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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.

Scenic Aura Excels On The Irrawaddy

Scenic Aura Cruise Review by Russell Stephens

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2018
  • Destination: Asia
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.
, The Scenic Team has responded
Dear Russell Stephens, Thank you for your wonderful review and great to hear you had a fabulous time in Myanmar on board Scenic Aura. It's great to hear that you found our staff friendly and professional and found the public spaces all first class. We are so happy to hear you enjoyed our on shore excursions as well as making the most of your suite. We look forward to seeing you again. Best regards, The Scenic Team
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of The Independent Traveler, Inc.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 301
The Royal Panorama Suites are the two premium options on the Diamond Deck located at the front of the ship. Accommodation consists of a separate bathroom, bedroom, lounge room and outdoor terrace. The outdoor terrace has a Jacuzzi, small four seat table and a swing chair. There is ample storage space and two desks. At 70 square metres these are the largest on any cruise boat on the Irrawaddy.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews