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482 Asia River Cruise Reviews

From the very start of our Land/River boat cruise our selection of Avalon proved to be the right choice - The hotel choice in Bangkok (InterContinental) and all other land component hotels were excellent 5*. Our least favourite was the ... Read More
From the very start of our Land/River boat cruise our selection of Avalon proved to be the right choice - The hotel choice in Bangkok (InterContinental) and all other land component hotels were excellent 5*. Our least favourite was the Novotel in Ha Long bay, perhaps due to the quality of the others in Bangkok, Siem Reap Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. To be fair though, there are not many choices in Ha Long Bay and the Novotel is possibly one of the best hotels there., but we would give it a 4.5 rather than 5. From the start, our tour Director, Phiem Ho Huu, was absolutely superb and a delightful personality. I believe most regarded him as a friend by the time the cruise ended in Saigon and we bid him farewell. pity he did not accompany us on the land portion to Hanoi. The small Avalon Siem Reap, is well appointed and the layout is good, and the cabins are extremely large, with wall to wall windows, which we were able to open and use the fan rather than the air-conditioning. It would have been nice to have a bath, with overhead shower rather than just a shower. Nevertheless the shower pressure and hot water availability were excellent. The Cambodian and two Vietnamese guides were very good, although I did find that I was given some misinformation when visiting the notorious S21 prison in Pnohm Pehn. Nevertheless all the guides were very personable. We have done a few River cruises previously and chose Avalon as it is one of two boats that usually travel all the way from Siem Reap to Saigon, without having to endure long bus transfers. Unfortunately the water in Ton Le Sap lake was too low and we therefore boarded the Siem Reap in Pnohm Pehn rather than Siem Reap. The transfer was by air, nevertheless, we did go up the Ton Le Sap river so that we did not miss any of the scheduled itinerary stops. We perhaps found the size a little small, as there are times when one prefers to eat as a couple, rather than a foursome and this is not possible. Tables are for four or more. The meals were good with a good selection, however we are gourmands and would not rate the food as excellent. The staff, especially the dining room and bar staff were excellent and extremely affable. The facilities are very clean and the kitchen absolutely spotless. The wine glasses were constantly refilled at dinner and the quality of wines generally good. Other local free spirits from the bars were quite acceptable and there was a lot of imbibing, especially on New Years eve. The makeup of the passengers was mostly American, with 6 from Oz, 2 from Canada, and 2 from Germany. There were 31 passengers on board (capacity is 36). Mostly in 50's and 60's and well travelled. No children, which for us was a definite positive. The local tours to villages and towns was interesting and informative although at times we felt that they were staged, which is understandable given that there are many riverboats that visit the villages on a weekly basis. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, except for the four hour bus trip (each way) from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay. We did discover that there is a float plane service. As there were only 6 of us on this land sector, this would have made the trip worthwhile, especially given that Avalon does not skimp and all other services, and hotels are first rate. If we have one negative, it is that on the final day, when I reached for our bags under the bed, we discovered several dust balls. The cabin make up service is very superficial. All in all this Avalon tour of the Mekong was a delightful way to experience Cambodia and Vietnam and well worth the cost. No regrets at all. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Being able to cruise the Irrawaddy River was a privilege, seeing Burma at this time was fascinating. The people of Burma are wonderful, the crew could not do enough for us. The Chef cooked me a special meal each night as I have dietary ... Read More
Being able to cruise the Irrawaddy River was a privilege, seeing Burma at this time was fascinating. The people of Burma are wonderful, the crew could not do enough for us. The Chef cooked me a special meal each night as I have dietary problems, always with a smile on his face. Our guides were the best, very passionate about their country. The whole crew was always on hand to help us climb the riverbank to disembark at each destination, and would say Ming Ga La Bah, (their greeting), and there again when we came back from our excursions. From walking tours, pony trap rides, tuk tuks, bus, every one an adventure. Local artisans would come on board for shows, and a great New Year on a sand spit in the middle of the Irrawaddy River highlights of our cruise. Travelmarval I hand it to you, you have got it right, I will have no hesitation in travels with this company again. Jan Riccobono Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Quite a long coach trip to reach the boat, but a packed lunch was provided - which was adequate, there was also a short comfort break where you could buy snacks or souvenirs if you wished to. Embarkation was smooth and well prepared and ... Read More
Quite a long coach trip to reach the boat, but a packed lunch was provided - which was adequate, there was also a short comfort break where you could buy snacks or souvenirs if you wished to. Embarkation was smooth and well prepared and the staff were very helpful. The cabin was excellent - all facilities as advertised, and plenty of room. Dining room could accommodate several different sized tables, we opted for a table for two, but others wanted to sit at a table for 6 - food was very good, especially as I had a gluten free requirement, which was catered for - including producing fresh rice bread at several meal times. The cocktail hour, with a different featured cocktail each night, was also good, and we gradually got to know the other passengers on board during this - a lovely mix of people, which also helped make the experience memorable. Each day we had two excursions ashore - which were fairly varied, and all were enjoyable and informative. Loved Cambodia, and Vietnam, and really enjoyed meeting the school children in Cambodia who were very enthusiastic students. The crew were very helpful and welcoming and nothing was too much trouble - Would recommend this cruise to anyone thinking of cruising from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City (Siagon). Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose to return to Asia for the Christmas break and having travelled with Scenic before trusted them to make this a wonderful event. We were collected in Ho Chi Minh City and were taken to a nearby restaurant for lunch. This was ... Read More
We chose to return to Asia for the Christmas break and having travelled with Scenic before trusted them to make this a wonderful event. We were collected in Ho Chi Minh City and were taken to a nearby restaurant for lunch. This was followed by a bus ride to the port at My Tho where we boarded the Scenic Spirit. The cabins were much larger than we expected with a lounge which could be closed off from the bedroom and of course the balcony area which could be closed off from the room by sliding glass doors to be able to enjoy the evening on the balcony without the problem of insects in the room later. There is also a guest laundry on this ship which makes life much easier. The washing machines and driers do not have a charge and the washing powder is also supplied. This enabled us to wash at any time when we were on the ship and therefor could carry less luggage. This is a great innovation and for those who did not wish to do their own laundry there was still a paid laundry service available. The service by all the staff was amazing and the care provided at all times was superb. Food was delightful and there was no issue in dealing with dietary issues and allergies. The chef was wonderful and went out of his way to ensure everything was of the highest quality and beautifully presented. The only issue with the dining room was that all the food was so nice that many people found their clothes had shrunk by the end of the trip!. Scenic include Free Choice activities and Scenic Enrich activities, but at no time is there pressure to participate in any or all of these. The Scenic Free Choice trip to the Bird Sanctuary at Chau Doc for us was a highlight of the trip. This trip is somewhat physical demanding as there are areas where the ground is uneven and there is the need to change from the boat to smaller water craft on several occasions with the boats moored against a muddy bank. However the birdlife we saw was well worth the effort and due to being in very small water craft we were able to photograph the birds up close. The range of included visits from colonial houses, temples, the Royal Palace, museums to markets which sold everything you could imagine was a great eye opener and our local guides who travelled with us were very knowledgeable and made the trip more memorable. Scenic enrich included High Tea at Raffles Hotel, a tradition puppet show and a story telling dance performance by a very well trained group of school children accompanied by other students on traditional instruments. Disembarkation was seamless at Kampong Cham where we again were taken by bus to our final destination on the trip. Stops on the way also included sites and monuments which were further learning experiences. We had guides with us the whole time, some were national guides and others were local guides who had a greater knowledge of the specific area we were visiting for that day or so. On arrival in Siem Reap we were accommodated at a luxury hotel until we were collected by car, also with a local guide to be taken to the airport for our trip home. The whole trip was managed superbly by the Cruise Director and the Hotel Manager on the Spirit and it was a really wonderful way to spend the holiday season. Once again thanks to Scenic for their attention to detail and their ability to provide a truly Luxury Tour. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Embarkation was so easy...no queues, just boarded and taken care of. The cabin is all in teak as is the ship. Nice toiletries. My only complaint is that the water pressure for the shower is not that strong. Plenty of hot water. Note: ... Read More
Embarkation was so easy...no queues, just boarded and taken care of. The cabin is all in teak as is the ship. Nice toiletries. My only complaint is that the water pressure for the shower is not that strong. Plenty of hot water. Note: there is only one plug (European two pin round) so bring an adaptor if you have lots of things to recharge. The food was excellent and inventive. Do try the Burmese breakfast though you can have eggs and bacon et al too. The hash brown potatoes are excellent! Lunch and dinner were 4 course meals. 3 main course selections: European, Burmese, and vegetarian. Bottled water always available, as much as you want. Leo, the Pandaw manager for South East Asia, was on our ship for half of the cruise. He was typical of the kind care and service that all the cruise staff gave to us. Nothing was too difficult. Endlessly helpful, which for me using a cane, was just perfect. Wifi is available on the Sun Deck when possible. Download time varied according to where we were. And while talking about the Sun Deck, I must tell you to try the nuts...excellent! English is sometimes difficult to understand, but that is part of the fun. Take some warm clothing as it is cool in the morning as you near Mandalay. Have lots of Khat 1000 bills...about 60p. I changed $50 at the airport and still had left over Khat by the end of the cruise. They only accept NEW American dollars. Business is done in dollars, absolutely no need for Pounds. They went out of their way to make Christmas and New Year Eve exciting and pleasurable...with gifts for all. This is a relaxing, easy, cruise. The ship holds a maximum of 48 people, but we had only 31, so lots of room. All the excursions were well organised and interesting. I highly rate this cruise and this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
When we told our Travel Agent Friend, Linda Androlia, of Sunstone Tours about our plans to visit Southeast Asia, she said the best cruise line for this area is Amawaterways. She booked it for us and she was right. It was an amazing ... Read More
When we told our Travel Agent Friend, Linda Androlia, of Sunstone Tours about our plans to visit Southeast Asia, she said the best cruise line for this area is Amawaterways. She booked it for us and she was right. It was an amazing cruise. The staff are all local and really know the area and hospitality. The food was delicious and plentiful and we got to taste food from Cambodia and Vietnam. Everyday we disembarked to a new adventure whether is was to be blessed by buddhist monks, visit a remote fishing village or experience the horrific destruction from the American war and the dictators that followed. The tour guides were knowledgeable and did not sugar coat any of the atrocities that occurred during the war. Each room was beautifully appointed with a balcony, not matter what the cost. The whole boat was spotless. We even treated ourselves to a massage, which is comparable to anything I've had in the states. Many evenings we were treated to local entertainment, Dancers from Vietnam and Cambodia demonstrated their beautiful, delicate dances. We were on board during Christmas and the crew serenaded us with Christmas carols, there was even a crew entertainment night. We also had a pre-tour at Angkor Wat where we stayed in the Sofitel in Siem Ream. and a post tour in Saigon again staying at the Sofitel. Both tours were excellent. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Fell in love with the idea of an all-suite ship with only a 'few' suites, after doing a European river cruise with Scenic. We upgraded to a Grand Deluxe Suite which was a great move, although I believe all the Deluxe Suites ... Read More
Fell in love with the idea of an all-suite ship with only a 'few' suites, after doing a European river cruise with Scenic. We upgraded to a Grand Deluxe Suite which was a great move, although I believe all the Deluxe Suites were nice too. We only used about half of our storage space and had the extra space by never closing the balcony doors. Our butler was a delight - got to know our foibles and preferences and didn't have to be asked some of the times. She worked very hard. The dining was excellent - buffets for both breakfast and lunch and a la carte for dinner - really enjoyed the "Intimate Table" experience as a degustation type of menu takes you out of your comfort zone. One thing we did find annoying was that although guests were advised that the walking track was not to be used before 7 am, there was someone with very heavy foot-falls at 6:15 for the first few mornings (very noisy when you're on the top accommodation deck) - we did mention it to Paula, our lovely Cruise Director, and voila, it was fixed. There is a lovely gym which has a great treadmill (you can visit many places while you walk), so that would have been better to visit while people are trying to sleep. We found the ship not quite as pristine as, for instance, the Scenic Sapphire where you couldn't move without seeing someone clean bannisters, wiping walls etc. However, having said that, perhaps being so new you have to inculcate a certain regime into staff. Lovely visit on board by school children - just love the Cambodian attitude to life. Wouldn't go again because there are too many other places in the world to visit, but would definitely recommend to anyone who was thinking about a cruise in Asia. Total luxury. We met some really nice people - and had a lot of laughs. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Let's be fair. In absolute terms, the Scenic Spirit cruise down the Mekong was very pleasant and enjoyable. The Mekong is not a 'romantic' river of itself, with heavy commercial activity but travelling down it does ... Read More
Let's be fair. In absolute terms, the Scenic Spirit cruise down the Mekong was very pleasant and enjoyable. The Mekong is not a 'romantic' river of itself, with heavy commercial activity but travelling down it does facilitate access to a wide range of interesting and stimulating excursions. The ship, although just a year old, already shows signs of wear, with some obvious maintenance issues and carpets in public spaces and cabins in need of a good clean. We understand the turn around time between each cruise is only a matter of hours and this no doubt prejudices the capacity for staff to address such issues. The cabins are large, comfortable, with decent bedroom and lounge and the private glass balconies are excellent. Staff are extremely pleasant and engaged with us all throughout the trip. The majority are from Cambodia and have excellent language skills. Excursions are generally good - small villages and temples were delightful but some choices necessitated long journeys and short times at the actual destination. Our major disappointment was the dining, in particular dinner. The lunch and breakfast buffets are good with a wide variety of dishes. Dinner on the other hand was a sit down, formal test of endurance. The evening menus were a mish mash of Asian and western food, with neither meeting expectations. On most evenings, there were five courses, which meant a long drawn out serving process which tested wait staff to the limit. Too much choice meant far too many compromises were made, and some dishes were just plain bizarre - baked bean ice cream anyone? Or dark chocolate and blue cheese ice Cream? We asked for vegetarian options on the cruise - at the final night gala dinner, we were offered 'breaded Brie' as those with broader palates dined on lobster. Unfortunately, several people were ill after said meal. Simple well prepared fare would have been perfectly acceptable, with no need for five courses. Regretably, the chef seems to have been carried away by the Scenic hype. And herein lies the problem. In real terms the cruise is just fine, but Scenic's promotions and onboard rhetoric hype the 'Spirit' as being the best of the best. It's not, particularly in regard to food. Given the cost, the Spirit does not present obvious value for money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Exceptional cruise. Attention to detail from beginning to end. Cultural excursions well thought out and timed so you don't feel exhausted at the end. Food was great; maybe a bit too good ;). Staff was attentive and rooms perfect. ... Read More
Exceptional cruise. Attention to detail from beginning to end. Cultural excursions well thought out and timed so you don't feel exhausted at the end. Food was great; maybe a bit too good ;). Staff was attentive and rooms perfect. Because of the limited number of guest on board everyone had time to dine with each other and get to know one another during our time on board. The ship is comfortable and just the right size for this kind of trip. I would call the style understated elegance. For us, Cambodia was the highlight as the people are so friendly and approachable. Ankor Wat was awesome and our guide throughout the trip was knowledgeable and very good at imparting information. We also enjoyed the village tours in both Cambodia and Vietnam. Visiting the 'Killing Fields" was difficult but necessary to understand the country. Vietnam is much more populous with Saigon more like New York on steroids. For me, walking across a street with hundreds of scooters, cars and buses barreling towards you as you hold up your hand and hope you don't get hit while crossing was exciting. I should also mention that scooters drive on the sidewalks so be alert. The ballet in Saigon should not be missed. Very professional, moving and poignant. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This week-long river Ganges cruise was the second half of an APT holiday in India. The first week was an excellent land tour covering Delhi, Agra (for the Taj Mahal) and Jaipur, staying in top class hotels. We then flew to Kolkata and ... Read More
This week-long river Ganges cruise was the second half of an APT holiday in India. The first week was an excellent land tour covering Delhi, Agra (for the Taj Mahal) and Jaipur, staying in top class hotels. We then flew to Kolkata and embarked on the Ganges Voyager. This boat was described in our tour brochure as "the most luxurious vessel of its kind in India". Whilst we found it quite pleasant, we would not describe it as "luxurious". Details: 1) Our cabin (Signature grade on the main deck) was spacious with a very large comfortable bed; a French balcony and two armchairs in front of it. Attractive décor. Always kept immaculate by our excellent stewards. Ample bottled water, constantly replenished. Main downside: very little storage space for clothes. After a week on the move we were all looking forward to unpacking properly and hanging clothes up for the week on board but there was very limited hanging space and just a few small drawers. TV had in-house programmes only, no connection to e.g. satellite news channels. No Wi-Fi in cabin. Bathroom was also roomy but again, short of storage space - very little shelf space. Used toilet paper had to be placed in a bin as the flushing system could not cope with it - not what one would expect on a "luxurious" vessel. 2) The dining room was not particularly attractive, with just two rather dull pictures. Food was generally good but not exceptional. There were no hot plates for keeping buffet dishes warm, consequently food was often not very hot. Waiting staff all very pleasant and willing but not trained to good hotel standards. Main complaint about the dining room: it is directly above the engine and, when the boat was sailing, it was extremely noisy, difficult to make conversation and not very relaxing. On the day of a cookery demonstration we were asked to bring our Vox listening devices (used for shore excursions) so we could hear the chef - an indication of the noise level. 3) Entertainment / activities: about what we expected on a small boat; some attractive local dance shows but not a great deal else - but then people don't expect a big range of activities on this sort of cruise, so no complaints. 4) Service: all staff we came into contact with were very friendly, willing and helpful. A special mention for the crew of the tender taking us ashore each day - they always took special care of us. Some people found the steps on the tender (almost a ladder) a bit difficult but this is not a complaint as we were told before booking that a certain level of fitness was required for this trip. 5) Ports and shore excursions: generally a good variety. I especially enjoyed the walk around a rural village and would have liked more such experiences. I would also have liked the chance to browse around local shops and markets, not just the showrooms aimed at the tourist . Our tour director (who was with us for the first week's land tour as well as the boat) was excellent: not only extremely knowledgeable but also very entertaining in his delivery. 6) The ship in general: pleasant enough but not particularly impressive in décor. (We were on La Marguerite on the Mekong two years, with Travel Marvel, the cheaper branch of APT and we thought that boat was much more attractive, with superb food and beautifully dressed staff.) The sundeck was comfortable but the lounge somehow lacked atmosphere. Very few people bothered to gather there in the evenings after dinner. Unfortunately the main problem during the week was illness. There were 16 in our tour group (8 British, 8 Australian). Nobody had been ill during the first week on the land tour, but, within a couple of days of joining the boat, people were becoming ill with vomiting and diarrhoea. 13 of the 16 in our group got it, some just for 24 hours but others for up to four days, some quite seriously ill. It was a similar proportion in the other group on board. I can't speak for absolutely everyone but I know that we and our friends never drank the tap water and we were scrupulous about hand-washing and sanitising - but to no avail. It is possible there are issues that need to be addressed here. Despite the illness and the lack of "luxury" this was nevertheless an enjoyable trip and I would recommend it to others. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Very impressed by Pandaw's organisation, service and particularly the ship and crew. I did the 10 night Golden Land cruise from Mandalay to Yangon which was a good introduction to Myanmar and an insight into the culture and life along ... Read More
Very impressed by Pandaw's organisation, service and particularly the ship and crew. I did the 10 night Golden Land cruise from Mandalay to Yangon which was a good introduction to Myanmar and an insight into the culture and life along the river. Pandaw II is beautifully fitted out in wood and brass, the cabins are airconditioned and nothing is too much for the crew, if they could pick you up and carry you they would. The food was excellent with a good range and choice. I can't say it was particularly relaxing as we usually had two excursions per day so there wasn't as much sitting and reading as I had intended. In hindsight I should have spent a few days independently in Mandalay before the cruise as there is much more to experience than a half day city tour was able to cover. I enjoyed this trip so much that I have booked another Pandaw cruise for later this year, this time from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City down the Mekong. Can't wait. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Scenic offer such great itineraries and know just what to package together to make a very experience. We had travelled with them previously and this cruise did not disappoint. The service could not be faulted. The food was a great mix ... Read More
Scenic offer such great itineraries and know just what to package together to make a very experience. We had travelled with them previously and this cruise did not disappoint. The service could not be faulted. The food was a great mix of Asian and western - and so many choices each meal. Having the River Cafe on level 2 complimented the Spirit Dining Room. The pool and bar area on level 3 was a great place to sit and relax. We left from Ho Chi Minh City and it was a leisurely day to port. The embarkation was fantastic with all the crew welcoming us on board. First impressions were very good. The ship was only 11 months old and you could tell a lot of thought had been put into the design. The laundry room a huge bonus - free washing machines, laundry powder and clothes dryers. Loved the Trivia night! Would we go again - probably not on this tour as we have seen what we wanted to see. We would definitely go with Scenic again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We had never been to Burma and were intrigued by the political developments there. The cruise itself was very somfortable witrh an extremely attentive staff and the usual Viking good planning for shore excursions The stay at Inle ... Read More
We had never been to Burma and were intrigued by the political developments there. The cruise itself was very somfortable witrh an extremely attentive staff and the usual Viking good planning for shore excursions The stay at Inle Lake was magical, with outstanding accomodations, and the discovery of a waterborne way of life we had never seen before (or since)! The depth of the Budhist faith was another unexpected discovery. It was impossible not to see some temple or other wherever we looked. The Shangri-La hotels at the beginning and end of the cruise were excellent in every way, the Bankok one on the river is incredibly pleasant, indeed we stayed there a few more days. The food on the Mandalay was fine but not quire as good as on othet Viking cruises, probably due to limited availability of ingredients in a very, very poor country. Finally perhaps the best part of the cruise were the other guests all of whom vere interesting and congenial people, maybe there was something special about people chosing to go to a relativelly little travelled country. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We wanted to cruise in Myanmar and upon reading about Scenic's new ship (Aura) we decided to use this operator. A good decision. The ship was only launched in September and our cruise started in late November - mainly December. The ... Read More
We wanted to cruise in Myanmar and upon reading about Scenic's new ship (Aura) we decided to use this operator. A good decision. The ship was only launched in September and our cruise started in late November - mainly December. The ship lived up to the computer generated images and, before I point out some issues, I unreservedly recommend this ship to anyone considering a cruise in Myanmar. Cruising in Myanmar is not like cruising in most other Countries - there are no wharfs at which to dock - the ship (mostly) just nudges into the shore and the gangplank is lowered for passengers to get off. Occasionally it docks against another ship and the only way to exit is through the other ship - happened only once on our voyage. There are 22 cabins - hence a maximum of 44 fellow travellers - 39 in our case as 5 cabins were occupied by singles. The rooms vary in size but all are big by river (and ocean) cruise standards. We had a grand deluxe suite which measured 40 square metres (just over 400 square feet). The cabin was well appointed with only a bath missing. The restaurant is open seating and can seat all passengers at the one sitting. There is a Teppanyaki bar in the restaurant that seats six and is by invitation only - that way all guest get to use this facility. The food was outstanding as was the service. The bar is a (long) horseshoe shape and consequently it is difficulty for large groups to be accommodated - we usually had about 10-12 in our group and that was just manageable. There is another bar next to the pool but this is mainly used when there are functions at the pool area. There is no problem getting a drink where ever you are on the ship. The pool area was a real treat. The top deck is an open area with seating (some undercover) with a walking track that measured about 60 metres (70 yards). The gym is small but adequate. There is one washer, one dryer and one iron in the laundry. The itinerary is fairly full for the first 8 days with less to do on the last two days. I would recommend sailing from Mandalay to Yangon as the river current is fairly strong and the excursions at the Mandalay end are busy at a time when you have to pack etc. The excursions were, in the main, interesting although one does get over Pagoda's after the first two hundred! The highlights were village visits - actually saw cock fighting in one (not sactioned by Scenic) and visits to monastery’s and schools - you get a real feel of how the people of Myanmar are coping with the opening up of their Country. Onboard entertainment is limited given the small size of both the ship and the crew. Now those issues - at our greeting talk the cruise director (Rikus Visser) explained that there were a few problems with the finishes on the ship - the floor varnish was not adequate and the floors were scratched, some repainting was taking place as the air conditioner had required maintenance and ceilings had to be accessed. We had noticed the smell of paint in our cabin upon arrival but it was completely gone by nightfall. These are small issues that one would expect in a ship built in Myanmar and they will be fixed at the end of the season. Finally the staff - they were fantastic, always friendly and ready to help. We have been on quite a few ocean cruises and there are few cruise directors of the standard of Rikus. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
A fantastic opportunity to experience a difference culture and a far different way of life. We were not disappointed. From a taste of opulent life in a grand hotel in Bangkok to the simple and basic life in Myanmar. Beautiful people ... Read More
A fantastic opportunity to experience a difference culture and a far different way of life. We were not disappointed. From a taste of opulent life in a grand hotel in Bangkok to the simple and basic life in Myanmar. Beautiful people with a welcome smile for all. A marvelous experience to find a third world country with no begging. A rare experience, there were the usual "vendors", mostly children and young adults, all trying to sell their goods, but no begging and fair pricing for the most part. What a shame that the cruises are coming to end. Viking made the experience a "once in a lifetime" event with a superb agenda delivered from a marvelous old style, classic, mostly teak, river boat, with very large and fully equipped cabins. More like a large hotel suite than a river boat cabin.. A floating hotel staffed by a service oriented crew that sought out ways to make your trip special. Every aspect of the trip was outstanding! From booking, to transfers, to accommodations, to the great meals, and the above average guides. Based on this trip, I will be taking another Viking cruise in Asia. This trip is gone, but if it ever comes back, grab it., Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We sailed on the Victoria Jenna from Chongqing to Yichang for 3 nights during our 3 week tour of China. I didn't really know what to expect but it was about 100% better than I ever imagined. It was a well needed peaceful break after ... Read More
We sailed on the Victoria Jenna from Chongqing to Yichang for 3 nights during our 3 week tour of China. I didn't really know what to expect but it was about 100% better than I ever imagined. It was a well needed peaceful break after going full speed for 2 weeks all over China! Our cabin was beautiful.....even better than when we sailed on Princess cruises! We had comfortable beds, large tv, sitting area, large bathroom and a nice balcony. Our cruise staff, Amy and Stephen, were so sweet and nice to us and to everyone. Stephen is hysterical.....great sense of humor. We had the amenities package so we ate in the dining room on level 6. Since this was their last cruise before winter vacation, there were only 2 other tables that were occupied....8 people total. Wow, we had that whole dining room almost to ourselves! (there was another dining room on level 2). They made a huge buffet for us every breakfast and lunch that was really, really good....everything you ever wanted....eggs, pancakes, pastries, sausage, bacon, French toast and on and on. You definitely would not go hungry on this ship! For dinner, you got to pick a choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert. The last night, I had duck with a spicy orange sauce that I wish I could eat every day!! OMG...it was that good! The food was 100 times better than Princess cruises in my opinion. Wine and beer is included in the amenities package....Happy Hour everyday! The shore excursions were interesting but it was cold and windy......probably would have been more fun in warmer weather but this is what we chose. The scenery was beautiful .....very hilly and green. The only bad part was passing through the locks at the dam from 11 pm to 3 am.......it is very, very loud and you will not be able to sleep. But, we got off the next day and had a nap when we got to our next hotel. All in all, I would definitely say........if you have a chance....DO NOT miss this cruise. It is a wonderful experience while touring China. An experience to not miss! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this ship due to its small size and floor to ceiling windows in the 245 square foot cabins. Really enjoyed having just 31 passengers and a ship small enough to dock at rural villages to experience life in rural Viet Nam and ... Read More
We chose this ship due to its small size and floor to ceiling windows in the 245 square foot cabins. Really enjoyed having just 31 passengers and a ship small enough to dock at rural villages to experience life in rural Viet Nam and Cambodia. The cabin had plenty of closet space, large bathroom, desk and mini bar with included drinks. King size bed was too hard for me but husband liked it my only real complaint was pillow menu that featured soft and hard pillows, really they were small very hard large semi hard would love to see addition of feather pillow. The covered outdoor deck was favorite gathering spot while cruising on the river. There was lounge that had full service bar with most drinks included. Wine was $5.00 a glass but included at dinner. Not much for evening entertainment other that couple of movies but we were up early and active all day so most of us for ready to retire early. For the cruise most of the stops were small villages to see things like silk weaving, silver and copper works visiting a school and seeing everyday life of villages. Food was good with large buffet breakfast and lunches and choice of entree plated dinners. Staff was exceptional. The other guests were adventurous folks mostly 50's-60's interested in the culture and history of the countries. We enjoyed the guests almost as much as the cruise. We booked the land package that included Ho Chi Min City, Angkor Wat and Siem Reap and are glad we did as well as Bangkok extension. Angkor Wat was highlight of trip. Hotels were first class with excellent rooms, beds and breakfasts. Service was good at the hotels. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Viking did a great job of organizing a truly memorable trip. We arranged our own travel because we used our AA miles and flew business class for the 14 1/2 hour non-stop flight. We also made our own taxi arrangements to the Kerry Hotel ... Read More
Viking did a great job of organizing a truly memorable trip. We arranged our own travel because we used our AA miles and flew business class for the 14 1/2 hour non-stop flight. We also made our own taxi arrangements to the Kerry Hotel in Beijing and from Westin in Shanghai. Viking charged about $240 for transfers. I simply looked up the Hotel address and did a copy paste of it in Chinese into Word doc so I could give it to the taxi driver. Cost was about $20USD in Beijing and $70USD in Shanghai There were Ambassadors at the airport to give you an approximate cost and direct you toward licensed Taxis. We felt very safe and saved a lot of Money rather than Viking Transfers. Taxis are very small. We only had 2 pieces of luggage and it barely fit. When we checked into the Kerry Hotel, we had a letter from our Viking Tour Escort, Duan, with instructions for breakfast and the exact time and location to meet the next morning for our first tour in Beijing. Everything was very organized. Food at the Kerry was very good, served buffet style. Viking divided us into groups of 30-35 and assigned a guide to remain with us the entire trip. He was fantastic. We wore name tags daily with our name, his name in Chinese and his cell phone number on the back of our badge just in case we got separated from the group. We also were given Voice box devices so that we could hear him while on tours. We always boarded tour buses with Duan's name on it. Putting us in small groups allowed us to get to know people from all over. It was comforting to familiarize our group and recognize them throughout the tours. In Beijing, we toured the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Sacred Way of the Ming Tomb, and a rickshaw ride in Old Beijing's hutongs. There were two optional tours, a Kung Fu dinner/show ($22USD each) which everyone said was very good. We were to tired to attend. The other optional tour was a Peking Duck Dinner ($50 USD each) which we did attend. Duck was prepared at your table and other food choices were served on a lazy Susan. That evening, our tour escort collected our passports and made arrangements for our flight to Xian. Next morning we boarded buses to the airport where our guide took care of luggage transfers, getting our tickets and boarding passes. Boarding passes and passports were returned so we could go through security. When we arrived in Xian, we only had to identify our luggage and it was transferred to the Hilton Xian for us. Next day, after breakfast on our own in the hotel, we traveled to the site of the Terra Cotta Army. This was an amazing display and continual archeological discoveries. Lunch was at a local restaurant. That evening there was an optional Tang Dynasty Dinner and show for $70USD. Next morning, our luggage and passports were collected again by our escort and returned with boarding passes for our next airline flight to Chongquin where we embarked our ship. We had an early flight so when we landed; we went straight to the Zoo in perfect timing to watch the Pandas eat lunch. Baby panda put on quite a show. I was worried about the long walk down a narrow over the water bridge to board the ship but it was not as bad as reviews I had read. Every 6-8 feet was a Viking employee smiling, greeting us as we walked to the ship. Our veranda cabin was about 250 sq. ft. with a shower in the bathroom. Water was replenished daily. We were told to only drink bottled water while in China and even to brush out teeth with bottled water. There were only 250 passengers on the ship. Meals were served open seating. You could order off the menu at night or local fare served on the Lazy Susan. Soft Drinks, water, beer or wine were served frequently throughout the lunch and dinner meals. The next 5 days were on the Viking Emerald as we floated down the Yangtze River. Along the way, we toured the Shibaozhai Pagoda, the Gorges, tour of the world's largest hydroelectric power plant. On board, there was a calligraphy demonstration, a dumpling making demonstration, entertainment by the ship’s crew, and a tour of the bridge. Our next flight was from Wuhan, where we left the ship, to Shanghai. Intra flights were on China Eastern and Xiamen Airlines. Our flights were not long; and lunch was served in coach. In Shanghai, we stayed at the Westin Bund. We were within walking distance to the Bund. The Yu Garden tour was our only rainy day. After the beautiful tour, we had free shopping time in the local markets. Final night included a dinner at a local restaurant followed by the Shanghai Acrobat Show. Viking did a fantastic job on this fully escorted tour. The local hotels, the ship employees, and the local people provided wonderful service. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was our first time to China and we're very happy we went with Viking to show us this area of the world. The guides were very nice and helpful at every turn. They always make sure you have a great experience and are safe at ... Read More
This was our first time to China and we're very happy we went with Viking to show us this area of the world. The guides were very nice and helpful at every turn. They always make sure you have a great experience and are safe at all times. Our Viking experience was a bit different from going to Europe as we had a land portion that had to be done in order to see the sights of China that we wanted to see. Such as Beijing, Xian and Shanghai. This meant that we had to fly from a few cities. The flights were short and fine, and Viking made sure that all of our baggage was handled from departing our hotel room to our new hotel room. The included tours were very informative and well thought out. Some were very early in the morning, but that helped us to avoid some large crowds. We are looking forward to many more Viking experiences. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We wanted to see Myanmar before it is changed forever by mass tourism. This itinerary allowed us to visit not only the major centres of Yangon and Mandalay but also small remote villages only accessible easily by river. We thoroughly ... Read More
We wanted to see Myanmar before it is changed forever by mass tourism. This itinerary allowed us to visit not only the major centres of Yangon and Mandalay but also small remote villages only accessible easily by river. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting some of the local people, especially the children who were so eager to practice their language skills on us. Visiting local markets was very interesting and colourful, as were the gold leaf factory and lacquerware workshop. The addition of a stopover at Inle Lake with a visit to the silk weaving workshop was very special. The ship was wonderful - lovely teak decor and a spacious sundeck. The crew were superb, always ready to assist us, even to the extent of cleaning our shoes whenever we came back onboard. We are so glad we went but disappointed to learn that Viking has withdrawn from Myanmar and this trip is no longer available. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was our first river cruise. We are avid ocean cruisers and have done 55 cruises to date. We have been many times to Shanghai and a couple of times to Beijing over the years. We wanted to see more of China, as it is a vast country that ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. We are avid ocean cruisers and have done 55 cruises to date. We have been many times to Shanghai and a couple of times to Beijing over the years. We wanted to see more of China, as it is a vast country that can only be seen by visiting inland. We decided on Viking Cruises because it is a brand that we had heard a lot about. The Viking customer service we received in the UK was professional and responsive. The booking process was very easy. All the details regarding the cruise and obtaining the Chinese visa was sent on time. However, the information we received before booking the cruise was ambiguous and unclear. >> After we received our booklet with the summary itinerary, we realised that Viking do not provide any meals on the first day of the package >> As we had international baggage allowances, I enquired before we left about the lower luggage weights on the Chinese internal flights but Viking did not advise us that it would not be a problem with the weights because of group check in. As a result we took limited warm clothes. The weather was very cold in Beijing. >> We did not realise that the ship we would be cruising on was not a Viking ship. Viking use a Chinese ship that changed it's name back to the Chinese name 'Century...' on our disembarkation day. There was a sister ship in one of the ports. >> Viking do not explain that the only almost 4* experience that we would receive for the entire 12 nights related to the 5 days whilst we were onboard the ship and not to the land portion of our holiday. I have described the ship as 'almost' 4* because the ship is possibly only a 3* ship. When we boarded the ship in Wuhan, after 2 nights in Shanghai, we were greeted with a warm welcome stating that this was the start of our holiday and when we left after 5 days cruising, we were waved good bye with a message that this was the end of our holiday Viking Century Emerald - The Good & The Bad >> We had to change our cabin at 1:30 am because there was a rattling sound from the balcony and the water discharge plug was moving up and down making a din. >> The staterooms and the entire ship are faded and need complete renovation. It is brown and old. >> The food was alright but nothing to shout about. >> Beer wine and soft drinks are only offered at lunch and dinner >> The Chinese cultural entertainment by the crew was very good, considering that they are not professional. >> The management staff were always willing to listen and were helpful. >> Our cabin steward was non existent and we had to request amenities to be replenished. >> The ship's air conditioner did not work. It was cold at the bottom and stifelingly hot on the upper floors. It was like a sauna in the gym and internet room. >> The internet, although free was unavailable during most of the cruise. Pre and Post Cruise Hotels - Mixed Quality Pre cruise, we stayed in The Westin Bund Center, Shanghai for 2 days. The room we were allocated was on the 5th Floor and needed refurbishment. >> The carpet and chair needed to be changed. >> The air conditioner did not work both days and there was a problem with the automatic night lights behind a glass panel that kept going on and off every now and again during the first night. An engineer disabled the lights >> The breakfast in the main dining room was probably the best that we had on our entire trip. There was a fantastic variety of Chinese and Western food in the buffet. >> Viking had arranged 1 night's dinner in the hotel and it was described as an Italian buffet dinner. This was very poor. There were a couple of hot dishes with soup and pizza, pasta and sandwiches. Post cruise, we stayed in The Hilton, Xi'an and The Ritz Carlton Financial Street, Beijing >> The Hilton room was probably the best one that we stayed in on this trip. >> At the Ritz Carlton, we had to move out of the room we were allotted on the 3rd Floor because the carpet was badly stained and looked dirty. The management were extremely helpful and we were moved immediately to the 10th Floor Throughout our stay we were treated with courtesy and made to feel very welcome. The last day, Viking arranged for us to have dinner in the main restaurant and this was good. Tour Guide - Excellent Our Tour Guide, Bob was very knowledgeable and dedicated to us. He knew his job inside and out and took care of every detail of our trip. Everything flowed seamlessly and we had great admiration for his enthusiasm, stamina and how he managed the group. Tours - All tours were well organised and coaches turned up on time to take us to places of interest. Local guides spoke good English and were knowledgeable. The optional tour in Xian (Tang Dynasty Performance + Dinner) which we paid for additionally was good. Food & Drinks - Very Poor Viking had arranged lunch and dinner in local restaurants or in factories in Shanghai, Xi'an and Beijing. The food was always the same either Chinese types offered on individual tables with 'lazy susans' in local restaurants or in buffets in the jade or carpet factories. The food was monotonous and usually lukewarm at best. We stopped going for the group meals in Beijing. We were only allowed 1 drink in a glass : a beer, water or soft drink, no wine. I don't drink beer or soft carbonated drinks, so I had water throughout the land portion in local restaurants. Internal Flights - Very Disruptive Only 1 of our 3 flights was on time. We had delays on 2 flights - from Shanghai to Wuhan where we missed a tour because we arrived too late and had to go straight to join the ship; and from Xi'an to Beijing, when the flight was cancelled and our guide had to get later flights. We were delayed by 4 hours and had a dreadful Chinese lunch at the airport in a set aside area. Conclusion China is a very complex and fascinating country. We learnt a lot about China's history, culture and people but we found the whole itinerary disjointed. We felt that we wasted 2 of our 12 days holiday sitting in airports. Although it is described as a Viking Cruise it really is a land tour with a small cruise thrown in the middle. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Having Travelled around India alone using local transport since the early seventies I am addicted. However my wife had never been despite several attempts to persuade her to try. We have cruised regularly, so when I saw this cruise ... Read More
Having Travelled around India alone using local transport since the early seventies I am addicted. However my wife had never been despite several attempts to persuade her to try. We have cruised regularly, so when I saw this cruise advertised I felt this to be a great opportunity to get her on board. Well Calcutta I knew would be chancy for her because of the crowds and the obvious poverty, but once on the boat and in comfort I was sure things would fine although in an alien area. Fortunately it proved to be the case. The on land travel was all in comfortable 4X4 type vehicles with careful drivers for all trips, The boat was really comfortable, clean and fit for purpose. Cabins were excellent as were the other facilities. The top of the boat was perfect for observing what was happening on the banks. The food was very good and varied, although the one attempt at European food was mixed. Stick to what you know would be my suggestion. The crew were all terrific and helpful. A special mention must be made for our resident guide, a magic ornithologist who also had a wealth of knowledge about all the other trips to architectural sights, on safaris and village life. He runs early morning bird walks before breakfast which were terrific. Strangely only two people took advantage of these. Don't miss them even if your not a real birdie. They were brilliant. The two safaris in the Kazaringa were fabulous. Indeed all of the trips collectively gave a wonderful insight into life in Assam. On a different note, the massages were something else, When have you had eight or ten hands working on you at the same time. But totally safe and not intrusive. Even my wife indulged. Coming back to my wife she loved it all, bar Calcutta. Even to the point of going shortly afterwards to Sri Lanka. Some success. My only moan was that the prices stated for drinks and other purchases were not as they seemed as they added all sorts of taxes when the bill was printed. Sharp practice. They did say that they would rectify the situation. I hope so because it's sad to finish an absolutely brilliant trip on a potentially sour note. But don't let that stop you going. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Sailing up the mighty Brahmaputra River in North India with Pandaw River Cruises was a truly amazing adventure. I had always dreamed of seeing the real India and when we saw this opportunity to explore the Assam region by boat we ... Read More
Sailing up the mighty Brahmaputra River in North India with Pandaw River Cruises was a truly amazing adventure. I had always dreamed of seeing the real India and when we saw this opportunity to explore the Assam region by boat we couldn’t resist. The ship itself was wonderful - a real floating hotel. The cabins were beautifully appointed and spotless (I’d recommend a balcony birth so you can watch the ever changing scenery slip by and enjoy an evening cocktail as the sun set) the crew were superb and really looked after us. The food was delicious with a great range of both western and Indian delicacies. Dinner was a very social affair we made some great friends and had many laughs with our fellow passengers. What really set this trip apart was the sense of discovery. Every morning we woke up to watch the majestic river reveal new landscapes. Our itinerary was jammed packed with the most amazing experiences. Everyday we had excursions to temples, local villages and tea plantations. I have to make a special of Venkatesh, our resident naturalist, historian and all round lovely guy. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of the animals, birds and plant life and was always fascinating to talk with. When we visited temples he could describe in detail the symbolism, spiritualism and beliefs. Every evening we were treated to talks on the wildlife and could watch the amazing sunsets from the 360- degree sundeck One evening we disembarked to a deserted island to enjoy a bonfire barbeque and cocktails under the starlight sky. The highlights of the trip had to be the two safaris to Kaziranga National Park. The first was by jeep which allowed us to cover a lot of ground and see as much of the abundant wildlife, culminating at sunset with a stunning view of the animals gathered at a watering hole. Our second was on elephant back which allowed us to get really close to the wildlife. At one point we were within feet of a basking Rhino, a truly amazing sight. Sailing with Pandaw is more than just a holiday it’s a truly unique and immersive experience, a trip of a lifetime. If you’re interested in getting off the beaten track and seeing slices of life that the regular tourism would miss out on then this is the trip for you. It was an unforgettable journey and I can’t recommend it enough. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Born in China and lived in the US for more than 30 year, I chose the Victoria Cruises because the cruise line claims that they are the only 'American company' on the Yangtze River. It turned out that the advertisement from the ... Read More
Born in China and lived in the US for more than 30 year, I chose the Victoria Cruises because the cruise line claims that they are the only 'American company' on the Yangtze River. It turned out that the advertisement from the Victoria Cruises is a total misleading. On November 11, 2016, we boarded Victoria Grace and started our 4-day Chongqing to Yichang (the three gorges) cruise and it is the worst cruise we even taken (we took more than dozen of cruises including river cruise in Europe). The ship. The so labeled “5-star” ship is absolutely outdated and nowhere close to a 3-star ship, and there is NO elevator. The floors are uneven and you can feel the metal sheet waving underneath the carpet and hear the noise when walking on the floor. Decoration is at the minimal and pale, at least. The embarkation. First, all passengers had to walk about 2 km to board the ship carrying all luggage and there was no help from the ship. When we asked for help to move our luggage to our cabin after we got on the board, we were told that we had to pay for the service by using the local labor whom the ship allowed to do so. During check-in, we were immediately asked to pay gratuities (150 RMB per person) at front because we are not Chinese citizen (however, the ship asked us to pay tip again at the end of cruise which we declined for the experience we had). Be aware that there is no food provided for the first night. The cabin: We had a standard cabin which is small, tired, dated and smelly. Bed is soft, furniture, sheets, bedcover and towels are old. We had toilet and door lock problems during our 4-day cruise. Food: Buffet breakfast and lunch were provided, and dinners were either buffets or Chinese style table dinner. Foods was boring with limited choices. Sometimes passengers had to wait for items to be refilled. Service: The ship provided absolutely minimal service. No greetings, and smiling was almost non-exist. There is thermal bottle in cabin but the room attendant wanted passages to fill the hot water themselves. It was a great effort to get the waiter/waitress to bring a cup of tea or coffee to you during lunch or dinner. Some of the staff were doing better job than others. However, if you complain, then the situation became worse! There was one English speaking person on board but she could not do much because all she could do was listening and reporting it to her boss. Excursions: There were couple of included excursions that were good but the poor air quality and visibility greatly discounted the true beauty of the three gorges. The optional excursions were very expensive and not worth to take. In summary, if you want to cruise the three gorges, go with other cruise lines and do a good homework. Do not simply believe the advertisement and DO NOT go with Victoria Cruises! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We have travelled with Scenic for 10 years and have completed 5 river cruises with them in addition to many land tours. We love the fact that everything is included, itineraries are varied and staff are so well-trained. The Scenic spirit ... Read More
We have travelled with Scenic for 10 years and have completed 5 river cruises with them in addition to many land tours. We love the fact that everything is included, itineraries are varied and staff are so well-trained. The Scenic spirit is a truly luxurious ship and we were fortunate to be upgraded to one of the Royal Panorama Suites. Luxuriating in our own jacuzzi with a glass of wine at the end of each day's shore excursion was sheer bliss. I also highly recommend Shretty's massages in the Wellness centre. Twenty-four of the 60 passengers had already travelled together from Hanoi for 12 days on a land tour and had formed a tight knit "Sticky Rice" group with our fabulous Vietnamese tour director, Nghia. This meant we were together for most of the shore excursions with him and Dara, a local Cambodian tour guide. One afternoon Dara gave us a lesson on how to tie the Khmer (Cambodian scarf) which had us laughing for days. Paula, Joyce and Eric run the cruise smoothly, like a well-oiled machine. Everything happened exactly as they said and their staff are super organised, friendly and capable.The Captain and his crew had to dock in some 'interesting' places and were very creative in making sure we were able to step ashore safely for our excursions. Ario and his team never let us go hungry and introduced us to lots of local delicacies and the friendly, happy waiters were a bonus. Our gorgeous Cambodian butler, Sithat, anticipated our every need and brought us fruit after lunch and chocolates after dinner. Thanks to her we were able to have several pre-dinner drinks and canape evenings with some of our new friends in our cabin. An added bonus with our cabin allocation was being able to send bags of laundry to be done every day. With the high humidity we certainly took advantage of this. All shore excursions were interesting and educational, some such as tasting snake wine and holding a python more challenging than others and the Killing Fields were really confronting. Scenic are to be congratulated for their support of local communities and children's charities. It was such a wonderful week we were all sad to have to leave the ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016

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