This was our 10th cruise, first on Amawaterways and last river cruise for sure. We boarded the bus from Siem Reap to the ship on a 7 hour bus ride. We made 2 stops along the way for restroom breaks and to stretch your legs. The tour guide stated to us that only a few cruises a year actually depart from Siem Reap so expect to be on the long bus ride to the ship. We booked the entire land portion on our own and some what mimicked the cruise lines itinerary. We stayed 5 nights in Hanoi's Old Quarter (Highly recommend) and a 3 day 2 night Halong Bay cruise on Signature Halong Cruises (Top notch experience). The AmaDara is a brand new ship in 2015 and is spacious and comfortable.
What set us off from the very beginning and put a bad taste in our mouths was after we checked in and received our keys to our room we approached our cabin watching the "Hotel Manager" giving 4 other passengers a tour of our cabin while our luggage is in plain view inside the room. I asked him why he was allowing people in our cabin and he a stumbled for answers and said "He thought the room was vacant." We booked our cruise 15 months in advance, it was never vacant. Again our luggage is clearly visible in the room. I said to him "You should have pulled the door shut and never allowed them to enter." OUR TRUST WAS IMMEDIATELY BROKEN WITH THIS COMPANY. He then stated that "The door was left opened by the porters so I allowed them to take a "peek"." I said "Really? Our bags are in the room. You should have pulled the door shut." Now they are climbing over our luggage laughing on the way out and said "Thanks for the tour." I say to him "Are you serious?' and he looked at us in disgust and asked us "If there was a problem" I knew then he was a lost cause and an embarrassment to his company. 5 days later he has someone place a bottle of wine with a card apologizing for the misunderstanding on embarkation day. There was never a misunderstanding.
Activities onboard include a swimming pool, small gym, eating, and sleeping. Horrible to no WIFI.
The food and service by the dining and cabin stewards were amazing. So gracious and always readily available to assist you in any way. Very genuine kind hearted individuals.
Port and Shore Excursions were poor and thoughtless. You will hurry through to see floating villages and markets galore. They all look the same with no real time to explore during the short port time. Usually under 2 hours and then they herd you back onboard for lunch and then sit in the middle of the river with no way off to continue to explore.
Entertainment onboard consisted of an Apsara Dance performance by local children which I have to say was impressive, a crew talent show which was fun to see the crew relax and have some fun, and a tropical fruit tasting at the end of the cruise to use any left over fruits that were not consumed in the prior 6 days.
Disembarkation was a breeze and a 2 1/2 hour bus ride for the port to Ho Chi Minh City.
My personal summary of this cruise is not a favorable one. This particular itinerary is weak and is designed for the inexperienced traveler who needs to take baby steps along the way and lives a sedentary lifestyle.
If you really want to see Vietnam and Cambodia which I highly recommend, stay in nice hotels along the way and see more and do more for far less money. We wanted to get off half way through and just take a cab to HCMC.
The cabin was nice and comfortable. The room has a queen size bed with nice linens, a sitting area with small table and 2 chairs, desk, mini fridge with complimentary water replenished daily, sodas and beer for purchase, luggage rack, closet with mirror and umbrella,
nice bathroom with large rain shower stall. (Shower was larger than found on most ocean cruise liners). The cabin also has an outdoor balcony with table and chairs as well as a French balcony. Do not leave the doors open to the outside for any amount of time as your room will fill with flying insects very quickly. Our room location was on the upper level in the rear near the gym and spa. Very quiet location.
We overnight in Phnom Penh. This is the only port where you may get on and off the ship as you like until 11pm when the ship closes for the night.