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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Our cruise was on the Upper Irrawaddy. This is our 3rd Pandaw cruise in 2 years. They epitomize the benefits and joys of Myanmar experience. The food is great, the itineraries are creative. We faced a couple of crises (caught on sand bars) ... Read More
Our cruise was on the Upper Irrawaddy. This is our 3rd Pandaw cruise in 2 years. They epitomize the benefits and joys of Myanmar experience. The food is great, the itineraries are creative. We faced a couple of crises (caught on sand bars) and the crew is empowered to find solutions. The staff are friendly to the point of knowing passengers quite intimately which guarantees a personalized service, especially at meal times. This does NOT have ocean liner evening options. Pandaw takes you into the heart and soul of this country whose citizens are probably the nicest people on this planet. Despite having already done the Chindwin River cruise last year and Halong Bay/Red River out of Hanoi this year, we have been reminded of why Pandaw fulfills our river cruise needs. We almost certainly will return next year for another Pandaw experience. Children would not find this satisfactory. The clientele on all of our Pandaw cruises have been 'Senior' or close to it. The excursions are not particularly demanding but are VERY rewarding. One day, we found ourselves in the middle of a wedding and a funeral, just a few minutes apart and were urged - by the parties involved - to join them and participate. The interaction and opportunity to meet the Burmans is truly the highlight of our Myanmar experiences. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Our Mekong cruise with Pandaw exceeded our expectations. This ship was very comfortable, the food was very good and quite plentiful, the guides were knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and the staff was just superlative. I left my coat on ... Read More
Our Mekong cruise with Pandaw exceeded our expectations. This ship was very comfortable, the food was very good and quite plentiful, the guides were knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and the staff was just superlative. I left my coat on the van that took us from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, and Pandaw tracked it down and sent it to me, with excellent communication. This would be a surprise from many companies, but after the wonderful service we experienced on our cruise, I wasn't a bit surprised. Weve been on top cruise lines, especially Seabourn, so our standards have been raised considerably. Pandaw suited us just fine. Book with confidence that you made a good choice. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
As we worked more than 30 years for international organizations, we have been frequent travelers all our life, but this travel was really a highlight. This travel started at Ho Chi Minh city and ended at Siem Rep in Cambodia. The ... Read More
As we worked more than 30 years for international organizations, we have been frequent travelers all our life, but this travel was really a highlight. This travel started at Ho Chi Minh city and ended at Siem Rep in Cambodia. The entire cruise included daily shore excursions with small boat tours, great buses to reach other places, horses and cows carts,etc., and always excellent guides explaining absolutely everything you wanted to know. Entertainment was fantastic too: local traditional music and dances shows in the evening, marionettes spectacle, local musicians, etc. Disembarkation in every place (including spontaneous spots discovered on the way) was really amazing: in minutes, an absolute secure bridge to the coast was built, including side protections, hand rails, and a row of staff helping gently to safely walk down. The boat is so nice, well equipped, comfortable. The food exceptionally good (we are expert cooks ourselves...and we learned a lot!!). The staff in the boat, ALL, were really exceptionally good, friendly, efficient… and any good thing additionally you can think about!! SUMMARY: All in all, just perfect!!! There is absolutely nothing that we could criticize negatively. The contrary, just congratulations to Pandaw for a fantastic cruise!!! Every day was a new enjoyable journey, and we were sad to leave the boat at the end of our travel... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
Joined the ship in Saigon for a 3 night / 4 day cruise to Phnom Penh. Cost was approximately £500 (GBP) per night for a double cabin. Passengers met for registration at the Intercontinental Asiana in Saigon. It was disappointing that ... Read More
Joined the ship in Saigon for a 3 night / 4 day cruise to Phnom Penh. Cost was approximately £500 (GBP) per night for a double cabin. Passengers met for registration at the Intercontinental Asiana in Saigon. It was disappointing that Pandaw did not arrange for coffee to be available during what turned out to be a 2 hour wait for transport to the ship. Not a good first impression. That said, instead of the expected 2 hour bus ride to My Tho on the Mekong delta to meet the ship we had a 10 minute ride to Saigon Port and the bonus of an extra half day on the water as we proceeded down the Saigon River to the Mekong delta from there. This included a spectacular sunset. The ship itself is very beautiful and well maintained. There are 16 double cabins - and our cruise had 28 passengers. All were middle aged (or older) Europeans, Australians or Canadians. The atmosphere was friendly and enjoyable throughout with free seating at meals and all local beers and spirits included. Cabins are spacious and the bathrooms amazingly large and functional with an excellent shower. Without exception, the staff are wonderful. On the downside, the excursions and the food were slightly disappointing, especially given the price paid for what is classed as a "top of the range" cruise. The fact that the cruise took place during the lunar New Year (Tet) meant that the river was not its normal bustling self and the floating market had everything except any floating markets!! The excursions ashore were not particularly interesting (and not as advertised) - again maybe due to Tet - though it was always good to get off the ship and stretch ones legs for a couple of hours. The food was OK but nothing to write home about - interestingly we had much better on a 1 night cruise in Halong Bay (which cost half as much per night). We also thought it slightly mean that a "house wine" could not be provide for dinner. All-in-all a very enjoyable experience, though a little expensive for what it was. For us, 3 nights was certainly enough. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Our 14 night Irrawaddy river cruise from Yangon by Pandaw Cruise Co. was a disappointing experience to say the least. Perhaps our pre cruise expectation was unrealistic. ( We imagined Myanmar to be full of untouched mountains/trees, ... Read More
Our 14 night Irrawaddy river cruise from Yangon by Pandaw Cruise Co. was a disappointing experience to say the least. Perhaps our pre cruise expectation was unrealistic. ( We imagined Myanmar to be full of untouched mountains/trees, streams , wild birds,animals and of course Buddhistic culture. ) Yes, there were stupas and temples. ( We had to see these on almost every excursion.) But more than anything else we were disappointed at the service and the lack of professionalism shown by the Pandaw cruise Co. 1. I could not drink the coffee they serve on the ship. ( too stale ) The food they serve was one of the poorest in quality . 2. I see staff member eating his breakfast when we have our breakfast. They clean the ceiling of the dining room while there are open plates around for breakfast. 3. The brochure says the price includes tipping of the crew, yet they suggest tipping of $ 5 per day per person. 4. The safety of the passengers are not taken seriously. One passenger fell to the ditch during the trishaw excursion. The trishaw and the driver were on top of this passenger when they fell unto the ditch. I do not know how she was not seriously injured! Other passenger fell and hit her head on the ship. She had a 10cm laceration on her scalp. They brought a doctor who did not know what to do with this problem. I as a surgeon had to clean the wound with Vodka and sew the laceration up with the kit the another passenger brought . 5. I joined their post cruise program. It was very expensive considering the service we received. Yet they booked us the flight which was not a direct flight to Yangon ( to save money ? )   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
I have recently returned from the Pandaw Cruises trip between Siem Reap in Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam on the RV Mekong Pandaw. It is impossible to highlight one particular service or event as they do it all so brilliantly. ... Read More
I have recently returned from the Pandaw Cruises trip between Siem Reap in Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam on the RV Mekong Pandaw. It is impossible to highlight one particular service or event as they do it all so brilliantly. From the roomy cabin on a limited passenger river boat to the fine dining and casual luxury, it is just magic. All land tours during the cruise are escorted with options for pre and post cruise tour options, leisurely paced and very well presented. Of course, you can just sit back and do nothing if that's what you want. If you're in the mood for a trip on a luxury river boat in SE Asia I highly recommend Pandaw Cruises. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
I cruised on the Kalaw Pandaw from Sept. 6 to 13, 2014, embarking in Mandalay and debarking in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma). The Kalaw is a beautiful little river steamer built almost entirely out of a dark hardwood that is indigenous to ... Read More
I cruised on the Kalaw Pandaw from Sept. 6 to 13, 2014, embarking in Mandalay and debarking in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma). The Kalaw is a beautiful little river steamer built almost entirely out of a dark hardwood that is indigenous to Myanmar. The boat is in excellent repair, well maintained and clean. Because the boat is small, it does not have the amenities of the large cruise ships, but that does not matter to me. I don’t need a pool, gym, separate cocktail lounge or the other amenities of large ships. All of us could socialize out on the deck whenever we wanted to. Cruises on Pandaw are down to earth, which I liked. The ship’s small size and shallow draft enable the captain to take it right up to the river banks and sail it in parts of the river where larger boats cannot go. This was the inaugural cruise for this itinerary and, I think, this boat. Service was excellent. Crew and staff were friendly and went out of their way to accommodate our wishes. Food was ample and very good. Laundry sent out in the morning was back by evening. All excursions were included in the cruise price. Transfers to and from airports or hotels was included too. Gratuities were included, but most of us gave staff cash tips anyway because the service and overall experience was so good. The itinerary was excellent. We were taken to well known historic sites and temples, as well as remote villages and places that I would have never found on my own. This mix of excursions added very much to the enjoyment of the cruise. Our tour guide was excellent. He spoke English and had extensive knowledge about every place we went. We learned a lot about the history and culture of this enchanting country. Because the boat ties up to river banks, your shoes may get a little muddy or dirty and the same with some of the excursions that we went on. No problem. You take off your shoes when entering the boat. Crew clean them off and deliver your shoes to your room. Sandals should be worn. You have to take off shoes and socks to enter the temples anyway. The Irrawaddy River is huge. It is the main economic artery of Myanmar. We were 600 miles north of Yangon (Rangoon) and the river was larger than the Mississippi R. at New Orleans. The Irrawaddy is famous for its sunsets. The river did not disappoint us on this trip. Many of us would sit out on the deck in the evening to watch the sunset. I intend to sail on Pandaw again and recommend this cruise line to other travelers as well.   Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2014
Our expectations have been exceeded by far: the RV Mekong Pandaw is an absolute lovely and comfortable boat, ex- and interior fits perfect to Vietnam and Cambodia, without jeopardizing any comfort. The entire vessel has just been complete ... Read More
Our expectations have been exceeded by far: the RV Mekong Pandaw is an absolute lovely and comfortable boat, ex- and interior fits perfect to Vietnam and Cambodia, without jeopardizing any comfort. The entire vessel has just been complete refitted, large rooms in teak wood, comfortable beds, all clean and tidy. If we understood correct, they have reduced the number of cabins (which other cruise line does that?). The almost entire lower deck is a generous public space with a large gym, movie room, a lounge-style library and full equipped massage rooms. On the upper deck the boats has a cozy saloon bar + a huge sundeck (with free ice cream all day). All, meals, beverages (including alcoholic), excursion was included - no hassle or anyone trying to sell you anything during the cruise. While the boat looks like it dates back from French Indochina times, they have WI-Fi in all cabins and provide even programmed Ipads; keeping you always updated on the upcoming excursions, route, program, menus etc and free use of internet We had some concerns, we are in our 30/40s, and feared we might be by far the youngest couple – but no. Fellow travelers of all ages and we counted 7 different nationalities. We all had common interest and so much fun and interesting conversations. During the cruise we had enough opportunities to escape the “crowd”, like a private table for dinner when we requested it (we celebrated our anniversary) and in Phnom Penh you can choose from a variety of excursions (all included in the price). I went to take a lesson in Khmer boxing at a local boxing school (what an experience!), my wife took the cooking classes at a local training center for underprivileged children. But what made this cruise so very special was the service provided! Service, food and the ship managers where outstanding. Nothing was too much, all done with a smile. All a very causal 6 star experience without being stiff and formal. Their Chef is a local master Chef and was always available in the dining room to explain or take special orders. Neville, the ship manager, is a super star! But even their ground staff! We had booked through an agent and had some issue with our onwards journey after the cruise. The Pandaw head office assisted us with all and rerouted our flights and amended our hotel stays. We had the vacation of a lifetime! My advice: Book direct with Pandaw, they are extremely helpful.   Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. I preferred the relaxed atmosphere on the boat, there was no pressure to dress up and compete for seats at the captains table. The food was excellent, varied and plentiful. We were provided with three ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. I preferred the relaxed atmosphere on the boat, there was no pressure to dress up and compete for seats at the captains table. The food was excellent, varied and plentiful. We were provided with three meals a day and it was more than I needed but so delicious that I could not resist! There was entertainment provided in the evenings, sometimes films and sometimes live performances. During the day we were given a class on spring roll making and a demonstration of fruit carving, which seemed very difficult. There were three excursions available while we were on board. All were very interesting and I was glad that I attended them. I must say that they were also varied as we went to a floating market, a Cham village, a sweet making establishment a street market and the Lovers House. Our cabin was very comfortable and had plenty of room for suitcases and other belongings. One comment that I would have is that there were no brighter lights in either the bathroom or the bedroom and this made removing and inserting my contact lenses rather difficult. Disembarkation was very easy. We were transferred by coach to a hotel in Saigon and we dispersed from there. All in all we had a fabulous trip and are enquiring about cruising with Pandaw on the Irrawaddy next January. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2012
The cruise started with a busstransfer from Yangon to Prome where we boarded the Pandaw II. From the very first minute the crew took care of us in a wonderful way. We was served a drink, our shoes where cleaned and they took our bagage to ... Read More
The cruise started with a busstransfer from Yangon to Prome where we boarded the Pandaw II. From the very first minute the crew took care of us in a wonderful way. We was served a drink, our shoes where cleaned and they took our bagage to our cabin. This high level of service was maintained during the whole cruise. As we was just 45 passengers the service was very personalized and the style onboard was very informel, no such things as captains dinner etc. The Pandaw II is a wonderful boat made as a replica of the paddlewheel steamer that once cruise the Irrawaddy river. It´s all made of teak and brass but perfectly modern with AC etc. Most of the days we made two stops and visit remote villages up along the Irrawaddy river. Most of those places can only be reached by boat and every one of them had something special, unique, to show us. The Burmese guide, which followed us during the cruise, was very good and had great knowledge of the historic and culture of Burma/Myanmar. Every night there were arrangement on the ship, it could be a lecture of buddism, a cooking lesson or some documentary video about WW2 in Burma. Of course all of the excursions were complimentary and you were free to join them or not. The food was excellent with a large variety tho chose from. All beverage, even beer and liqure are complimentary. All together this cruise was an experience for life and we´ll return in august this year for a new Pandawcruise, this time for the even more remote parts of Myanmar, the Chindwin river. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2010
We have taken many cruises all over the world, but we particularly like river cruises, and we LOVE cruising with Pandaw. We have taken 3 Asian river cruises with Pandaw in the past 5 years, and have thoroughly enjoyed each one. The Mekong ... Read More
We have taken many cruises all over the world, but we particularly like river cruises, and we LOVE cruising with Pandaw. We have taken 3 Asian river cruises with Pandaw in the past 5 years, and have thoroughly enjoyed each one. The Mekong River was our first experience with Pandaw, and it got us hooked. Everything about this trip was wonderful: the fabulous, personable, ever-attentive staff, the casual atmosphere on board, the very comfortable cabins, the leisurely pace. All of our creature comforts were met, the food was creative and delicious, and we especially liked the all-inclusive arrangement for cocktails. It was a spectacularly scenic cruise, and guides took groups on 2 daily excursions into local villages. The Killing Fields in Cambodia were heart-breaking but a must-see, and Siem Reap was a lovely end to the cruise. We highly recommend that everyone stay longer and tour the magnificent Angkor Wat. All-in-all, this cruise exceeded our expectations, and we look forward to taking more with Pandaw. Read Less
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