamo to Bagan. This is a beautiful new ship with a wonderful crew and it, for the first half, covers a part of the river largely not travelled by other companies. ... Read More
We have just completed a downstream journey on the Avalon Myanmar from Bhamo to Bagan. This is a beautiful new ship with a wonderful crew and it, for the first half, covers a part of the river largely not travelled by other companies. On our cruise there were 24 passengers and a film/video team of 3 ( max of 36) from Canada, Australia, the US and Switzerland. People mixed very well with lively conversation at dinner but by some unspoken agreement, almost complete quiet on the top outside lounge during the day. Ages 55+ (with 2 stellar 90 year olds who were amazing!) The excursions were all included. Many were walking tours through riverside villages while others involved buses, horse-drawn carts, sampans, truck or motor bike taxis. Everything was faultlessly organised. Our excursion guide, Dorothy, came from Bhamo, studied in Mandalay and Yangon, so knew the areas very well and chatted easily to the local people as they shared their lives with us. There was no option to do a dawn balloon flight over Bagan but 2 people on our cruise had booked it independently. Towards the end most of us felt we had seen enough Buddhas and, at Bagan, would have liked a bit more time just to explore the (3000) deserted stupas. Entertainment was suitably low key. A couple of evening movies about Myanmar, a puppet show, traditional dance performance, cooking, photography, Burmese language and traditional medicine. There were a couple of wonderful unexpected surprises but it would be a shame to let on about these! The food was varied and good. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style with cooking stations for freshly made offerings and always a mix of western, Asian and Burmese food. Dinner was a sit down meal, four courses with the same mix of cuisines. There was also coffee and croissants at 6am for the sunrise set and cocktail hour at 6 pm, with the cocktails (plus beer and local spirits) included. A number of us would have preferred a glass of wine and this was available but had to be paid for. The crew were sensational, genuinely friendly and so focused on their guests, even those with little direct contact who were there to help us safely go up and down sometimes steep riverbanks. Mark, the tour manager and Joe, the purser lead a great team. Pre and post cruise was in Yangon at the Sule Shangri-la, which was also excellent. Yangon traffic is something else! Tip: take one pair of comfortable, preferably washable walking shoes and use these for all shore excursions. These are left permanently in a basket on the lower deck and washed for you when you return to the ship after shore excursions. Slippers are provided for wearing around the ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was our first cruise with Avalon. We decided on the FASCINATING VIETNAM, CAMBODIA & THE MEKONG RIVER WITH BANGKOK, HANOI & HA LONG BAY – SOUTHBOUND. Since we were traveling so many hours to get to Asia, we decided to add ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Avalon. We decided on the FASCINATING VIETNAM, CAMBODIA & THE MEKONG RIVER WITH BANGKOK, HANOI & HA LONG BAY – SOUTHBOUND. Since we were traveling so many hours to get to Asia, we decided to add the Bangkok, Saigon and Hanoi extensions onto the trip. This was an absolutely amazing trip and it is hard to find anything that we didn't enjoy. The hotel properties that Avalon uses are excellent and all include breakfast. The boat - just perfect! When you are in your cabin you feel as if you are in a fancy hotel room - great storage, full size bathroom, king bed and of course wall to wall window door that you can watch the river go by. The boat has 18 cabins - so a maximum of 36 people - we had only 32 on our cruise. It is a small boat - only two floors, one dining room, one indoor (A/C) panarama lounge and an outdoor lounge, both at the front of the boat. Our cruise director, Phiem made the cruise memorable (he only does the southbound one) He was Vietnamese, spoke English almost perfectly, was very enthusiastic, personable, charismatic, and aimed to please. The local tour guides he hired were also very good. The best part of having a small boat was you got to know everyone on board as well as the staff and by the second day, all of the staff knew your names! The boat was able to cruise parts of the river many river boats cannot. We had excellent tours along the way, stopping right along the banks of small villages, using temporary gangplanks to get on shore. With all of the tours (included in price) you were able to really experience the land, culture, people and foods up close and personal. On each of the excursions we used a variety of local transportation: from tuk-tuks to cyclos, ox carts, etc. Busses were only used for excursions that took us way out of town. Phiem always had tons of water for us along the way...you will need it as it is very hot. The food on the boat was also excellent. There was always a nice variety of local and continental food choices at each meal. Nice wines were served with dinner and well cocktails were always available at the lounge bar - all included. Evening activities included some local children doing a dance performance and also some movies...The Killing Fields, Good Morning Vietnam etc - very pertinent and fun - popcorn was served -like watching a movie at home! By the way, the staff is also very musically talented. You can get laundry done on the boat for a pretty reasonable price. There are massages available on the boat - my husband had one and raved about it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
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