You'll want to leave the formalwear and dress shoes at home because they won't be necessary. Avalon Saigon's dress code is super casual, with passengers sporting light, comfortable, loose-fitting clothing day and night. Passengers are even encouraged to wear flip-flops or their room slippers around the ship. (After shore excursions, passengers are required to remove their footwear for cleaning before boarding the ship.) Given the hot, wet climate, good items to pack include linen pants or capris, T-shirts, long cotton dresses and rain jackets. Scarves also are great to have on hand for cool nights, but bear in mind they're not sufficient for the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh or temples in the Angkor region, where covering the shoulders and knees is required. Sleeves are a must; you'll be denied entry if you're in a tank top, even if your shoulders are covered by a scarf.
Avalon Saigon Inclusions
The cruise fare covers your accommodations, all shore excursions (including tips for drivers and guides), all meals and most beverages onboard, and a pre- and post-cruise stay at a luxury hotel. (Cruisers can also choose to book just the sailing sans pre- and post-cruise stays.)
Among the beverages included are unlimited local beer and local spirits, soft drinks, coffee, tea, bottled water, wine at lunch and dinner, and a cocktail of the day. We loved our "border colada," a local twist on a pina colada, which was served as we crossed the Vietnam-Cambodia border at sunset.
Extras, such as spa treatments, gratuities, visa fees, airfare and transfers, are not included. Avalon's suggested tip rates are $7 to $9 per person per day for the cruise director and $10 to $12 per person per day for the crew. Cruisers have the option to prepay tips with a credit card before their cruise, or after the cruise with cash. As always, passengers are welcome to tip more than the suggested amounts for exceptional service.
The local currency onboard is the U.S. dollar, which also is accepted by most stores, restaurants and vendors on land, but they require crisp bills with no tears or blemishes. We recommend bringing smaller bills (10s, 5s and 1s) since you'll likely receive change in local currency. Bigger cities like Saigon, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have ATMs if you run out of cash. Most restaurants also accept Visa or MasterCard credit cards.
Shopping aside, you might also want to have some cash on hand for optional donations during shore excursions, where you can buy school supplies for a local classroom visit or donate an offering to Buddhist monks who perform a traditional water blessing on passengers.