There were only a few luxury cruises plying the Irrawady, so we quickly narrowed down to the Strand based on their great reviews. We were not disappointed. The cruise was extremely well run, with every detail taken care of. The crew was amazing, anticipating every need and then some. The few times we asked for something beyond standard, they not only took care of them immediately, they over delivered.
The food was awesome - every meal was a cultural experience e.g. Thai, Myanmarese, French. The service was impeccable - there were more staff than guests, so you practically never have to wait for anything. The cruise is small enough and hence intimate, with the staff knowing the groups and their preferences (awesome feeling when you sit down and your drink shows up without even as much as a nod towards the wait staff). The experience on board was so great that even when my parents skipped a few of the included excursion, they were completely content to just stay on board.
Our only negative comment is that about a third of our fellow passengers were not respectful of the smoking rules, with the end result being that sometimes the entire upper deck became a smoking area from the swimming pool to the back. It was tolerable when the boat was sailing as the smoke drifted off, but the last night when we were moored and this behavior continued, it was a bit too much as we were watching the cultural performance packed around the deck and the smoke permeated the place. We note with interest that no other reviewers mentioned this, perhaps just luck of the draw that we got a large group of inconsiderate smokers.
All in all, a wonderful experience other than wishing the staff would have been more proactive in enforcing smoking rules.
Cabin was extremely well appointed, and as large as the hotel room we stayed in at Mandalay. Nicely finished and well maintained.