Overall good cruise with somewhat interesting itinerary on a relatively comfortable ship and a good crew. We saw what we came to see - how real people of the 2 countries live, many historic sites. Clearly Seam Riep and Angkor Wat are the highlights of the tour. Rooms are well designed and a bathroom is good size and well functioned. Great hotels selection.
However, I want to concentrate my review on improvement areas:
1. Avalon customer Service - the worst. Never had worse experience. Not a single question could be answered by phone. Provide incorrect information regarding visa's to Cambodia, which costs money to its guests, know it, but refuse to take any accountability or correct it. Whole itinerary, with the exception of hotels, is driven by a single goal - not to spend an extra dollar
2.Tips - if it is mandatory, don't call it tips and just include it as part of the overall price. Even if you pre-pay, cruise director and tour guides are still expecting you to pay extra. I didn't understand why cruise director had to publicly announce who pre-paid ( we pre-paid it well in advance) and who did not... and even if you pre-paid, you had to worry that 'crew is aware of it' and submit a voucher . Why should it be my problem that crew is aware? Clearly, employees are not paid by Avalon and 'tips' is their pay, so make it straightforward and leave 'tips' to reward extra service.
3. Entertainment - non existent. On other similar size ships guests are entertained by the crew. This crew does not have extra talents and this is OK. There are many other options. Both countries are known for excellent musical schools, so why not to invite some string quartet to entertain people with good music? Instead, one night we were entertained by the orphanage kids. Great kids and we were more then willing to donate to the orphanage, but as it lasted 15 min, you could still have professional musicians to play for another 45-60 min. Another night we had to listen to a multi talented cruise director sing, but again it could be done by the professional musicians. I guess, the difference is - in both options it was free for Avalon or, otherwise, Avalon would have to pay.Last night dinner - the worst food and entertainment reminding 3rd rate high school or worse. Complete waste of time in otherwise beautiful city, but probably very inexpensive option for Avalon
4.Tours - overall good program. However, why did you bring us to the 'silversmith workshop', which was clearly not a workshop, but rather a way to sell an overpriced silver staff that could be bought for half the price at Siem Reap? That day we didn't have anything else to do, so feels like a way to artificially extend tour by a day.... Or visit to a scarf making workshop, which also has nothing to do with the workshop, but a way to sell scarfs. Also, while it is interesting to see how 'real people' live, it was repetitive and a little too much. Show us how countries developed, show us how middle class lives, take us to the theater...
5. Environment - a little too much of the 'family' staff. Sometimes felt like a cult, when everybody has to be thankful to our 'dear leader' - cruise director (great guy) and tour guides and pay extra for it.
good size room and bathroom
interesting city. enough to see and experience for 2 days