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Cruise Ratings
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
If I could give this cruise more than 5 stars I would. Everything, and I mean everything was fabulous. The crew is extremely service oriented, the ship was gorgeous and the food was wonderful. I have travelled with AMA before which was ... Read More
If I could give this cruise more than 5 stars I would. Everything, and I mean everything was fabulous. The crew is extremely service oriented, the ship was gorgeous and the food was wonderful. I have travelled with AMA before which was great but this was truly the best trip I have ever been on and my 2 travel companions agree! The guides are local to the areas you visit (Saigon, Angkor Wat, Ha Long Bay, Hanoi, etc). They are extremely knowledgeable and share their personal stories about life in these locations. Although some of what you see is very disturbing (i.e. the Killng Fields) they handle it sensitively and you are truly sharing their history with them. The pre and post days are in the best hotels in each city. If you are looking for a high quality adventure in a beautiful part of the world with very welcoming people, take this trip!!! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
My family and I do a big adventure trip every year and we had been wanting to do SE Asia for a couple of year and just couldn't find anything escorted that lined up with school holiday breaks. We booked about 9 months in advance for ... Read More
My family and I do a big adventure trip every year and we had been wanting to do SE Asia for a couple of year and just couldn't find anything escorted that lined up with school holiday breaks. We booked about 9 months in advance for myself, my active but older parents and my 16 yr old daughter. We have previously done only land packages with Tauck tours and were looking for something close to that level of service and accommodation and we were pretty pleased overall with the AMA experience. We had a day of our cruise cut off due to a typhoon in the area closing the embarkation port. The cruise line added an extra day in Ho Chi Minh City at the Sofitel with lunch and dinner (but no additional excursions), we did not miss any ports but did lose time in pheom phen and had to forgo an excursion there. Accommodations on the land portion (all Sofitels, including the Phokeethra in Siem Reap and Metropole in Hanoi) were first rate. The Metropole is a truly special hotel experience, especially if you are as into history as our family is. We had a category B stateroom on the ship and I was pleasantly surprised (with limited cruise experience) having previously sailed with disney and on an expedition ship in the Galapagos, with the size and comfort of the cabins. The bathroom allowed for a shower without having to do any strange contortions, and there was ample space to spread out a little, dress and relax with two people. We chose the one on the end of the ship by the gym, didn't feel any movement at all, and it was much quieter location. Things we liked: The staff was all very nice and accommodating, but the hotel manager (Marcus) and the restaurant manager (I am horrible and forgot her name but she was beyond fantastic) were standounts. Massage/spa prices were very reasonable for a cruise ship, as were the additional charges for upgraded wines. The included wines were also very drinkable, but I wish they would serve wine by the glass in the bars instead of just at dinner. We did the chef's table one night, I didnt think it was anything extra special. In general the food was perfectly edible, but nothing standout EXCEPT when they cooked local. I wish they had more local options at dinner, where it was pretty much all western style. The local items on the action station and morning noodle soup were always excellent, the rice paper wraps and spring rolls, etc were also fantastic. We tended to leave dinner a little wanting some evenings. They do have more mainstream choices available for every dinner (salad w/chicken or shirmp, hangar steak etc), but when in a place like SE asia, there's too much good local stuff to be cooking up fancy french food - but the brand knows their audience and I'm probably the weirdo who wants to eat pho all the time. The local guides changed with each region, and they were all good, but we were lucky enough to have two really outstanding guides in southern Vietnam and in Cambodia before we got to Siem Reap. Vinh and Buntha really make the trip special with their insight and their stories. Loved all the shore excursions we did from the standpoint of the sights we saw, loved they had options for people with mobility issues or who wanted less challenging temple climbing etc but still wanted to actually see the highlights. The overnight cruise in Ha Long Bay at the end of the trip was also great for scenery and the accommodations on that boat were also really nice. The cooking class and bingo, and a a few of the other daytime onboard programs while the ship was in transit were fun. I wish they had more enrichment, maybe a photography class, more in depth lectures about the history and culture, etc. but what they did have was fun and informative. What i wasn't crazy about: Some of the shore excursions I would have liked to have a little more time allowed at some of the museums and temples, etc. I felt rushed especially at the War Remnants Museum and Temple of Literature, Reunification Palace and the market in Ho Chi Minh City. I also wasn't crazy that for New years eve we were tied up at basically a loading dock in the middle of nowhere Cambodia, and there was no place to get off the ship to maybe check out some local nightlife. The staff tried really hard with the evening entertainment, but it wasn't really my speed, especially in a region known for night markets and such. We were VERY and I recognize VERY lucky that our trip included a few multi-generation families with younger people so there were other people my daughter's age or near it on the trip, which made it more fun for her. the food on the Ha Long bay boat was edible, but nothing to write home about. Also, the wifi on the ship worked intermittently at best and there is no roaming service in Vietnam - no biggie for me, but for some it might be an issue. Also no wifi in the cabins, only the lounge and the sundeck unless you're in a suite. We also didn't get our documents from AMA until about week before we left (2 weeks before the actual tour start date) and as we were visiting another country on our own and 2 days of transit to get there, it left me a little anxious and we were unable to pre-register for shore excursions, as they had already closed by the time we had had a chance to review everything. Overall, we loved the trip, we were fortunate to have some experiences that were really life changing (touring the Killing Fields and S-21 Detention center with Buntha, Sunrise on Angkor Wat), I came back wanting to return to explore more because I found the people so welcoming, and feel like on such a whirlwind trip I didn't get to explore the cities as much as I would have liked to. The river cruise does allow you to get to places like Tan Chau, Sa Dec and the rural areas of Vietnam and the floating villages on the ton le sap, etc in Cambodia where there really aren't western tourist class accommodations. My mom thinks river cruising is now the greatest thing. It wouldn't be my first choice to go back to for something like Europe, but for something more exotic such as the Zambezi, the Irrawaddy I'd probably book another one. It was a good trip for the diverse ages we have in my family, there was plenty of activity for my daughter and i and enough down time to allow my folks to be able to enjoy most of the sightseeing and still relax. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This cruiseline did everything right. From the food to the excursions to the staff they could not have been nicer or more accommodating. They seemed to have thought through everything ahead of time and I would classify this less of a ... Read More
This cruiseline did everything right. From the food to the excursions to the staff they could not have been nicer or more accommodating. They seemed to have thought through everything ahead of time and I would classify this less of a “trip” but an “experience”. Kudos to the chef, the captain and especially our ship host, Song. I had a special meal requirement and the staff was very helpful. Some might have thought it was corny but I also thouroughly enjoyed the entertainment, especially when the staff participated. It was a hoot and EVERYONE seemed to have enjoyed themselves. However, I have to say the highlights were the excursions and the guides. I consider myself fairly well travelled and I was so impressed with the quality and personalized style of the guides. They were the exceptional. I booked the Saigon to Siam Reap route and I recommend that direction because you can then go on to Angkor Wat after the cruise which is not to be missed. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We were looking for an interesting trip and hadn't been to Cambodia. AMA very organized at embarkation and throughout the cruise. Sofitel in Saigon lovely with a staggering breakfast and dinner buffet!!! Ship is beautifully ... Read More
We were looking for an interesting trip and hadn't been to Cambodia. AMA very organized at embarkation and throughout the cruise. Sofitel in Saigon lovely with a staggering breakfast and dinner buffet!!! Ship is beautifully maintained. Mekong is a very lively river with much small commerce. Floating markets, fishing boats of all sizes, and more stilt houses than you could ever imagine. River in VietNam is really dirty with lots of flotsam and jetsam coupled with floating lotus. As we sailed into Cambodia, the river became "cleaner". We stopped at several small villages. The best was a village where we visited an elementary school. Six hundred students, all in clean uniforms, in a bare bones school. Playground was dirt with two swings. Children were charming and sang "Old McDonald" with gusto. Forty well behaved 6-11 year olds. They all learn English. We brought schools supplies and the teacher was very grateful. More Cambodians speak English than Thai's. Cambodian people are happy and welcoming. Our guide, Adam is Cambodian, speaks English like a native speaker and provided great insight into the country with grace and humor. We were part of his yellow family(each group was a designated color). In Pnom Phen, we did not do the tour of the killing fields or the museum of atrocities committed by the Pol Pot which those who did said was really sad and depressing. We visited the Central Market which was great fun and the best shopping on the trip!!! The next day we visited the royal Palace and other landmarks. Well done. Entertainment--staff talent show was really good and brought lots of cheers from an appreciative audience. Staff was terrific. Can't say enough about them--guides, dining and bar staff awesome! Dining--do not miss the live action station at breakfast and lunch. Omelets, eggs your way at breakfast. Lunch is Cambodian delights--one day was a chicken curry soup that was so delicious people went for seconds!!! Everything we tried we liked. Cambodian food is sweet, sour, and salty--no hot spice like Thai. Many options at dinner--western or Asian style food. All reports re the little spa were excellent. Lono did a foot massage that was one of the best I've ever had. Pack comfortable shoes. Be prepared to walk the plank when visiting the villages. Lots of help to get up the river bank. Casual cotton clothes that cover knees and shoulders to meet the "dress code" for local scene. You must be prepared that you will be traveling in third world countries. It should make you grateful for how you live but appreciative of how happy people are in their own circumstances. Cambodia is the land of smiles. We are richer for the experience. Read Less
57 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Vietnam and Cambodia have long been on my wife’s and my bucket list. We’ve just returned from a truly fabulous AmaWaterways trip to these two fascinating countries. The trip was half on land – Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Siem Reap, ... Read More
Vietnam and Cambodia have long been on my wife’s and my bucket list. We’ve just returned from a truly fabulous AmaWaterways trip to these two fascinating countries. The trip was half on land – Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Siem Reap, and Hanoi – and half on a cruise on the AmaDara on the Mekong River. We have traveled extensively throughout the world, including numerous ocean cruises and a terrific European river cruise, but this was the best cruise experience we have ever had. Much of that owes to the fascination of the two countries - the traumas they have experienced in very recent history and their remarkable rebound from them (rarely have we learned so much from a "vacation" trip); the genuine warmth of the people, both trip staff and those on the street; the incredible variety of what there is to see, from dirt-poor communities living on the water and on the banks of the river to vibrant emerging cities clogged with new construction and motor-bike dominated traffic. (Learning how to cross the street was itself a fascinating experience.) Much owes, as well, to the extraordinarily well-organized trip. The trip manager, Mr. Thoai ("Call me Twy, like in 'twice'"), ran the trip like a well-oiled machine, dealing with the innumerable daily chores of moving over 100 people from one place to another, as well as the inevitable unexpected developments, with an ever-present smile. His competence, efficiency, and spirit set the tone of the entire trip. The week-long cruise on the AmaDara was delightful. The ship's facilities are very good, if not the best we have experienced. We splurged on a "suite," which means a room that was plenty spacious, as opposed to the invariably cramped standard living quarters on a river cruise boat. The staff were incredibly well-trained and their genuine friendliness created an infectious positive attitude on board. The food was easily the best we have ever experienced on a cruise, and we have traveled previously on top-ranked cruise lines. The quality of the meals was remarkable in light of the challenging circumstances of feeding so many people on a cruise on a river in a poor part of Asia, and doing so from tight kitchen facilities. Kudos to head Chef Pheara and his staff who produced several dinners that were worthy of a highly-ranked restaurant in a major city. The quality of the staff and the food contributed to an unusually congenial environment on board the ship. It was easy to interact comfortably with all of our fellow passengers. The highlight of the trip was the excursions, one each morning and afternoon. Never previously have we experienced such interesting and unique outings, nearly all of them simultaneously fascinating and educational. Each was different from all of the others. They varied from walking through small dusty poor rural villages, with their invariably friendly inhabitants, in which we sampled such "delicacies" as snake wine, to visiting sobering monuments to the traumas of war and genocide. The Vietnam War Remnants Museum in Saigon allowed us to see a formative experience during our early adulthood from a different perspective (and reminded us how important it is to see both sides), while visiting the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh - although less upsetting an experience than we expected - left us dumbfounded about how evil selected individuals in history can be, and how remarkable it is that they have the charisma and power to recruit thousands of their country's citizens to do their dirty work. We appreciated the histories of these two countries, and their current economic development, in part due to the superb guides working for Ama. With one exception, the guides were among the best we have ever experienced - all thoughtful and informative, willing to address difficult questions, and punctuating their presentations with both great senses of humor and personal touches, including explaining how their countries' evolutions had affected their personal lives. Mr. Long gave us a great overview of southern Vietnam while on the cruise, as did Ms. "Tinny" during the Cambodia portion of the cruise. Mr. Son brought Hanoi to life with the best English we experienced on the trip (not that the other guides' English wasn't good too). He, and the charming city itself, made us wish we had one more day to explore the city. The rickshaw ride through the chaotic traffic was fun and surprisingly not frightening. The trip's few disappointments were disappointing only in relative terms. While we benefited from unusually good weather, the intense heat during our tour of the Royal Palace and the National Museum in Phnom Penh, after visiting the Killing Fields the same morning, made that morning more challenging than any other (although it, too, was definitely a net positive). Wandering through the crowded and fascinating food market near the river that afternoon compensated. The fact that we waited at our hotel in Siem Reap most of the day before flying to Hanoi in the evening seemed a wasted opportunity: we could have had more time in Hanoi had we flown out that morning. We also felt that the final leg of the trip, to famous Ha Long Bay with an overnight on a "luxury junk" (quite an oxymoron, but the boat was fine), fell short of our high expectations. The bay is truly gorgeous and the three excursions were interesting and fun (especially the enormous cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites). But the bay was overrun with tourist boats and we felt rushed to get from one excursion to the next. The government is going to have to decide whether it wants to limit traffic on the bay. It definitely detracts from the experience. Two minor drawbacks: The seemingly constant tipping (for bus drivers and their assistants and one-day guides) was a bit annoying, although frankly we appreciated the opportunity to express our gratitude to Mr. Thoai and our principal guides with larger than expected tips. And Ama's policy of charging for name-brand alcohol drinks was annoying too. (Local brands were free...if not very good. Wine and beer were free with lunch and dinner. Local beers - quite good - were always available at no charge but wine wasn't.) Of course if Ama included all alcohol in the package price, that price would rise. Not clear whether that would make good business sense, but an all-inclusive policy would be appreciated by many travelers. Our hotels in the big cities - all Sofitels - were superb and each different from the others. The buffets were notable, especially those in Saigon (the most amazing we've ever experienced) and Hanoi. The resort in Siem Reap was gorgeous and we enjoyed some time in the large, beautiful pool with its swim-up bar (although surprisingly, perhaps, the food was less good than at the other two hotels). Sofitel has risen high on our list of favorite hotel chains as a result of this visit. Overall, this trip ranks among the very best we have experienced in lives blessed with lots of travel. Ama runs a terrific operation in this part of the world. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Just spent 7 days on the mekong river with ama waterways amadara. Wonderful staff, great food, fun people, great local excursions to see how the local people live and work. Unique transportation on tuktuks, ox carts, small boats. Great ... Read More
Just spent 7 days on the mekong river with ama waterways amadara. Wonderful staff, great food, fun people, great local excursions to see how the local people live and work. Unique transportation on tuktuks, ox carts, small boats. Great bargains for shopping..bring a empty suitcase for all the great deals to buy -silk and cotton scarves, shorts, shirts, bags, belts, watches, purses to name some great dealsNot a strenuous trip, some afternoon leisure time on the boat. All excursions very organized, departed on time and local guides -"long" with the green team was outstanding. Visited a silk factory, rattan mat factory, local school, temples, got a blessing with the buddist monks, rode on a small boat to see the fishing villages on the river. Wonderful local transportation on tuktuks, ox carts, and more.Hats off to maria, dara and nit in the restaurant for excellent service. Staying with the cruise for hanoi and angkor wat. Read Less
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