17 Mandalay Luxury Cruise Reviews

It is difficult to express just how wonderful the Strand Cruise was. From go to whoa, the trip was sumptuous and salubrious. From the seamless booking system and assistance from the Strand Hotel to being escorted from my hotel to the ... Read More
It is difficult to express just how wonderful the Strand Cruise was. From go to whoa, the trip was sumptuous and salubrious. From the seamless booking system and assistance from the Strand Hotel to being escorted from my hotel to the vessel, the entire check-in process was flawless. The vessel resembles a floating palace and continues the chic colonial style that can be found at the gorgeous Strand Hotel in Yangon. The cabins are spacious and well-appointed, and all have marvellous views of the Irrawaddy. The staff are superb and the attention to detail is flawless. They truly make you feel welcome and well looked after. Throughout the entire experience, you are cocooned in luxury and comfort. In terms of food and drink, I do confess to having high standards, yet time and time again, the cruise exceeded them. Every meal was exquisite and beautifully prepared by professional chefs. The evening cocktails and wine selection were also first class. This, in summary, is the cruise to ruin all other cruises for you. It is second to none, and a must-do for a complete Myanmar experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise as we were staying in the Strand Hotel in Yangon and wanted a similar level of opulence and comfort - we were not disappointed. The ship is a relatively new custom-built vessel, we really appreciated the small size and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we were staying in the Strand Hotel in Yangon and wanted a similar level of opulence and comfort - we were not disappointed. The ship is a relatively new custom-built vessel, we really appreciated the small size and attention to detail when fitting out the interior with traditional décor. From the moment we were picked up at our hotel in Mandalay we were treated to impeccable service from all staff. Neville the cruise manager scheduled the entire trip perfectly. The on shore excursions were interesting and showed off the best that Myanmar has to offer-the small size of the ship allowed it to dock almost anywhere. The excursions were kept to a reasonable length given the heat and were not physically demanding as transport was seamlessly arranged at each stop (we loved the air conditioned buses with iced water and cool towels). On the ship, Bart ensured we were well fed and watered by a well-trained food and beverage team. The food was a mix of local and international cuisine and always of good quality-we really felt we were being treated to the best of the best. Breakfast was made to order every day - no standard buffet here! Lunch and dinner was served in a different location every day, one night we had a barbeque on a sandbank, other times we ate on deck on in the bar if we preferred. The small size of the ship allows for highly personalised service and we really enjoyed sharing our time with the wonderful staff. We also enjoyed some time by the pool and in the spa. There were also some interesting on-board activities such as a cooking demonstration and local dance performance. Every night there was a little gift in on our bed and we just received in the mail and additional gift of a beautiful set of prints of Myanmar - this truly was a cruise unlike any other with so many thoughtful touches thrown in. This was truly the experience of a lifetime and the best way to experience the interior of a beautiful and interesting country. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
It was by chance that my wife found the Strand advert and decided to join as we’ve never been on a cruise before. We had no idea what to expect but the local knowledge does indicate that the name “Strand” is a premier name. From ... Read More
It was by chance that my wife found the Strand advert and decided to join as we’ve never been on a cruise before. We had no idea what to expect but the local knowledge does indicate that the name “Strand” is a premier name. From the outset, we were welcomed warmly and on joining the ship , we felt the class and the luxury setting in. The ship is well refurbished with elegant colonial interiors mixed with modern technology. The cabins were on two floors and ours , the Strand Cabin was comfortably spacious for two with sliding doors to experience the outside environment. Plenty of light through the floor to ceiling glass doors and good air conditioning. The bathroom was well appointed and had very high standard amenities. There were a few occasions of power outage but didn’t take long to restore. The chef , the catering manager Bart and the catering department were excellent providing us with fantastic meals throughout the trip and waiting staff gave us a superb service seeing to all the needs of the guests . The Strand Restaurant and the Sarkies Bar were spacious,comfortable and had a relaxing feel. Cabin attendants did a good job and the turn down service in the evenings always had a little surprise where we would be left with an unexpected present relating to the activities of the day, which was a very thoughtful touch . The programmes were always busy and well planned. The tours were designed to allow the guests to explore the area and also for the local community to benefit from the visitors. This kind of symbiosis is always there in tourism but it was more evident here as The Strand would provide electricity to the village while in dock and also appointing young locals to get jobs on the cruise. The heat in summertime can be intense and could be uncomfortable for some on these tours. The on board activities were a credit to the cruise manager Neville Joseph who did a fantastic job of providing us with information and entertainment and allowing the guests to taste the wit, humour ,colour and culture of the country. The captain and his team deserves a mention too as he had to pilot the ship through pretty shallow sections of the Ayeyawaddy River which wasn’t very easy in summer time. My wife and I had a wonderful experience on the Strand Cruise from Mandalay to Bagan and would thoroughly recommend to those interested in such a voyage. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
My wife and I are used to travel worldwide and have had the chance to enjoy remarkable stays in high end hotels or resort but what the Strand has achieved with this unique cruise tops it all! The ship itself is brand new and features ... Read More
My wife and I are used to travel worldwide and have had the chance to enjoy remarkable stays in high end hotels or resort but what the Strand has achieved with this unique cruise tops it all! The ship itself is brand new and features and elegant and discreet decoration which immediately creates a cocoon of understated luxury and class We were hosted in a very nice suite located at the bow and featuring a terrace. the room was also discreetly decorated in a colonial spirit and we had the feeling we were the only one on board. The entire staff, led by Barthelemy, is extremely professional and smiling whilst remaining discreet, I was actually impressed by their work and how they contribute to the entire experience. Bilou, the entertainer on board , is also very knowledgeable and we had the pleasure to have him give us some insight on Burmese culture as well as visit a very local market in Baggan which was not included in the lists of planned visits. The sites visits were perfectly planned and each time we had a local guide joining us to explain the history behind each landmark we were visiting, everything handled seamlessly. From breakfast to dinner only excellent products were served and the Thai chef did a very good job. The dinner on the river bank was so romantic and unexpected, just a piece of magic in the silence of the river. A special thanks to the bar staff which fixes great drinks! What a bliss to sip a delicate cocktail, watching the sunset whilst the wild river banks slowly pass by, feeling the silky and warm caress of the air on your skin, thinking about the visits of the day. Our cruise was a truly memorable experience ! The only downside for us was that, to our great surprise, a number of younger kids were part of the cruise, they were adorable but I would have preferred to be with adults only as this kind of holiday is not really the family style. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We have looking forward this cruise for a long time, it was advertised to us as being one of the finest in luxury on the ayeyarwaddy river. So we thought it would be a nice and tranquil journey. But too many kids running around and so ... Read More
We have looking forward this cruise for a long time, it was advertised to us as being one of the finest in luxury on the ayeyarwaddy river. So we thought it would be a nice and tranquil journey. But too many kids running around and so noisy (we cannot blame them, they are full of life), We have been surprised to see so many "locales" onboard, it shows that the country has some very wealthy people. We enjoyed our time there, but, the tranquility was not there , around the pool so noisy... The excursions was nice but the French magician (he did a trick or 2 to us during the trip) was so rude and so careless on "local" guests, culture and about the country. We were so disappointing about such negativity towards this country... Even our guide has been told off by this person (I think the name was Bilu, but not sure)... My husband did not feel well, but the Indian cruise manager and the French F&B manager looked after him and me well. We wanted to watch the formula 1 grand prix, and they did manage to have it on tv for us.... It was challenging as there was bad connection, but we saw it !!! The service in spa, reception, restaurant and housekeeping was top notch, no time to wait that whatever you asked them, it was done promptly and at times no need to ask, they are bringing it to you. For breakfast, no need to ask for coffee that your waiter (Kel doo too) knew our order before we even asked him... That is service! So overall we enjoyed it it very much, but too many kids (noise, running,...) and a bit more consideration for local people would have made our trip being of the best. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Myanmar was on the bucket list. True much of the country is still 3rd world but the cultural experience and friendly attitude of the people coupled with the luxury aboard ship made the entire experience worth while. Also don,t forget to ... Read More
Myanmar was on the bucket list. True much of the country is still 3rd world but the cultural experience and friendly attitude of the people coupled with the luxury aboard ship made the entire experience worth while. Also don,t forget to bargain when purchasing tourist bits and pieces, its still the real deal there. The only warning to give is take care on various river disembarkations, but the crew do there most to ensure all is safe for passengers. There was a wide variety of shore excursions to choose from and moderate fitness was required, although with those not quite up to it every assistance was given to ensure they could enjoy experiences. Overall the cruise met all our expectations and we had researched it so we were aware of some challenges, for example onshore in some areas Asian toilets only available and of course drink , the supplied, bottled water. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
The wife and I chose to celebrate our 60th birthdays and my retirement on the Strand Cruise. It had been a long held ambition to see Burmese life from the river. Everything about the trip was simply superb. The boat is new and luxurious. ... Read More
The wife and I chose to celebrate our 60th birthdays and my retirement on the Strand Cruise. It had been a long held ambition to see Burmese life from the river. Everything about the trip was simply superb. The boat is new and luxurious. Its one of the few that has a swimming pool which was an ideal location for many cold beers. The service was attentive without being intrusive. The crew always had a smile and genuinely seemed to enjoy what they were doing. The food was a mix of international and local cuisine and everything we ate ranging from lobster to fois gras ravioli was exquisite. The cabins were larger than expected and bigger than many hotel rooms I have stayed in with full height windows to watch the world go by. The excursions and the activities organised provided fantastic vignettes of everything that Burma has to offer without us having to organise a thing. My only regret is that we chose the 3 night cruise rather than the 4 night one. Strongly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Having previously visited Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, we thought a visit to the recently opened Myanmar would be interesting and chose Scenic as our operator due to previous excellent experience. With a crew to guest ratio nearing ... Read More
Having previously visited Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, we thought a visit to the recently opened Myanmar would be interesting and chose Scenic as our operator due to previous excellent experience. With a crew to guest ratio nearing 1:1 the service was excellent. Most of the hospitality crew greeted guests by name from the first day. The buffet lunches and breakfasts offered a wide range of fare, excellently prepared and presented. The a la carte dinners a gourmet delight. A very adequate range of 5 white, 2 rose and 5 red wInes and champagne as house wines for lunch and dinner with a a small but very adequate selection of wines available for purchase. The daily excursions led by two very knowledgeable and competent tour guides who guided us to interesting sites each day. The Scenic Aura is a new vessel which has been developed taking guest comfort and convenience in mind and excels in every respect. We will certainly recommend the Scenic Aura experience to anyone wishing to undertake a trip to Myanmar. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We Love river cruising and nobody does it better than scenic! My husband and I have recently returned from cruising the Irrawaddy through Myanmar, we chose the eleven day option, and added a couple of days of our own in Mandalay, and ... Read More
We Love river cruising and nobody does it better than scenic! My husband and I have recently returned from cruising the Irrawaddy through Myanmar, we chose the eleven day option, and added a couple of days of our own in Mandalay, and one in Yangon. We chose to stay at the Mandalay Hill resort, which is the hotel that scenic uses for its longer trip option. It is a lovely hotel, and we were lucky enough to be upgraded to a top floor junior suite. We met our fellow passengers and tour guides the night before the commencement of the cruise, and on the day of the cruise our bags were picked up from the room, and the next time you see them they are in your room on board! wonderful, and so easy. The ship is really fantastic, We were in room 303, top floor, second best rooms on the ship. All the rooms are good, I visited the other rooms, and would have been happy with any of them. so choose from price point, but if money is no object get the Diamond deck 301 or 302 ! own front deck, with jacuzzi! 70msq. the room we had was huge, at 40 sqm and had to full windows, balcony if you wanted it, The most comfortable bed ever! lovely bathroom, walk through robe and loads of space, we also had our own lounge area, it felt like a small apartment ! I could have lived there permanently! the availability of washers and dryers for guest use at any time was a boon indeed. The staff on board are the most delightful friendly bunch . Notably Yii Mon , our guide and helper in all ways, TJ who made everyone happy, and what a dancer ! and also the chefs, who bent over backwards to please. All the staff were wonderful. Some reviewers have criticised the shape of the bar lounge, being a horse-shoe shape, but this is to accommodate the swimming pool on the floor above and is, therefore totally worth it ! you can't beat a little swim at the end of a busy day sightseeing. Others have said that the ship needs a lift. If you need a lift to get around, this is not the trip for you, a certain amount of fitness is required for the offshore trips, and getting on and off the boat is 'interesting' at times. the staff were always there to help those less able. Bagan was the stand out onshore event, we didn't get to do the hot air balloon ride, it is only available at certain times of year. The Trishaw rides would be more comfortable for those with small bottoms! Bring shoes that are easy to slip on and off.you will need them. there are times when the local sales pitch ladies can get a little over the top, but try to remember that it is there livelihood, and smile. buy something, and help the local economy! There is a long bus ride between Pyay and Yangon, the bus is comfortable, but in retrospect, I would probably have chosen the Yangon to Mandalay upstream run, and got that bit done at the beginning. Having said that, I would have no hesitation in recommending this journey with Scenic, and loved the intimacy of the smaller boat with only 44 guests max. it was super, and I am so glad we did it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We arrived dockside and were greeted by AB our cruise director. A cold drink and a frozen towel later we started our tour of this absolutely beautiful ship ending in our suite where our luggage was waiting for us. And we thought ... Read More
We arrived dockside and were greeted by AB our cruise director. A cold drink and a frozen towel later we started our tour of this absolutely beautiful ship ending in our suite where our luggage was waiting for us. And we thought "could anything be better"...until we met VJ our knowledgeable and caring tour guide who daily showed us villages, temples and stupas...and we thought "could anything be better" and found out it could be when we enjoyed the first of many meals prepared by Sumet and served by a professional well trained staff. We cruise many times per year and this was the best ever. We typically rate cruises, hotels and restaurants on a scale of 1 to 10. We have awarded the Santuary Ananda a 14 plus. We are now planning to sail again in April. If you have questions about the total experience and we can help email us at deb.cnx@gmail.com Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Though the Strand cruise we took was just three days, it was possibly one of the more memorable three days we have ever spent on vacation. From our greeting in Mandalay by our host Bilou to the first evenings BBQ on a sandbar in the ... Read More
Though the Strand cruise we took was just three days, it was possibly one of the more memorable three days we have ever spent on vacation. From our greeting in Mandalay by our host Bilou to the first evenings BBQ on a sandbar in the Arawati River, everything was perfect. The food, the service, and our suite went well beyond our expectations and we've travelled extensively throughout Asia so we know what we speak of. A special shout out to Bart, Helene, Bilou and Chef Tang who were always there to ensure all was going well. It is worth mentioning that when the weather is 43 degrees celsius, and after an afternoon of touring temples and pagodas, the upper deck pool was a real treat - I am pretty sure not many boats on the Arawati have a pool. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were events in themselves. If you are looking to lose weight this ship is not for you - from Burmese, Thai to French to Italian, we basically toured the world during lunch and dinner and every meal was delicious. I would not hesitate to recommend this trip to anyone - it was five star through and through. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was our very first River cruise and we were not disappointed. Myanmar is a marvellous country and Scenic Cruises made sure we had a truly superb vacation from the moment we set foot in Mandalay until the last handshake in Yangon. ... Read More
This was our very first River cruise and we were not disappointed. Myanmar is a marvellous country and Scenic Cruises made sure we had a truly superb vacation from the moment we set foot in Mandalay until the last handshake in Yangon. The Scenic Aura is a spacious and comfortable boat and the crew were thoughtful, full of smiles and extremely helpful. The meals were excellent and the all inclusive drinks menu made sure our glasses were never empty. We adored the included Teriyaki evening. We had some excellent excursions and every day was a new sunrise and sunset opportunity. We enjoyed the visits to the Temples, Stupas and Pafgodas and to local craft villages. We were able to partake in local life and enjoy local transport. The Hot Air Baloon experience, although a payable extra, was well worth every dollar and the sunrise over the Bagan plain was unforgettable. All in all an excellent vacation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We wanted to cruise in Myanmar and upon reading about Scenic's new ship (Aura) we decided to use this operator. A good decision. The ship was only launched in September and our cruise started in late November - mainly December. The ... Read More
We wanted to cruise in Myanmar and upon reading about Scenic's new ship (Aura) we decided to use this operator. A good decision. The ship was only launched in September and our cruise started in late November - mainly December. The ship lived up to the computer generated images and, before I point out some issues, I unreservedly recommend this ship to anyone considering a cruise in Myanmar. Cruising in Myanmar is not like cruising in most other Countries - there are no wharfs at which to dock - the ship (mostly) just nudges into the shore and the gangplank is lowered for passengers to get off. Occasionally it docks against another ship and the only way to exit is through the other ship - happened only once on our voyage. There are 22 cabins - hence a maximum of 44 fellow travellers - 39 in our case as 5 cabins were occupied by singles. The rooms vary in size but all are big by river (and ocean) cruise standards. We had a grand deluxe suite which measured 40 square metres (just over 400 square feet). The cabin was well appointed with only a bath missing. The restaurant is open seating and can seat all passengers at the one sitting. There is a Teppanyaki bar in the restaurant that seats six and is by invitation only - that way all guest get to use this facility. The food was outstanding as was the service. The bar is a (long) horseshoe shape and consequently it is difficulty for large groups to be accommodated - we usually had about 10-12 in our group and that was just manageable. There is another bar next to the pool but this is mainly used when there are functions at the pool area. There is no problem getting a drink where ever you are on the ship. The pool area was a real treat. The top deck is an open area with seating (some undercover) with a walking track that measured about 60 metres (70 yards). The gym is small but adequate. There is one washer, one dryer and one iron in the laundry. The itinerary is fairly full for the first 8 days with less to do on the last two days. I would recommend sailing from Mandalay to Yangon as the river current is fairly strong and the excursions at the Mandalay end are busy at a time when you have to pack etc. The excursions were, in the main, interesting although one does get over Pagoda's after the first two hundred! The highlights were village visits - actually saw cock fighting in one (not sactioned by Scenic) and visits to monastery’s and schools - you get a real feel of how the people of Myanmar are coping with the opening up of their Country. Onboard entertainment is limited given the small size of both the ship and the crew. Now those issues - at our greeting talk the cruise director (Rikus Visser) explained that there were a few problems with the finishes on the ship - the floor varnish was not adequate and the floors were scratched, some repainting was taking place as the air conditioner had required maintenance and ceilings had to be accessed. We had noticed the smell of paint in our cabin upon arrival but it was completely gone by nightfall. These are small issues that one would expect in a ship built in Myanmar and they will be fixed at the end of the season. Finally the staff - they were fantastic, always friendly and ready to help. We have been on quite a few ocean cruises and there are few cruise directors of the standard of Rikus. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose Myanmar because we thought it was an exciting destination and we were not disappointed. The service provided by Scenic was excellent. However some of the Ports and shore excursions need more thought to provide more active ... Read More
We chose Myanmar because we thought it was an exciting destination and we were not disappointed. The service provided by Scenic was excellent. However some of the Ports and shore excursions need more thought to provide more active alternatives.The cabin was spacious and very comfortable and the service outstanding but the bar/lounge area was an odd shape and didn't really work as a social meeting point. The pool area was great as was the top deck but needed more shade.The crew were especially helpful when disembaking as there wasn't always a pier. The bar staff and waiters were excellent. The wine varieties were more limited than other Scenic cruises we have been on, but all transported from abroad as Burmese local wines weren't up to Scenic high standards. The meals were of a very high standard.The evening entertainment was limited. Not really a family holiday. The only critisism was the very long drive at the end of the cruise to Yangon. I would strongly recommend this trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We had never been on a cruise but heard that Scenic was one of the leaders for river cruises and we had always wanted to go to Myanmar so it seemed a perfect combination. We thought that we would try our the company with a view to doing ... Read More
We had never been on a cruise but heard that Scenic was one of the leaders for river cruises and we had always wanted to go to Myanmar so it seemed a perfect combination. We thought that we would try our the company with a view to doing some serious European river cruising in the future. We'd done a lot of independent travel all over Asia and love it. Frankly we felt that the tour was beefed up to appear more interesting than it was. The Irrawaddy River is the most disinteresting waterway, there is simply nothing to see from the water and it was a very disappointing trip. The water is like a warm caramel milkshake, murky and frothy. When I gave feedback the company thanked me but was not at all interested in retaining me as a customer. In their position I would have asked to be given the chance to prove how wonderful Scenic tours could be. Maybe offer a big discount on a future booking or some incentive. Instead they admitted that the cruise of the Irrawaddy was new and they were still feeling their way. Other guests on the cruise admitted that the cruise was not up to the usual Scenic standard and as they were all repeat customers Scenic must do something right but they really missed out on this one. The land content, except for Mandalay was good although when we went on busses we were often put on tatty, old, buses. If this was all that was available we would have understood but there were lots of modern well appointed busses chartered by other tour companies that we saw along the same routes. The boat was lovely, although already showing signs of wear and tear after only 40 days sailing. The cruise director and staff were wonderful but there were so many other things that needed fixing. Our guide was very friendly but almost impossible to understand and wasn’t pro-active. He gave us the bare minimum of information. We are off to Europe to cruise but because it's obvious Scenic aren't interested in having us as customers we will look for other companies who will value our business. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Chose this cruise as the itinerary looked very interesting. Could not have imagined just how interesting the cruise was in reality. Pandaw provided a luxury river cruise up the Irrawaddy taking in sites on both banks of the river, ending ... Read More
Chose this cruise as the itinerary looked very interesting. Could not have imagined just how interesting the cruise was in reality. Pandaw provided a luxury river cruise up the Irrawaddy taking in sites on both banks of the river, ending at Bagan (or Pagan). We had the services of a guide, provided by Pandaw who was knowledgeable, friendly and clearly known and liked in the villages we visited. The crew provided for the cruise were, to a man, excellent. No request was too much trouble, and it was clear that our comfort and well being was their prime motivation. The choice of stops was excellent with several trips further afield, by both mechanical and horse drawn conveyance. The trip to the Elephant nursery will live long in the memory. Food and drink was very good with plenty of choice. Myanmar is a beautiful country, with a people of great spirit. We saw thousands of Pagodas, Temples and Stupas, visited many and loved what we saw. Our all too short trip to Myanmar ended in Yangon where we visited the Shwedagon Complex. In our opinion a 'Must see' for any visitor to Yangon, truly amazing. The traffic was as chaotic as can be imagined, even with the absence of motorbikes, caused by the paranoia of a previous military ruler. Our trip was booked through ROL, who together with Pandaw gave us both a holiday to remember for a long time for all the right reasons. We most certainly not hesitate to book again through this combination. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We chose this cruise because we had been on 2 previous river Asian cruises with Pandaw and they are certainly the best for Asian river cruising. We were met at Mandalay and taken to our hotel for the previous night to embarking on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had been on 2 previous river Asian cruises with Pandaw and they are certainly the best for Asian river cruising. We were met at Mandalay and taken to our hotel for the previous night to embarking on the ship, well organised and good accommodation there. As usual they welcomed us on board the ship with their wide smiles and taken care of as far as our luggage and safety was concerned - they are very caring and from all three trips with them we have never met any staff who were not friendly or caring down to the tiniest detail of making sure you didn't step the wrong way or that you may have had a sore leg and they took extra care of anyone elderly - very caring. Cabins are great, all that you need with extras added every day and great service to your cabins and in the dining and lounge area. Shore excursions were wonderful, taking you to places unvisited before, which is a real treat to see how the communities work and live in these villages. The food is fantastic, just too much to choose from and tasting the local dishes on board each day is great too. The entertainment was all that we could ask for. The ships are smaller, but this adds to the experience as the crew become your friends, as you get to know all of them personally. Pandaw has been the only ones we have come across that make sure you take water with you each time you leave the boat, clean your shoes when you get back on and greet you with a lovely cool drink and face cloth and of course a smile. Recommend Pandaw as the best for Asian river cruising. Can't say enough good words for them. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014

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