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22 Scenic Aura Cruise Reviews

I had no expectation of the cruise before departure. Embarkation and disembarkation were very well processed. The entire cruise went like clock-work. The ship was very clean and cabins, restaurants, lounge are well configured. The ... Read More
I had no expectation of the cruise before departure. Embarkation and disembarkation were very well processed. The entire cruise went like clock-work. The ship was very clean and cabins, restaurants, lounge are well configured. The cabin was meticulously set out. There was nothing that was missing. All facilities were catered for. Dining areas were well equipped and dining staff were very attentive, friendly and helpful. Service provided was excellent and professional. Entertainment was pleasant and activities were well organised and sufficient given the timeframe. Excursions were interesting and the organisation of all excursions were well carried out with no fuss. All tour guides had a lot of knowledge on the places of interest and spoke very well. They were also very caring of elderly passengers and ensured groups were together at all times during the tours. My whole experience of the cruise will be remembered forever! The entire crew members made my trip very enjoyable, relaxing and memorable. I look forward to future cruises with Scenic. Read Less
Sail Date May 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 March 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
Sail Date January 2019
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
Sail Date November 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
Sail Date March 2018
Myanmar was on the bucket list. True much of the country is still 3rd world but the cultural experience and friendly attitude of the people coupled with the luxury aboard ship made the entire experience worth while. Also don,t forget to ... Read More
Myanmar was on the bucket list. True much of the country is still 3rd world but the cultural experience and friendly attitude of the people coupled with the luxury aboard ship made the entire experience worth while. Also don,t forget to bargain when purchasing tourist bits and pieces, its still the real deal there. The only warning to give is take care on various river disembarkations, but the crew do there most to ensure all is safe for passengers. There was a wide variety of shore excursions to choose from and moderate fitness was required, although with those not quite up to it every assistance was given to ensure they could enjoy experiences. Overall the cruise met all our expectations and we had researched it so we were aware of some challenges, for example onshore in some areas Asian toilets only available and of course drink , the supplied, bottled water. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
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
Sail Date December 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
Sail Date November 2017
Having travelled with Scenic in the past we decided to book our Myanmar trip with them and see the country before it gets too crowded. Firstly the Ship - the Aura. On initial inspection a lovely yacht type ship, nice entrance and ... Read More
Having travelled with Scenic in the past we decided to book our Myanmar trip with them and see the country before it gets too crowded. Firstly the Ship - the Aura. On initial inspection a lovely yacht type ship, nice entrance and ambiance but it does have some issues. The general feel is of spaciousness with only a max of 44 passengers, the bedoms are very nice with electric beds, lounge area, small walk in wardrobe, compact but very accessible bathroom with reasonably large shower and 2 opening (electronic slide down) windows. However the first issue with the ship is the balcony in the room. This is a complete waste of space and badly designed. It should either have been a dedicated balcony with sliding doors or part of the lounge. It is awkward at present because it has folding doors and we left them open and it became a dumping ground for bags. The dinning room is lovely with central serving area and a small dedicated specialist area, which everyone is invited to during the cruise. There is plenty of space for all the passengers and the food was excellent. There is a small compact pool area at the back with bar and seating and this was used for entertainment at night. The library did not seem to be in much use only for getting on and off the ship when docked. The main issue with the ship's design is the lounge. This is a strange design with a central section separating it into 4 quadrants, so not easy to accommodate everyone altogether for the port talks, in fact they need 2 screens to do their presentation. This is a very poor design feature and interestingly not many people used it. This is the worst feature on the ship. There is a great top sundeck however with walking area and plenty of seating; a great place to cool-off when sailing. Also as the ship was built in Myanmar it does have a slightly 'cheap' feel to it and to say that it is only 18months old is showing signs of wear already. However despite the faults it was a pleasure to sail on the Aura. Next the crew - they were fantastic and always ready with a smile. Many thanks to Chantel, the Cruise Director , who was always around to solve any hitches or have a chat with and the Captain who was always there with a helping hand when embarking or dissembarking. A word of warning here, this trip is not for people with mobility issues as there are no proper docking facilities, at many of the places the ship stops climbing up sand banks or rough ground was the norm. So in conclusion the Aura is a nice ship with plenty of space for the passengers, it has good bedrooms, fantastic dining area and one of the nicest crews we have come across. Also the food was as good as any river or sea cruise ship and not overtaking. The variety of the Wines were reasonable and premium drinks were included throughout the day. Scenic always have great tours and this cruise (Yangon to Mandalay) was no exception. Some wonderful cultural visits, insight into the people and their ives all brought to life with a great Tour Diector - PA PA Min. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Having previously visited Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, we thought a visit to the recently opened Myanmar would be interesting and chose Scenic as our operator due to previous excellent experience. With a crew to guest ratio nearing ... Read More
Having previously visited Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, we thought a visit to the recently opened Myanmar would be interesting and chose Scenic as our operator due to previous excellent experience. With a crew to guest ratio nearing 1:1 the service was excellent. Most of the hospitality crew greeted guests by name from the first day. The buffet lunches and breakfasts offered a wide range of fare, excellently prepared and presented. The a la carte dinners a gourmet delight. A very adequate range of 5 white, 2 rose and 5 red wInes and champagne as house wines for lunch and dinner with a a small but very adequate selection of wines available for purchase. The daily excursions led by two very knowledgeable and competent tour guides who guided us to interesting sites each day. The Scenic Aura is a new vessel which has been developed taking guest comfort and convenience in mind and excels in every respect. We will certainly recommend the Scenic Aura experience to anyone wishing to undertake a trip to Myanmar. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We Love river cruising and nobody does it better than scenic! My husband and I have recently returned from cruising the Irrawaddy through Myanmar, we chose the eleven day option, and added a couple of days of our own in Mandalay, and ... Read More
We Love river cruising and nobody does it better than scenic! My husband and I have recently returned from cruising the Irrawaddy through Myanmar, we chose the eleven day option, and added a couple of days of our own in Mandalay, and one in Yangon. We chose to stay at the Mandalay Hill resort, which is the hotel that scenic uses for its longer trip option. It is a lovely hotel, and we were lucky enough to be upgraded to a top floor junior suite. We met our fellow passengers and tour guides the night before the commencement of the cruise, and on the day of the cruise our bags were picked up from the room, and the next time you see them they are in your room on board! wonderful, and so easy. The ship is really fantastic, We were in room 303, top floor, second best rooms on the ship. All the rooms are good, I visited the other rooms, and would have been happy with any of them. so choose from price point, but if money is no object get the Diamond deck 301 or 302 ! own front deck, with jacuzzi! 70msq. the room we had was huge, at 40 sqm and had to full windows, balcony if you wanted it, The most comfortable bed ever! lovely bathroom, walk through robe and loads of space, we also had our own lounge area, it felt like a small apartment ! I could have lived there permanently! the availability of washers and dryers for guest use at any time was a boon indeed. The staff on board are the most delightful friendly bunch . Notably Yii Mon , our guide and helper in all ways, TJ who made everyone happy, and what a dancer ! and also the chefs, who bent over backwards to please. All the staff were wonderful. Some reviewers have criticised the shape of the bar lounge, being a horse-shoe shape, but this is to accommodate the swimming pool on the floor above and is, therefore totally worth it ! you can't beat a little swim at the end of a busy day sightseeing. Others have said that the ship needs a lift. If you need a lift to get around, this is not the trip for you, a certain amount of fitness is required for the offshore trips, and getting on and off the boat is 'interesting' at times. the staff were always there to help those less able. Bagan was the stand out onshore event, we didn't get to do the hot air balloon ride, it is only available at certain times of year. The Trishaw rides would be more comfortable for those with small bottoms! Bring shoes that are easy to slip on and off.you will need them. there are times when the local sales pitch ladies can get a little over the top, but try to remember that it is there livelihood, and smile. buy something, and help the local economy! There is a long bus ride between Pyay and Yangon, the bus is comfortable, but in retrospect, I would probably have chosen the Yangon to Mandalay upstream run, and got that bit done at the beginning. Having said that, I would have no hesitation in recommending this journey with Scenic, and loved the intimacy of the smaller boat with only 44 guests max. it was super, and I am so glad we did it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Interesting and exciting itinerary or so I thought. First full day in Yangon scenic free choice all customers were on one trip (no antiques market or arts or crafts tours) only trip to village not to my taste going round market which was ... Read More
Interesting and exciting itinerary or so I thought. First full day in Yangon scenic free choice all customers were on one trip (no antiques market or arts or crafts tours) only trip to village not to my taste going round market which was smelly with flies crawling over meat and fish.ferry crossing alright. Hotel in Yangon was very good. Full day to ship .packed lunch inedible. Ship staff were very pleasant.food was very good.cabin outside window were dirty and were never cleaned . Mini bar requested vodka and brandy had none refilled used gin bottles.no suitable Area for onboard entertainment although everybody did their best( dinning room and pool which had no space). As the boat was not full had ten travel agents on board who tended to take over areas where pool where there is not much room. Do not mind some non paying Guests but not that number . Trips. Too much triggering my social conscience first village abject poverty and people Taking pictures of their poverty made me extremely uncomfortable.next village walking through mud and more poverty. Too many visits to fruit and meat markets four. Some excellent trips Mou t pops spectacular, teak bridge from small boats and champagneWonderfull. Temples and stupas worth seeing This trip should have been atrip of a lifetime but some the trips fell flat and the boat missing Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We were inspired by the movie "The Lady" to visit Myanmar to see and support this country that so recently had emerged from absolute Military control. We had traveled with Scenic before and were impressed by their care and ... Read More
We were inspired by the movie "The Lady" to visit Myanmar to see and support this country that so recently had emerged from absolute Military control. We had traveled with Scenic before and were impressed by their care and service. We were again very happy with the cruise and associated hotels. We traveled from Yangon to Mandalay and did the Inle Lake extension. Our guide PuPu was a wonderfully caring, knowledgeable and organised person who we had complete trust in so we could relax and enjoy the trip. PuPu's expertise added immeasurably to our enjoyment. The hotel in Yangon is excellent and well located and the food terrific. We did the market free choice and could have easily done it on our own with a map. This excursion could readily be a more extensive walk around the city area to see other sites. The coach trip to Prome is 8 hours and although breaks and box lunch are organised it is a long way, be prepared! The Scenic Aura is beautiful with magnificent cabins and suites and with everything included all that is left is to enjoy yourself. Staff are caring, friendly and go out of their way to make your cruise very special. Meals are delicious and varied and promptly served with a smile. The excursions are varied and much thought has gone into exposing Scenic travellers to different modes of transport and seeing as much variety in villages as possible. As shoes and socks need to be removed to enter religious sites on just about all excursions, sealed wet towels are supplied to wash feet before putting shoes back on and shoes are cleaned when you return to the ship as it is dusty. Both very thoughtful touches. Shoulders and knees need to be covered for admission to religious sites but trousers and Capri pants are fine, skirts are not necessary. The hotel in Mandalay is very nice and meals were, again, delicious. The add-on to Inle Lake was wonderful. The trip there, the magnificent hotel, the amazing day trip around the lake's sights, the meals and the exceptional sundowner party on our last night there exceeded all expectations. We chose to spend the final day at the resort rather than do either of the Scenic Free choices as they both involved 5 hour bus journeys for a 3 hour stop and most of us decided that was too much travel. We had a lovely restful day at the beautiful resort. There were a couple of issues! 1)The layout of the Scenic Aura means there is nowhere under cover where all 44 guests can gather to hear and see speakers or events. The only space is around the pool which can be plagued with insects being outside. 2) A free choice at Inle Lake that doesn't involve 5 hours travel could be offered, a trek was mentioned in the brochure but not offered possibly because we were a smaller group. 3) Be careful with flights to Yangon. Scenic booked our flights and we arrived at the hotel halfway through the briefing and after travelling for over 17 hours we were too tired to catch a bus to the restaurant for the welcome dinner. I would strongly advise arriving the day before and spending the night at the hotel at your own expense so you can enjoy the beginning of the package. One other tip could be to take a couple of balls or something to play with the children at the monastic school, I'm sure they would enjoy it more than just talking. We loved the trip and wholeheartedly recommend it but in February, March and April the river is getting low and problems with sandbanks could occur and the countryside is very dusty. September and October the river is very high which could impact some excursions. We were told November and December were the best months but whenever you go it's a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was our very first River cruise and we were not disappointed. Myanmar is a marvellous country and Scenic Cruises made sure we had a truly superb vacation from the moment we set foot in Mandalay until the last handshake in Yangon. ... Read More
This was our very first River cruise and we were not disappointed. Myanmar is a marvellous country and Scenic Cruises made sure we had a truly superb vacation from the moment we set foot in Mandalay until the last handshake in Yangon. The Scenic Aura is a spacious and comfortable boat and the crew were thoughtful, full of smiles and extremely helpful. The meals were excellent and the all inclusive drinks menu made sure our glasses were never empty. We adored the included Teriyaki evening. We had some excellent excursions and every day was a new sunrise and sunset opportunity. We enjoyed the visits to the Temples, Stupas and Pafgodas and to local craft villages. We were able to partake in local life and enjoy local transport. The Hot Air Baloon experience, although a payable extra, was well worth every dollar and the sunrise over the Bagan plain was unforgettable. All in all an excellent vacation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Mystical Myanmar- January 15th 2017. Accommodation All very good particularly Aureum Palace on Inle Lake. Beautiful surroundings and good service. Some rooms quite a way from reception and restaurant. Yangon - accommodation on ... Read More
Mystical Myanmar- January 15th 2017. Accommodation All very good particularly Aureum Palace on Inle Lake. Beautiful surroundings and good service. Some rooms quite a way from reception and restaurant. Yangon - accommodation on the club floors with a lovely view. Mandalay- nice room and it had a good restaurant where we celebrated Chinese New Year. We were on the upriver cruise and it was a long trip from Yangon to Pyap but buses were comfortable and we had several breaks. Embarkation went smoothly, in fact I was welcomed by name before I was in badge reading distance! I looked surprised and was told they had read a comment I had written on their Facebook page and recognised me. Scenic Aura suite 201 Large suite with very good bathroom with a multifunction shower. Comfortable bed and I did use the electronic head raising function. Good storage in walk in robe and under the bed. "Balcony nice - I can't imagine the glass folding doors being shut often, if at all. We did sit with the window / balcony open sometimes while moving along the river. Once moored it was shut due to any insects around. Staff kept the suite beautifully. Public Rooms. As said before, the lounge was badly designed but we spent early evenings on the pool deck so it didn't affect us too much. In the afternoons it was a cool quiet place to read my book with a cup of tea or a cocktail. The pool deck was the social hub before dinner with attentive service from the bar staff. Group size We were divided into 2 groups from the start - those going to Inle Lake and those just doing the cruise. There should be a mixture of people going to Inle Lake and ones not going. It would even the numbers out a little. We did have free seating and got to know the other group but our group was larger. One lady going to the lake was in the other group and found it difficult fitting in as we had all been together for 12 days and knew each other's foibles. We did the up river cruise and it was quite a relaxed start with excursions in the morning and time to read etc. in the afternoon. It would be an ideal time to have a band so that people could "bond" in a party atmosphere. We did have a band at the end of the cruise but it had been a busy day and we rushed from excursion to shower, to be entertainment to dinner. They were very good and we didn't do them justice. It was unfortunate that Papa our guide needed to go home early on as she was exceptional, but Sia did an admirable job taking over from her although less experienced and never having such a large group. I believe that the group going to Inle Lake should have had 2 tour leaders, or at least someone to help with the administration particularly arranging transport to the different flights from the airport. Arranging for 25 people was time consuming for Sia and it meant time on the phone rather than full focus on the group. Excursions Enjoyed most of them as we were travelling for cultural experiences. The people are a lovely gentle welcoming people although the hawkers were very persistent! Because of the low water level there was usually a steep river bank to negotiate. On mooring I often felt daunted about getting up, but with my hiking stick ( supplied in each cabin) and help from the crew I made it!! The crew were wonderful. We travelled by horse and cart, trishaws, and buses, saw village life up close, visited MANY pergolas and stupas, visited monasteries and a nunnery and many different craft workshops. We didn't do the Balloon flights but everyone I spoke to that did really enjoyed it. Some also did a balloon flight at Inle Lake and were awestruck. Said the experience was indescribable. Inle Lake was wonderful and although I was nervous about getting in and of the boats with a bad knee, I wouldn't have missed it. Arriving and departing the hotel by boat was a highlight, although the day on the lake in the boat was as good. With such a large group it was a slow process with a fair amount of waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. Food. Very, very good. Asian or Western at all meals. Buffet at breakfast and lunch, but table service at dinner. We could always find a wine we liked and they were very generous. Cocktails before dinner were varied and fun. Staff From the people meeting the plane on arrival, the hotel staff, the tour guides, the exceptional ship's staff, and getting us to the airport on time, everyone did a fantastic job. I would like to add my thanks to Sia. He did a great job once he settled in. A hard job to follow such an experienced guide with little notice. It was a large group of mainly very well travelled opinionated Australians. Once he worked out Aussie humour he relaxed a little (when he had time). By the end of the trip we couldn't have asked for better. As I commented before, a hard job for any guide to have 25 in a group. To sum up. A wonderful trip, everything we wished for. Our blog of the trip. http://thefletchers.com.au/The_Fletchers/Myanmar_2017/Myanmar_2017.html Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our first trip with Scenic and we were very impressed with their service, staff, food and overall smooth running of their ship in a country where there are many challenges. We joined the holiday in Yangon, staying there for two ... Read More
This was our first trip with Scenic and we were very impressed with their service, staff, food and overall smooth running of their ship in a country where there are many challenges. We joined the holiday in Yangon, staying there for two nights with tours, and then a drive by coach to Pyay to board the ship. The coach trip is around 8 hours long, through villages, farmland and small towns, quite basic roads. There were three stops for refreshments and we had a packed lunch on the coach. Although it was a long day, we felt it was worth it to see the real countryside of Myanmar and not just the touristy places. The Scenic Aura is a new ship but has a few teething problems with the fitting out of the interiors, such as flooring and doors, but no doubt these will be rectified before long. The cabins were very large, we had a cabin on Jewel deck with a large bedroom area and separate lounge with settee and chairs. The shower rooms were the biggest we have seen on a ship. Walk in wardrobe, but hanging space badly designed so could have done with more drawers. Huge safe in top drawer. Storage space in under bed drawers. The food was all excellent. Buffet breakfast with choices of cereal, bread, fruit, yogurt etc and also about 5 cooked options plus eggs. Lunch again was a buffet with soups, salads, 4 or 5 cooked options and a choice of various desserts or fruit or fresh ice cream with a different flavour each day. Dinner was served by the laughing friendly waiters who were all very efficient. There were choices for starters, mains and dessert, or there was always steak, fish or chicken if nothing on the menu suited. All washed down with delicious wines. There was a gym on the lower deck ( which we just looked at through the glass ). also a self service launderette with two washing machines and dryers and an iron for those who did not want to use the ship's laundry service. The top deck is carpeted in artificial grass which is nice and soft under your feet, a jogging track runs round the perimeter. There are rattan style settles and armchairs to sit on but only a small area has any shade. It was very hot when we were there, so it was not possible to sit there for long, we understand however that this will be rectified. The swimming pool is small and very shallow, you cannot swim in it, but it is a nice spot to stand and cool off, maybe with a cool drink from the poolside bar. The lounge area is split in two and doesn't really work as a social area. When a group came on there was only a tiny area for dancing - maybe a dozen people at once, and that meant blocking the access to the bar. A couple of shows were put on round the pool, again with very limited vision, and not a good place to be after dark with all the insects. Just a bad design. Every day there were excursions. We joined everything travelling by mule and cart, trishaw, lorry, coach, boat, ferry and horse and cart. All amazing experiences which brought us closer to the local people. We ate in local restaurants and even cooked our own dinner on two occasions. We would recommend this tour to anyone who wants to see the country as it really is, the river flows through rural and town life and is a breath of fresh air in the 21st century. Although quite expensive, we felt it was extremely good value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We wanted to cruise in Myanmar and upon reading about Scenic's new ship (Aura) we decided to use this operator. A good decision. The ship was only launched in September and our cruise started in late November - mainly December. The ... Read More
We wanted to cruise in Myanmar and upon reading about Scenic's new ship (Aura) we decided to use this operator. A good decision. The ship was only launched in September and our cruise started in late November - mainly December. The ship lived up to the computer generated images and, before I point out some issues, I unreservedly recommend this ship to anyone considering a cruise in Myanmar. Cruising in Myanmar is not like cruising in most other Countries - there are no wharfs at which to dock - the ship (mostly) just nudges into the shore and the gangplank is lowered for passengers to get off. Occasionally it docks against another ship and the only way to exit is through the other ship - happened only once on our voyage. There are 22 cabins - hence a maximum of 44 fellow travellers - 39 in our case as 5 cabins were occupied by singles. The rooms vary in size but all are big by river (and ocean) cruise standards. We had a grand deluxe suite which measured 40 square metres (just over 400 square feet). The cabin was well appointed with only a bath missing. The restaurant is open seating and can seat all passengers at the one sitting. There is a Teppanyaki bar in the restaurant that seats six and is by invitation only - that way all guest get to use this facility. The food was outstanding as was the service. The bar is a (long) horseshoe shape and consequently it is difficulty for large groups to be accommodated - we usually had about 10-12 in our group and that was just manageable. There is another bar next to the pool but this is mainly used when there are functions at the pool area. There is no problem getting a drink where ever you are on the ship. The pool area was a real treat. The top deck is an open area with seating (some undercover) with a walking track that measured about 60 metres (70 yards). The gym is small but adequate. There is one washer, one dryer and one iron in the laundry. The itinerary is fairly full for the first 8 days with less to do on the last two days. I would recommend sailing from Mandalay to Yangon as the river current is fairly strong and the excursions at the Mandalay end are busy at a time when you have to pack etc. The excursions were, in the main, interesting although one does get over Pagoda's after the first two hundred! The highlights were village visits - actually saw cock fighting in one (not sactioned by Scenic) and visits to monastery’s and schools - you get a real feel of how the people of Myanmar are coping with the opening up of their Country. Onboard entertainment is limited given the small size of both the ship and the crew. Now those issues - at our greeting talk the cruise director (Rikus Visser) explained that there were a few problems with the finishes on the ship - the floor varnish was not adequate and the floors were scratched, some repainting was taking place as the air conditioner had required maintenance and ceilings had to be accessed. We had noticed the smell of paint in our cabin upon arrival but it was completely gone by nightfall. These are small issues that one would expect in a ship built in Myanmar and they will be fixed at the end of the season. Finally the staff - they were fantastic, always friendly and ready to help. We have been on quite a few ocean cruises and there are few cruise directors of the standard of Rikus. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose Myanmar because we thought it was an exciting destination and we were not disappointed. The service provided by Scenic was excellent. However some of the Ports and shore excursions need more thought to provide more active ... Read More
We chose Myanmar because we thought it was an exciting destination and we were not disappointed. The service provided by Scenic was excellent. However some of the Ports and shore excursions need more thought to provide more active alternatives.The cabin was spacious and very comfortable and the service outstanding but the bar/lounge area was an odd shape and didn't really work as a social meeting point. The pool area was great as was the top deck but needed more shade.The crew were especially helpful when disembaking as there wasn't always a pier. The bar staff and waiters were excellent. The wine varieties were more limited than other Scenic cruises we have been on, but all transported from abroad as Burmese local wines weren't up to Scenic high standards. The meals were of a very high standard.The evening entertainment was limited. Not really a family holiday. The only critisism was the very long drive at the end of the cruise to Yangon. I would strongly recommend this trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We had never been on a cruise but heard that Scenic was one of the leaders for river cruises and we had always wanted to go to Myanmar so it seemed a perfect combination. We thought that we would try our the company with a view to doing ... Read More
We had never been on a cruise but heard that Scenic was one of the leaders for river cruises and we had always wanted to go to Myanmar so it seemed a perfect combination. We thought that we would try our the company with a view to doing some serious European river cruising in the future. We'd done a lot of independent travel all over Asia and love it. Frankly we felt that the tour was beefed up to appear more interesting than it was. The Irrawaddy River is the most disinteresting waterway, there is simply nothing to see from the water and it was a very disappointing trip. The water is like a warm caramel milkshake, murky and frothy. When I gave feedback the company thanked me but was not at all interested in retaining me as a customer. In their position I would have asked to be given the chance to prove how wonderful Scenic tours could be. Maybe offer a big discount on a future booking or some incentive. Instead they admitted that the cruise of the Irrawaddy was new and they were still feeling their way. Other guests on the cruise admitted that the cruise was not up to the usual Scenic standard and as they were all repeat customers Scenic must do something right but they really missed out on this one. The land content, except for Mandalay was good although when we went on busses we were often put on tatty, old, buses. If this was all that was available we would have understood but there were lots of modern well appointed busses chartered by other tour companies that we saw along the same routes. The boat was lovely, although already showing signs of wear and tear after only 40 days sailing. The cruise director and staff were wonderful but there were so many other things that needed fixing. Our guide was very friendly but almost impossible to understand and wasn’t pro-active. He gave us the bare minimum of information. We are off to Europe to cruise but because it's obvious Scenic aren't interested in having us as customers we will look for other companies who will value our business. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Scenic Aura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.8
Dining 5.0 4.9
Entertainment 5.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.5 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.2
Family 3.5 4.2
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.6
Enrichment 4.5 4.5
Service 5.0 4.9
Value For Money 5.0 4.7

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