Mekong River Cruise for those with an inquiring mind: AmaLotus Cruise Review by Carol Mathias

AmaLotus 5
Carol Mathias

Overall Member Rating

Mekong River Cruise for those with an inquiring mind

Sail Date: December 2011
Destination: Asia
Embarkation: Other
Though the cruise did not start out well, it got better. We were staying at the Sofitel Siem Reap because that is where AMA pick up the pax and take them to the ship. We were told two different times that as "the river was low, we would be taken by bus on a 5 hour drive, to the place where the ship was waiting for us. Check-in would be at 07:30am." So, that morning we got up at 6am to be ready by 7:30am. We then discovered that instead of a 5 hour bus ride it would only be 1.5 hours and so check-in was at 11am. No one had let us know even though we had told AMA that we were staying at the hotel. No apology either! At 12:30 we finally on bus to get ferry to AMAlotus. The other people on the cruise were part of a tour and had booked the hotel through AMA. They take care of their own, that is for sure! Moral of story? If you book the hotel separately, call AMA and remind them you are part of the cruise too.
OK, end of annoyance part of the review!
All the people on More the cruise were very, very helpful. In the Cambodian part, most of the staff were Cambodian. They left the ship at the boarder and Vietnamese people joined the ship.
Breakfast and lunch are buffets with a wide variety of food. I love Chinese style breakfasts and must recommend the congee which they have every morning. Try the one with pork. Excellent. Lots of fruit too. Lunch was hot and cold food with excellent salads. Dinner was a full service meal with a menu. Usually three choices for the main part: a European style meat dish, a Cambodian/Vietnamese Fish option, or a vegetarian option. They wanted everyone to sit down at 7pm together. One could sit anywhere. We soon learned that it would be OK to eat later. We are English and like to eat later.
The pax were Australian, UK, Israelis, Turkish and American. It is not a tour for children though there were two children on board. They must have been bored as there are no facilities for children.
Half the ship came down with a 24 hour stomach virus. The first half of the cruise, one of the managers was on holiday and I believe that because of that, sanitising ones hands was lax. As soon as he rejoined I noticed an improvement in that as one walked into the restaurant, one was handed the sanitizing liquid.
Cabin: smallish but nice looking. White walls with teak. Very poorly laid out in that there is no bureau, no chest of drawers. Cannot get the suitcase under the bed.
Toilet: signs telling you not to put toilet paper in toilet. Very hard to get used to that! Surely in such a modern ship the toilets could have been better designed? They claim the ship is 5 Star!
Every day there is a lecture on the excursions for the following day. Also, a very good lecture on Cambodian history and a not so interesting one on Vietnamese history.
A comfortable sun lounge with good lounge chairs. Tea and coffee available.
Though it is supposed to be "all inclusive" they charge $1.50 for sparkling water! The house wine was not drinkable.
The tour director was excellent and very helpful.
Phnom Penh is not to be missed.
The disembarkation was very easy. They take you to the Sofitel Ho Chi Minh City (which I have reviewed on Trip Advisor). It is just over an hour's drive from the ship. Less

Published 01/08/12

Cabin review: B115 Balcony Stateroom

Cabin 115. Small but comfortable.

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Carol Mathias
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