While much of the ship's food is purchased in Hanoi, the Angkor Pandaw's Vietnamese chef supplements his menus (an imaginative mix of Western and Asian fare) with fresh vegetables and fruits added at stops along the way.
All meals are served at the stern of the upper deck in the ship's dining room, which is air-conditioned and enclosed by panoramic windows that can slide open if desired. Open-seating teak tables, set for four or six, flank a central buffet area and feature window views. (During breakfast and lunch, they're topped with attractive bamboo placemats; in the evenings they're enhanced with white tablecloths, multicolor silk runners and votives with real candles -- a rarity on traditional cruise ships.)
Early risers' coffee, tea and pastries are available daily in the bar/reception area from 6 to 7 a.m. Though meal times can vary based on excursion schedules, breakfast is generally served from 7 to 9 a.m., lunch from noon to 2 p.m. and dinner from 7 to 8:30 p.m. In lieu of a broadcast call for lunch and dinner, passengers are summoned by a smiling staff member who ambles about with a melodious gong.
In addition to a breakfast buffet with yogurt, cereals, cheeses, smoked salmon and cold cuts, and fresh fruits (including such local favorites as passion fruit and dragon fruit), made-to-order options range from hot oatmeal with baked buttered apple to eggs any style. A separate cooking station offers an Asian dish that varies daily.
At lunch, a buffet of cold Western and Asian salads is supplemented with a daily hot soup (from potato and bacon to Vietnamese green squash), a choice between three a la carte main dishes served at the table and a single dessert plus fruit.
Dinners, meanwhile, feature an appetizer, soup, dessert and either a choice of three a la carte mains or a shared "family set." These dishes include fish and meat options, from New Zealand lamb cutlets to sauteed tiger prawns with coriander and oyster sauce.
Healthy alternatives (such as egg white omelettes) are available, and the vegetarian on our cruise was pleased with her made-to-order menu additions.
There's no room service, but roasted peanuts, cookies and dried fruit chips are always available in the bar/reception area.
Juices, bottled water, soft drinks and mixers, local beer and local spirits (gin, vodka, whiskey and rum) are all included in the cruise fare. Passengers can prebook a package of unlimited house wine at lunch and dinner for $155 per person, with a choice of two whites (Chilean sauvignon blanc or Argentinian chardonnay/Torrontes) and three reds (Chilean cabernet sauvignon, Argentinian malbec or Australian Shiraz). Premium wines are also available, with bottles priced from $17.46 for a French rose to $105.10 for Taittinger Brut Reserve. A "cocktail of the day" is offered gratis from 6 to 7 p.m., and other cocktails cost $7.50.
Angkor Pandaw Ship Stats
- Crew: 18 - 22
- Launched: 2012
- Decks: 2
- Passengers: 32
- Registry: Vietnam