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Sabaidee Pandaw Review

-- / 5.0
Editor Rating
0 reviews
Aaron Saunders
Senior Editor, News and Features

Pandaw ceased operations in October 2021

The latest in Pandaw's K-Class river cruisers, Sabei Pandaw doesn't tinker with the line's formula of comfortable, traditional vessels. Sabei Pandaw pays tribute to the glory days of river cruising through historic Southeast Asia, with plenty of attractive woods and brass used in its construction, and an emphasis on outdoor spaces.

Staterooms are small but cozy, and public spaces are essentially limited to a single dining room that also doubles as the ship's bar area. A large outdoor deck aft of the dining room is where passengers will spend the majority of their time, relaxing over a book or enjoying a drink while taking in the resplendent views of the Mekong.

One of Sabei Pandaw's greatest features is its small passenger capacity. With just 28 passengers onboard, getting to know everyone is a snap. Combined with daily excursions that take passengers on adventurous outings to off-the-beaten-path locales, Sabei Pandaw continues Pandaw's rich tradition of classically styled river cruising through the heart of Southeast Asia.

All meals are served in the single dining room located on Upper Deck, with indoor (air-conditioned) and outdoor seating options available. Cuisine is regionally themed but geared for international tastes. Breakfast and lunch offer both buffet and a la carte choices, while dinner is a multicourse affair.

Complimentary coffee, water, tea and local soft drinks, beer and spirits are included in the cruise fare aboard Sabei Pandaw. Complimentary evening canapes are served in the evenings, and themed events (like a Welcome Aboard ceremony) are offered on select nights.

Cabins are essentially identical, clad in teak and brass. At 170 square feet, they are on the snug side. All open to a shared exterior promenade deck, and all feature floor-to-ceiling windows. Six cabins are located on Upper Deck, while the remaining eight cabins are on Main Deck.

All rooms include kimonos and slippers, spa-branded amenities, unlimited mineral water, a mini-safe, air conditioning, beds with premium mattresses and two pillow choices, a hair dryer, laundry service, and under-bed and closet storage.

There are no top deck attractions aboard Sabei Pandaw. An open deck space adjacent to the ship's main dining room serves as the outdoor deck space onboard.

Entertainment is limited to a few guest entertainers and the odd show put on by the ship's crew, but that in no way means that Sabei Pandaw is boring. Evenings and scenic afternoon cruising sojourns are spent relaxing with your fellow passengers, reading a book, working on the day's photos or generally enjoying yourself while taking in the sights and sounds of the Mekong. The shoreline is never far from sight, and long days of touring mean most of your fellow passengers retire around the same time.

Sabei Pandaw offers Wi-Fi throughout, but note that connectivity is notoriously unreliable in many parts of Southeast Asia.

Sabei Pandaw isn't an ideal choice for families due to the lack of dedicated kids facilities, connecting staterooms and cabins that offer occupancy for more than two guests. However, Pandaw does offer special family-friendly departures where passengers under 18 years of age travel for free in a second cabin. These special sailings are a great choice for families looking to travel together, but family travel isn't recommended outside of these departures.

Sabei Pandaw operates Pandaw's 10-night Laos Mekong River cruise from Vientiane to Chiang Saen; and the 14-night The Mekong: from Laos to China. Pandaw notes the latter itinerary is not suitable for those with walking difficulties or mobility issues.


Passengers: 28
Crew: 13
Passenger to Crew: 2.15:1
Launched: 2019

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