We were looking for a river cruise experience and the Heritage Line delivered via the Jahan and the Mekong River cruise from Ho Chi Minh City to Seim Reap. The group met at a lovely hotel in Ho Chi Minh City to conduct our check-in activities before heading upstairs for drinks and refreshments. A pleasant bus ride to the embarkation point followed although the sight of embarkation is a bit industrial and leaves a bit to be desired. The staff were wonderful from the beginning and that continued throughout the journey. I can't say enough about the quality of the staff aboard this vessel whether it be the sailors, the room attendants, chefs and food and beverage staff. They were all happy, cheerful, extremely helpful and above all else happy to engage with guests on conversation and stories about their life in both Vietnam and Cambodia. They were also interested in where we came from and we thoroughly enjoyed our conversations throughout the trip.
The guides were exceptionally helpful on our morning and afternoon excursions and everything flowed smoothly and all activities went as planned. Keep in mind what is being offered is an opportunity to experience how the Vietnamese and Cambodian people live on the Mekong Delta and in some cases it is quite raw and confronting. Having opportunities to visit local schools as part of our excursions and interact with young children wishing to learn English was great fun. Visits to markets, pagodas, silk farms, pottery producers, rice and palm wine producers, floating markets, fish farms, weavers were some of the activities undertaken on excursions.
Food on the Jahan was exceptional with both Western and local options available and again I cannot overemphasise how good the chefs and staff were in catering to those with food preferences and health issues. They certainly went above and beyond on this cruise. Bottled water was provided as part of the cruise fare and we were never wanting with drinking water during hot conditions weather on the ship or on excursions.
Our cabin was spacious for two people and included a bedroom, sitting room as well as a normal sized bathroom. We also had a little balcony which we enjoyed for quiet moments as the ship was cruising.
The ship is fitted out in colonial Indian style and there are a number of public spaces for watching the scenery go by such as the library/lounge as well as the forward observation room.
The bar on the top deck has a wide selection and it was also a pleasant space to have a drink and watch the movements on the river. Early morning tai chi before breakfast was very relaxing for the early risers.
Ultimately we were not able to sail all the way to Seim Reap because of low water levels at that time of year but this didn't come as a surprise as we were warned at the time of booking and again advised immediately prior to boarding that it was unlikely this could occur. A luxury bus was able to then take us from our point of disembarkation to Seim Reap in a couple of hours which in itself was a pleasant trip.
Our final night involved a special dinner and concert from the staff and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Evening activities included presentations regarding local culture, geography and history as well as some cultural dances and movies.
All of this allowed us to thoroughly enjoy the group of people whom we met on the ship and collectively enjoy a wonderful experience. We will certainly look at the Heritage line in future for other cruises they may offer. We highly recommend this cruise to others seeking a destination somewhat different to others on the cruise itinerary.
Our cabin was spacious for two people and included a bedroom, sitting room (that involved a writing desk and a two seater couch) as well as a normal sized bathroom. We also had a little balcony which we enjoyed for quiet moments as the ship was cruising. The cabin appeared to be were well maintained and was clean for our arrival. We were provided with complimentary footwear and hats for use on the ship and on excursions. The rooms were cleaned each day and the bed turned down in the evening.