21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We booked this cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary and all in all it was a wonderful trip, a trip of a lifetime. We saw so many beautiful and wonderful places, and met many wonderful people. Our Regent experience was, with a few ... Read More
We booked this cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary and all in all it was a wonderful trip, a trip of a lifetime. We saw so many beautiful and wonderful places, and met many wonderful people. Our Regent experience was, with a few notable exceptions, as good as the one 7 years ago in the Mediterranean. I will bullet point the positive and negatives below, and have, of course, given these to Regent as well in their post-cruise survey. Positives: The Crew/Service - the staff and crew on board were absolutely wonderful. Everyone went out of their way to try to get to know you and to exceed your needs. The crew members were exceptionally interactive compared to our past cruise experiences, playing games and taking the time to chat with passengers frequently. The wait and bar staff were always welcoming, remembering favorite items and going out of their way to accommodate (had a bartender go ashore to find us lychees and had our cabin stewardess always find pears for me). The level of service we experiences was exceptional. The cabin/ship - this ship was refurbished top to bottom last fall and the cabin and public spaces were beautiful Shipboard activities - this ship had more on board activities than I had seen on previous cruises. We really enjoyed the team trivia, crew lawn game challenges, the deck by deck "block party", and the shipboard picnic Business Class Air "included" - when flying to Asia this was a must! Post Cruise extension to Seim Reap - this was my absolute favorite part of the whole trip. Even though it was blazing hot and humid ( felt I was raining down sweat), the hotel they put us in (Borei Angkor Hotel), the guides for the torus of the Angkor complex, the cultural dinner and show and hotel spa were all first class. Luncheons at the pool grill - while the food overall was what I would call "meeting expectations" (with a few exceptions, breakfasts - meh, Dinners generally good), the pool grill stood out as providing a consistently good product and providing different "theme" each day Opportunities Wine Selections - this was a marked difference from our last Regent experience. The wine selections were not only fewer, but most were of much reduced quality than what we expected from Regent. Also on a few occasions they would run out of some of the better wines leaving only the poorer quality options. There was no wine list per se, bu the stewards would come around and offer the "red or white of they day" and if this was not what you wanted, you could ask for something else but had to play 20 questions to see if they had what you wanted. Many of our fellow passengers also commented that they felt that Regent was cost cutting in this department. Entertainment - while some of the theater shows were very good, especially the Chinese cultural show, the entertainment overall was what I would call "sleepy". Now they may say this is what their clientele likes but I beg to differ. People were jumping and closing down the bar on dance party night, and a group of people I talked to had found a way to create a new pop/rock playlist on the "background music" system in the lounge only to find it deleted a few days later, so there is definitely an appetite for more upbeat options. Go ahead and keep the "Captain and Tennille" show if you must, but don't have it in all the lounges all the time. Docking Locations - I'm not sure if this could be helped in all instances, but I know that in many of our ports, our ship was docked in what I would call "remote" locations, thus requiring long shuttle or cab rides into towns as opposed to any "walk off"options. This may have been a cost cutting option, poor planning, or luck of the draw, but it was most apparent in Hong Kong, where we were docked out in Kowloon, while the sister Oceania ship was docked right downtown. Tour Timing - some of this may be related to the above, but many of the torus we were on required long bus rides (2-4 hours plus) just to get to the tour sites. Some tours took more time to get there than the actual tour itself. Once we did get there we did enjoy the tours very much, but often felt rushed and "pulled through" the sites in order for the guides to keep on schedule and get us back in time, thus diminishing the overall experience. We and many folks we talked to actually ended up cancelling tours later in the itinerary because we couldn't stand the thought of another 5 hours on a bus. Last Day Experience - once we arrived in Bangkok from Seim Reap, we were joined by the passengers who had gone to Chang Mai and taken to the Sheraton Orchid Hotel. Here is where thins fell down a bit. We all had early flights and got to the hotel before noon, where we were told check in would not be until 4PM. Unlike in Seim Reap, where they had arranged for half day tours for us while we awaited check in, here we were placed in a ballroom, and given no information on where to do, what we could do, no tour was offered (unless you wanted to buy one from the hotel), nor was any food (save for peanuts and chips) offered. Added to this was that the Regent staff were not terribly helpful when asked about restaurant options, or possible places to go during the downtime. Basically we fended for ourselves and several of us jumped on trip advisor for food and entertainment options and passed the word along. So all that being said, we did have a great trip, a wonderful time and created lasting memories. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Viking has a wonderful Myanmar cruise/tour itinerary. You get a chance to see some of the major tourist sites but also visit small villages. Many people loved the villages most of all. The trip starts in Bangkok at the beautiful ... Read More
Viking has a wonderful Myanmar cruise/tour itinerary. You get a chance to see some of the major tourist sites but also visit small villages. Many people loved the villages most of all. The trip starts in Bangkok at the beautiful Shangri-La Hotel. We arrived 2 days ahead but did not use the Viking pre-tour extension. It was less expensive to take a cab to the hotel (500 baht), upgrade to a deluxe river view room instead of the Viking standard room (still very nice) and book a couple of tours on our own. FYI the hotel will let you store things until your return at the end of the cruise. I enjoyed every single excursion. This is an interesting country. There are no optional excursions. What you see is what you get, plus a lot more! Viking makes this trip worry free. We were taken care of every step of the way. The staff is friendly, helpful and just can’t do enough for you. We travelled in January (a great month to go). It was sunny every day and I did not see a single mosquito. There were very few bugs. Viking said the areas we were travelling had no malaria. A couple of people took malaria pills and stopped because the medication made them feel sick. In January it is very cold at Inle Lake. It dropped to 5C (41F) at night. I wish I had packed warmer clothes. It gets very warm in the day but nights and mornings are chilly. Even if you are not an American, bring US cash. Most of the places we visited took US dollars. I thought I would use local currency from ATMs. In Yangon I tried my bank card plus 3 credit cards and was unable to withdraw cash. Myanmar does not have systems in place to handle all cards. Fortunately at the Mandalay airport there was a KBZ bank ATM that accepted my debit card. Although perfect for me but this trip is not for everyone. You will walk barefoot in temples and walk on some pretty dirty surfaces. (Viking provides moist wipes to clean your feet after.) There are a lot of stairs to climb and some are very steep. At the smaller villages the ship is tied up to a tree. A gang plank lowered and once you cross it, the climb up the bank is steep. This would not be a good trip for anyone with mobility issues. I would say the Viking Mandalay is a bit less refined than European cruises. The cabins and food may not be as fancy but the ambience is more what you expect from being on the Irrawaddy. The experience of seeing Myanmar in more of a traditional way before it changes is what is important. This was an amazing trip that I will never forget and unlike any other cruise I have been on. Kudos Viking! Read Less

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