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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was the best holiday I have ever had. The country of Myanmar is fascinating; the Burmese people are unassuming and friendly, and the culture of the country well preserved and wonderful. The service on the ship was world class yet ... Read More
This was the best holiday I have ever had. The country of Myanmar is fascinating; the Burmese people are unassuming and friendly, and the culture of the country well preserved and wonderful. The service on the ship was world class yet relaxed. The staff could not have done more to assist passengers. They were ultra professional and capable, but genuinely friendly too - more so than I have ever encountered with cruises. The no-gratuity policy means that interactions are genuine and staff were courteous and warm because they meant it. I traveled with my mother who is elderly and arthritic. They quietly allocated an assistant to her during tours, who had been trained by the tour guides and was skilled and extremely patient about assisting on rough ground or towards a seat for a rest. The food was excellent, with high quality locally sourced ingredients and a delicious variety of regional dishes. There was a wide choice of dishes; both hot and delicious local cold salads. It was almost impossible not to eat too much! The dining room seating was flexible, so that guests could sit together or in pairs as they chose, and staff even moved table settings to facilitate this. The criuse director and two tour guides traveled with us and were really excellent in explaining historical, cultural and socio-economic details. They were completely professional. very very knowledgeable, and were prepared to interact with us outwith their official tour times. Tours were impeccably planned and organised, interesting and varied. Guests appreciated the timetabling, whereby there were one or two tours per day, but with a generous rest time in the middle of the day, which was cleverly organised to co-incide with the boat moving onwards. That was we could rest on deck and see local sights/way of life in rural areas as we traveled. The holiday was therefore stimulating but relaxing too (often cruises are more hectic and the boat moves on during the night). The entertainment was fun and lighthearted, but not glitzy. There was a Burmese puppet show, local dancers, a film showing, etc. This was just right for sensible-minded adults. Overall the ship's organisation, standard of service and attention to detail was faultless. I cannot not praise staff enough and would highly recommend this holiday. It would be wise to go to Myanmar now, before westernization creeps in. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We have done two previous river cruises: The Mekong and The Douro. This river cruise along the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy to visitors) from Mandalay to Yangon (formerly Rangoon) far exceeded our expectations; there were WOW moments every day ... Read More
We have done two previous river cruises: The Mekong and The Douro. This river cruise along the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy to visitors) from Mandalay to Yangon (formerly Rangoon) far exceeded our expectations; there were WOW moments every day and the Burmese people could not have been more friendly. Myanmar is a photographer’s dream. I have never taken so many photos of people whilst on holiday; the locals willingly let you take photos of them (we always asked permission first) and I returned home with many wonderful photos not only of the people but their country as well. The Princess Panhwar is used by Travelmarvel and is reasonably new. Travelmarvel organised our flights and transfers and all these arrangements went very well. There were 65 guests on our cruise out of a maximum of 72. We were split up into three groups and the tour guides alternated amongst the groups so we got to know all three of them. We had a cabin with a French balcony with doors that opened to allow in fresh air and a mosquito screen to cover the opening if required. The room was large with plenty of storage. There was a large shower with L’Occitane toiletries, storage under the sink and a magnifying mirror as well as a large mirror over the sink. There is an open sundeck with plenty of shade, an air conditioned lounge and a large restaurant where all meals are taken. The food was excellent with plenty of choice and presentation of the meals was first class. Our 14 night cruise covered the Christmas holiday (but not New Year) and the ship had been decorated accordingly and we had a Christmas meal on Christmas Eve and a visit from Santa (with presents!). A local choir came on board to entertain us. Our tour guides took us to magnificent golden temples, amazing wooden monasteries, local villages, colourful markets, craft workshops and, of course, Mandalay and Yangon. We saw some wonderful sunsets and the sunset over the temples in Bagan and at Ubein Bridge will remain in my memory for a long time. Many of us had taken stationery items for children but unfortunately we didn’t visit a school because the children were on holiday. However, we did get to meet the children in a village; the crew organised food and drinks for them ashore and our stationery items were collected and distributed. It was wonderful seeing how happy the children were during our visit to their village. This cruise is not for the faint hearted. There are lots of tours both morning and afternoon on many of the days particularly near Mandalay but they are not usually longer than a couple of hours. There was more downtime just sailing along the river as we neared Yangon. There are often steep slopes to climb on disembarkation and occasionally whilst out on tour. The crew lined the slope when you got off the ship to give a helping hand to anyone who needed it. Although we were there from mid to late December, it was clear that the river had subsided and I would not wish to go much later in the season. The weather was ideal; not too hot and little humidity until we reached Yangon. Walking around is often on unmade surfaces and entry to some of the temples required climbing steps (although some have lifts). We found the horse and cart ride very uncomfortable and declined to go on the second. Visiting temples more often than not requires you to remove shoes and socks but we were provided with wipes to clean our feet when we came out. This did become quite onerous for some people after a while but it’s a price worth paying to see the amazing temples. There was some entertainment on some evenings such a quizzes and a local puppet show. There were very interesting lectures given by the Cruise Director and tour guides on different aspects of Burmese life. There was also a cookery demonstration and a film about Aung San Suu Kyi. Finally, I must mention the crew. The Captain, his officers and crew were very visible every day, always on hand to help you on and off the ship (this includes the Captain) and always done with a smile. The Cruise Director, San and his two guides, Zaw and Ye Min were very knowledgeable, always friendly and eager for us to enjoy their country of which they are clearly very proud. The Hotel Director, Goran, also deserves a mention for his kindness and unfailing dedication to ensuring we all had a great time on board. Well done, Travelmarvel! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Being able to cruise the Irrawaddy River was a privilege, seeing Burma at this time was fascinating. The people of Burma are wonderful, the crew could not do enough for us. The Chef cooked me a special meal each night as I have dietary ... Read More
Being able to cruise the Irrawaddy River was a privilege, seeing Burma at this time was fascinating. The people of Burma are wonderful, the crew could not do enough for us. The Chef cooked me a special meal each night as I have dietary problems, always with a smile on his face. Our guides were the best, very passionate about their country. The whole crew was always on hand to help us climb the riverbank to disembark at each destination, and would say Ming Ga La Bah, (their greeting), and there again when we came back from our excursions. From walking tours, pony trap rides, tuk tuks, bus, every one an adventure. Local artisans would come on board for shows, and a great New Year on a sand spit in the middle of the Irrawaddy River highlights of our cruise. Travelmarval I hand it to you, you have got it right, I will have no hesitation in travels with this company again. Jan Riccobono Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Relaxing way to visit Burma. This holiday was booked through Travelmarvel on a full board basis and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. The boat was modern and immaculately clean and all staff could not do enough for us, even cleaning our shoes ... Read More
Relaxing way to visit Burma. This holiday was booked through Travelmarvel on a full board basis and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. The boat was modern and immaculately clean and all staff could not do enough for us, even cleaning our shoes every day. The food was five star and the choice was amazing. Wine and beer was served freely in the restaurant and was of very good quality. The cabins were spacious with comfy beds and good air conditioning. The sun deck had plenty of shade on hot days and was a nice place to watch the world go by as we cruised downriver in the afternoons. Sightseeing was at a comfortable pace, usually in the morning, and the staff all helped us on and off the boat. We cannot fault the service and hospitality on the Princess Panhwar. The staff soon became friends who were keen to share the history and culture of their beautiful country and also their hope for a democratic government in the future. We felt totally safe the whole time we were there and would encourage others to visit before it changes too much. Read Less
Princess Panhwar Ratings
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