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We have just completed a downstream journey on the Avalon Myanmar from Bhamo to Bagan. This is a beautiful new ship with a wonderful crew and it, for the first half, covers a part of the river largely not travelled by other companies. On our cruise there were 24 passengers and a film/video team of 3 ( max of 36) from Canada, Australia, the US and Switzerland. People mixed very well with lively conversation at dinner but by some unspoken agreement, almost complete quiet on the top outside lounge during the day. Ages 55+ (with 2 stellar 90 year olds who were amazing!) The excursions were all included. Many were walking tours through riverside villages while others involved buses, horse-drawn carts, sampans, truck or motor bike taxis. Everything was faultlessly organised. Our excursion guide, Dorothy, came from Bhamo, studied in Mandalay and Yangon, so knew the areas very well and chatted easily to the local people as they shared their lives with us. There was no option to do a dawn balloon flight over Bagan but 2 people on our cruise had booked it independently. Towards the end most of us felt we had seen enough Buddhas and, at Bagan, would have liked a bit more time just to explore the (3000) deserted stupas. Entertainment was suitably low key. A couple of evening movies about Myanmar, a puppet show, traditional dance performance, cooking, photography, Burmese language and traditional medicine. There were a couple of wonderful unexpected surprises but it would be a shame to let on about these! The food was varied and good. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style with cooking stations for freshly made offerings and always a mix of western, Asian and Burmese food. Dinner was a sit down meal, four courses with the same mix of cuisines. There was also coffee and croissants at 6am for the sunrise set and cocktail hour at 6 pm, with the cocktails (plus beer and local spirits) included. A number of us would have preferred a glass of wine and this was available but had to be paid for. The crew were sensational, genuinely friendly and so focused on their guests, even those with little direct contact who were there to help us safely go up and down sometimes steep riverbanks. Mark, the tour manager and Joe, the purser lead a great team. Pre and post cruise was in Yangon at the Sule Shangri-la, which was also excellent. Yangon traffic is something else! Tip: take one pair of comfortable, preferably washable walking shoes and use these for all shore excursions. These are left permanently in a basket on the lower deck and washed for you when you return to the ship after shore excursions. Slippers are provided for wearing around the ship.

More than Expected

Avalon Myanmar Cruise Review by Dwarfnandina

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2015
  • Destination: Asia River
  • Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom
We have just completed a downstream journey on the Avalon Myanmar from Bhamo to Bagan. This is a beautiful new ship with a wonderful crew and it, for the first half, covers a part of the river largely not travelled by other companies.

On our cruise there were 24 passengers and a film/video team of 3 ( max of 36) from Canada, Australia, the US and Switzerland. People mixed very well with lively conversation at dinner but by some unspoken agreement, almost complete quiet on the top outside lounge during the day. Ages 55+ (with 2 stellar 90 year olds who were amazing!)

The excursions were all included. Many were walking tours through riverside villages while others involved buses, horse-drawn carts, sampans, truck or motor bike taxis. Everything was faultlessly organised. Our excursion guide, Dorothy, came from Bhamo, studied in Mandalay and Yangon, so knew the areas very well and chatted easily to the local people as they shared their lives with us. There was no option to do a dawn balloon flight over Bagan but 2 people on our cruise had booked it independently. Towards the end most of us felt we had seen enough Buddhas and, at Bagan, would have liked a bit more time just to explore the (3000) deserted stupas.

Entertainment was suitably low key. A couple of evening movies about Myanmar, a puppet show, traditional dance performance, cooking, photography, Burmese language and traditional medicine. There were a couple of wonderful unexpected surprises but it would be a shame to let on about these!

The food was varied and good. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style with cooking stations for freshly made offerings and always a mix of western, Asian and Burmese food. Dinner was a sit down meal, four courses with the same mix of cuisines. There was also coffee and croissants at 6am for the sunrise set and cocktail hour at 6 pm, with the cocktails (plus beer and local spirits) included. A number of us would have preferred a glass of wine and this was available but had to be paid for.

The crew were sensational, genuinely friendly and so focused on their guests, even those with little direct contact who were there to help us safely go up and down sometimes steep riverbanks. Mark, the tour manager and Joe, the purser lead a great team.

Pre and post cruise was in Yangon at the Sule Shangri-la, which was also excellent. Yangon traffic is something else!

Tip: take one pair of comfortable, preferably washable walking shoes and use these for all shore excursions. These are left permanently in a basket on the lower deck and washed for you when you return to the ship after shore excursions. Slippers are provided for wearing around the ship.
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Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom
Cabin B 102
We booked late so had little choice of cabin. All the cabins are the same size and layout, 6 on the top deck, 12 on the bottom.
Typical well-designed Avalon cabin with the bed facing out and good storage.
It's a very new ship and our cabin had a couple of issues with lights and plumbing. Even though it was very close to the disembarkation deck, you could not hear people outside in the corridor.
Irrawaddy Deck Balcony Cabins