Generally there was at least one excursion a day, sometimes two, and these incorporated a range of Burmese experiences -- pony carts, rickshaws, rattly buses -- to a variety of destinations including a pottery village, a meditation monastery and markets. At Mandalay and Bagan there is a full programme of activities. Passengers were assigned in small groups of six to eight to knowledgeable guides who were a reference point throughout the voyage.
During those afternoons when nothing else was planned, there were a number of lectures by a history professor, though many passengers were happy to relax on the Observation Deck and observe life on the river. The piano bar also featured a pianist in the afternoon and evenings. After dinner most nights there was some form of Burmese-themed entertainment, including magic, a puppet show and a traditional costume parade. Additionally, there was a welcome cocktail party, a mid-cruise cocktail party, a “surprise” and a farewell cocktail party with an elephant dance.
The Observation Deck -- essentially the top level of the ship -- was the most popular communal space, but if it was too warm, then the large chairs in the lounge below were a pleasant alternative, with big windows, cushions and books. This area was where the evening entertainment was performed. At the sides there were writing desks and computers, though internet access was quite limited, except when docked at Mandalay. Burma is not particularly internet friendly at the best of times, but emergency emails could be sent via satellite using crewmembers' addresses.
There is a small pool on the top deck, mainly suited to cooling off; it is not really long enough for laps, but it is deep enough to tread water. On the Deluxe Deck there is a small gym with essentials such as running machines. Massages in the spa were by appointment.
This cruise is really aimed at adults, it is not family oriented in the sense that there are activities and play areas for children and young people. However the teenagers on this trip seemed happy –- one had cruised on Road To Mandalay before. The two young ones made good use of the pool with their parents, and also enjoyed the puppets and the magic show. The Burmese like children, and the parents of the two small children said choosing to do the cruise was the “best decision” they had made as they could travel together, and the staff “went above and beyond with entertaining the kids and including them in activities”.
The restaurant provided child-friendly food when the adult menu did not suit, a cake for a third birthday, little gifts children would enjoy, and warm milk when required.