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77 APT Cruise Reviews

Never done river cruise before. Can only compare to ocean cruise . Was first class . The staff could not have done any more for anyone at any time . Mixed ages and fitness level. They accommodated everyone. Hedleigh our tour director ... Read More
Never done river cruise before. Can only compare to ocean cruise . Was first class . The staff could not have done any more for anyone at any time . Mixed ages and fitness level. They accommodated everyone. Hedleigh our tour director was outstanding. His cool ,calm and very easy manner meant everyone was informed well and catered for at every level . Port excursions. Great choices or choice your own . Dining first class . Drinks abundant and great service . Ship was clean tidy and well maintained . People got cold / flu but I am not sure what more the crew could have done to prevent. People just don’t do the right thing. Use the handwash Use the tongs at meals etc. stay in cabin if sick - some have disregard for all this . Could not have been more done. Only thing I would add is. If they ask for dress code ie long pants for men and women at night Stick to it . Thongs and shorts and t shirts without collars are not night attire . Dress that little bit better Aussie men. You let the side down ! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We are on this cruise now, half way through in fact. While so many things are excellent, there are aspects of our experience that are not so good. The ship’s clientele are mostly Australians and to say they are a lively bunch is an ... Read More
We are on this cruise now, half way through in fact. While so many things are excellent, there are aspects of our experience that are not so good. The ship’s clientele are mostly Australians and to say they are a lively bunch is an understatement. The ship can get extremely noisy at mealtimes, something we are not used to on other cruises we’ve been on. Our cabin is very good. Quite spacious and well equipped. It is also very clean and well maintained by the cabin stewardess. The bathroom is one of the best we’ve ever had on a ship, lovely and light and with a wonderful shower. The only thing missing is tea\coffee making facilities. In our cabin we have butler service but have not used this facility as it’s never been explained to us what it entails. Maybe we should ask? We have used the laundry service as we are allowed one bag of free laundry, wash and ironed per week, an excellent service. Another great thing on the ship is the free WiFi which is fast and always available. Now for the bad. The food. The breakfast is Ok but the choice of cereals is very poor. The muesli is very low grade, mostly oats and tastes of nothing. No fruit and fibre cereal, only AllBran and sweetened cereals. The fruits on offer are good, especially the fresh orange segments. Bananas are not always available, getting one is proving very difficult, nor the unsweetened plain yogurt, only sweetened. I only eat cereal and fruit for breakfast so was very disappointed with the choices. I decided to buy some real muesli at one of our port stops and thankfully I bought teabags onboard and get these topped up with boiling water in the lounge! Lunch is either salad choices, always the same with slight variations, pretty boring. There is always plenty of meat on offer but as a non meat eater this is not good for me. Dinner is the worst meal of the day. Choices are usually one meat, one fish and one vegetarian. The meat dishes seem to be the favourites with most passengers and are usually ok according to my fellow diners. The fish dishes are fine, not particularly exciting or tasty, just average. The vegetarian meals on the other hand are dreadful. Really bad. Spinach crepes were thick doughy pastry, tough and tasteless with a teaspoon of thin cheese sauce, we left them.The vegetable lasagne was equally bad, dry tough pasta layers, cubed carrots, peas and potato I think(?) no cheese sauce, just dry layers, all sat on a smear of tomato sauce, it really was appalling. With most meals hardly any vegetables are served. Even the meat eaters are complaining about this. I asked for more vegetables and this was addressed but now I get a bowl of watery broccoli and cauliflower with each meal. This is served with such a flourish I feel as if I should be grateful and not complain any more. Oh dear, I think this is the only Cruise I might actually lose weight......(not a bad thing really!!!) Another thing we are not happy about is the noise from the sundeck which is above us. The thumping of heavy feet from about 5.30-6am is really annoying. Tip. Don’t book a cabin under the sundeck! Generally the Cruise is good with friendly helpful staff and good choice of tours. We just wish the food was up to standard as this would improve our holiday so much. One other thing we don’t like is the over familiarity with the restaurant staff. This may be down to the Australian passengers encouraging them, but some of us don’t need to have all the jokes and hi fives when we enter the restaurant. A little decorum and quiet would be appreciated. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This cruise exceeded our expectations. Staff courteous and friendly yet we all had lots of fun and laughs with them. Food 5 Star and service 5 Star. From 5 course dinners to dancing to ABBA all on board enjoyed their cruise. Due to to ... Read More
This cruise exceeded our expectations. Staff courteous and friendly yet we all had lots of fun and laughs with them. Food 5 Star and service 5 Star. From 5 course dinners to dancing to ABBA all on board enjoyed their cruise. Due to to the organisational skills of our Cruise Director Daniela there was no waiting times in our off board experiences and all enjoyed her daily updates and her fantastic sense of humour. Our ports of call were interesting and varied cruising passing through beautifully amazing scenery. We were a group of 8 who enjoyed the company of everyone on board. A special mention to our Captain Janos, Charles, George, Cristian, George , Ivan, Danang and Daniela who is just amazing and works tirelessly to ensure a great trip for all. The staff on the Amareina are the reason why this cruise a lifetime memory. And a big thank you to all. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Should have been a holiday of a lifetime, sadly it hasn't been (and I can't get off yet). I accompanied an elderly aunt :), even though she's lovely and very active, the bulk of the passengers despite being very nice people ... Read More
Should have been a holiday of a lifetime, sadly it hasn't been (and I can't get off yet). I accompanied an elderly aunt :), even though she's lovely and very active, the bulk of the passengers despite being very nice people are simply not. I'm 60 and wanted a river cruise experience but didn't realise even paying a top end price doesn't buy you a better experience. The Amabella I'm told is 10 yrs old. I feel like a captive on a very boring cruise (there are some younger people, even a young honeymoon couple but they are with each other or travelling with a group of friends. Lots are unhappy but they plan to complain at the end of the cruise in the feedback form (not helpful really as that will go nowhere). Emese (cruise director) makes no bones about it that I should have understood that it is mainly "Older people" the cruise is orientated to, which was not my understanding before agreeing to come on this much more expensive than other river cruise ships. Our shared cabin was "UPGRADED" hate to see what we'd have stayed in otherwise as this is tight but at least has a small outside balcony that can be used when the weather permits. Don't get excited about having a butler...we never saw him just other staff when something had to be fixed or you requested something to the cabin. Air was not a problem in the cabin apart from the airconditioning we also can open a large window or go onto the little balcony. When travelling at night especially, the cabin groans and there are many noises, sometimes bumps during the nights. A newer ship may be more buffered from these but this cabin #317 doesn't handle it well (light sleepers may need a tablet or to drink more). The cruise highlights off the ship both featured classical entertainment which were really exceptional. One evening was held in a privately owned castle, the other in a private palace which were both places we'd probably not have gotten to otherwise but to be fair other cruise ships may have similar I didn't look into it. Onboard entertainment otherswise was a very lacklustre experience, with the exception of the night of a visiting UK performer (APT brought in a couple of performers I only heard one as the other was country music but this lady was excellent) sh performed a mixed caberet style show (had an exceptional voice) and injected a much needed change to the usual offerings. Three - four evenings during our cruise was not enough to make the difference though. Some of the staff were terrific especially good was Plamen (barman upstairs, who knew each passengers name - without badges and what they liked to drink). The day we travelled to Salzburg was terrific the train was a special charter, which enjoyed the decor of bygone days - each carriage a little different to the others. Representing the culture well was some operatic/caberet type entertainment on the return journey along with refreshments each way. Accomodation in Amsterdam at the Marriott hotel prior to our cruise was very good. If you need a firm pillow however bring your own (I wish you luck getting one otherwise) they don't understand the need. Onboard they had to reach out to another ship to find me one firm pillow as their ship only caters to people who like hard beds and very soft large square pillows. We were told our laundry was included (and it was only one bag per cabin per week) the drinks were free except if you unwittingly ask for a top shelf item as I did one night . I asked for a Cointreau and had to pay 5.50 euro for it, depite others drinking very heavily and not paying for cocktails etc. seems unfair really (drinks are either free or they are not). The food on the first day or so seemed very nice. After the first couple of days it all seems same, same not very spicy they cater for people with very bland taste, vegetables are mostly just for garnish as they're so hard they fly off your plate when you try to eat them. Overall it's like a small RSL club on the water to me and the staff couldn't care less as I've already paid.....LET ME OFF! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My husband and I travelled on the AmaBella on the Amsterdam/Budapest route on the 11 May. With respect, I vehemently disagree with some earlier comments (but I acknowledge that everyone’s entitled to their opinions). This was the first ... Read More
My husband and I travelled on the AmaBella on the Amsterdam/Budapest route on the 11 May. With respect, I vehemently disagree with some earlier comments (but I acknowledge that everyone’s entitled to their opinions). This was the first river cruise for us and won’t be the last. We felt this cruise was seamless with absolutely nothing to complain about. Our Tour Director, Emese, was competent, affable and accommodating. I don’t think she ever slept. She was always at the whim of the passengers organising their on shore tours with the utmost efficiency, and appeasing those passengers who consistently whinge; this woman was the ultimate professional. All tours were very well co-ordinated with great guides, full of enthusiasm and wit. Entertainment was organised on most nights which we found enjoyable. We even got the opportunity to dance on most occasions. The food was always tasty and well presented, in particular the Chef’s Table, in which each passenger had the opportunity to attend on two occasions, for a 5-course dinner in a gorgeous room at the aft of the ship. I am gluten intolerant and all my needs were attended to and catered for. There was a “Gluten Free Corner” set up in the dining room as well as the lounge upstairs, and all restaurant and bar staff were acquainted with all the needs of those passengers with dietary requirements. Hand sanitising was enforced at all times before and after dinner and on the return of onshore excursions. The restaurant was divided into two areas. My husband and myself sat on the so called NOISY side, whereas others elected to dine on the “quiet” side. We loved the jokes, the antics, the high 5’s etc from the happy waiters. We are Aussies and we loved every minute of this camaraderie between the crew and passengers and hence, applaud APT for allowing this. Most of our Australian cohorts on board couldn’t get over how happy the crew were; their enthusiasm was infectious. Cabin details are outlined below. Some reviews mentioned noise emanating from the upper deck and while sailing through the lochs during the night, we never heard a sound or felt any impact......maybe we were just lucky. We were entitled to Butler Service but we didn’t need it as we used to go to the lounge for tea/coffe which was available 24/7. Although he did bring us hor d’oeuvres (gluten free of course) each afternoon. The one bag of free laundry per week was a bonus. Most of the passengers were Australian, a few New Zealanders and a hand full of British. We became friendly with an English couple who had the time of their lives; they couldn’t get over how much fun the Australians were. The three Gold Signature Experiences are not to be missed, namely, the visit to Namedy Castle in Andernach, Germany, a private concert at the Lichtenstein Palace, Vienna and a ride on the Majestic Imperator train from Passau to Salzburg for the day and then onto Linz, to join up with the ship. The age of the passengers varied, mostly 55-75, but I should mention there were some super fit people in this age group who did the 34km bike ride from Melk to Durnstein and two other excursions that required the use of bicycles. In relation to the onshore tours, there was a fast paced group (red group). My husband and I always joined the regular group (green, yellow or blue) as we are photo-taking junkies with cameras. Lots of passengers were using their IPhone and IPad cameras. Those that had mobility issues were catered for and well looked after (pink group). We also had a young couple on their honeymoon who appeared to be having fun with us oldies. In conclusion, I would happily go on another river cruise just to take in the magnificent sights I missed. We were kept busy (by choice) the whole time, we never missed a tour, we never stopped but we loved it. If you go with an open mind, go with the flow, and embrace anything and everything that is on offer, you will have a ball, just like my husband and I did. Congratulations APT, you never disappoint. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I found this river cruise fantastic, I cannot understand one of the reviews on this cruise, there was absolutely nothing to complain about. Food wonderful, staff so helpful, the people on the cruise very friendly, the tour director Emese ... Read More
I found this river cruise fantastic, I cannot understand one of the reviews on this cruise, there was absolutely nothing to complain about. Food wonderful, staff so helpful, the people on the cruise very friendly, the tour director Emese (spelling) could not do enough for everybody. I have a mobility problem and she went out of her way to make sure I was comfortable, travelling with Australians was fun, friendly and enjoyable. Cabin beautiful, tours fantastic no complaints from start to finish. The dining room staff were second to none, helpful,friendly and could not do enough for you. The Reception desk helpful, staff in the lounge wonderful, people who cleaned the cabins courteous and very friendly and cabins always so nice and clean. The food to die for, fresh and lovely every day. The tours that Emese organized were brilliant all and all a wonderful holiday, a trip of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Just returned from the Mekong River Cruise including the AMA Land package and enjoyed every bit of it. The ship is a lovely intimate experience, 108 were on board, the majority 50+ seasoned cruisers, various fitness levels, and everyone ... Read More
Just returned from the Mekong River Cruise including the AMA Land package and enjoyed every bit of it. The ship is a lovely intimate experience, 108 were on board, the majority 50+ seasoned cruisers, various fitness levels, and everyone appeared to have a great time. The cabins are very spacious, plenty of storage space, large bathroom for cruising, and enjoyed the small deck to sit out on and watch the countryside go by some days. The shore excursions were optional, and with at least 2 offered every day we did pass on a couple, but sunrise at Angkor Wat and the Buddhist blessing should not be missed. Food on the ship was plentiful, lunch buffets were sometimes a little limited in options, we hit a couple dinner choices that didn't really hit the mark, but a strong 4 for the food and all that they do to try and make you happy. What we most have to commend them for is the Service. The Ship crew all went out of their way to make you welcome and meet your every need, the AMA tour manager (Long) and the Guides we had (Dara/Tek/Jack) shared such a joy for their countries and sharing the history with us that you wanted to spend more time with them. This is not a trip I would take with children as there are no real "activities' for them, but for the 50+ wanting to see these beautiful countries and their heartwarming people, I definitely would recommend this trip. Each day showed a new landscape and a new adventure! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We have only experienced ocean cruises previously so river cruising was all new to us. We decided to combine this with a cruise to places we had not seen previously as well and we were not disappointed (although there are vast differences ... Read More
We have only experienced ocean cruises previously so river cruising was all new to us. We decided to combine this with a cruise to places we had not seen previously as well and we were not disappointed (although there are vast differences between river and ocean cruising). The organisation was perfect - we were collected at the airport, driven to the ship and made welcome, even though we were early. We had the option of staying in the lounge until we could officially board or explore the city (map and brief explanation provided). At cruise end, we were transported back to the airport. The time taken to embark and disembark was minimal and well conducted, even to the stage of personally being introduced to our cabin attendant. River ships seem to be consistent in size, due to the width of the locks, the available height under bridges and the legislated length. All meals were served in the dining area with a speciality restaurant (Chef's table) and small snacks always as an alternative in the lounge. The quality of the meals was excellent although there is always one person who thinks the meals on some other ship were better (and this was on day 1) so I put this down to a case of someone trying to prove they have been on other ships/cruises. With the meals, there is always some consistency of items but the main courses change daily as do the soups and starters. There is also a consistent standard always available main course for both lunch and dinner. One could not go hungry as there was heaps to eat. River cruising does not offer the opportunity of stage shows nor does it allow for large groups of artists. Because of this, the nightly entertainment is usually one to four people performing for a single show - the quality improved as the cruise went on, the final performers being of very good quality. The resident pianist was average but certainly tried to include everyone. Service was personable and always of an excellent level - could not fault anyone of the staff. Met the captain in the wheelhouse and he explained the workings to us all - a very personable man who took the time to be pleasant whenever he met with anyone. Cruise director did a very good job as did most guides on the excursions. The shore excursions were mostly good, the concert at the palace in Vienna being exceptional. Laundry was prompt and efficient. My only criticism is that on occasions the excursion guides and the cruise director do not have English as a first language and, as a result, some of their presentations tend to be monotonous. Some of the guides also tried to provide too much information. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We cruised on the RV Samatha in Nov 17 from Yangon to Mandalay. The cruise was a delight or at least the onboard component. Burma itself is third-world and poor but the people seem friendly - “seem” because you don’t have much ... Read More
We cruised on the RV Samatha in Nov 17 from Yangon to Mandalay. The cruise was a delight or at least the onboard component. Burma itself is third-world and poor but the people seem friendly - “seem” because you don’t have much interaction with them. The food on the boat is superb, the best we’ve tasted on a cruise. I heard no complaints and the APT company seem to have a reputation for good food and service. You cruise in a first-world fairly luxurious hermetically-sealed bubble. You disembark for your daily one or two hour excursion guided by the boar’s tour guides who do a fairly decent job. But realistically there is not a lot to see in Burma apart from pagodas, temples, monasteries etc. An hour or two is all that’s needed to see the local sites. The passengers demographics also suggest this time frame. Age ranges were in the 60s to 80s, mostly married but groups of women and the odd single passenger were onboard. Passengers were mainly Australian, with sizeable minorities of Kiwis and Brits. They all impressed as well-heeled, i.e., financially comfortably. Passengers on our boat were generally friendly but you soon group up with like-minded souls, or avoid NOTs (not our types). The cabins were large and comfortable. Internet (free) is available in the lounge and was “OK”; you'll get your email and facebook in and out but speed is slowish. Clothes-wise, for men, bring shorts that cover the knee which are required for religious sites. They're cooler than long pants but some wore them long for the excursions. Also, slip-on shoes are best as shoes and socks cannot be worn in religious sites. Sandals, casual slip-on are best. Some walking is required but not to the extent that hiking boots or running shoes are needed. Dress onboard was casual; jackets are not required for dining. Women, tended to “dress” for dinner. Light cotton, seersucker or similar are best in the hot climate. Once onboard you don’t have to put your hand in your pocket. Food, standard drinks (pay for flasher drinks though), excursions are included in the fare. All meals are taken on board. I’d not chance eating locally or drinking the water anyway. Third-world hygiene standards prevailed on shore. There were some large hotels, probably hygienic but we flew in, cruised and flew out immediately so can’t comment. We had a great time. The food was a highlight, as was cruising the ocherous Irrawaddy River. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Highs - Excursions - The daily excursions were great. Well organised with great guides. - Royal Collection - Three highlight tours - Namedy Castle, Majestic Imperator Train to Salzburg and a night of classical music in ... Read More
Highs - Excursions - The daily excursions were great. Well organised with great guides. - Royal Collection - Three highlight tours - Namedy Castle, Majestic Imperator Train to Salzburg and a night of classical music in Vienna. All superb. - Service - The service of the staff in the dining rooms, reception and our rooms were wonderful. All very friendly and helpful. Just ok - The food was plentiful but certainly not to the standard we expected. Selection of beers and wines was surprisingly limited. There were only two beers and they ran out of the one I liked early in the cruise. Despite stopping at a port each day and being told each night they would get the beer tomorrow, it took nearly a week before they got additional stock. Lows - Service - bar staff - it became obvious it was the last cruise of the year and they were tired. At times you felt you were a bother to them. - Entertainment - It was a real mixed bag but average overall - Dining - It looks like their are two different restaurants but in reality they are the same and offer the same food. We were a couple and as you couldn't reserve a table found it difficult at times finding a seat with out upsetting people. There were many larger groups who wanted to sit in the same seats every day, breakfast lunch and dinner. You certainly got the message if you sat in someones seat. - Public Areas - too small for a full cruise. People had to sit on arms of chairs at times. I have little doubt the majority of people on the cruise loved it. I think it depends on age and expectations. We felt that whilst enjoyable there were too many let downs to call it Luxury also considering the price. And please APT don't have you cruise directors tell all and sundry that tips are looked after by APT and if we felt we got good service to could tip. We paid for the staffs tips in our price. It certainly created and expectation to further tip the staff. I'm happy to tip good service but only once. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our first river cruise so first for other novices I was surprised to find: The wall aren't metal so my magnetic clips and hooks went back in the suitcase There is no movement - even at full tilt it was impossible to ... Read More
This was our first river cruise so first for other novices I was surprised to find: The wall aren't metal so my magnetic clips and hooks went back in the suitcase There is no movement - even at full tilt it was impossible to tell that we were on the water. In total DH and I travel about 3 months a year, DIY tours, luxury tours, Ocean Cruises, short breaks …. this was the best vacation experience we have ever had - we thoroughly enjoyed just about every aspect of the trip. Cabin We had a cabin on the lower deck with a super comfy bed, plenty of space (though lacking in draws) and a great shower, our view was pretty special too Attention to detail seemed to be real priority for APT so though there was only one European, one Aussie and one UK socket in the room - it came with 3 way European extension cable and assurances that adapters were available from reception. The AC worked in a way that many 5 star hotels could learn from - set the temperature and that is what you got. Bottled water was replaced in the fridge and on the dresser daily, robes, slippers and night time chocolates all standard. Food Breakfast was served in the dining room for two hours each morning. Fruit, cereal, cold meat, cheese, yogurt, smoked salmon, bread, pastries, scrambled eggs, bacon, beans, were from the buffet, fried eggs and omelettes from the egg guy and poached egg, oatmeal and eggs Benedict ordered at the table. The variety and quality of the fresh fruit especially was outstanding. Lunch you had the choice of either a variety of heavy snacks (sandwiches, cheese, soup) in the lounge or a up to four course meal in the dining room. We usually went to the dining room and enjoyed every meal, though did learn to stay away from the freely flowing wine and decadent dessert so early in the day. Dinner Each meal in the dining room consisted of a choice of two or three appetisers, two soups, a meat, fish and vegetarian selection for main courses and three desserts. There were also the always available options of chicken breast, salmon and a couple of others. The wine served at dinner was excellent (especially the whites as were were traveling through a region which specialised in white wine) The wine from the bar and at lunch was fine but not great. Over the 14 days we had maybe one meal in the main dining room which was OK - all the rest were outstanding. The food was much better than on the last luxury ocean cruise line we sailed with. The Chef was one of the highlights of the trip when I complimented him on the quality of the cheese he made me a special dish of Stilton (may favourite) cheese, covered in chocolate - which sounds odd but was amazing. There was a specialty restaurant which was free of charge but needed reservations. This had a single menu for the first week and another for the second week. Some guests were very impressed but our experience was the room was crowded and lacked atmosphere, the welcome drink was some horrid water melon concoction, the sorbet was warm, the meat was cold and the service poor. All the food looked really impressive but we felt we had missed a great meal in the MDR so cancelled our second booking. There was also afternoon tea and late night snacks served in the lounge but really we did not feel the need. Public Spaces In the dining room is a mix of two, four and six seat tables there were always seats available though a little shuffling was needed to manoeuvre around as there was not a great deal of space between tables. Likewise in the lounge there were enough seats but it was sometimes hard to get a good view of what was going on when a lecture or demonstration was going on. Outside the top deck was closed for 4 days as we navigated the locks and low bridges between Rudesheim and Regensburg. There was still outside seats in front of the wheelhouse but the pool and walking track were off limits. In October most of the Australians on board decided that it was to chilly to be out for long so there was plenty of space, I can imagine in warm weather the limited open air space could be a negative. Experiences: Three Experiences were included on this trip and each was truly a memorable occasion. Dinner at the private home of Princess Heide von Hohenzollern was much more than a lovely meal in a stunning location were were encouraged to tour the castle, look at the books and sit on the sofas. Rather than a coach to transport us to Salzburg a copy of the Austrian Imperial family train was ours for the journey. Champagne was served as we wandered amongst the luxurious furniture and polished wood. On the return journey, singers moved from coach to coach with music from the Magic Flute and Sound of Music. Finally we were treated to a Champagne reception at the stunning privately owned Liechtenstein City Palace in Vienna followed by a stunning concert. We were told we would have three royal experiences but actually we had three experiences where we were treated like royalty. Tours At each stop there was included excursions often a walking tour with excellent local guides using Quitevoxes. This was the first time we had encountered these devices and they are truly wonderful. A party of 25 suddenly become just you and the guide as every word they say is clear even when you have wondered off across the street to take pictures or are separated by Amsterdam’s traffic. Some times a bus and walking tour were combined and on six days there was a choice of two or three excursions to choose from. CD Bartel had clearly mastered the art of cloning as he appeared to accompany each of the, up to, six different groups each day. Bicycles were also available to explore the area. The information provided at the end of each day was much more than a schedule of the next days arrangements. It included wonderful information on the history, politics, agriculture, wines and food of the regions we passed through. Included Bartel, our Cruise Director, told us at the beginning of the trip that the only money we needed for the next two weeks was a few 50c coins for the public toilets and he was basically right. Tips - included; excursions - included; sparkling wine at breakfast - included; wine and beer with lunch and dinner - included; drinks from the bar 9am till late - included; tour of the wheelhouse by the captain - included. Before and after Before the cruise I was like a three year old at Christmas as I unpacked the goody bag from APT. Two really sturdy rucksacks with clever small bags which unzipped from them. Quality luggage tags, a document folder for our passports, laundry bags and magnetic name tags. Having been forced to wear ID for work I was at first sceptical about wearing a name tag (first name only) but most people chose to wear them through out the trip and they added to the experience, if you see someone’s name written down you remember it far better - by the end we were so used to them that we almost travelled home in ours. At the end of the cruise you are not kicked of the ship at 8.30 like on cruise ships - at 9am, cabins have to be vacated but you can stay on the ship until 2.30pm have some soup, and leave when you wish. We had arranged our own post cruise extension but still APT arranged a taxi for us at the time we requested and helped us with our luggage - really A Personal Touch. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Departure Day minus one: Packed – one huge ( approx. 23Kg) case, plus 2 small wheelie hand luggage cases Sunday October 15 - Day 1 Up at 6.25am. Taxi to Heathrow arrived 7.25. Driver ignored the warning gantries about probs on ... Read More
Departure Day minus one: Packed – one huge ( approx. 23Kg) case, plus 2 small wheelie hand luggage cases Sunday October 15 - Day 1 Up at 6.25am. Taxi to Heathrow arrived 7.25. Driver ignored the warning gantries about probs on the M4.....so we sat for 20 mins thereon. Driver very stressed – “anxiety makes me nauseous.” Arrived terminal 5 at pam. Checked. Decided not to buy Hungarian Florints, but to wait and see how many we need. By 9.30 all complete, then sit and sit people watching – til 10.55 gate announced. 11.05 board. 11.45 leave.20 mins taxiing, 40 mins flight, 20 mins taxiing at Schipol. Long walk to baggage hall. Why is our luggage always last? Coach to ship - the Amaverde – including another road closure ( Amsterdam Marathon). Cabin miles along the corridor. Folder of info about itinerary, tours’ booking forms etc. unpacked. Also contains dressing gowns and slippers, lanyard for doorkey. Magnetic name badges came with tickets… Walls only magnetic on corners unlike Ocean ships Went to lounge for cuppa ( no kettles in cabins) explored ship. Door key took some persuading to work (operator error). Safety talk/ general info / meet the team/ port talk before dinner. 151passengers 99 x Oz 45 x UK 4 x NZ 1 x Malaysian, 1 x Canadian, 1 x US Dinner – full order taken (starter, soup, main and dessert) at start. All drinks included Dinner with 2 NZs Coffee in lounge Was asked, “Do the crew sleep on board? I know they do on Sea cruises, but this is a river….” Monday October 16 – Day 2 Up at silly o’clock for 8.30 departure of tours. Chris to canals, M to supervise the movement of the ship to a new dock. Sailed to Wijk bij Duurstede where the tour rejoined the ship. A shame there was no option for independent exploration of Amsterdam From there thro’ lock into the Rhine canal Captain’s welcome reception before dinner. Dinner with Italian Aussies Today’s quote: “It’ll be good to go to Bonn now the wall is down” “Sorry, that’s Berlin…” M was up all night in the loo every 20 mins from 2am…. (either the change of diet, last night’s crab cake, or ( most likely, the soft cheese) Tuesday October 17 – Day 3 Cologne – either walking tour of Cologne and bus to Bonn, or bus to Bonn, then walking tour. OH to Bonn. M stayed onboard nursing dodgy tum. Trips back by lunch. Had minute lunch, then watched the Rhine valley float by. Docked for night at Andernach - Dinner at Namedy Castle. M didn’t go, had dinner in the lounge with 3 others (plus one had room service dinner). OH had good time Wednesday October 18 – Day 4 A quiet night – the engines didn’t start until 5.30ish. Sailed thro’ Rhine Gorge – past the Lorelei to Rudesheim Foggy first thing, but cleared as the sun came out mid-morning. Chilly on top deck which was best vantage point. Ship provides blankets with sleeves for the less hardy. Also Rudesheim coffee – a bit like a brandy floater Arrived Rudesheim at 1.30pm. Took land train to the Music Museum. Loads of mechanical instruments – pianos, organs, organs, violins, music boxes etc. Could have taken train back, but preferred to walk. Stuck at level crossing as 3 trains went thro’ – one passenger, plus 2 l-o-ong goods trains. Others could go to the Gondola ride to above the town. Thursday October 19 – Day 5 The day started with a glass blowing demo in the lounge – while we cruised to Miltenberg. There was a ‘treasure hunt’ – a list of questions to find out the answers from the tour guides…. \we did our own thing. Fave thing? The ‘pissing men’ statue outside the public loos! We had 1.5 hours before had to be back onboard- treasure hunters were bussed to Freundenberg. After dinner we teamed up with the Italian Aussies to form the Britalianoz music quiz team Friday October 20 – Day 6 Wurzburg. OH went on trip to the Residenz (Prince Bishops). M explored town. After lunch both did more exploring including a bridge full of bishop/saint/prince statues Saturday October 21 – Day 7 Bamberg. Watched, and videoed the lock operations (68 in total on trip). ln afternoon OH did bus trip to town. M decided to keep an elderly lady company onboard Singer entertainer in evening Sunday October 22 – Day 8 Nuremburg. OH took the day off from tours – and the town was too far to walk, so we ambled along the river bank Lecture about locks on the Main Danube canal in afternoon. Mega deep locks – 82ft! At 5pm we crossed the European watershed….. downhill from here on! After dinner entertainment – an ‘oompah‘ band Monday October 23 – Day 9 Regensburg. We set off with map to diy the town. Including find a department store for some shopping. After lunch we did the ‘wheelhouse tour’ Fascinating Tuesday October 24 – Day 10 Passau, Salzburg/ Linz OH went off on the 8am coach for the Imperator train to Salzburg, and on the Linz while M stayed onboard to sail all the way. Were late sailing cos the german police were onboard checking passports and visas. The scenery was wonderful – Autumn colours exquisite. Lunch in state in the lounge – with 2 others. Arrived Linz 5.15, OH back at 6.45 Wednesday October 25 – Day 11 Melk/Durnstein OH did the Abbey tour (unimpressed at the wealth of the community – very glitzy), M did the town. Still haven’t found out who Barwig Bear is (other than a sculpture in the park). After lunch we waved off the brave 30 or so people who were cycling to Durnstein. We sailed. Durnstein Castle was where Blondin found Richard the Lionheart imprisoned. Had time to explore the town Thursday October 26 – Day 12 Vienna day1. OH on walking tour – difficult cos it was a public holiday and many roads/ sights shut ( including RingStrasse). M to Prater and the Ferris wheel. After lunch we crossed the bridge to the Danube Island. Very hot day. Early dinner at 5.30. Desserts after the concert! Concert at Lichtenstein Palace – Chamber Orchestra plus girls’ choir Friday October 27 – Day 13 Vienna Day 2 OH to Schonnbrunn. M declined cos not enough time allowed for the bits she wanted to see (the gardens). In the event it poured with rain at that point , so very little garden seen at all as everyone ran for the bus! M explored on foot - after watching the Lippizaner introductory talk – keeping an eye on the grey skies. Had intended to metro into town in the afternoon, but still teeming, so played scrabble instead! Disembarkation briefing Captain’s farewell dinner (M avoided the soft cheese canapes this time….) Sailed through Bratislava during dinner. Crew entertainment – seemed mainly the hotel manager on electric guitar, so we didn’t stay til the end Saturday October 28 – Day 14 Budapest Day 1. Arrived mid-morning. Announcement that you can go to the market this morning, then after lunch there’s a coach/walking tour. OH decided he’d done enough tours/ castle/palaces/burgs and he was coming with me and the map. Did market in the morning, then walked to Parliament in afternoon. Past the Shoe memorial. Said memorial wasn’t included in the organised trip much to the annoyance those I told about it…. Hungarian folkloric music/dancing before dinner, then lighted sail-by after dinner Sunday October 29– Day 15 Budapest Day 2 Raining heavily. We were off ship by 10 on way to airport. Flight an hour late taking off cos too windy to load luggage. In the end we left it behind. It arrived home via a courier 2 days later. Hadn’t booked a taxi from Heathrow. Initially were going to get the X 26 bus, but cos now only hand luggage, decided to go by tube ( rejected initially cos too many steps in the stations. Bad move – the bus would have been better – less crowded APT pros and cons Name badges for all – a brilliant idea Lanyards for all on which we could hang our door keys. Many tucked their trip tickets in it too Excellent maps in all ports BUT………Very few diy possibilities Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and because of the reports we had read from previous travelers about the quality of the ship, the food and the tours. We did an 8 day cruise on the Danube plus three additional days in Prague, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and because of the reports we had read from previous travelers about the quality of the ship, the food and the tours. We did an 8 day cruise on the Danube plus three additional days in Prague, and were completely satisfied with the meals, the selection of daily tour excursions, cabin layout, and onboard entertainment. We were greeted every afternoon upon returning to the ship with a beverage and a warm welcome Service in the dining room was friendly, food selection and quantity was perfect, cleanliness and quality of ship furnishings met our expectations, and the staff always did above and beyond to meet our needs. There were multiple options each day of activities/tours to engage in that involved walking and buses, and always with well informed/educated tour guides from the local area. I would consider AMA Waterways on my next river cruise, without a doubt. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We took a Grand European Tour with Ama last year and enjoyed it so much we wanted to experience another trip. We picked Paris to Normandy for personal reasons since our Dad landed on Omaha Beach. The food is fabulous as well as the wine ... Read More
We took a Grand European Tour with Ama last year and enjoyed it so much we wanted to experience another trip. We picked Paris to Normandy for personal reasons since our Dad landed on Omaha Beach. The food is fabulous as well as the wine on this ship. All the staff made sure we were happy with their service. We would take another Ama cruise because we know the quality of the food and the service will be first rate. We really loved the way they had a special ceremony for us at the U.S. cemetery in Normandy. It was truly moving and a memory that will last forever. We would have liked a little more time in Honfleur - I wonderful seaside festival was going on and we only had a short time to visit this lovely seaside town. Overall - we enjoyed our cruise and would recommend it to anyone. Thank you to the entire crew for making our vacation so wonderful! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Having cruised with APT in Russia, Vietnam and Cambodia we were thrilled to be able to cruise in Europe and in perhaps one of the best ships doing so. The AmaVerde was a fantastic experience from the moment we boarded up to the ... Read More
Having cruised with APT in Russia, Vietnam and Cambodia we were thrilled to be able to cruise in Europe and in perhaps one of the best ships doing so. The AmaVerde was a fantastic experience from the moment we boarded up to the disembarkation. The crew and staff were as professional as they were friendly. There was not one crew member who did not try their best and nothing was too much to request. It was fantastic service on a beautiful ship. Everything went to plan and any changes made for weather etc. were seamless and handled very well. Everyone of the crew went out of their way to make you feel welcome, special and relaxed. The food in all areas was fabulous. Every meal was a banquet, beautifully presented and served. The Chefs Table dinners are a must and we enjoyed two wonderful five course meals with matched wines with our new friends. Day or night, there was always something good to snack on too! The schedule of the cruise is just right, not too busy with time to relax and simply do your own thing. The shore trips were generally great with not too much walking but always well conducted and the shore briefs were very useful to decide or prepare. And the scenery, wow! We had noted other reviews where people were critical of going through the locks and walking on cobble stones; c'mon people! You're traversing most of Europe, what do you expect. And anyway, most of the locks were passed at night and rarely did we notice. We treated ourselves to an Owners suite which, if you can, you should request. The extra space and butler service was the icing on the cake. We can't wait to do this again but we have already signed up for another APT adventure in Africa first! To all you prospective river cruisers, don't delay! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
the cruise was good ,the staff were great ,the meals and drinks were all good,the entertainment was average,and our room which was a royal suite was NOT what we expected, our shower was ridiculously small and the room size was only ... Read More
the cruise was good ,the staff were great ,the meals and drinks were all good,the entertainment was average,and our room which was a royal suite was NOT what we expected, our shower was ridiculously small and the room size was only marginally bigger than the other rooms on level 3. seeing that this vessel is only 2 years old with many complaints about there shower in the royal suites yet they have done nothing about it ,l have complained, but its like talking to deaf ears we would not recommend the royal suite to anyone total waste of money in my opinion ,its very disappointing that they don't take there complaints seriously,celebrating 90 years in touring l would have thought that they would listen and take action when they have the same complaint over and over again,would l travel with APT again after there response over our complaint and the time they took to get back to us probably not,they need to try harder to keep there passengers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Having been on and enjoyed the Budapest to Amsterdam cruise we were looking forward to the 15 day Bordeaux cruise and we were not disappointed when came to the standard of food and service on both AmaDolce and AmaCello. Lovely ships with ... Read More
Having been on and enjoyed the Budapest to Amsterdam cruise we were looking forward to the 15 day Bordeaux cruise and we were not disappointed when came to the standard of food and service on both AmaDolce and AmaCello. Lovely ships with excellent staff and crew.We were also more than satisfied with the Rhone and Soane rivers with the standard of entertainment,shore visits and attractions.All excellent especially the cruise into Lyon at night and the meal at the Paul Bocuse L'Abbaye de Collonges Michelin starred restaurant was unbelievable. Unfortunately the Garonne River does not live up to the same standard and in so many ways was disappointing.Firstly the river is so muddy and looks like it runs upside down.Most of the so called attractions took a 3 hour coach trip there and back and none were worth the drive.The shops in the towns or villages visited were mostly closed and the markets were always held the day before or the day after we visited.Surely when going up and down the same river our berthing could have planned to coincide with one market or fete just so something of interest could be available.I respectively suggest when trying to promote this river APT is flogging a dead horse and many of our fellow passengers agreed. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Ship shabby and tired albeit staff excellent. Entertainment on board low class. Overall cabins noisy. When perusing details prior were never advised deck would be unavailable for substantial period of cruise due to locks. Majority of trip ... Read More
Ship shabby and tired albeit staff excellent. Entertainment on board low class. Overall cabins noisy. When perusing details prior were never advised deck would be unavailable for substantial period of cruise due to locks. Majority of trip had bad smell in corridors and cabins. Value for money rate 4/5 out of 10. Majestic train trip uncomfortable due to heat and not explained re food and refreshments. Some of excursions too long trying to kill time. Pillows in cabin need to be reviewed. Carpets each level need to be replaced and perhaps colour coded. Air conditioning in cabins need to be addressed. Also in dining areas airconditioning not acceptable. Staff loyal and helpful. Advertising of trip different to actuality. 5 to 6 days were very average scenery. I may not recommend this trip to family or friends due to the price and as stated before this has been disappointing. Will rethink any APT tours very closely in future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This has been on our bucket list for some time. It was very enjoyable with a good mix of relaxation and activity. Some of the APT specials are not to be missed - the Grand Imperatore train (albeit some of the air con failed on a very hot ... Read More
This has been on our bucket list for some time. It was very enjoyable with a good mix of relaxation and activity. Some of the APT specials are not to be missed - the Grand Imperatore train (albeit some of the air con failed on a very hot day) and the Vienna Concert in the Lichtenstein Palace. Food was always excellent with many choices and the staff very willing to keep you pleased with a smile. Entertainment was limited to the space available, but overall enjoyable. Our room was in the lowest level and well maintained, comfortable and with no noise issues. Given it was nearly the cheapest cabin there was nothing to complain about. There was sometimes a smell, which we worked out was only while in major ports, so probably unavoidable. Wasn't an issue on any night we slept on the boat. Cruise operator could make it plain that low bridges will mean top deck is unavailable for 5-6 days while on the Rhine/Danube canal. I know this is mentioned but perhaps made a little clearer. The dining experiences at the special tables in the stern were a highlight, for both food and service. Apart from these small issues (to us at least) you could not fault the whole experience. This is our third APT/TravelMarvel trip and we plan another. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was our favourite cruise ever. We have sailed on numerous ocean cruises but this was our first River Cruise and we could not fault it. Staff, Excellent and nothing was too much trouble. Food, delicious and so much choice. Drinks, ... Read More
This was our favourite cruise ever. We have sailed on numerous ocean cruises but this was our first River Cruise and we could not fault it. Staff, Excellent and nothing was too much trouble. Food, delicious and so much choice. Drinks, always available and very generously dispenced. No watering down of drinks on our cruise. The only thing you had to decide each day was the clothes that you wore, everything else was decided for you. Stewart our cruise director was alway available and so helpful. Could not find one negative comment for the whole journey. As we have been on a number of cruises we have learnt to choose the most inexpensive room. The only time spent in your room is for sleeping so why pay extra for a picture window when the best veiw is from the top deck or lounge room. Can't see much from your balcony when you are in one of the 64 locks or tied up in port next to another ship. Save the added expence and put it towards your next APT river Cruise, thats what we are doing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We have just returned from an APT Cruise -Budapest to Amsterdam and wholeheartedly give this company 5 stars. From our airport welcome (our plane was over an hour and a half late) to our disembarkation I give this company the thumbs up. ... Read More
We have just returned from an APT Cruise -Budapest to Amsterdam and wholeheartedly give this company 5 stars. From our airport welcome (our plane was over an hour and a half late) to our disembarkation I give this company the thumbs up. The ship itself was spacious (there were 129 on board but it accommodates 160) with our balcony cabin well set out and a small but adequate bathroom. Our cabin crew were most obliging as were all the crew. The dining room and staff were first class. Most people sat at a selected table from day one so we did get to know our waiters and they likewise. The food was excellent with a wide variety to choose from, with formal dining downstairs and casual dining upstairs. The entertaining area was large enough to seat everyone and this also was where the bar was, hence passengers socialised in this area. The variety of drinks were amazing as well as coffee and nibbles. The entertainment was low key but we didn't choose this cruise for entertainment; that is left to the bigger cruise liners. The ports we called into (apart fro Nuremburg) breathtaking as was the countryside we sailed through, the castles we passed and the towns we glimpsed at. Our cruise director was very informative and helpful as was the guides in each port we had. The only small criticism I had of this cruise was I would like to have seen the sanitisation of hands in the public areas enforced to stave off infections. Otherwise a wonderful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My wife & I had discussed going on a European river cruise off & on over the previous two years. APT were offering return airfares cheap when we passed a travel agent. So in we went & booked. The cruise was wonderful. ... Read More
My wife & I had discussed going on a European river cruise off & on over the previous two years. APT were offering return airfares cheap when we passed a travel agent. So in we went & booked. The cruise was wonderful. Travelling from Australia to Amsterdam then London to Australia were not. We arrived at Amsterdam in a Airbus A380 as another Airbus A380 arrived on a parallel runway. So it took a very long time to get through passport control. We were meant to be greeted by an APT representative and taken to the ship. No one was there. They thought we were a 'no-show'. It was pure luck that one representative decided to take one last quick look and spotted our APT backpacks. From there things went pretty smoothly. Food was plentiful, perhaps a little too plentiful. You could partake an early light breakfast or a fuller later breakfast in the lounge. Or even more for breakfast in the restaurant. There was a light lunch in the lounge or more in the restaurant. Dinner with a number of courses was in the restaurant. On top of this it was possible to have snacks for morning and afternoon tea. Service for meals was generally prompt. The young lady who serviced our suite did a great job. The tour director was absolutely fantastic. Especially as she had to quickly rearrange bus pickup points many mornings. The rivers are surprisingly busy and the ship was held up at locks many times as it waited its turn. The city tours were varied and informative. We walked a lot. We wished that we had taken the opportunity for a night in Amsterdam before the cruise. We holidayed in London after the cruise. This did not affect the airfare deal. Some people on this cruise has been on European river cruises before. All bar three or four people were aged over fifty. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We booked this APT river cruise fairly late when we saw a special offer. It was our fourth trip with APT and our second river cruise with them. The early morning flight arrived slightly early into Marseille and we headed for the ... Read More
We booked this APT river cruise fairly late when we saw a special offer. It was our fourth trip with APT and our second river cruise with them. The early morning flight arrived slightly early into Marseille and we headed for the information desk after baggage claim as per our itinerary but there was no sign of our guide. We spotted several other APT passengers wandering looking for the guide and eventually found the guide near the baggage hall exit. She was holding a very small badly lit tablet with part of the APT sign displayed so it is no wonder most of us missed her. She told us the bus wasn't here yet so if we wanted the toilet or a coffee we could use the facilities but she didn't specify a time to come back. Consequently when the bus did arrive the guide had a problem rounding everyone up again. When we were all assembled the guide told us that due to works at the airport the coach couldn't pick us up outside so we had to walk to the coach. This turned to be a walk of approximately half a mile to a car park crossing various roads pulling our luggage as no porter's were provided. Given the age profile of the group this really wasn't acceptable. On boarding the ship in Arles we received a very warm welcome from the captain, second captain and the house manager and a light lunch with drinks was available in the lounge. Our cabins were available from 15.00 and announcements were made when cabins were available. The food on board was generally good but not great. We were served a cold main course on a cold plate in the chef's table which should have been hot but the head waiter brushed off numerous complaints. The salad looked a bit tired some lunchtimes and the deserts majored in chocolate. I like my beef "well done" with no red meat but most of the meat was served medium in spite of the waiter asking how you would like it cooked. The service in the restaurant was good but our waiter often served tables randomly so it was a bit of a lottery when you got your food. The wine waiters were really good at topping up your glass. The management of the restaurant was well handled and the house manager was ever present to lend a hand. Given where we were cruising on the Rhone we expected some really nice wines but there appeared to be only 4 reds available during the cruise and only 2 of these were drinkable. The "champagne" on offer was at best a sparkling wine and we gave it a wide berth. The excursions were generally good and well organised but the ship only had 100 passengers. Tour groups were issued coloured tickets but no one checked or collected these so people tended to drift between groups a bit. The wireless communicators worked well with only a couple of problems but guides didn't seem to have spares when a problem cropped up. Most of the guides were good but we did have one that struggled with English and really hadn't done her homework. The signature event was excellent and the food was really good (as you would expect for a Michelin restaurant) and the portions were also surprising large. Crossing the busy road to the venue was handled very well. We weren't able to use the upper deck very much as it was roped off. This was due to low bridges and the deck furniture and handrails were all stowed. Thankfully we had our French balcony so you may wish to think about that when you choose a cabin on this river. We did miss not being able to use the walking track however to burn off some of the calories we had acquired. In conclusion we had a good cruise on a comfortable ship with a great crew and as usual most of the passengers were ok too. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
The short cruise appealed to us, since it was first river cruise and we saw cities and places we had not been before (maybe 50 yrs ago) The crew was mostly Bulgarian and Rumania and Hungarian and spoke excellent english and were very ... Read More
The short cruise appealed to us, since it was first river cruise and we saw cities and places we had not been before (maybe 50 yrs ago) The crew was mostly Bulgarian and Rumania and Hungarian and spoke excellent english and were very attentive to every need. The excursions were done well w drivers explaining the cities w history etc. The cruise director Rachel Couto (or whatever the title was) was funny enough to look forward to her talks about excursions coming up. Dining was wonderful w small portion not the supersized american portion. Presentation of food was a sight to behold. Entertainment was a piano player almost nightly who was very good and played also in the afternoons. We had a bus tour of Amsterdam on departure day and last day in port we went to Keukenhof and had a canal tour. Spent an extra day in Amsterdam for more sightseeing but I became ill and spent it in hotelroom waiting for flight home next morning. Would definitly do another river cruise.... Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
RV Samatha review We went on our Irrawaddy cruise, plus a 3 day stay at Inle Lake 15 Feb 2017 to 6 March. I have done a longer than usual review as we found it very difficult to get any information before we went. The Boat The ... Read More
RV Samatha review We went on our Irrawaddy cruise, plus a 3 day stay at Inle Lake 15 Feb 2017 to 6 March. I have done a longer than usual review as we found it very difficult to get any information before we went. The Boat The boat is new to APT refurbished not new. It is well appointed and there is plenty of space. You enter on the Main Deck where the dining room is situated. There are tables down two sides, the inner ones are booths seating 4, and there are tables along the floor to ceiling windows. In the centre is a server area, used for self service items at breakfast & lunch and for the "action station" presided over by the irrepressible Muppet who cooked eggs in the morning and stir fry type items at lunchtime. There is also the private dining room Thuzar seating 12 guests where a special menu designed by Australian chef Luke Nguyen, is served and each guest can book at least twice per voyage. In the foyer area is the reception desk and a shoe rack with numbered baskets one per cabin. On return from a trip you left your shoes here and changed into supplied flip flops or your own "indoor" shoes so we didn't tread dirt over the teak floors. The shoes were then cleaned for us ready for the next jaunt. Also available here was insect repellent for a quick squirt before heading out. There is also a small selection of souvenirs and necessities , toothbrush, Strepsils etc for sale all under the watchful eye of Hotel Manager Darren and the ever smiling receptionist Zin Mar. On this deck are the window cabins, from what I could see they were the same as the balcony bar the balcony itself, I don't know if they had the armchair area. Up a set of teak stairs were the balcony cabins and suites, then up a deck to the sun deck. There was an area under a canopy with seating for at least 60 so plenty of room, in comfy cushioned mock rattan furniture, some throne type seats that were much more comfortable than they looked. A few table and chairs were set out on one side with ashtrays if there were any smokers. Down both sides in the sun were loungers and a few sun beds overlooking the stern. Also in this area is a large whirlpool jacuzzi/ plunge pool. At the front of this deck is the bar/ lounge where early morning pastries and tea and coffee were available, drinks all day and this is where we met each evening for the cocktail hour and briefing. On a few nights there was live entertainment and on a couple of nights films were shown. At the very front was a very popular spa, and a less frequented bijou gym. Food Well how many superlatives can I use. It really was 5 star. The buffet breakfast had fresh fruits, melon, papaya etc, yogurts, cereals and the pastries and breads ( all made from scratch on board) were the best we have had outside France! There was a Burmese hot soup type dish, eggs freshly made any way you liked, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, beans, potatoes, tomato we wanted for nothing. Lunch and dinner were equally sumptuous. There was always two soup and a selection of cold starters. Mains always had a fish dish, a meat dish and a vegetarian option plus at lunch time an action station of freshly cooked things, like stir fry, wontons, pasta etc. The choices also had a European style dish and an Asian style dish. There was also always available steak, chicken breast, salmon and fries. Drinks were all included and were good. Australian, Chilean wines mainly, cocktails each evening at the daily briefing. Beer, spirits and soft drinks and coffees available all day. Water was freely available with at least two bottles in the room at any one time. Staff Superb. There is no other way to describe them. We were almost full, 57 passengers, as we had a number of singletons and 47 staff including the two guides. All without exception were amazing, friendly, helpful, polite and attentive. They all helped out all over the place and went above and beyond on many occasions to ensure everyone was happy. One evening we had a crew show with the RV Samatha band and if enthusiasm and joy won awards there would have been Oscars all round! Our cruise director Thomas was great, we had a briefing each evening about the next day's activities and he was super well organised, everything was thought of. HIs colleague Clement was extremely knowledgeable and so keen to pass on his love of his country and its history. The whole team on the ship turned out at times to help us disembark up bankings and steps and were there with cold cloths and drinks to welcome us back. Weather We went at the end of the dry season, no rain since November. This plus was low humidity the big minus lots of dust added to the woodsmoke and general pollution most people got a hacking chest cough. A saline nasal spray would be useful and some throat sweets. The afternoon temperatures were high 30C Clothes I had bought Craghoppers anti insect/sunblock long sleeved shirts and long trousers which drip dry and dry quickly. these were fine for off the ship. Others though seemed fine with linen sun dresses and sandals! I wished I had brought crops or shorts and something a wee bit smarter for lounging about on the sun deck. Skechers Go Walk slip ons were great to wear without socks and easy to get on and off at the pagodas (they have needed two goes in the washer since we got home!) Cruise We did the Yangon to Mandalay 14 day cruse with a 3 day extension at Inle lake. Before we left home we had a letter from APT a telling us that due to low water levels we would not be able to sail up to Mandalay but would moor 3 days away, still using the boat as a base but continuing our excursions by coach. This was a disappointment but beyond anyone's control. The information we had pre cruise whilst not misleading gave me at least a false impression of what daily life would be like. We had a booklet before we left saying what sights we would be going to see each day, and tips on what to wear off the boat, walking shoes, cool long sleeved long trousered type clothing to avoid bites and the sun, and also for visiting pagodas where you had to take off socks and shoes and cover shoulders and knees. What I hadn't appreciated is that we would actually spend a lot of time on the ship, particularly for the first 4/5 days after leaving Yangon we had one or at the most two 1 or 2 hour trips off the ship. So clothing wise I wish I had taken more smarter daywear for sitting around on deck. Our first day after reaching the ship we had a trip back into Yangon to see the Shwedagon Pagoda but after that the next few days were in the delta area and the trips ashore were mainly to see the old colonial towns from the time of British rule. We visited local markets, saw how local people lived, even on a couple of occasions being invited in to see inside their homes. We found the trips interesting but probably because of the time of year and the low water levels it was often a real climb off the ship up an embankment. Members of the crew from all departments came to help us up and most of us managed it most days, but some landings were very challenging. Our average age I would guess was 65 ish but we had a fair few 80 plus who put some of us to shame. We found everywhere was very dusty, with lots of woodsmoke from cooking fires, or where farmers were clearing their fields. This could be because of the time of year, no rain had fallen since November. Plenty of bottled water was available, and we were given a bottle in a carrier as we got off the ship. But some hard sweets to keep your mouth hydrated might be good idea. A "listening" device was used for trips, with the tour guide using a mike and everyone had an earpiece. A lot of the time we spent on deck watching rural life go by, farmers tending crops, people doing their washing, boats plying their way up and down the river. We have done trips on the Amazon & Orinoco previously and honestly found the sailing down the river quite boring as the rivers are so vast there is little to see, but the Irrawaddy is narrower with much more life on the riverbanks. Higher up the river it was pagodas and stupas that were the attractions, some more interesting than others and we did maybe become a little "stupafied" by the end! We rode trishaws, horse carts and one day even did the vegetable shopping all on our own. In Bagan we took the option of the balloon trip which was stunning despite the early start. The other highlight for us was the U Bien bridge where we watched the sunset from our sampan whilst sipping champagne, much to the envy of less pampered tourists. The last few days of having to go on coaches to Mandalay, Sagaing etc were an eye opener as to what town life was like and how poor the roads were. It was quite tiring, but unavoidable and everything possible was done to make it easy for us. Inle Lake was a beautiful, tranquil place. Still lots to see a little cooler and the air a lot clearer. We had a fabulous time zipping about on boats. A Blog of our trip is here http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/jobloor/26/tpod.html& photos of the boat https://flic.kr/s/aHskVHsRfb Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
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