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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Myanmar on the Scenic Aura 21st Mar 19 -8th Apr 19 We have been on 3 previous river cruises with Scenic. The trip to Cambodia and Vietnam (see my previous review) was so good that we thought it could not be beaten. But the 18 day to ... Read More
Myanmar on the Scenic Aura 21st Mar 19 -8th Apr 19 We have been on 3 previous river cruises with Scenic. The trip to Cambodia and Vietnam (see my previous review) was so good that we thought it could not be beaten. But the 18 day to Myanmar (including land addition) equalled, if not surpassed, that trip. It really was difficult to find any ‘niggles’ so I’ll concentrate on the ‘exceptionals’. 1 – Myanmar is a truly fascinating country. It is about the poorest in South East Asia. Most people may live without electricity, running water or mains sewerage, but we didn’t see one person or child who looked malnourished or badly cared for. Indeed quite the opposite. Everyone was extremely friendly welcoming you with broad smiles. Many wanted their photo taken with my wife who has blue eyes – uncommon in Myanmar. Apparently many people have been put off visiting due to the bad publicity. This trip doesn’t go anywhere near the areas affected We felt very safe walking around on our own. My advice would be COME TO MYANMAR whilst it is still relatively undiscovered by Western tourists. 2 – The Scenic Aura is a pretty new addition to the fleet. Very modern and functional. Only has 22 suites – so maximum 44 pax. There were only 39 on our trip which included a few ‘singles’. Many Australians – but 6 other Brits + Canadians. Even the WiFi worked reasonably well. We had a Grande Deluxe Suite which was very spacious. Even had an area for my laptop that my wife referred to as The Office. The Hotel Director – JOYCE – was particularly good. Food was to a high standard. ‘Egg man’ always there for fresh fried eggs at breakfast. 3 – The standard of the pre and post cruise hotels was exceptional, in particular the Sanctum on Inle Lake and the Melia in Yangon. Truly ‘Top of the Range’ hotels. 4 – Difficult to pick out which excursions we enjoyed the most. But special mention to: - Pindaya Caves and Cookery course at Inle Lake - Longtail boats around Inle Lake visiting the local markets and houses on stilts. - Visiting some of the 4000+ temples of Bagan by horse and cart - Visiting the monastic school in Sagaing where the children all sang to us before we had to sing ‘Old MacDonald’ to them! - BBQ dinner with kite flying and live music on a sandbank in the Irrawaddy. - Visiting the pure white Hsinbyume Pagoda in Mingun - Myanmar’s Taj Mahal - Visiting the U-Bein wooden bridge at sunset in a sampan. Scenic had champagne for us to enjoy as we watched the sunset. 5 – Our guide Sai San was exceptional – both knowledgeable and personable. Everything went like clockwork. We were particularly impressed with the baggage handling on the two internal flights. Put your bags outside your room and subsquently saw them inside your next hotel room. 6 – I see some other reviews complain about the 7 hour coach trip from Yangon to join Scenic Aura at Pyay. The journey itself was quite interesting – in particular the stop at the Allied War Cemetery. The hours seemed to pass quickly and the coach used was very comfortable and spacious. Be aware As I remarked above, Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in Asia. So in many areas visited you won’t get ‘Western’ restrooms, the roads will be dusty and uneven, the markets are busy and smelly. You will witness many scenes of extreme poverty - like women washing clothes and their babies in the dirty river. Men unloading heavy bags of rice for 8 hours non stop in temperatures of 100F+ for a few dollars a day. There are lots of stray dogs in the streets. You will often have to clamber up a steep and dusty river bank to and from Scenic Aura. For us this just added to the experience. But clearly if you are going to get upset about this don’t go! Conclusion All-in-all an excellent holiday which I would thoroughly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
More tourists should experience the culture and delightful people in this Country which needs to improve its economy and it infrastructure. The Scenic experience is second to none and the cabins, dining and services on the tour were ... Read More
More tourists should experience the culture and delightful people in this Country which needs to improve its economy and it infrastructure. The Scenic experience is second to none and the cabins, dining and services on the tour were exceptional. Many of our friends don’t know much about Myanmar and are now very interested in visiting this Country and are looking at a Scenic cruise down the Irrawaddy River based on our recommendation. We enjoyed this trip as much as the the Scenic river cruise in the south of France and Spain. Very different experiences but amazing opportunities to enjoy wonderful interactions and to learn more about their rich history and religion. It was sobering to learn that only one third of the population have access to electricity however the infrastructure is slowly being installed across the Country. Our boat, the Scenic Aura was only launched in 2016 and was beautifully appointed and maximum guests of 44 on board meant that we had amazing service. We strongly recommend a visit to Myanmar to experience the Burmese culture and history. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
I'd been to Burma 21 years ago on business. And got arrested. And met the General running the country. But that's another story. What I saw then made me want to return. So pleased I did, with my wife this time. We are ... Read More
I'd been to Burma 21 years ago on business. And got arrested. And met the General running the country. But that's another story. What I saw then made me want to return. So pleased I did, with my wife this time. We are Scenic regulars and appreciate the fact they make a holiday effortless. And so it was this time on our Road from Mandalay on Aura. Yes, the song is road TO Mandalay - but we sailed downstream. And that's my first fault. The song says "... see the flying fishes play". No flying fish! But then there aren't any on the Irrawaddy. By now you can probably guess I'm striving to find faults. Aura has spacious cabins and with only 36 guests (it can take 42) the dinning room was never crowded. In fact you got to know everybody on the boat. Great camaraderie. Good food selection, though I would have preferred more fruit choices at breakfast, but excellent omelettes. I'm picky about food but while the lunch and dinner choices were more limited than on the European river cruises I didn't starve. As for all the crew - best we've ever experienced on any vessel, sea or river, anywhere in the world - they have genuine smiles and never say No. Other people have commented about being helped ashore and having shoes cleaned on return. It's all true. We were very fortunate that when we visited the home for the young novice monks and nuns a kind sponsor had brought them gifts and provided lunch, and that later we were at festival time and experienced the collection of alms for the monks with processions noisily filling the streets. We travelled by pony and trap, horse-drawn carts, tri-cycles, boats to watch the sunset over the world's longest wooden bridge. All so different. And don't miss the balloon flight over Bagan. At the end of the cruise the seven hour coach ride to Yangon from Prome was something I would not want to do again, though the bus was Business Class. Other cruise lines go all the way to Yangon. We were told that was boring. But I'd have been happy to be bored on the boat for a day or two. Scenic need to rethink this. Now my second fault. We stayed the first night in Mandalay at the Mandalay Hills Hotel. Lovely room. Amazing grounds. Bibulous Welcome Dinner. The cruise (ok bus ride) ended in Yangon. A couple of nights at the one year old Pan Pacific Hotel. Very modern hotel with excellent rooms and food - and toilets where the seat cover rises as you enter the bathroom, has a quick pre-whatever flush, a fan to remove odours and water jets to wash various parts of the anatomy. I had to take a video (not actually in use). And that leads me to my second fault. Not at the Pan Pacific (where I would really have enjoyed the dinner buffet), but to the Farewell Dinner at an old colonial hotel called The Strand. Food choice limited. Drinks ... one glass of wine. You paid for a second or third. So the real Scenic had gone. Ridiculous. Finally, to our Cruise Director Tin Pa Pa Min - you were the best ever. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
The Scenic Aura should not be compared to the Space Ships operating on European waterways as some reviewers seem to do. Scenic have done really well creating this experience in Myanmar which is a difficult country to operate in. True, the ... Read More
The Scenic Aura should not be compared to the Space Ships operating on European waterways as some reviewers seem to do. Scenic have done really well creating this experience in Myanmar which is a difficult country to operate in. True, the build quality of the Aura is not the same as the European river boats, however you soon won’t notice because you’ll be under the charm of the excellent crew. Most of them are from Myanmar and are all very professional and friendly. The lounge, restaurant and food is all first class. They will soon get to know if you like a strong cappuccino at breakfast time or a cognac after dinner. Scenic have put together a number of itineraries involving the river cruise operating both up and downstream. We did the 18 day Mystical Myanmar downstream which includes Inle Lake and a 10 day river cruise. Inle Lake is well worth including if you have time and budget. There is also a cruise only option. The Aura has its two Royal Panorama Suites at the front and not the rear as on the European boats so you can watch the scenery unfold and if your budget allows then we thoroughly recommend at a generous 70 sqm including a large terrace with a Jacuzzi. In fact all of the 22 suites are very large. You need to be open minded with a sense of adventure to travel in Myanmar, however the visits to villages and towns along the Irrawaddy that have seen few tourists is very rewarding. The local people are curious, shy and very welcoming. The water level in the Irrawaddy varies significantly over the year and disembarking in the dry, hot months of March and April can be challenging if you don’t have good mobility, however the crew including the captain are always there to assist. The off-boat excursions are many and varied and you can choose to do them all or relax on board if you wish. It's a very active program and includes transport by walking, trishaw and horse & cart. The ship’s internet access along the river can be unreliable in places so one option is to buy a local SIM card when you arrive. We were told MPT is the operator with the best service coverage and it worked well for us. You will have a Myanmar number if you do this, however you can let the people back home know your temporary number. SIM cards are available at the airport or anywhere you see MPT, ooredoo or Teledor signs and they are very cheap. We bought a SIM card with 2.5G of data for about AUD$6.50. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
This cruise of the Irrawaddy in Myanmar was mind blowing amazing! First of all the setting of such a beautiful untouched country that few people have seen was very cool. This was my third river cruise and second scenic cruise. But after ... Read More
This cruise of the Irrawaddy in Myanmar was mind blowing amazing! First of all the setting of such a beautiful untouched country that few people have seen was very cool. This was my third river cruise and second scenic cruise. But after this experience my husband and I are scenic for life. First of all the people have working for them are first rate! From the captain down to the people who clean your room. Always a smile and impeccable service! Food was out of this world. Room always clean. All tours well thought out. It was a all Aussie crowd except for us, we were the only Americans. Which is fine by me Aussies tend to be more fun than most Americans and brits. This is a fun adventurous tour and it’s a hot county so keep that in mind. But there were some people I meet on this trip on the crew that were real stand outs. First of all we were broken into two groups each with their own tour guide. Both were lovely women. But owners Susan was unbelievable! Every one in the “Susan Group” would talk about how good she was every night over drinks. Smart,witting, gracious so informative! The girl is gorgeous but that not what shines about her it’s her personality. I really hope Scenic knows what true gem they have with her and book her as much as they can! Chentel was the hotel manager very nice and VERY GOOD at her job. This is a woman who gets thinks done. Best hotel manager I have every had and I’ve been around the world about 5 times now, very good! I also want to mention Zin I the bar he served the drinks in the bar. A young man who gets service and was impeccable at all times. We loved him. Such a great trip we can’t wait to cruise with them again! Scenic sets the standard for river cruising. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
Watched a travel programme hosted by Ray Martin(Australia) and it just switched on a light in our heads. It appealed to us and we just had to see Myanmar(Burma). We arrived in Yangon and immediately was greeted by our Tour Rep ( Sai San) ... Read More
Watched a travel programme hosted by Ray Martin(Australia) and it just switched on a light in our heads. It appealed to us and we just had to see Myanmar(Burma). We arrived in Yangon and immediately was greeted by our Tour Rep ( Sai San) who was very warm and friendly and very knowledgeable about the history of the city and country. The "boat" and our cabin was absolutely fantastic. The food was nothing short of EXCELLENT and was only surpassed by the excellent attentive guests & ships crew, ( Most notably the Captain) who participated in all/many of the antics we got up too! Alas the boats entertainment was lacking with very little input/motivation from those designated to arrange, The service over the entire "Boat was again exemplary but several individuals stand out, most notably "Tintun" (restaurant manager) Sai San (Sam) ,"Saw" & "Tu Tu" kept our cabin in tip top condition. The Irrawaddy river/ shore trips/ports were very interesting, however the relentless tours of the "Pagodas started to wear a bit thin after a while! In closing the trip was as stated absolutely FANTASTIC. We were most impressed by the pictures of our hotel ( Mandalay Hill Resort) but in reality although the reception area was very impressive the rooms looked "tired" and need to be re-furbished. The main dining room was full of biting Mosquito's and were unable to provide some wines & Tea as they were "Out of Stock" Although we appreciated that we were in a foreign country the staff didn't understand basic English and we found reception staff unhelpful! The pool bar was not stocked or rarely manned with the waiter having to go into the main building for drinks etc This is not a cruise for the "Faint Hearted" the people are poor and there is a great deal of rubbish, But that's what this type of holiday is all about! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 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: December 2017
Our 11 day Irrawaddy River Cruise from Prome to Mandalay was exciting, adventerous & magical. We never felt unsafe despite the questionable media reports about this Country. The Staff and Crew on the Scenic Aura always gave 100% and ... Read More
Our 11 day Irrawaddy River Cruise from Prome to Mandalay was exciting, adventerous & magical. We never felt unsafe despite the questionable media reports about this Country. The Staff and Crew on the Scenic Aura always gave 100% and always with a smile, remembering what we liked to drink (tea or coffee, white or red wine, not to mention the cocktails!) and eat. They remembered our names from the first day and addressed us by our names every single time. They could certainly teach the European crews a thing or two about service. Food was exceptional and having cruised with Scenic's European Ships on 3 previous occasions, the food on this Ship surpassed our high expectations. Our Cabin was modern, very spacious and comfortable including the bathroom with a full size shower and separate toilet. If only all of Scenic's Ships carried only 40 odd guests at a time, so much more personal. The tour options were fantastic and our tour guide, Yi Mon was such a good sport, despite many of us wanting to brave the inclement weather for another onshore excursion through the mud. Too many wonderful experiences on this cruise to mention here. Seeing in the New Year with the Scenic Aura Staff and Crew was an absolute highlight. There is a lot of sailing on this trip so lots of time to relax which may not be active enough for some. For me it was a perfect balance. Have I mentioned how wonderful the Staff were? They really make you feel that you are the only guests on the Ship! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We have used Scenic before in Europe and tried them in Myanmar. Our decision turned out to be an excellent one. The ship was very good, although has some odd quirks - which did not detract from the cruise. The crew were all amazing, ... Read More
We have used Scenic before in Europe and tried them in Myanmar. Our decision turned out to be an excellent one. The ship was very good, although has some odd quirks - which did not detract from the cruise. The crew were all amazing, just what you expect from a luxury all inclusive cruise. They could not have been more helpful. The food was better than excellent, huge choices and amazing quality, especially the soups and salads. We stayed in a Royal Panorama Suite which was definitely worth the extra money. All excursions were excellent, but be aware that a reasonable level of fitness is required - just to get on and off the ship - i think this would apply to all cruises on the Irrawaddy though. Highly recommend Scenic and would even consider doing teh cruise again in five years time to see how the country has changed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Staff was superb, ship was great, food was excellent, guides were superior, itinerary was top notch, attention to detail above the norm. Cabins were a total surprise with windows that lowered electrically, 2 shade blinds, large size. The ... Read More
Staff was superb, ship was great, food was excellent, guides were superior, itinerary was top notch, attention to detail above the norm. Cabins were a total surprise with windows that lowered electrically, 2 shade blinds, large size. The cabin person was always there, but rarely seen. One of the largest staterooms we have bee in. Shore excursions were well conducted and interesting, each one being more thatn we had thought it was going to be. First time on scenic, and the best river cruise we have had. Dining room staff so very good. Lal ram was a delight to be around and all of the staff a huge asset to the ship. The two guids, tu tu, and papa were tops, both true professionals. We all really ejoyed tu tu's laugh. A real delight. Our captain was a true good sport and involved in many ways with the guests and crew. Read Less
Scenic Aura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 3.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.5 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0

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