7 Mandalay Romantic Cruise Reviews

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
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 chose Pandaw over other, more chic cruises because we wanted to a have a more authentic yet luxurious cruise in Myanmar. The RV Indochina and crew did not disappoint. We were the first to arrive at our ship, and I was worried we ... Read More
We chose Pandaw over other, more chic cruises because we wanted to a have a more authentic yet luxurious cruise in Myanmar. The RV Indochina and crew did not disappoint. We were the first to arrive at our ship, and I was worried we might not be allowed on board. Not a problem. The crew welcomed us, took our luggage, and told us that if we wanted our room that would be fine, or we could explore the nearby town (Sailang). We chose to return and came back to a wonderful buffet lunch with our fellow passengers. This was just the beginning of great hospitality the whole crew exhibited. A few items of note... - The food is outstanding. I would recommend staying with the Burmese cuisine over western style. I have celiac disease. Chef can easily handle gluten-free dining and even wrote a letter in Burmese for me to carry when I left the ship to ensure that I would be safe as I continued my journey. - I suggest the wine program for lunch and dinner if you are a wine drinker. Our house wines were a choice of South African or wines from Myanmar produced with imported grapes. The "local" Sauvignon Blanc was lovely as was the red blend. Soe Moe and Richard are always on hand to fill your glass and will also top you off before heading to after dinner activities. We did not order off the wine list but I did notice that it has both old and new world selections and champagne. - Every night there is happy hour with abundant and tasty appetizers on deck. The local liquors - especially the rum made from local sugarcane - are quite nice and included in the base rate. Johnson makes a great drink. - Our cabin was 206. I would suggest moving back a bit to 208 or 210 on the lower level, or directly above as you will hear anchors up at 6am departures. - Guide service is included. Tin, our guide, spoke great English and was very informative. He knows about all the sites we went to, answering questions that aren't typical guide-book info, and spoke about what was happening in his country with diplomatic aplomb. Guides are the only people who's tips are not included so please remember to tip them. - Our cabin was simple but elegant with a well working A/C. Service was morning and evening. We did have to request some additional shampoo once but that was the only thing we ever lacked. Everything was kept very clean and I give housekeeping kudos for giving us a great space. - Fabian the purser is able to arrange balloon rides in Bagan before the morning excursion. I would suggest adding this to your trip. - One little "luxury" I haven't had on other lines is shoe cleaning. Our excursions could be dusty or muddy, so the crew cleans your shoes after every outing and leaves them by the door. This was awesome. - We had a massage therapist on-board. She gave great massages, but her English wasn't the best so it was hard to give direction. This was the one area I could see improvement. But the massages are so good and affordable I had 3 so really, no complaining. - Expect lots of fun with crew-included dance parties. There was a conga line and sing along on our last night. It felt like the end of summer-camp and will be something I will always remember. I have cruised with several high-end companies and I have to say I thoroughly loved Pandaw. I can't compare it really to a Uniworld or Crystal Esprit because it is completely different. You won't have the crystal and fine china or gorgeous chandeliers. What you will have is a completely local crew who takes pride in their country and their ship and want to share it with you. Their heart is in giving you the best vacation in anemergingc country and for that I give them 5 stars. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
A Myanmar travel agent booked the cruise for us. The cruise was booked to start in Mandalay,(a place worth exploring at least for two days). The ticket voucher indicated a jetty for embarkation which is actually in Sagaing, a town across ... Read More
A Myanmar travel agent booked the cruise for us. The cruise was booked to start in Mandalay,(a place worth exploring at least for two days). The ticket voucher indicated a jetty for embarkation which is actually in Sagaing, a town across the river, all the while pretending that the trip would start in Mandalay. It also recommended the Tint Tint website for further information. This website indicates a jetty in Mandalay as embarkation point for this particular cruise. This is also the information that our travel agent had obtained from Tint Tint company. We noted the contradiction two days before departure. Since the "contact" web form of Tint Tint was inoperative, I wrote them by email, asking them for clarification. They never answered me. Had our Mandalay hotel not called them on the phone, we would never have known which was the embarkation point. It was, in fact, in Sagaing, thus in a different town from what we had booked. Our travel agent apologized for the mistake. Tint Tint company never corrected it. To this day, their website (http://www.tinttintmyanmarcruise.com/mandalay-to-bagan-2-nights-3-days-ip/) gives you wrong information on this item. The ship is relatively small. Cabins are sufficient. Meals are rather repetitive. Service was friendly. Entertainment on board and shore excursions were interesting and well guided. The landscape on this stretch of the Irrawaddy is relatively boring. On its website, Tint Tint Co. thinks that "Once you experience our fast and personal service, we know you will want to continue booking us for you and your clients!" One may recommend an Irrawaddy cruise; but be sure to choose a different company. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Clearly a lot of thoughts & efforts have been put into all aspects of the cruise which add up to an amazing experience. The boat : Spacious common areas is the first thing one might notice with state of the art dining room and ... Read More
Clearly a lot of thoughts & efforts have been put into all aspects of the cruise which add up to an amazing experience. The boat : Spacious common areas is the first thing one might notice with state of the art dining room and comfy deck seatings while the pool is slightly on the small side. Special mention about the Bar / colonial style game and reading salon. The room : Branded amenities, simple yet beautiful wooden furnitures, extra comfy bedding, spot on bedside reading lights and usb plug, branded amenities and more. The F&B : Less is definitely more through the 2 to 4 options already set in the menus that change for every meal. A variety of cuisines displayed with a special care about selecting best and often locally sourced products. No compromises done on the house wine selections even though virtually on free flow over each meals. French diner might simply be bringing the best occurence of this cuisine in the bagan / mandalay region. We wined on that white Bordeaux throughout the evening ! The excursions : a careful attention to timing to beat the heat of the hottest hours, back up transportation and alternative itin. for those less keen on long walk / horse carriage, sight-seeing to focus only on the most meaningful places, knowledgeable guides that take you through all the narrative often with a fun/personal twist. The special attentions: 1 gift a day ( keeps the devil away...) , fresh drink after each sightseeing, fresh wet towels to welcome you back on board, local music and dance show, life event celebration setup and even full crew song !! The people : Making sure your glass and plate is refilled before you even thought of it, reminding you of the upcoming schedule, handwriting a daily note, cleaning up your shoes after a muddy outing, taking time to share their stories and hear yours few times a day, spa staff waiting for you to finish a meal even though taking them beyond off hours. Thank you Neville, Helene, Mr Barthélémy, Olivier and the whole crew for pampering us. Hope many more can enjoy The Strand as we did ! Ewen / Charlotte 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
Our cruise was on the Upper Irrawaddy. This is our 3rd Pandaw cruise in 2 years. They epitomize the benefits and joys of Myanmar experience. The food is great, the itineraries are creative. We faced a couple of crises (caught on sand bars) ... Read More
Our cruise was on the Upper Irrawaddy. This is our 3rd Pandaw cruise in 2 years. They epitomize the benefits and joys of Myanmar experience. The food is great, the itineraries are creative. We faced a couple of crises (caught on sand bars) and the crew is empowered to find solutions. The staff are friendly to the point of knowing passengers quite intimately which guarantees a personalized service, especially at meal times. This does NOT have ocean liner evening options. Pandaw takes you into the heart and soul of this country whose citizens are probably the nicest people on this planet. Despite having already done the Chindwin River cruise last year and Halong Bay/Red River out of Hanoi this year, we have been reminded of why Pandaw fulfills our river cruise needs. We almost certainly will return next year for another Pandaw experience. Children would not find this satisfactory. The clientele on all of our Pandaw cruises have been 'Senior' or close to it. The excursions are not particularly demanding but are VERY rewarding. One day, we found ourselves in the middle of a wedding and a funeral, just a few minutes apart and were urged - by the parties involved - to join them and participate. The interaction and opportunity to meet the Burmans is truly the highlight of our Myanmar experiences. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017

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