1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
I was absolutely blown away with this company, I loved everything about them. The best part for me was the attention and service I received. As a disabled traveler in Asia, I was worried about getting on and off the boat, and uneven ... Read More
I was absolutely blown away with this company, I loved everything about them. The best part for me was the attention and service I received. As a disabled traveler in Asia, I was worried about getting on and off the boat, and uneven surfaces during tours, but I almost always had an assistant to help me, I cannot believe it. My handholders, as I called them, were so gracious and kind, really looking out for me, and also chatting with me about their country, taking pictures of us. It was even nice to see a new crew member who was also as equally excited about the siteseeing as us, coming with us and taking pictures of his own. The food was perfect. I loved the fresh salads, always fresh fruit, many choices for lunch and dinner. The desserts were beautifully presented by a very exuberant pastry chef- who is also an excellent dancer, singer, and guitar player. I loved our bartender, "MoMo" whose smile always brightened our day when he presented the "drink of the day" at cocktail hour. Local spirits and beer are included, which was perfect for me, others ordered extras like wine and foreign spirits like Campari. Our tour guide Min was outstanding. English that we could all understand easily, and if there was a word he was not sure of, he asked us and corrected his pronounciation- we liked this reciprocal learning. I have travelled on I think 4 other river cruises, all on different lines, and I hesitated to book on a small company, but I think this was my best trip yet! Myanmar is beautiful, the people are the friendliest, the sites are amazing, it is safe, please go! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
I am a repeat Pandaw customer and was expecting high quality but this 7 night cruise on the Irrawaddy exceeded my expectations. Food, tours, guide, staff friendliness and kindness- all were just amazing. Nothing was too much trouble for ... Read More
I am a repeat Pandaw customer and was expecting high quality but this 7 night cruise on the Irrawaddy exceeded my expectations. Food, tours, guide, staff friendliness and kindness- all were just amazing. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff and the sight seeing was just fantastic. We saw villages and temples and markets and schools and and and .... we embarked in Bagan and spent 7 nights on the river, disembarking in Mandalay. To a woman and man (there were just 17 of us, with 21 staff!!) we were sad to leave the ship - we had all enjoyed ourselves so very much. Special mention of the ship's purser, who made sure everything ran smoothly, from beginning to end - Myo Naing - a champion !!! If you do just one Asian river cruise, make it Pandaw on the Irrawaddy. Myanmar is a beautiful country with gentle, kind and sweet people. Read Less
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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
This cruise in the high rainfall month of July could have been anything, however the very little rain we had did not interfere with our activities and excursions, unfortunately for Myanmar the rain arrived and produced devastating floods a ... Read More
This cruise in the high rainfall month of July could have been anything, however the very little rain we had did not interfere with our activities and excursions, unfortunately for Myanmar the rain arrived and produced devastating floods a few days after we left so we were very lucky. The cruise itself was very well organised, varied daily activities and visits to local attractions, information about Myanmar and its people and traditional entertainment by local performers. The food was excellent, just as an example, fresh baked bread warm from the oven with a wide variety of courses and desserts worthy of a good French restaurant. The accommodation was of a high standard and well serviced, nothing seemed to be too much trouble for the staff, we were supplied with bottled water as we left on excursions and on returning our shoes were removed as we boarded, cleaned and returned to us within a few minutes. As with all cruises, there is often some friction and maybe even unpleasantness among the passengers, with the way this cruise was organised we all got along extremely well and formed a number of friendships with a promise to maintain contact. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Having previously traveled in Myanmar, I knew that despite its recent huge popularity the country's tourist infrastructure is still a work in progress. Thus, a seven-night cruise amidst the comforts of the RV Kalaw Pandaw seemed the ... Read More
Having previously traveled in Myanmar, I knew that despite its recent huge popularity the country's tourist infrastructure is still a work in progress. Thus, a seven-night cruise amidst the comforts of the RV Kalaw Pandaw seemed the optimal solution--a floating teak-and-brass hotel room with meals, drinks, and excursions provided. We would stay in place on the boat while the scenery around us changed. As it turned out, for over a day we would stay stuck in place on a river bank. Our pre-/post-cruise arrangements included airport transfers in Yangon, a stay at the Five-Star Chatrium Hotel, and a day's worth of sightseeing in Yangon with a private guide and driver. Our Pandaw guide, Michael, was exceptional--knowledgeable, flexible, and thoughtful. We noted to him in passing that my wife was diabetic and needed to eat small meals frequently to keep her blood sugar level constant. We were quite touched the next morning when Michael presented us at the airport with a small bag containing fruit juices, biscuits, fruits and other snacks for my wife. It was a thoughtful gesture that went far beyond the call of duty. Life aboard the Kalaw Pandaw quickly assumed a comfortable routine. Our favorite spot was a quiet shaded spot on the top deck at the front of the boat where there were some deck chairs and a tiny ship's "library" consisting of paperback books and magazines. From this vantage point, we were able to enjoy the view and breeezes and even saw a pod of endangered Irrawaddy river dolphins. Other passengers staked out spots in the lounge area aft or in the bar amidships. With a crew of 25 for 16 passengers, service was attentive and personalized. Our tours were for the most part well organized and informative. While the meals were sometimes bland, we were nevertheless impressed with the inventiveness and sheer range of what the Head Chef and Pastry Chef managed to produce in the tiny galley kitchen below. The inclusion of Burmese favorites including Mohinga soup and Tea Leaf Salad was a great touch, and I wish that Pandaw would serve more traditonal menu items. The free happy hour every evening was also something that everyone looked forward to. Our ship managed to get stuck in a sand bank while sailing upstream to Kyauk Myoung. The crew managed to free the boat after about two hours. To our dismay, the boat managed to ground itself on the exact same stretch of river the very next day while were were sailing downstream. This time, the efforts of the crew were to no avail, and we were stuck for 26 hours until some fishing boats came by and pulled us off the sand bank with some clever rope work. Throughout the ordeal, there was little (actually zero) communication from the Captain or other senior crew, and the only crew member providing updates was our barman, who turned out to be fairly well informed about what it was that the crew was doing to extricate the ship from our predicament. Our schedule never quite recovered from the delay, and we had to eliminate two of the highlights of our itinerary--the ancient capitals of Ava and Amarapura. It was a bit annoying that the parts of the itinerary that Pandaw decided to retain included a shopping visit and a trip to a Pandaw-supported charity project in an otherwise nondescript village outside of Pagan. It would have been far better to have dropped these inconsequential stops in favor of retaining Ava or the Amarapura visits. All told, I would do the trip again even with the unfortunate delays and our truncated itinerary. The Irrawaddy is magical, and experiencing the river on the Kalaw Pandaw was an unforgettable experience.   Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
I cruised on the Kalaw Pandaw from Sept. 6 to 13, 2014, embarking in Mandalay and debarking in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma). The Kalaw is a beautiful little river steamer built almost entirely out of a dark hardwood that is indigenous to ... Read More
I cruised on the Kalaw Pandaw from Sept. 6 to 13, 2014, embarking in Mandalay and debarking in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma). The Kalaw is a beautiful little river steamer built almost entirely out of a dark hardwood that is indigenous to Myanmar. The boat is in excellent repair, well maintained and clean. Because the boat is small, it does not have the amenities of the large cruise ships, but that does not matter to me. I don’t need a pool, gym, separate cocktail lounge or the other amenities of large ships. All of us could socialize out on the deck whenever we wanted to. Cruises on Pandaw are down to earth, which I liked. The ship’s small size and shallow draft enable the captain to take it right up to the river banks and sail it in parts of the river where larger boats cannot go. This was the inaugural cruise for this itinerary and, I think, this boat. Service was excellent. Crew and staff were friendly and went out of their way to accommodate our wishes. Food was ample and very good. Laundry sent out in the morning was back by evening. All excursions were included in the cruise price. Transfers to and from airports or hotels was included too. Gratuities were included, but most of us gave staff cash tips anyway because the service and overall experience was so good. The itinerary was excellent. We were taken to well known historic sites and temples, as well as remote villages and places that I would have never found on my own. This mix of excursions added very much to the enjoyment of the cruise. Our tour guide was excellent. He spoke English and had extensive knowledge about every place we went. We learned a lot about the history and culture of this enchanting country. Because the boat ties up to river banks, your shoes may get a little muddy or dirty and the same with some of the excursions that we went on. No problem. You take off your shoes when entering the boat. Crew clean them off and deliver your shoes to your room. Sandals should be worn. You have to take off shoes and socks to enter the temples anyway. The Irrawaddy River is huge. It is the main economic artery of Myanmar. We were 600 miles north of Yangon (Rangoon) and the river was larger than the Mississippi R. at New Orleans. The Irrawaddy is famous for its sunsets. The river did not disappoint us on this trip. Many of us would sit out on the deck in the evening to watch the sunset. I intend to sail on Pandaw again and recommend this cruise line to other travelers as well.   Read Less
RV Kalaw Pandaw Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation N/A 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0

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