Viking Mandalay Cruise Review to Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East)

Contributor Level: Purser

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

5 out of 5

Burma Very Worthwhile

Sail Date: March 07, 2015

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

Cabin: 308

This trip began with a 2-night stay at the Shangri La Hotel in Bangkok, a gorgeous hotel with wonderful buffets in the dining room for breakfast (included) and dinner.  The first morning included a visit to the Grand Palace/Temple which we did not take because we had been there twice.  Other travelers complained about how crowded and hot it was, but they enjoyed the shopping.

Our boat was very nice - small and sort of "African Queen".  The rooms were teak - pretty small but adequate with private bathrooms and access to the communal veranda with chairs.  The boat could hold 58 passengers but we were a group of 12.  This made for a nice "family" tour, but didn't provide the desired tips for the crew.  

Burma has only been open to tourists for a few years and this is a good chance to see it while still relatively unspoiled.  We saw many fascinating small villages and lots of beautiful temples and pagodas.  All the shore excursions were rated 2 (moderate) but this did not take into account the fact that the river was VERY low, so that we had to climb to the river bank to get to where the busses could come.  In the hot (102) and humid weather this was difficult - mostly a fairly high bank of sand into which the crew cut steps.  Our tour guide was excellent, the crew was wonderful, and the food was exceptionally good.  The excursions were just the right length, and any "down time" was appreciated.  We appreciated the opportunity to pay a lump sum to include tipping for the crew and excursion expenses.

This is unlike other river cruises, as the boat is much smaller than most and does not offer a beverage package.  The spots where we anchored are not conducive to leaving the boat unattended to look around although occasionally someone did.  It is not dangerous - only difficult to climb up and pretty isolated.  The nightly cocktail hour (drinks with local beverages were included) watching the beautiful sunsets were very pleasant.


Ship Quality
Small and plain, but had everything needed. Occasional wi-fi connection.
Food and Dining
Ate vegetables I'd never heard of - everything delicious. One small dining room.
Cabin / Stateroom
Adequate but plain.
Service and Staff
The captain was very approachable and helped me climb up the riverbanks.
Very good local talent - dancing and singing.
Children's Programs NA
Onboard Activities
Had a spa some visited. Had a movie one night - also talks by tour director. Most evenings had something scheduled.
Destinations and Excursions
All very interesting.
Motorcoach Transfer Yangon To Pyay
Long day on smaller roads, but interesting scenery.
Pyay, Myanmar
Nothing to do here but board ship.
Cruise Irrawaddy River
Very relaxing to sit on deck and watch - navigating sand bars, watching crew prepare gangway at each stop, scenery and sunsets.
Thayetmyo, Myanmar
Wonderful visit to children's school in Kan Ne.
Minhla, Myanmar
Wild trishaw ride followed by beautiful pagoda visit.
Sale, Myanmar
Interesting village.
Bagan, Myanmar
Amazing elephant dance by village men.
Yandabo, Myanmar
Visit to small village.
Inwa (Ava), Myanmar
Horse-drawn cart ride to another village.
Amarapura, Myanmar
Sunset boat ride
End Of Vacation
Full day at airport and flying to Bangkok. Only time for dinner.

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