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28 Asia River Cruise Reviews

We had a not exactly great experience (Well, to be honest it was awful) on the Scenic Pearl in 2016 and had almost thought of cancelling this cruise. But the two ships and experiences were like Chalk & Cheese. Spirit is only one year ... Read More
We had a not exactly great experience (Well, to be honest it was awful) on the Scenic Pearl in 2016 and had almost thought of cancelling this cruise. But the two ships and experiences were like Chalk & Cheese. Spirit is only one year old and is immaculate. We had a Grand Deluxe Cabin (#303) which was superb ( A few niggles with the glass toilet door and the lack of long hanging space in an otherwise HUGE dressing room) The staff - from the guides to the butler to the dining staff and cruise director (Paula) couldn't do enough for you. Indeed that was the major difference with the Scenic Pearl where you thought that they couldn't care less about you. The Spirit staff are excellent. The food on board was equally good. We particularly like the 11 course tasting menu offered one evening. The excursions were well thought out - offering a mix of top tourist locations and off-the-beaten-track locations. The markets were fantastic - The WET market I Sa Dec was truly amazing! The ox cart ride, tuk tuk ride to 'Tea at Raffles' were amongst other high spots. But, to be honest, they were all good. We also did the pre cruise trip to Angkor Wat and the post cruise stay in Saigon. Both excellent and not to be missed. The Hyatt hotels used in both locations were to notch. If there was one #1 evening it was Show & Dinner at the Kraven Temple put on just for us! 300 dancers, soldiers etc. A truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. So THANKYOU SCENIC for restoring our faith in you. BTW - V few English people on board. Almost everyone was Ozzie! But extremely friendly and they also helped to make the trip memorable Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
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 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
After a week onboard, all six of us agreed that sailing from Siem Reap down the Mekong on the Jayavarman was a great decision. The cabins were much larger than we expected and particularly comfortable with a spacious ensuite. The ... Read More
After a week onboard, all six of us agreed that sailing from Siem Reap down the Mekong on the Jayavarman was a great decision. The cabins were much larger than we expected and particularly comfortable with a spacious ensuite. The diningroom and lounge areas were similarly spacious and well appointed. Couldn't fault the food, it was delicious, varied (every day) and more than enough (buffet breakfasts and lunch). The staff were wonderful and were almost the highlight of the trip. Maybe it was because we were an outgoing group of 3 couples but the staff were great fun, remembered names from Day 1 and were great fun. There were numerous opportunities for offshore experiences and things to do onboard. It was a lazy way to travel. We sailed in October, we gathered a quiet time because there were about 32 passengers onboard, a bit more than half. That was enough for us. A full cruise wouldn't have been as pleasant we believe. But all in all, a fabulous trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
You begin your trip with an overnight stay at the Shangra-la Hotel Yangon. A very well kept hotel with a restaurant, bar, bakery and more. The hotel employees are very helpful at all times. Centrally located downtown and convenient for the ... Read More
You begin your trip with an overnight stay at the Shangra-la Hotel Yangon. A very well kept hotel with a restaurant, bar, bakery and more. The hotel employees are very helpful at all times. Centrally located downtown and convenient for the tours provided. To start your South bound cruise you fly to Bhamo and sail south (cruises can go either North or South bound) on the Irrawaddy River stopping at 10-12 villages along the way to Bagan where your river trip ends. As you explore each site along the way you take off your shoes and socks to view the Pagodas, walking trips to a farmers home, shops and more. Since the River Ship docks along the banks of the river and you take your shoes off when re-entering the boat and are given slip-ons to wear or your shoes that you left behind on the ship. The crew is excellent and most helpful such as Aye in the dining room, where Western and Asian food is served and Sai in the lounge/bar, where the addictive sesame seed snacks are provided. All the crew is very helpful and do not forget to use the Spa. With 18 cabins you will only have a maximum of 36 passengers Mark is an excellent and informative cruise director and Myo is his most capable assistant and is from Myanmar. Excellent movies are shown about the history of Myanmar that will enhance your trip. An adventuresome trip not to miss while the country is open to tourism. Our Excellent ratings are given as the value exceeded are expectations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We arrived 2 days early to not be jet lagged. The Viking staff arranged a room. We stayed at the Hotel Sofitel which was modern and has a wonderful buffet. We paid for the expensive breakfast buffet at the hotel and we're extremely ... Read More
We arrived 2 days early to not be jet lagged. The Viking staff arranged a room. We stayed at the Hotel Sofitel which was modern and has a wonderful buffet. We paid for the expensive breakfast buffet at the hotel and we're extremely glad we did. You really don't need lunch if you do. I strongly recommend the high tea in the bar. I also suggest you pick up some small toys and candy to give to children on the rural parts of the tour. The Viking tour director Mr. Ut was incredibly knowledgeable about Saigon. The river boat was immaculate. The teak decks beautiful. I loved the open deck on top with the bar for coffee before breakfast and drinks after dinner. The rooms are small but the bath area was larger than i expected. The staff could not have been better. The wait staff knew our names by the 2nd day and we did not have assigned seating. The food was excellent with unlimited drinks with meals on board. The spa staff was so good my husband and i each had 3 massages.Every day but one we had 2 excursions such as the silversmith village, silk weaving village, floating fish farms, ect. This was all incredible. The stay in Siem Repp was great. The Hotel Sofitel there was gorgeous. The staff arranged an elephant ride early morning around one of the temples. Spectacular. We viewed a local circus, no animals. That was fun. A group of us went to the fish pedicure spa. $4 for a beer and as long as you liked the minnows nibbled your toes. What fun. Bring plenty of small American dollars to buy trinkets. Cambodia uses dollars more than local currency. The people were wonderful. Bring bug spray! Treated clothes are best (we had only 1-2 bites). Sunscreen is a must. They provide local head gear which works very well. The staff constantly provides bottles of water. Arm cover is needed for some temples. No tank tops on those days. An umbrella for shade is a good idea. It is very hot and moist. Expect to shower 2-3 times a day. Hanoi was more rushed than the rest of the trip. Lots to see. If you can stay longer see the water puppet show. Less people speak English in Hanoi than the rest of the trip. However the staff at the Hotel Continental were top notch. I recommend a walk by the nearby lake with tea or drinks at one of the local tea shops. Our trip was beyond what we expected and i would do it again in a minute. We did travel at the least crowded time of the year which was worthwhile because Angkor Wat was not crowded. Our group included some younger members but most were 50-70 years old and well travelled. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Only way we would tour China was with a guided tour; we chose Viking because friends had recommended Viking for its wonderful service and comprehensive excursions. We were not disappointed. In fact, we loved every minute, though the ... Read More
Only way we would tour China was with a guided tour; we chose Viking because friends had recommended Viking for its wonderful service and comprehensive excursions. We were not disappointed. In fact, we loved every minute, though the schedule and pace were extremely exhausting. Our tour, "Undiscovered China," began in Shanghai, ending in Beijing. We felt safe the entire time and were amazed at the friendliness and openness of the Chinese people. Our guides all along the way were extraordinary, especially "TOM," our guide who stayed with us on the entire tour. At one point, one of our fellow travelers became very ill and had to spend a couple of nights in a local hospital. Viking's attention to her needs all along the rest of the trip was amazing. We will definitely travel with Viking again. We would recommend that Viking upgrade the China ship...it was tired, but the crew and staff were absolutely wonderful. The pace, though, was a killer. Quite a few of us had to miss a day of touring along the way, just because of being worn out. Some fell ill and had to miss a day or two of touring. I haven't a suggestion to remedy this, but too much of the local food seemed to be the culprit in most cases. All in all, this was the trip of a lifetime, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We wanted to take an Asian cruise and decided on the Viking Roof of the World land/river cruise tour. It included 6 days on the Yangtze plus 10 days on land. The clinching part was the inclusion of 2.5 days in Tibet which none of the ... Read More
We wanted to take an Asian cruise and decided on the Viking Roof of the World land/river cruise tour. It included 6 days on the Yangtze plus 10 days on land. The clinching part was the inclusion of 2.5 days in Tibet which none of the other river cruise lines offered. We landed in Beijing after a 14 hour flight and were met by the Viking representative who would be our tour guide for the entire trip and a better one we couldn't have had. We were fortunate to have gotten one that didn't parrot the party line and was even critical of some of the government practices - a breath of reality in an oppressive political climate. Then we arrived at the first of four 5 star hotels we would stay at- the Fairmont Beijing. Walking in through a revolving door that had living plants as a center piece and that was activated by your presence was just a preface of the luxury that the hotel offered. The room was all that and more with an over king sized bed, plush robes and towels that would have wrapped up both my wife and myself. The staff was at our beck and call but that first day we were too tired to do more than get settled and go to dinner which, like all the meals, was a buffet style. We never ate more Chinese food in 16 days then we did on this trip. The next 7 days included Bejing where we saw the Forbidden City, which was awesome and brought to life history that we had just read about like the whole trip did, and trekked to the Great Wall (be prepared for lots of climbing on that excursion and bring lots of water) Xian where the terra cotta soldiers are - far more impressive seeing them for real then any picture can do justice to - before arriving in Lhasa, Tibet. Upon landing we taxied past a line of Mig-23 fighter planes parked on the tarmac showing us why out flight there had been delayed over three hours. We saw the highest monastery in the world and were pleasantly surprised in not needing to use the oxygen provided in our rooms at the Shangri-La Lhasa (they did that because we were over 13,000 ft above sea level). After leaving Tibet we flew to Chongquing where we boarded the Emerald for the trip down the Yangtze. Our cabin was fairly large for not being a suite and amply supplied with water and sodas all included in the trip. Dinners were open seating so we were able to sit with different people almost every night although we did form attachments and tended to search those people. The Viking trips are inclusive so all excursions are part of the trip and we were kept busy - almost too busy to shop although we did manage to find time to get some very nice items. For the most part DO NOT pay the posted price unless it is in a government store - bargaining is expected and enjoyed by the vendors. You will be looked on with contempt if you don't! I saved about 30% on some jewelry by bargaining so it works. One of the highlights of the river part is the trip through the Three Gorges - magnificent scenery and we were fortunate to have clear if partly cloudy days for it. Words can't describe it just like they can't describe Alaskan scenery - you have to see it and try to capture the essence in photo's. We docked in Wuhan and flew to Singapore, spent 2 days there before making the long flight back home. This was a long and tiring cruise/tour but one that we both enjoyed and look forward to visiting other regions in Asia. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This cruise was an excellent way to see China. It was part of a combined land and river vacation. The accommodations on the river cruise boat were great and service was excellent. The dining facility was nice and there was great variety in ... Read More
This cruise was an excellent way to see China. It was part of a combined land and river vacation. The accommodations on the river cruise boat were great and service was excellent. The dining facility was nice and there was great variety in the meals. Some of the meals had Chinese themes which added to our enjoyment of the local cuisine. On the ship there were many shows, lectures, and exhibits. The staff were very helpful and always answered all our questions. There were very informative lectures and presentations that preceded the various ports of call. They were very helpful in preparing us ahead for the various sites we would visit. On the shore excursions there were always guides to assist us and give us information on the cultural sites that we visited. They helped us to appreciate more the places that we visited. Our stateroom had a nice view of the Yangtzee River. There was also a daily newsletter to keep us up to date on the various activities on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We traveled with Viking River Cruises on the Imperial Jewels of China trip (April, 2016) in the direction from Beijing to Shanghai. The trip was wonderful and a fantastic experience. A very safe and convenient way to see parts of China. ... Read More
We traveled with Viking River Cruises on the Imperial Jewels of China trip (April, 2016) in the direction from Beijing to Shanghai. The trip was wonderful and a fantastic experience. A very safe and convenient way to see parts of China. Good tour guide who spoke excellent English (although we had to call him by a made up western name!) Why? Hotels were excellent - Kerry in Beijing, Hilton in Xi'an and Westin Bund in Shanghai. Kerry was the best by far, although it's dining experience was affected by a lot of new staff still very much "in training" mode. Summer Palace - we went there ourselves and enjoyed. Tiananmen Square and Forbidden city - both hugely interesting and full of such intrigue and history. Great Wall - -the best trip of the holiday. Some stiff walking, steep steps and hills but just an amazing site and incredible that a Wall can be built on top of a mountain/hills! Xi'an - Terra Cotta warriors - we loved and were amazed at the story behind finding them in 1974/1976 and how well so much of it has been preserved. Yangtze river cruise started in Chongqing. Bit of a shambles getting to and onto the boat (Viking Emerald) but a great welcome from the staff when arriving at the boat's reception. First stop - Shibaozhai pagoda - fascinating but a lot of hassle from traders getting there and back. Enjoy the "Drunken Bridge". 3 Gorges and dam were stunning - even though it was misty most of the time. Added to the eerie atmosphere. Cabin was good, bed and pillows fine, excellent shower and great and helpful staff. Food was good and two or three Captain/Welcome-back receptions which were nice. Good evening entertainment, especially the show put on by the boat's staff. Fantastic, especially the magician. Shanghai was a very modern and westernised city (and very busy). would recommend this tri to those who would like to visit China and see a number of top sites and relax for 5 days on a river cruise. Areas of disappointment - - information suggested that all evening meals were included in the hotels were were staying in. No. Two meals were outwith the hotel and one was part of an optional trip to the theatre, which we weren't doing. So we had to buy two meals ourselves as we were tired and didn't want to leave the hotel. - 3 internals flights (main luggage all taken care of, which was wonderful) - fine but we were only told the flight times on the day (or evening before) and that they would be about 30 to 90 mins. Each was over 2 hours. - information on the trips was only fully provided the day before, not allowing we thought, adequate time to plan whether to go on an excursion or not. - took ill on the second last day on the boat (as a number of fellow passengers did) Chinese doctor was $120 and I came away with 8 boxes of medicine. Got home, saw doctor, diagnosed pneumonia changed the medicines. This clouded my experience of the last 4 to 5 days of the trip I am afraid. Especially as I had got in touch with some of the wonderful people we had met on the trip and discovered that a number of other people had also taken ill with similar symptoms to mine. - recommendations on tips seemed high - but that seemed to be the way of things these days. - three lunches were at places where you had to listen to a 20 minute presentation (you weren't told this until you arrived) - jade, terra cotta warriors and something else I have forgotten and then shop and then get your lunch. Not what I had expected from Viking. Overall we enjoyed the trip, but not as much as the Danube river cruise we had done with Viking the year before.Viking staff reallay look after you well and nothing is too much trouble to them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Fantastic cruise, fantastic restaurants, fantastic ship, fantastic staff, fantastic food, fantastic service, fantastic guide (Joshua). This was our China anniversary (20 years) so we picked China for our holiday. We were not disappointed. ... Read More
Fantastic cruise, fantastic restaurants, fantastic ship, fantastic staff, fantastic food, fantastic service, fantastic guide (Joshua). This was our China anniversary (20 years) so we picked China for our holiday. We were not disappointed. The whole trip was brilliant, particularly with our well informed, excellent English speaking guide, Joshua. The five nights spent on the ship was only part of a fortnight's tour, the rest of which was excellent too. We visited the Dam on the Yangzte, a major feature on the river with it's giant locks alongside. Sailing through the three gorges was spectacular with high steep faced cliffs either side of a narrow gorge and the Goddess gorge, a separate trip on a smaller vessel was a must, a spectacle in its own right, the Terracotta Warriors, the Great Wall of China and not forgetting the Pandas @ Chonqing. Fantastic, thank you Viking for this memorable trip. I'm glad we went in the direction that we did as the scenery got better the further we went and going back towards Shanghai would appear to be largely industrial and apparently you cannot visit the pandas in that direction. All of the restaurants visited were of a high standard serving excellent food with exceptional staff and service. We particularly liked the Peking Duck restaurant in Beijing where the duck was carved and served at the table in front of you with an expert member of staff showing you how to assemble a proper pancake. Furthermore we enjoyed the dancing show which included 12 different types of dumpling which were delicious. The Kung Fu show was amazing also. Looking forward to our next Viking trip! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our 5th Viking Cruise and like all the others it was great. All the Viking personnel were always there to help with every situation. The Viking Guide was just the best and all the local guides were so knowable regarding their ... Read More
This was our 5th Viking Cruise and like all the others it was great. All the Viking personnel were always there to help with every situation. The Viking Guide was just the best and all the local guides were so knowable regarding their area's of the trip. All the accommodations were first class along with the transportation used for excursions. The food and wine was good and seemed to accommodate everyone's taste buds. We rode elephants in Siem Reap and ox carts, rickshaws and tuk tuk's along the way We did both the pre cruise which included Ha-Long Bay and the extension at the end which was in Bangkok . We packed in a lot of sight seeing with the Viking excursion but still had time for ourselves to explore the different ports. We would recommend the Magnificent Mekong to anyone who loves an elegant adventure and wants to see a completely different culture. . Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We loved this cruise. The staff friendly and helpful. The guides (Ut and Tony) were outstanding, very helpful and gave us interesting insights into the two countries we visited (Vietnam and Cambodia). We visited out of the way places we ... Read More
We loved this cruise. The staff friendly and helpful. The guides (Ut and Tony) were outstanding, very helpful and gave us interesting insights into the two countries we visited (Vietnam and Cambodia). We visited out of the way places we would never have done on our own. The local guides were all very good too and shared their love for the places we saw and their special knowledge. The city tours and Angor Wat temples were wonderful and well organized. We took the extended tour to Halong Bay and it was worth the extra time and cost. What a beautiful sight! We got the chance to visit a couple of schools during the trip and talk with the children and teachers. It was very heartening to see the efforts made by the new generation to overcome the hardships caused by the country's recent history. We liked being able to contribute something to these efforts. The ship was a nice size, about 50 passengers, and we were happy to get to know the others in the group. The food was varied and very good.The cabins were lovely and comfortable -- wood paneled like the boat itself. We loved the old-timey feel -- but appreciated the air-conditioning! The weather, even in January, is pretty hot and humid, so pack accordingly. We enjoyed the pre-breakfast tai-chi lessons on the top deck each morning, watching the sunrise and seeing the fishing boats making their way along the river. We enjoyed the cocktail hour on the top deck every evening, watching the sun set on the Mekong. Beautiful photos! All the hotel stays were luxurious. The hotel in Siem Riep (near the Angor temples) was heavenly. I'd go on this cruise again in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
A wonderful experience, attention to every detail. The crew were incredible, we could not have asked for more. Our tour guide/ tour director was the most incredible person who took care of every last detail and more. The boat was ... Read More
A wonderful experience, attention to every detail. The crew were incredible, we could not have asked for more. Our tour guide/ tour director was the most incredible person who took care of every last detail and more. The boat was older but very classic, had everything one could want. The itinerary is so well thought out, a lot of variety and superb excursions, so much to learn, to see, to experience and enjoy. We had a downfall of being an exceptional small group, 11 passengers in total. Although there were many advantages of being this small group, the social and group demands were difficult at times. The meals were superb, a great mix of local ethnic and western choice. Always freshly prepared, beautifully presented and very plentiful. The staff catered to everybody and individual tastes and culinary preferences. Land arrangement both together with the cruise group as well as the add on trips were convenient and very well organized. Outstanding hotels, great locations allowed us so much more than an ocean cruise. We encountered so much human interaction and loved meeting villagers and city dwellers alike. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I had read very good reviews about this boat but found I was a little disappointed. It could possibly be that we went at the wrong time of year as the Mekong was very low and getting on and off the boat was an ordeal at times. The crew ... Read More
I had read very good reviews about this boat but found I was a little disappointed. It could possibly be that we went at the wrong time of year as the Mekong was very low and getting on and off the boat was an ordeal at times. The crew had to dig out steps in the muddy banks or put cardboard on the damp mud (an accident waiting to happen, gladly I didn't hear of anyone having one). During one excursion we had to disembark from the boat into a sampan and then up a very steep path to shore where unfortunately I pulled a muscle in my calf and was unable to walk. I remained on the sampan until the excursion finished and we returned to the boat. When I mentioned this to the hotel manager she promptly got me an elastic bandage and arranged for me to have a massage at the ships expense, which greatly helped but I was unable to join any excursions the following day. In the brochure free drinks and cocktails were advertised but unfortunately the cocktails were only available on special occasions (Captains Dinner, New Years Eve and final Good bye dinner). The cabins offer a balcony but none of the cabins had one, there was a door which opened onto a shelf which housed the air conditioning unit - there was no room to even get outside. The cabins were extremely dark and the lights had to be on all the time in order for you see around ok. The restaurant catered for all tastes and the staff were always extremely pleasant. The most disappointing for us was that there was no entertainment/quiz/lecture etc after dinner so most people just went to bed out of boredom. Read Less
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
Sail Date December 2015
After three flights from Calgary, Alberta to Yangon, Myanmar met at the Yangon Airport by Mojo (Cruise Director Assistant). Asked Mojo about exchanging US dollars to chat and asked Mojo about an approximate amount, he suggested exchanging ... Read More
After three flights from Calgary, Alberta to Yangon, Myanmar met at the Yangon Airport by Mojo (Cruise Director Assistant). Asked Mojo about exchanging US dollars to chat and asked Mojo about an approximate amount, he suggested exchanging $300 US. Received 2 bundles, one of $5000.'s and one of $1000's. These funds lasted through the whole 14 days. Used chat to pay tips on board and $.50 per passenger for 1/2 day, $1 for full day, yes that is for the driver and his assistant total/together. Transfer with AMA Waterways to hotel Shang-ri-la. Offered an upgrade, which was an upgrade from floor 12 to floor 22. Great views and less noise. Room was excellent (for me), but did not upgrade on return to Yangon. Brunch (breakfast) is included in room cost, buffet for lunch $22.US and Buffet for supper was $27 US (approx.) I found as a single service was poor. Waited 20 minutes for someone to ask if I would like coffee/tea, and another 15 minutes for it to arrive even when DR was quiet. Discussion (as a tour is referred) day after arrival with a trip to a local market. Walking distance back to hotel, 2 blocks. After two nights we boarded two busses to start our adventure. Three stops along the way (for toilet, drinks at our cost) I believe this trip was 6.5 hours. Arrival at Pyay brought smiles to many faces. The ship looked great and the crew were ready to assist each of us going down the hill to the ship. We all needed assistance, steps are different heights, and steep at embarkation and disembarkation. The crew would be out making steps in the sand for us to climb. We did celebrate US Thanksgiving. Turkey was served the one thing missing was mashed potatoes (baked potatoe served), gravy and stuffing. We never left the DR hungry, if you did it was your choice. Four salads, great bread, sweet breads, condiments, WONDERFUL desserts (including 3 kinds of ice cream + toppings), fruit, cheese. Steak, chicken and one other item were served at request if you do not want the Chefs suggestions. Wonderful entertainment. Beautiful costumes. Our last night onboard with the crew entertainment was the best. The talent was exceptional, Crew showed another side that surprised many. Smith (DR) is a very quiet man, but with a mike in his hand, well he surprised us all. Disembarkation had us flying from Mandaly to Yangon. Luggage was placed in the hallway for 6:30-7:00, Breakfast served from 7:00-8:00, and we left the ship at 8:00. Flew by prop plane, which was excellent (and I hate to fly) and the flight was EARLY. We were taken back to the Shang-ri-la Hotel, after two tours. We had a small wait for rooms to be ready and Mojo reminded each of us our wake up call times and transfers. We were welcomed by a great group of people. This was a ship that gave a feeling of welcome to your home, and that was felt by many in the group. We did have a bug going through the ship and we think nine passengers became ill. Total number of passengers-29, with 2 couples and 1 single canceled. Country is poor and squat toilets are the norm, with the occasional American toilet. Yes on the ship toilet paper is put into the garbage, not in the toilet. We had a group of gals follow us on motor bikes to different stops to sell us items. They would not take our money without us making a purchase. Go with an open mind, this country is changing, but our expectations are different from theirs. Enjoy the smiles, hearing the children laughing, sliding down the sand embankments towards the water and the docking ship, Adults are washing and doing laundry as the ship is docking. Some move sooner then others. Enjoy. NowRose Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was an excellent experience for our first trip to China. Fantastic itinerary, great hotels, awesome cruise. Great service all around. In an overwhelming country with so much to see, Viking helped us to focus on the must sees. Right ... Read More
This was an excellent experience for our first trip to China. Fantastic itinerary, great hotels, awesome cruise. Great service all around. In an overwhelming country with so much to see, Viking helped us to focus on the must sees. Right from picking us up at the airport and adding an extra excursion for those of us arriving a day early, we realized that this would be something special. The land portion of the tour was great, fantastic hotels, meals and a well-informed, interesting and energetic tour guide. The cruise was breath-taking! Our first real river cruise experience did not disappoint. The ship was beautiful, well-appointed and clean with very helpful staff. It was amazing how quickly they got to know us, and what our needs were. The room was very nice, and it was great to be able to sit on the balcony and take pictures as we cruised down the Yang-Tse. We would most definitely recommend this tour as a great way to discover China. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
The cabins on our ship were always well maintained. We had a great view off our balcony and we could hear the scenery descriptions as we sailed down the Yangtze River. We really appreciated the surprise gifts left in our cabins during our ... Read More
The cabins on our ship were always well maintained. We had a great view off our balcony and we could hear the scenery descriptions as we sailed down the Yangtze River. We really appreciated the surprise gifts left in our cabins during our journey. As always we enjoyed the varied Viking menu which included food and beverages native to the areas we visited. The crew put on some outstanding shows and the audience participation was a lot of fun. The stops we made, the excursions and our on board native country guide were all excellent! Our guide was easy to understand and always attended to our every need. We had plenty of time for sightseeing and shopping. And the on board shopping had an outstanding selection as well. This trip also featured an on board tailor so we could special order apparel. My husband, brother, sister-in-law and I would strongly recommend this trip! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We got home last night from the long flights from Cairo. It was well worth the effort. Our Uniworld Nile River Cruise experience in Egypt was as if we were on a 5 star VIP private tour with an expert Egyptologist. Hatem was very ... Read More
We got home last night from the long flights from Cairo. It was well worth the effort. Our Uniworld Nile River Cruise experience in Egypt was as if we were on a 5 star VIP private tour with an expert Egyptologist. Hatem was very knowledgeable and led our group through the historical sites holding our attention every minute of the trip. He watched out for us and we felt very safe and secure throughout. Before and after the cruise we stayed overnight in the Four Seasons Cairo at Nile Plaza. It was part of the cruise package. We had room service dinner on our balcony overlooking the Nile and Cairo both evenings. Upon visiting the sights the only thing we experienced that was uncomfortable was desperate attempts of the souvenir vendors selling their wares. Our guide insulated us from the hassle. As we were transported, in AC comfort, from site to site people and children waved friendly waves. Everything was excellent. The chef on board met every request. The staff was friendly, efficient and very competent. The food and presentation was perfect. Seeing the infrastructure designed for the huge tourist industry sit idle was bad for Egypt but a big advantage for us. There were no lines, no waiting anywhere. I would do it again it was a bargain and a once in a lifetime experience. Not very ADA accessible at the sites if you have walking issues, lots of stairs and rough paths along with the heat of Egypt. After all, the sights were built and designed thousands of years ago. It is one of the must see places in the world. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our first cruise with Avalon. We decided on the FASCINATING VIETNAM, CAMBODIA & THE MEKONG RIVER WITH BANGKOK, HANOI & HA LONG BAY – SOUTHBOUND. Since we were traveling so many hours to get to Asia, we decided to add ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Avalon. We decided on the FASCINATING VIETNAM, CAMBODIA & THE MEKONG RIVER WITH BANGKOK, HANOI & HA LONG BAY – SOUTHBOUND. Since we were traveling so many hours to get to Asia, we decided to add the Bangkok, Saigon and Hanoi extensions onto the trip. This was an absolutely amazing trip and it is hard to find anything that we didn't enjoy. The hotel properties that Avalon uses are excellent and all include breakfast. The boat - just perfect! When you are in your cabin you feel as if you are in a fancy hotel room - great storage, full size bathroom, king bed and of course wall to wall window door that you can watch the river go by. The boat has 18 cabins - so a maximum of 36 people - we had only 32 on our cruise. It is a small boat - only two floors, one dining room, one indoor (A/C) panarama lounge and an outdoor lounge, both at the front of the boat. Our cruise director, Phiem made the cruise memorable (he only does the southbound one) He was Vietnamese, spoke English almost perfectly, was very enthusiastic, personable, charismatic, and aimed to please. The local tour guides he hired were also very good. The best part of having a small boat was you got to know everyone on board as well as the staff and by the second day, all of the staff knew your names! The boat was able to cruise parts of the river many river boats cannot. We had excellent tours along the way, stopping right along the banks of small villages, using temporary gangplanks to get on shore. With all of the tours (included in price) you were able to really experience the land, culture, people and foods up close and personal. On each of the excursions we used a variety of local transportation: from tuk-tuks to cyclos, ox carts, etc. Busses were only used for excursions that took us way out of town. Phiem always had tons of water for us along the way...you will need it as it is very hot. The food on the boat was also excellent. There was always a nice variety of local and continental food choices at each meal. Nice wines were served with dinner and well cocktails were always available at the lounge bar - all included. Evening activities included some local children doing a dance performance and also some movies...The Killing Fields, Good Morning Vietnam etc - very pertinent and fun - popcorn was served -like watching a movie at home! By the way, the staff is also very musically talented. You can get laundry done on the boat for a pretty reasonable price. There are massages available on the boat - my husband had one and raved about it. Read Less
Sail Date September 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
Sail Date July 2015
As mentioned in other reviews, the on board staff couldn't have been more pleasant and efficient. The ship itself appeared to be in decent condition, and was never too loud when running. If your idea of a great vacation is ... Read More
As mentioned in other reviews, the on board staff couldn't have been more pleasant and efficient. The ship itself appeared to be in decent condition, and was never too loud when running. If your idea of a great vacation is spending 5 days of with very little physical activity, this might be the cruise for you. I am not a cruise fan, so maybe all cruises are like this. Told my wife I would NEVER go on a cruise, but this is what she wanted to do for her 50th birthday. Check and mate. For the people whose dream vacation consists of spending all but a few minutes a day sitting and eating, sitting and drinking or sitting and reading or sitting and playing board games or sitting and listening to a lecture (Basic Mandarin phrases, playing Mah Jongg or fun facts about the Yangtze River,) or laying in bed watching one of 5 television channels, this is the dream vacation for you. The other few minutes a day are spent going up or down the stairs to one of the aforementioned events. We were able to get off the boat on 3 of the 5 days: once to walk through the edge of a small city towards a temple while dodging a 4 block long gauntlet of aggressive local merchants who see American tourists as walking dollar bills, once to walk a few hundred feet to another tour boat where you sit for another hour and a half going through scenery, and the last time to finally do a little walking (after still more sitting on a bus ride) on the way up to the 3 Gorges Dam. The web page for this crew mentions a 'gym.' I called Viking to verify that the boat had a 'gym' before we left for the cruise. Only a few of us actually used those facilities, so for most people taking this cruise, the quality and condition of those facilities won't matter. The 'gym' had an erg that hadn't been lubricated since Nixon was president, a treadmill, an elliptical machine on which the display screen was non-functional and had a squeak so loud that it could be heard throughout the boat, and a small set of dumbbells, most of which were not marked with a weight. Nevertheless, the 'gym' provided virtually the only activity that didn't involve more sitting. The fore and aft outside decks provided sufficient chairs for yet more sitting and scenery consumption, but when you travel over 1,000 miles on any road or river, there are many extended periods of monotonous doldrums. This trip is certainly no exception. I would recommend taking the cruise during July or August, when you can enjoy the scenery when daytime temps are mostly in the upper 90's (mid-30's C,) the humidity is stratospheric and the air quality truly indescribable. At night, the temps MAY drop down under 80 (about 26C,) but then the humidity will be near 100%. You can't be that for a comfortable night's sleep!! I witnessed several American cities in the 60's before anti-pollution laws were enacted, but I have never seen air quality like we experienced in most of China. I thought the atrocious air quality might last for a day or so due to some unusual atmospheric condition, but the air quality only deteriorated the farther inland we went. Several of us developed sore throats and random coughing fits. A week after getting back home, I was still coughing up remnants of Chinese air from my lungs. Truly something one needs to experience first hand. The food on board was plentiful, but there are no snack bars & no in-between-meal offerings other than alcohol. The cooking staff was from China, and they did an admiral job preparing Western food. Unfortunately, they have mastered the art of making the food 'look' pretty long before they mastered taste. As there were cruisers from several parts of the U.S. and the world, it would be extremely difficult to please everyone with the small kitchen available on the river cruise its ship. My wife and nephew are Chinese, and they tell me that the crew did a respectable job with some Chinese breakfast items. For the most part, the food was acceptable, but that's about as far as one could stretch the description. You''ll get your steak they way they cook it, so don't bother with asking for RARE or MEDIUM WELL or WELL DONE. On the whole, the cruise staff made up for some of the cruise's shortcomings, so thank God for that. If you won't go completely stir crazy spending 95% of your day sitting on what amounts to a 'prison' ship, you'll love this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Recently we participated in what was advertised as an 8 day river cruise, for people with a "good level of fitness", up the Mekong from Saigon to Siem Reap. It promised active excursions that required a good level of fitness. ... Read More
Recently we participated in what was advertised as an 8 day river cruise, for people with a "good level of fitness", up the Mekong from Saigon to Siem Reap. It promised active excursions that required a good level of fitness. It was the promise of the days spent on the river on the luxurious AmaLotus, along with the opportunity to enjoy active excursions, that sold us on the trip. We arrived at the given time at the Sheraton Hotel in Saigon to register. As we watched other participants gather, we wondered if we were in the right place, as very few of the people gathering looked to be of a "good level of fitness". A number needed canes and walking sticks to aid in their mobility. It turns out that this was the right group and the right cruise. Our excursions were limited by the lowest common denominator, where our guides were apologizing if the distance we needed to walk was longer than 15 minutes. This could hardly be called "active". The cruise was billed as an "8 day river cruise", with fine print stating that the itinerary would be subject to change depending on weather and conditions. That's fair enough. What was not made clear is the fact that it is only for a scant 2 months out of the year that the ship is actually able to navigate up the Tonle Sap all the way to the port nearest to Siem Reap. The fact is that the trip really was a 7 day river cruise and one day on the bus, having back-tracked to Phnom Phen. The bus trip was over 6 hours long and all the was provided was the cost for the use of the toilets on the two toilet stops along the way. On arrival to Siem Reap, those of us who were not continuing with APT, were basically ushered off the bus and left to fend for ourselves, without even refreshments or a basic lunch provided after a less than comfortable bus ride. On the positive side, the ship was beautifully appointed and the crew were helpful and friendly. The food was abundant and deliciously prepared. Sadly the wines were questionable. The saving features of the cruise were the local guides. While the excursions were disappointing overall, the guides made up for it with their generous sharing of their passion for their respective countries and their perspective on both historical events and how they continue to impact and influence the current social and political climate. Tim in Vietnam and Wanti in Cambodia in particular deserve a special mention. Thanks to them a trip that would have been a major disappointment, was redeemed to a great degree. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We also did only the river cruise as part of a broader package that APT travel provides. The trip was advertised as requiring a "good level of fitness" to participate in the excursions. "Good level of fitness" ... Read More
We also did only the river cruise as part of a broader package that APT travel provides. The trip was advertised as requiring a "good level of fitness" to participate in the excursions. "Good level of fitness" included passengers who required a good level of assistance simply to get on and off the boat. We were expecting an active holiday. It was definitely more sedentary than what we expected from the advertising. The trip was advertised as an "8 day river cruise". In small print it did say that the itinerary would be subject to change dependent on conditions and weather. The truth of the matter is that the conditions for cruising all the way up the Mekong and Tonle Sap waterways from Saigon to Siem Reap are right for a short two months of the year, during the rainy season. For the rest of the year the water levels are too low, to allow for the passage of the ship. Instead we had to endure a 6 1/2 hour bus ride from Phnom Phen to Siem Riep, with two rest stops where APT generously covered the cost for the use of the toilets. On arrival to Siem Reap, those of us who were not part of the ongoing land tour, were basically ignored and left to our own devices. Not even refreshments were provided. On the plus side, the ship, the AmaLotus, was beautifully appointed, with highly capable and professional staff. The food was outstanding, though the wines served with the meals were pretty mediocre. The saving feature on the cruise were the guides. We were provided with local guides both in Vietnam and then in Cambodia. They shared freely of their abundant knowledge about their countries, both from an historical perspective, as well as the a forward-looking cultural perspective. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015

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