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Sail Date: August 2019
We wanted to go to Vietnam for a long time and we had traveled with Amawaterways before. We knew the quality of the product. After a few days on our own in Hanoi we joined a group of 19 for the pre-cruise, cruise and post-cruise with ... Read More
We wanted to go to Vietnam for a long time and we had traveled with Amawaterways before. We knew the quality of the product. After a few days on our own in Hanoi we joined a group of 19 for the pre-cruise, cruise and post-cruise with wonderful cruise manager Mr Thoai. From the minute we met him, he was totally dedicated and on top of everything because of his continuous hard work. The 3 Sofitel hôtels (Hanoi, Angor Wat,Saigon were 5 stars all the way. The cities were overwelming and we were glad to be with a group, no respect for pedestrians, tourists or not but they were worth visiting . We also had an overnight cruise on Halong Bay and did not expect so many excursions. We especially enjoyed the visit of the caverns. On that ship the food was ok but the room and venues were fabulous. Finally we got to the Amadara : what a beautiful ship ! Hotel manager Markus is in a class of his own. Everything runs smoothly, the food is fabulous (asian or standard), improvement is needed in the dessert section in my opinion. We had free drinks of the day at cocktail time and the free specialty restaurant, la table du chef, is not to be missed ( no complaint about desset there !) Every guide we met spoke English very well and represented Amawaterways with pride. A word of warning : the excursions are not for older people, they are quite active and demand a level of fitness exiting and entering the ship although there is plenty of help. It is a cruise not to be missed and should be on everyone's list! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
I have looked at this cruise line previously and when the travel agent suggested it we were very enthusiastic. Our cabin was beautifully appointed and the cabin staff were excellent at attending to our needs. Dining was ... Read More
I have looked at this cruise line previously and when the travel agent suggested it we were very enthusiastic. Our cabin was beautifully appointed and the cabin staff were excellent at attending to our needs. Dining was spectacular, every meal was a delight and the staff were professional and helpful while maintaining a real sense of humour. The onboard activities were very good and informative and the ashore activities gave us a real understanding of the Cambodian/Vietnam people and their culture. We were greatly moved by the past and modern history of both countries. The staff were excellent and attended to everything in a professional manner. I would like to mention staff individually by everyone was noteworthy. We were given a DVD of our time onboard at the end of the cruise that we will treasure and will share with family and friends. I would thoroughly recommend Heritage Line and The Jahan to anyone looking at cruising the Mekong River. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Our travel agent recommended this cruise to us which traveled down the Mekong river from Cambodia to Vietnam. It was the highlight of a fantastic 21 days in Vietnam and Cambodia. The staff are absolutely fantastic with an amazing service ... Read More
Our travel agent recommended this cruise to us which traveled down the Mekong river from Cambodia to Vietnam. It was the highlight of a fantastic 21 days in Vietnam and Cambodia. The staff are absolutely fantastic with an amazing service ethic and extremely friendly. The cabins and other amenities are beautiful. The pool and bar area is a lovely place to relax and watch the world go by from.The food was beautiful and a good mix of cuisines. The service from the staff at meal times was impeccable. The highlight though was the shore excursions. Two each day, each and every one of them was unique and fascinating. We really got away from touristy places and cities and saw how the local, rural people really live. We saw schools, villages, temples, markets, fish farms etc and met and interacted with the locals and with the students at the schools that we visited. Each excursion was incredibly authentic and a real learning experience. I also really loved the fact that the Heritage Line actually supports the schools that we visited and it was good to be able to make a contribution to them also. I would thoroughly recommend this cruise to anyone who is interested in this part of the world. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
I always had a fascination for Vietnam and Cambodia and wanted to cruise the Mekong river,as I have been very ill my husband treated me for our anniversary. From the minute we left home the whole holiday experience was amazing,the ... Read More
I always had a fascination for Vietnam and Cambodia and wanted to cruise the Mekong river,as I have been very ill my husband treated me for our anniversary. From the minute we left home the whole holiday experience was amazing,the boat,food and the best cabin we have ever had. The excursions were very different from what we normally do and I enjoyed every one,I loved going around Evergreen village and meeting the locals who were very welcoming. The ox cart ride was very different,and the tut tut ride a little scary with all the traffic. I have a special diet and they always made sure I was well catered for. They have an alternative restaurant called The Captains Table for no extra cost, we had a beautiful meal there for our anniversary,and they made it very special. All the staff treated you like family and couldn’t do enough for you. The tour guides were very knowledgeable with a great sense of humour. I love Tai Chi and even that was available. I vote this cruise the best I have ever had. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Second time we did this cruise and we wanted to show our son's family what it was like. The staff must be handpicked, everyone was like a friend. The food was to die for. My French daughter-in-law kept saying: "I have never ... Read More
Second time we did this cruise and we wanted to show our son's family what it was like. The staff must be handpicked, everyone was like a friend. The food was to die for. My French daughter-in-law kept saying: "I have never had this dish made to such perfection before!" Hope they can keep that chef. Entertainment pleasant and sometimes unusual; like the blessings performed by Buddhist priests. The excursions into the local villages were interesting, humorous and low key. School visits were especially appreciated - both by the children and the visitors. The little pool on deck was particularly nice to use in the heat. Don't be afraid to cruise during the summer months. We had one rain shower! You avoid the crowds everywhere and the ship was full of nice Australians and New Zealanders. We would probably not do this particular cruise again, but Heritage Line has more interesting cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
As a past Scenic traveller this was on my bucket list. This lived up to my expectations, I was part of a land/cruise tour of Vietnam & Cambodia over 22 Nights, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) & Siem ... Read More
As a past Scenic traveller this was on my bucket list. This lived up to my expectations, I was part of a land/cruise tour of Vietnam & Cambodia over 22 Nights, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) & Siem Reap. This included the 7N cruise. We were a land content group of only 11 (9 aussie,2 Kiwis) due to early tour, 33 on the cruise. Low numbers meant that we were treated as celebrities by the enthusiastic staff who could not do enough for us. We all became friends early on the tour. Beautiful food & open bar made waistlines expand but there was no complaints Special thanks to Cruise Director Sven (he was always there to welcome us back from shore excursions) & all the crew & staff for making it a memorable experience. My recommendation...easy...Do it if you never get to do another one. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Two thumbs up. Five stars. Off-the-chart in customer service from the time we landed in Ho Chin Min City to the time we were dropped off at the Seam Reap Airport by the Scenic staff. This was my first time in Asia so I was in culture ... Read More
Two thumbs up. Five stars. Off-the-chart in customer service from the time we landed in Ho Chin Min City to the time we were dropped off at the Seam Reap Airport by the Scenic staff. This was my first time in Asia so I was in culture shock. The Mekong River cruise was a combination of cultural immersion during excursions to being treated like royalty aboard the five star vessel. The staff could not be any more accommodating. I was a single traveler in room 208. I was upgraded to this level because the ship was not completely full. The rooms are huge compared to other ocean and river cruise lines. There is a walk-in closet with drawers, a shoe storage area, a safe, ample space for your hanging clothes, and a minibar that is restocked daily with whatever you want. That's right. Drinks are all inclusive and my drink of choice is Pinot Grigio. There was never a time after my person found that out that my mini bar was without a bottle. There is a sitting area with a sofa, chair, and small round table. There is a balcony that only becomes your balcony when you open the electric balcony window. On the balcony breakfast type table was a live iris that was so beautiful it didn't appear to be real. Next to the bedroom area. There is plenty of space to walk around each side of the king-sized bed. There is a built-in night stand on each side also. The bed can be adjusted to your needs. I could raise the head or elevate my feet as needed. The bed was amazing! Usually, nothing feels as nice as your own bed but this was not the case on the Scenic Spirit. To the right of the bed was the bathroom. It was perfectly laid out. There was a make-up light mounted near the main mirror. The water was always hot with good water pressure. The glass shower had plenty of room. Each room comes with what is referred to as your butler. Honestly, they anticipate your needs and fall over themselves to accommodate you. I have never been treated like such queen in all my life. One of the greatest things about Scenic Spirit is that there are 24 hour washing machines and dryers available, WITH DETERGENT! I only washed three small loads throughout the cruise but how nice not to have to drag dirty laundry home. There is a spa with very reasonably priced services. I had a deep tissue massage on board and it costs about half of what I would pay at home. There is a daily early-morning (light) exercise class that was held in the top deck. They provide fruit infused water after each session. The excursions are so culturally immersive. The excursions were moving, humbling, and educational. Scenic does an awesome job with five star transfer service to and from the airport. Also, the hotels before and after the cruise are high end. Scenic Spirit, with Toby's supervision, ran like a well-oiled machine! Our guides, Duc and Dara, were class acts. Scenic is very blessed to have them. I will forever cherish the memories of my Mekong River Cruise with Scenic. I will never forget Duc or Dara. I will never forget Seyla. I will never forget the children in the villages and so much more. Thank you, Scenic for showing me the Mekong Delta in such a way that had me in tears as I boarded the bus for Seap Reap. The only negative I can offer was with the Scenic USA booking process, namely the flights. There was only one person in this office dealing with flights and she did not respond to emails well, or at all. She also booked an impossible schedule for our return flight which made us miss one of our flights (of 3) on the way home. Just make sure you review your flight situation well before accepting the itinerary. The cruise experience was so great that I won't hold a grudge against Scenic for the flights being poorly planned but the customer service from that area is something they could work on. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
This was a small boat cruise maximum 52 cabins. The cabins were beautiful with own balcony and bathroom , We traveled up the Mekong river from Vietnam to Cambodia. We had twice daily on shore excursions and got to explore and experience ... Read More
This was a small boat cruise maximum 52 cabins. The cabins were beautiful with own balcony and bathroom , We traveled up the Mekong river from Vietnam to Cambodia. We had twice daily on shore excursions and got to explore and experience the real river village life. The guides were brilliant and knowledgeable about their country . The crew and services on board were amazing. All our needs were more than taken care of. Tia Chi every morning on the deck was magical .. Scenery beautiful and neat to watch and enjoy the daily lives of the local people on the river. The food was amazing.offering both local and international dishes. The cooking demonstrations were fun, Spa offered a full range of services . The massages were so relaxing. wonderful. The pool and decks and lounges had beautiful comfortable furniture. We had a magical brilliant week Would definitely do it again. i Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Talked in short. We have group of 20 people including 4 elderly 1) Minimize trip period from 3 nights to 2 nights with short notification 2) Bad arrangement on room distribution (we have total 7 rooms original in 2 different ... Read More
Talked in short. We have group of 20 people including 4 elderly 1) Minimize trip period from 3 nights to 2 nights with short notification 2) Bad arrangement on room distribution (we have total 7 rooms original in 2 different floors even we requested to be on same floor)....due to trip period was being changed. They relocated all 7 rooms into 4 different floors & the worst things was 2 rooms on each floor - either in the front of cruise ship or in the back of cruise ship 3) Need to line up for almost 2 hours to get on-board & told to get wheelchair after onboard (actually wheelchair can be collected when check-in) - we requested wheelchair from the beginning. 4) Room #11292 - whole night with engine running sound loudly and was told this couldn't be fixed....shouldn't inform to guest in advance ????? 5) Cruise set a party on 16/F until mid-light at 1:30am....from 13/F to 15/F we could hear clearly...such a bad time setting for party ?? 6) Buffet breakfast/Lunch/Dinner - always crowded & have to go early to get table...otherwise you have to wait long time......because everybody is having their meal at the same time... Never, ever go to Dream Cruise !!! High recommend NOT GOING ... Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Unfortunately we did not have have a choice of ships. The tour company used both Century and Victory cruise ships. We were on a 3 night 4 day cruise down the Yangtze River. As we left our bus we walked a long distance from parking ... Read More
Unfortunately we did not have have a choice of ships. The tour company used both Century and Victory cruise ships. We were on a 3 night 4 day cruise down the Yangtze River. As we left our bus we walked a long distance from parking lot to pier which we were told was shared by dinner boat cruises. We stared down at approximately 200 steps with no hand rails to pier. As we approached boat the pier was a floating mass of small metal platforms held together with chain hand rails. Luckily we did not have to handle our luggage instead we watched men carry 4 pieces of luggage on their shoulders on bamboo poles down steps to boat. Embarkation was slow at best our tour leader did all the arrangements as we patiently waited in the ships dining room. Arriving on ship ... surprisingly was quite modern and our cabin which we upgraded was clean with a walk out balcony with 2 chairs on promenade deck. Dining was in a private dining room which we shared with groups from Smithsonian and Globus. Chinese tourists had their own dining room and menu. Our tours were interesting but we unfortunately did not go on the evening tour which we heard was spectacular. Instead we enjoyed the city/ countryside light show w/ fireworks on the top deck of ship. Leaving ship was much better the port had a lift which transported our group to the bus. The only major complaint was the dirty curtains in our room they were suppose to be white but instead gray. Other than that room was quite clean! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
After spending 3 days exploring Siem Reap, the second larges city in Cambodia, we joint the Scenic Spirit for what I can only describe as a wonderful experience. Our first time on a river cruise did not disappoint. The choice of ... Read More
After spending 3 days exploring Siem Reap, the second larges city in Cambodia, we joint the Scenic Spirit for what I can only describe as a wonderful experience. Our first time on a river cruise did not disappoint. The choice of excursions was wide and there was one to suit everyone. As we sailed down the Mekong river from Cambodia to Vietnam we experience 5-star service on the ship. The food was excellent, you had your own private butler who looked after you every need. We met wonderful new friends and the ship was truly luxurious. The trip finished with 2 days in Saigon, Vietnam, again with many excursion options. The highlight for was was the Vespa foodie ride through the mad streets of Saigon as well as a Gala Dinner at a beautiful temple ruins in Cambodia. We recommend anyone who is looking for adventure combined with luxury to take this trip. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
First l should say, I am not a cruiser. However, In April I had the pleasure of boarding the MV Mahabaahu for an expeditionary adventure cruise down the Brahmaputra River and I loved every moment. The Mahabaahu has cruises available ... Read More
First l should say, I am not a cruiser. However, In April I had the pleasure of boarding the MV Mahabaahu for an expeditionary adventure cruise down the Brahmaputra River and I loved every moment. The Mahabaahu has cruises available up or downstream; My choice was 8 days downstream from Jorhat to Guwahati and I discovered the necessity for the cruise vessel to be accompanied by a pilot boat which navigates safe passage on the fast-flowing Bramhaputra River with its ever changing landscapes and shifting sands. It is fascinating to watch this progress with the Captain from the wheelhouse. Onboard a resident naturalist provides informative talks to guests prior to on-shore excursions and of an evening there is a slide show. These varied experiences ranged from colourful cultural dances, visits to building remnants of the Ahom Dynasty as well as several villages which specialise in weaving, fishing or farming. A visit to Assam would not be complete without a wander through the famous Assamese tea estates or an extensive safari within the World Heritage Kaziranga National Park. The Mahabaahu crew members are super friendly, helpful and attentive. Nothing is too much trouble. Creative chefs produced a selection of delectable daily menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner and I loved the blended fruit drinks offered after excursions not to mention the evening cocktails which always kept my tastebuds guessing. This may have been my first luxury river cruise however, Neena our cruise director, together with the wonderful Mahabaahu crew members, have ensured I will return for another. Highly recommended Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our second Scenic cruise and we wanted to try something different from the European experience. We were blown away by the diverse, friendly, adaptable culture and scenery we had encountered. As usual, Scenic checked all the boxes ... Read More
This was our second Scenic cruise and we wanted to try something different from the European experience. We were blown away by the diverse, friendly, adaptable culture and scenery we had encountered. As usual, Scenic checked all the boxes and then some. Every excursion was planned to the minute detail and excellently executed. From the tuk tuk rides to the oxen cart excursion, Scenic had all the i's dotted and t's crossed. We were even able to hear and talk to a Cambodian school teacher, a Buddhist monk and nun, a Vietnamese war vet/rural farmer and a prisoner of the Khmer Rouge. The various guides we had were extremely knowledgable and friendly. during our final evening in Cambodia we were treated to the most spectacular private gala dinner and entertainment at one of the Siem Reap ancient temples. The ship experience was outstanding with a Cambodian crew that could never do enough to make us happy and make us laugh. The Scenic Spirit was a smaller ship with 63 passengers on our cruise, but much more roomy, with tall ceilings and very spacious rooms, most with a separate seating areas. A nice plunge pool, complete with bar was nice to gather at after a day of excursions. The food and drinks were to die for, with local cuisine always highlighted, but other options available. Mr. G, our cruise director was especially attentive and informative, as were his staff. Mr. Duc (pronounce "Duke") was our main tour guide and could not have been more informative, friendly, and funny! We were a little disappointed with our cabin stewart, as he was rarely seen and misfired on a few requests. I believe he may have been new to the job. Overall, we highly recommend this cruise and we classify it as an experience of a lifetime! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was the trip of a lifetime for us. Viking staff made all of the difference in the success of this trip. We began in Beijing. We flew on United from Tampa via Washington Dulles. IAD to PEK was a whopping 14+ hours. Customs ... Read More
This was the trip of a lifetime for us. Viking staff made all of the difference in the success of this trip. We began in Beijing. We flew on United from Tampa via Washington Dulles. IAD to PEK was a whopping 14+ hours. Customs clearance in Beijing was fairly painless. We were met by Viking guide Peter, who would be our guide for the next two days. We were taken to the Kerry hotel, where we spend 5 nights. Lovely hotel with small but well equipped room. The hotel has an outstanding health club and indoor pool. Their restaurants are all quite good. Kerry's Kitchen serves buffet for B,L & D. Nice array of Chinese and Western fare. Kerry's Pantry was sort of a take-out restaurant with some seating. Great salads, sandwiches and desserts. Centro is a 24 hour bar and restaurant. The bar was a good hiding place....with an excellent cheeseburger, btw!! We bought the Beijing extension, which gave us a tour of the Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace. Weather was a bit cool - 40's to 50's, but nice and sunny. We had our first lunch at a very large Chinese restaurant. It was pretty good. We had the second day free. We stayed close to the hotel, shopping in the two astonishing adjacent malls. Our actual tour then began. Our guide for the remainder of the journey was Roy. He made the trip for us. Expertly knowledgable and responded to every request and problem. We toured the Great Wall in perfect weather - 50's and piercing bright sun. Roy brought us to a location on the Wall which had almost no other people! Fabulous vantage points and lots of time to shoot photos and just marvel at this wonder of the world. The next day was Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Again perfect weather and great commentary from Roy. Next day we flew to Xi'an. Great flight on China Eastern Airlines. Comfortable seating and on-time flight. Getting through security in all of the Chinese airports is arduous....Full pat downs every time. We stayed at the Wyndham South. This was one of the nicest hotels we've stayed in. It is adjacent to a wonderful ourdoor mall with an engaging walk down to a pogoda. The Terra Cotta Warriors exceeded our expectations. Too much to try to describe here. Next, we flew to Chongqing on Hainan Airlines. It's the largest city in the world. We believed it when we rode through it. It was late in the day, so the building lights were coming on. Breathtaking! It was the first day of a holiday, so traffic was at a standstill. We finally got to the ship's boarding area at around 9pm. We had to descend a large, dangerous set of stairs which had no railing. Points off for Viking on this. We had a suite, # 508. It, along with every other aspect of the ship was just average. The ship is only 8 years old, but is quite worn. The service on the ship was excellent. The food was hit or miss. Everything needed salt, and I normally never salt my food. We had bought the Silver Spirits drink package and found that to be a waste, as we drank mostly the free-flow wine in the restaurant. The noise level in the restaurant was very high, probably due in part to the low ceiings on the ship. Very small fitness room with 2 treadmills, 2 bikes and 2 ellipticals....nothing else. The 6 day cruise was the most scenic cruise we've ever taken. Again, too much to try to describe here. Next, we flew on China Eastern to Shanghai. Exciting drive through this metropolis to the Westin Bund Center. Great hotel with good restaurants. Strange room setup, trying to be funky modern, but was rather dysfunctional. We toured the Yu Gardens and the Shanghai Museum. I'm not a museum person, but this one really appealed to me. It was very spacious and easy to get around.....and it was overwhelming! Finally we flew home on United, connecting in Chicago.....with less than two hours to clear customs and get to our connecting flight. Folks, don't let anyone do this to you. You need a minimum of 4 hours to do this. We barely made it, using the Mobile Passport app. In all, we highly recommend this trip, even though the actual ship is less than Viking's standards. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a most unique experience, sailing up a river whose geography keeps changing as sandbanks and the mainland coast are continually eroded by the fast-flowing Brahmaputra. The cruise contained a great deal of variety, from visiting ... Read More
This was a most unique experience, sailing up a river whose geography keeps changing as sandbanks and the mainland coast are continually eroded by the fast-flowing Brahmaputra. The cruise contained a great deal of variety, from visiting Assamese villages which carry on a subsistence lifestyle, to taking a wildlife safari to look for tigers. The service from Mahabaahu's crew and cruise directors was excellent and friendly. They were very careful to look after us during the onshore excursions. They also gave us some background on what we were going to see, so that we actually learned something about the area and its history and culture. The boat normally has capacity for about 45 passengers, so it is possible to get to know most people during the week-long trip. It also has more of a family/community feel than cruising with 100 or more people. I would thoroughly recommend this trip, as being quite a different experience to anything else that might be available. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a wonderful trip. Rather than repeating everything I'll just say I agree with everything the main cruise critic review said. Terrific food. Comfortable cabin. Really interesting trips off the boat with very knowledgeable ... Read More
This was a wonderful trip. Rather than repeating everything I'll just say I agree with everything the main cruise critic review said. Terrific food. Comfortable cabin. Really interesting trips off the boat with very knowledgeable guides. The only reason I didn't give it the extra star is because of how hard it was to get any information from the cruise line. When you call their number you talk to someone who sounds like they are just reading the same information from the website that you are. We booked the cruise only. I asked where and when we would meet the boat. They told us to be at a hotel at 9:30am. We got there at 9:30 and sat around in the lobby for 2 hours waiting to leave. I called to see if they could arrange a flight to our next stop in Siem Reap. They said sure and sent me information about a package with hotel and tour. I asked again about just the flight and they said "No we don't arrange flights" Fine we'll get to Siem Reap on our own. Can you tell us where and when we dock in Phnom Penh? "No clue" They made a point about Visas. They said that although you could easily get a Cambodian visa when you got to Cambodia the one place you couldn't get an instant visa was at the river crossing from Vietnam to Cambodia. So we spent $250 on a visa agency since we had no Cambodian embassy here. Sure enough, every other person on the boat gave the cruise director $40 and got one. Once again, My only problems were communication with Avalon. Once we were aboard we couldn't have been happier. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
A 4 night cruise on the Yangtze was part of our package tour. I have given this ship a 1 star rating only because there is no option for a lower one. Absolutely appalling in every respect - the cabin, dining, no entertainment as ... Read More
A 4 night cruise on the Yangtze was part of our package tour. I have given this ship a 1 star rating only because there is no option for a lower one. Absolutely appalling in every respect - the cabin, dining, no entertainment as such. We had some locals attending dinner wearing singlets. The meals were self serve of a very basic standard. There is no option to upgrade dining not that I'd recommend paying for it. The floors on the cabin decks are "rippled" ie not flat, and they buckle when you walk on them. It was a standing joke amongst the western guests. Service - there was none. Dirty coffee cups, wine glasses were never collected from our cabin for the duration. Passengers had to ask at reception for toilet paper or soap as cabin stewards dont replenish supplies. We enjoyed our Yangtze trip despite this barge, not because of it. Avoid at all costs! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted to go to India on this river and to see, particularly, the Kaziranga National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), home of one-horned rhinos. Also, to do something unusual, off the beaten track. The ship was small and intimate ... Read More
We wanted to go to India on this river and to see, particularly, the Kaziranga National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), home of one-horned rhinos. Also, to do something unusual, off the beaten track. The ship was small and intimate but also spacious enough to accommodate dining and entertainment. Staff were outstanding - very professional, caring, pleasant, cheerful. Nothing was too much trouble. Considerable thought went into the itinerary and excursions. There was a lovely, family feel to the cruise and the guests were all treated with respect and encouraged to mix. Food was excellent and cleanliness and hygiene top rate. There is a swimming pool which is a bonus, especially as it is a smaller ship (40 guests maximum). Excursions were all very well organised and we felt looked after and very well catered for at all times. A very unusual destination and definitely worth seeing if you enjoy wildlife and culture. We saw tea estates and some local, cultural dancing. Also lots of temples. All top quality and very interesting. Highly recommended. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
My wife and I chose Viking - and, specifically, their "Imperial Jewels of China" itinerary, for our first trip to China. Overall, we are glad we did so. Though it was not without concerns and drawbacks. To be clear, the ... Read More
My wife and I chose Viking - and, specifically, their "Imperial Jewels of China" itinerary, for our first trip to China. Overall, we are glad we did so. Though it was not without concerns and drawbacks. To be clear, the experience of visiting China for more than two weeks was fabulous. We have been fortunate to travel well. This was probably our most interesting, brain-stimulating adventure. The scope of change and the pace and magnitude of development are astounding. As are the many inherent contradictions. While both my wife and I wrote extensively about our travels and observations, let me limit this to our Viking experience. Much of this review will focus on the shortcomings and concerns. But let me be clear that our experience was very positive in many, many respects. We were perhaps more adventurous than many in our group; but not adventurous enough to tackle two weeks in so foreign a place as China entirely on our own. Viking provided the opportunity and the structure for us to have this experience. A few notes on the positive side of the ledger. - Our guide, Kobe, was first-rate in so many ways. Others in our group who have been on more guided trips remarked that he was the best guide they had had - anywhere. He was knowledgeable, personable, able to relate to many unique and different people, focused on the details when he had to be, and someone whom it was always a pleasure to be around. - Viking gets very high marks for meticulous and detailed organization. There were roughly 200 people (almost all Americans, Canadians or Brits) on this journey, divided into eight groups of about 25 people each. This is no small undertaking and everything seemed to work seamlessly from our perspective. - The hotels at which we stayed in Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai were all first-rate in all respects. - Through no fault of Viking, we had missed our day in Wuhan (called "the Chicago of the Orient") due to heavy fog on the Yangtze which forced all river traffic to hold in place for nearly 18 hours. Viking unexpectedly decided to make it up to everyone a day later by chartering a boat for a nighttime cruise of the Huangpu River through Shanghai. Seeing the Bund at night from the water was a real treat. Booking this for 200 people was a class move on Viking's part. I could go on with positives and compliments. But let me turn to the downsides which I hope will be more instructive for Viking. - Only six days of this 15-day trip involved the Yangtze cruise. Yet nearly all of the communications from Viking following our booking focused exclusively on the cruise. There was virtually no mention of the equally or more interesting land portion of the itinerary before and after. So much so that my wife and I checked into our Beijing hotel without really knowing where to meet or whom to contact. Viking would be advised to treat this as a unified, 15-day expedition instead of putting virtually all of the emphasis on the river piece. - We decided to fly into Beijing one day early to have 24 hours to explore on our own (as well as to sleep off a bit of jet lag). For this privilege, Viking charged us a $200 "deviation fee" ($100 per person). Yet Viking provided absolutely no services related to this "deviation". In fact, we had to book our own transport from the airport to the hotel at a price of roughly another $100. When I inquired of Viking's main office as to the rationale for the deviation charge, they really had no answer. - Of most annoyance to us and many others in our group, on four separate occasions Viking paired a buffet lunch (usually very average and nondescript) with some kind of factory showroom tour and controlled shopping opportunity. These were respectively for jade, tea, silk and terra cotta figurines. Clearly, this is a case of Viking getting reduced-cost or free lunches in return for bringing a captive audience to a showroom. From talking with others, Viking is apparently renown for this practice in many locales. That doesn't make it right or advisable or anything that I and others liked. - It would have been nice to have at least one or two unscheduled evenings and the chance to find dinner on our own. Especially in Beijing which is famous for its cuisine. On the whole, the food on this trip was decent and certainly plentiful but undistinguished. - The ship (the Emerald) was quite adequate, but past its prime and not up to Viking standards elsewhere. The dining room is ill-placed on the second level instead of up top with a view. The ceiling in the dining room is quite low which makes it very noisy and hot (with somewhat variable air conditioning). Our cabin was fine, but nothing more than that. Corridors are narrow and floors are somewhat uneven. There is really only one outside deck. A number of nooks and crannies which could make for nice sitting areas are instead given over to onboard merchants selling the usual Chinese fare at vastly inflated prices. I understand that much of this is a function of Viking being required to use Chinese ships. And that a new ship is under construction. Nonetheless... - I am familiar with the usual tipping procedure on cruises whether with Viking or other lines. But the process here was needlessly confusing. We try to be generous tippers, but the number that they added to our onboard bill was exorbitant. Also, there was an ambiguity as to whether this sum also included our guide for the full 15 days. We opted to reduce what we did for the ship's crew and to deal separately and privately with our excellent guide. - Lastly, this is a tricky one, but it needs to be said that our group (and seemingly each group) included people of widely varying physical abilities. Three of the 25 people in our group used wheelchairs or walkers. In no way am I suggesting that folks with such disabilities shouldn't be included in such trips. In fact, I admire their courage and tenacity in continuing such adventurous travel. (And I come with three joint replacements of my own.) But Viking should be more transparent with prospective guests as to the limitations this will cause for others. Why not attempt some selective grouping so that those who are more fit and adventurous can undertake and explore a bit more? That's more than enough. Again, let me make clear that the positive far outweighed the negative with respect to Viking and this trip. Despite the number of words I gave to each in this review. But there are plenty of each. Final word of advice: If you haven't been to China, go. Whether with Viking or some other group or on your own. It is a fascinating place and much of the future is taking shape there. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Smallish boat/ship that has accommodation for about 50 people but with a staff ratio of 1 to 2 cruisers. Huge cabins that are exquisitely equipped, spotlessly clean and unbelievably sound proofed. All cabins have an exterior sliding door ... Read More
Smallish boat/ship that has accommodation for about 50 people but with a staff ratio of 1 to 2 cruisers. Huge cabins that are exquisitely equipped, spotlessly clean and unbelievably sound proofed. All cabins have an exterior sliding door and a full sized bathroom that would do many hotels proud. The shower is full sized and is welcome after a day exploring on the land. Each stop is associated with well organized and interesting tours that are included in the tour cost. Great food and open seating with casual clothing OK for any meal - meals are actually low stress and fun This cruise is well above what you get on most ocean going ships and really sets the bar very high with regard to quality and value for money Non-alcoholic drinks and beer are included and any cocktail or drink ordered is reasonably priced. All meals come with good quality free wine and each day their is a free cocktail happy hour (the cocktails are superb). What sets this cruise apart though is the staff who seem to enjoy your company - nothing is too much trouble. I world definitely recommend this cruise and I am alraedy planning to go again Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I would like to express in this short note how impressed we were with the Content ,structure and execution of the whole event . As you would expect from 5 star operation , the ship and support vehicles were top notch , all clean tidy ... Read More
I would like to express in this short note how impressed we were with the Content ,structure and execution of the whole event . As you would expect from 5 star operation , the ship and support vehicles were top notch , all clean tidy and operated by competent drivers and crew . Your staff made the event look and feel flawless from start to finish ,and I appreciate how much hard work goes into achieving that alone . As all good companies and employers understand , they are only as good as the staff they employ ,and in this respect you have achieved a gold star standard . From our well groomed Captain who navigated the busy Mekong river ,to the cleaning and laundry staff who worked tirelessly to ensure all was well at all times. ( do they ever sleep ) a great crew ,expertly managed These men and women were and are a real credit to your Empire . Finally but not least of all ,our Scenic guides , of which our principle guide in Group 2 was Duc Duc a handsome and rugged individual (some would say ) lead our small group in and out of various location in an efficient and purposeful manner , feeding us with relevant information and passing on the History of the local area as we progressed through the various locations . He managed to keep us safe , focussed feed and watered ,a real professional . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Treated myself on this cruise for a 70th birthday present. Ships was only half full and besides an English couple, Scandinavian couple & Canadian and 4 Australians the rest of the guests were from the USA. The group bonded well. The ... Read More
Treated myself on this cruise for a 70th birthday present. Ships was only half full and besides an English couple, Scandinavian couple & Canadian and 4 Australians the rest of the guests were from the USA. The group bonded well. The local guides were enthusiastic and knowledgeable and changed in Cambodia. We were divided into two groups for the entire trip with separate buses. Dining was buffet for breakfast and lunch and dinner was a choice of dishes. We would have liked to see more local food on the menu but did notice that many Americans preferred their style of food. Staff were amazing, efficient and friendly. Entertainment was just a pianist but we were lucky that one of our guest was a good singer and Bing the Uniworld rep also played the guitar. Some of the excursions such as the visit to a local school and joining their English class was so much fun! We were told that Uniworld will have a new ship next year January. Please note that March is very hot in Vietnam and Cambodia Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
The collection from the airport was not great. We waited for another couple to arrive on a different flight and share the taxi with us for over an hour. Having made a fuss the decision was made for us to continue by ourselves. This should ... Read More
The collection from the airport was not great. We waited for another couple to arrive on a different flight and share the taxi with us for over an hour. Having made a fuss the decision was made for us to continue by ourselves. This should have been dealt with much quicker. We travelled from Guwahati to Jorhat. We had a suite (101) which was comfortable and kept very clean. The additional cost over the standard balcony room was not worth it. We did have dinner in the room on two occasions but the first was a bit of a trial and not very well organised. The staff were delightful and very helpful. We enjoyed most of the excursions off the boat. The tenders used were excellent. There is not much to see whilst cruising but we enjoyed relaxing, both on the top deck and the room's small balcony. Food was very good - we had the non-veg Indian selection for all dinners. What I really did not like was the inability to seat as a twosome for most meals. The first night we were all split up to sit with random guests - I hated being next to two gun-toting far-right Americans who I avoided thereafter. Apart from breakfast we always had to sit with others. I would have preferred having the choice to sit by ourselves sometimes but the dining room had only one sitting with insufficient room for tables for two. Drinks were absurdly expensive which was somewhat money-grabbing considering the overall cost of the week. The naturalist's lectures were delivered in boring monotone. Overall we enjoyed it and I am pleased we did the cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose Scenic for the Megong River cruise to Cambodia because the last night included a 1st class outdoor dinner in front of a temple, including a team of Cambodian singers and dancers. This final night dinner was outstanding and I would ... Read More
We chose Scenic for the Megong River cruise to Cambodia because the last night included a 1st class outdoor dinner in front of a temple, including a team of Cambodian singers and dancers. This final night dinner was outstanding and I would suggest that it would also be a perfect event for a Corporate Award evening. The ship was 5 star, very clean, well appointed with staff that were attentive, friendly, gracious and extremely polite. Food, drinks and wine were always plentiful and of the highest of quality. Only 60 people capacity......very nice size. It was a true lifetime experience that any North American would be in awe of partaking. The agenda was intense with a Varity of daily excursions. There is too much to review here, however, the Cambodian small town excursion, that started on ox carts, and the Angkor Wat temple visits were my highlights. I am hard to please but after 11 days I had nothing but positives for the cruise and Scenic the company. Rob, Ottawa Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Recommended by friends this cruise did not disappoint. Great activities, who could not be impressed by Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Bayon Temple.Scenic pay particular attention to the finer detail, arranging trips not experienced by ... Read More
Recommended by friends this cruise did not disappoint. Great activities, who could not be impressed by Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Bayon Temple.Scenic pay particular attention to the finer detail, arranging trips not experienced by other cruises in particular the themed gala dinner at an Angkor temple where we were entertained by Apsara dancers, and Wat Hanchey where we had the opportunity to talk to a novice monk. Their enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides ensure you are informed in terms of the history but also relate personal and family experiences that really give everything a context. The ships facilities are superb, cabins offering plenty of space, light and storage, food that challenges the senses, with wine/beer constantly on tap. The onboard staff are the icing on the cake they are attentive, and display genuine enjoyment at ensuring you are having a good time. All of this is packaged with a social consciousness that you do not often experience. It was great to feel that some of the money from this cruise was going directly to local communities. This was not gifted but earned which ensured that there was respect between all parties. Not cheap but bearing in mind everything is included, I would highly recommended it Read Less

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