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Sail Date: October 2018
My wife and I spent an incredible two weeks in Myanmar, and one of the highlights of our visit was our time in Bagan. First, I must share how we got there. We took a four day cruise up the Ayeryewaddy river on the Sanctuary Ananda cruise ... Read More
My wife and I spent an incredible two weeks in Myanmar, and one of the highlights of our visit was our time in Bagan. First, I must share how we got there. We took a four day cruise up the Ayeryewaddy river on the Sanctuary Ananda cruise boat from Yangon to Bagan. The Sanctuary Ananda is a truly five-star experience in every way. The boat itself is small and intimate - a maximum of forty passengers, and with a staff of 43, you are never lacking in friendly and gracious service. The décor is beautiful and evocative, the state rooms are luxurious and spacious, and the food was absolutely amazing. The chef on board was a former head chef at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Bangkok, which was rated the number one hotel in the world for many years. Not only was the food incredible, but you had many opportunities to meet this friendly and dignified gentleman, and even take an intimate cooking class from him on the third day of the cruise. The highlight for me was a torch-lit dinner on the beach of the river- a magical and memorable experience. The final destination of the cruise was Bagan, which should be one of the wonders of the world. Within a relatively small region, there are over 3000 pagodas, stupas and temples, some small, and many grand in scale and breathtaking beauty. These temples were build by the kings of Burma over a period of several centuries, with the oldest ones being nearly one thousand years old. Many of the temples and pagodas are worth a personal visit (cars have access to most of the larger temples, or you can rent a horse-drawn carriage if you don't mind bouncing a lot). However, the best way to see Bagan is by hot air balloon. I recognize that these trips are expensive, but the experience is well worth the cost. We recommend Oriental Balloons, but all three of the operating companies in Bagan offer very modern and professional balloon rides. Well, in closing, Bagan was spectacular, the Sanctuary Ananda was amazing, and we were truly fortunate to have had this chance to visit this wonderful country. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This cruise was part of a 15 day tour of China with a luxury tour company. The accommodations on this ship were by far the worst of the tour. I have been on several river cruises in Europe and the Yangzi Explorer simply fails every ... Read More
This cruise was part of a 15 day tour of China with a luxury tour company. The accommodations on this ship were by far the worst of the tour. I have been on several river cruises in Europe and the Yangzi Explorer simply fails every comparison test. My room was dirty and stunk of Urine. There were mosquitos and flies everywhere. No screens on the windows. A/C did not work well at all. WiFi was a joke. Management seemed not to care and just gave excuses. The bar on deck six is nice, but the staff needs to be trained better in making cocktails. Service in the bar was friendly but staff seemed overwhelmed if the request was anything that varied off of the mundane. The resturant was nice and the food was good. Breakfasts were excellent with lots of variety. The cruise itinterary was okay. The guide on the boat who commented on what we were seeing was annoying. Talked constantly about nothing at all. If you have been to Norway or New Zealand, the scenery in the Three Gorges will not impress that much. It is pretty and others on the trip found it amazing. I was constantly saddened by the amount of trash I saw floating down the river. As this cruise is often part of larger itineraries, many visitors to China will end up on this boat. If someone had the choice of taking this cruise or not on a visit to China, I would probably say "Don't Bother". The spa is mediocre at best. I booked three treatments. Cancelled the third after the underwhelming experience with the first two. Since this is supposed to be the nicest boat on the river, I do wonder what the others are like. I am also shocked that Sanctuary considers this boat to meet its standards. There is also NO WAY this boat was refurbished in 2017. If it was, Sanctuary needs to complain to the company that did the refurbishment. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our 20th cruise and the most rewarding. Egypts history, archeological sites and hospitality is unmatched worldwide. We were concerned about security but our 34 person tour group was from arrival to departure treated like ... Read More
This was our 20th cruise and the most rewarding. Egypts history, archeological sites and hospitality is unmatched worldwide. We were concerned about security but our 34 person tour group was from arrival to departure treated like royalty. Our four hotels were included and all historic and five star. Our Nile river cruise was also five star and the nicest ship we saw. A pricey trip but with eveything included considering all that we experienced and saw with our expert egyptologist we feel was worth every penny and more. Also our tour guide was with us from day one and provided all of us with the necessary local knowledge and answered all our questions with professionalism. The food was as expected with five star service. We were very pleased with this trip and can,t wait to travel with Scenic cruises again. You get what you pay for so choose the best and you won't be dissapointed. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This cruise was a 4 day part of a 22 day scenic tour of china so not exactly sure what part of the total tour cost this was. WE were fortunate that we were upgraded to a suite (see below) though weren't entitled to the benefits ... Read More
This cruise was a 4 day part of a 22 day scenic tour of china so not exactly sure what part of the total tour cost this was. WE were fortunate that we were upgraded to a suite (see below) though weren't entitled to the benefits that came with it..ie laundry as one of our fellow tour members found out. Ship: was a large "best available" vessel on the Yangtze river decorated in true Chinese style with an adequate theatre ,gym, well appointed lounge looking out onto a front deck area. This area had movable seating though wasn't under cover but was an excellent viewing area when going through the three gorges area which had towering cliffs on both sides of the boat. Activities: early morning ti chi ,several Chinese medical lectures, painting and off boat tour briefing added a lot to the trip. We chose to visit an under ground never completed nuke facility "site 816" ,a food market where we were ( 20 or so Aussies westerners) the topic of conversation.The locals stopped their shopping/trading to look at us /interact...not many of our kind seen around these parts id say We also were treated to a small boat cruise paddled , pulled & sang too by traditional Hubei boat people ( no longer naked- google it u will see) Food: this is an area I traditionally struggle with.Breakfast my favourite time as I can partake of the things I like.Both western & Chinese fare was available & this theme continued into lunch.I was able to satisfy my particular pallet though dinner was a choice of two items per entrée/main/dessert and I struggled. Whilst I don't drink alcohol my tour partners indicated the list was acceptable but not extensive.All has to be imported so while included wasn't free flowing....... Now just be aware that that getting off the boat to get to shore excursions or disembarking is not for the faint hearted.At times 100 or so steps straight up with only embarkation having a lift.The poor guys carrying our cases 2 at a time on a pole across their shoulders was a sight. The other issue was that we thought we would go through the 3 G Dam via a new ship elevator.Promotional information from our tour company indicated this but we started on the wrong side of the dam wall and headed up river. All said it was another good & different river cruise our 6th in a row. chris Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
We have wanted to cruise the Irrawaddy for many years and were recommended this river boat by our travel agent and tour company. From the moment we arrived at the boat to the moment we disembarked, our experience was delightful. The ... Read More
We have wanted to cruise the Irrawaddy for many years and were recommended this river boat by our travel agent and tour company. From the moment we arrived at the boat to the moment we disembarked, our experience was delightful. The Cruise Director, AB Eland, was extremely present, attentive, caring and courteous. Nothing was too much trouble ! The ship, kitchen, spa and service staff worked like clockwork and despite fairly low water levels in the river, our cruise experience was flawless. We had chosen a luxury suite cabin and it was exactly as advertised. It was very well appointed, spotlessly clean and well serviced for our short stay. The shore excursions were very well planned and organized and we had an exceptional guide by the name of Khin Nyein Thu. Khin was intelligent, articulate and extremely knowledgable about all the sites we saw and activities we undertook. She also spoke excellent, clear English. The chef, Myo Min Aung was also very good indeed and every mealtime there was something to look forward to. His cooking class, as with other on-board activities were fun and entertaining. Myanmar tourism is suffering because of the situation in the west of the country. Our entire trip was devoid of any issues and our advice would be to go now ! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
Most times one looks at pictures and reviews and then books a trip in the expectation that it won't quite be the same as it looks, maybe it'll look a little like the glossy website if you're lucky, but it won't be the ... Read More
Most times one looks at pictures and reviews and then books a trip in the expectation that it won't quite be the same as it looks, maybe it'll look a little like the glossy website if you're lucky, but it won't be the same. This is the first time we've ever "done" a trip where the website and reviews simply did not do it justice. This is an outstanding trip (we went 8 days Mandalay/Bagan/Mandalay on a stunning vessel with crew and facilities beyond reproach, fine foods and brilliant service. WiFi was very patchy - nobody really cared :-) - but don't expect to remain "connected". Absolutely nothing was too much trouble. Special callouts to our Cruise Director AB - we miss you already, and Vijay our guide who looked after us and put up with our million questions. You gentlemen are fine ambassadors for Sanctuary. We enjoyed every minute and can't rate/recommend Sanctuary Ananda and crew highly enough. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
We arrived dockside and were greeted by AB our cruise director. A cold drink and a frozen towel later we started our tour of this absolutely beautiful ship ending in our suite where our luggage was waiting for us. And we thought ... Read More
We arrived dockside and were greeted by AB our cruise director. A cold drink and a frozen towel later we started our tour of this absolutely beautiful ship ending in our suite where our luggage was waiting for us. And we thought "could anything be better"...until we met VJ our knowledgeable and caring tour guide who daily showed us villages, temples and stupas...and we thought "could anything be better" and found out it could be when we enjoyed the first of many meals prepared by Sumet and served by a professional well trained staff. We cruise many times per year and this was the best ever. We typically rate cruises, hotels and restaurants on a scale of 1 to 10. We have awarded the Santuary Ananda a 14 plus. We are now planning to sail again in April. If you have questions about the total experience and we can help email us at deb.cnx@gmail.com Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
This cruise was fantastic, in fact so good we are thinking of doing the Chindwin in 2018. The vessel was just beautiful, rooms a good size, nice little balconies to sit on, and great showers. What can you not say about the catering. ... Read More
This cruise was fantastic, in fact so good we are thinking of doing the Chindwin in 2018. The vessel was just beautiful, rooms a good size, nice little balconies to sit on, and great showers. What can you not say about the catering. Executive Chef Sumet Sumpachanyanont (ex Mandarin Oriental Bangkok) and his staff were amazing. The food was brilliant and everyday a different dish to try. The buffet lunches were marvellous and the set menu dinners excellent. The two Chef's Fine Dining Experiences consisted of carefully planned 5 courses. All the staff on board were wonderful very attentive without hovering. Our thanks of course go to Tim and AB, their organisation of excursions and entertainment was exceptional. We were lucky enough to be upgraded to the Mandalay deck which was nice, but the only difference was we were up higher than the deck we originally booked, the rooms were actually the same. One of the highlights of the cruise was to visit a local school which Sanctuary Retreats sponsor, and to leave gifts and meet the teachers and children. The villages and temples along the river were just beautiful. Did try to post some photos but wouldn't allow it. Read Less
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