Sail Date: December 2017
We have used Scenic before in Europe and tried them in Myanmar. Our decision turned out to be an excellent one. The ship was very good, although has some odd quirks - which did not detract from the cruise. The crew were all amazing, ... Read More
We have used Scenic before in Europe and tried them in Myanmar. Our decision turned out to be an excellent one. The ship was very good, although has some odd quirks - which did not detract from the cruise. The crew were all amazing, just what you expect from a luxury all inclusive cruise. They could not have been more helpful. The food was better than excellent, huge choices and amazing quality, especially the soups and salads. We stayed in a Royal Panorama Suite which was definitely worth the extra money. All excursions were excellent, but be aware that a reasonable level of fitness is required - just to get on and off the ship - i think this would apply to all cruises on the Irrawaddy though. Highly recommend Scenic and would even consider doing teh cruise again in five years time to see how the country has changed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Having travelled with Scenic in the past we decided to book our Myanmar trip with them and see the country before it gets too crowded. Firstly the Ship - the Aura. On initial inspection a lovely yacht type ship, nice entrance and ... Read More
Having travelled with Scenic in the past we decided to book our Myanmar trip with them and see the country before it gets too crowded. Firstly the Ship - the Aura. On initial inspection a lovely yacht type ship, nice entrance and ambiance but it does have some issues. The general feel is of spaciousness with only a max of 44 passengers, the bedoms are very nice with electric beds, lounge area, small walk in wardrobe, compact but very accessible bathroom with reasonably large shower and 2 opening (electronic slide down) windows. However the first issue with the ship is the balcony in the room. This is a complete waste of space and badly designed. It should either have been a dedicated balcony with sliding doors or part of the lounge. It is awkward at present because it has folding doors and we left them open and it became a dumping ground for bags. The dinning room is lovely with central serving area and a small dedicated specialist area, which everyone is invited to during the cruise. There is plenty of space for all the passengers and the food was excellent. There is a small compact pool area at the back with bar and seating and this was used for entertainment at night. The library did not seem to be in much use only for getting on and off the ship when docked. The main issue with the ship's design is the lounge. This is a strange design with a central section separating it into 4 quadrants, so not easy to accommodate everyone altogether for the port talks, in fact they need 2 screens to do their presentation. This is a very poor design feature and interestingly not many people used it. This is the worst feature on the ship. There is a great top sundeck however with walking area and plenty of seating; a great place to cool-off when sailing. Also as the ship was built in Myanmar it does have a slightly 'cheap' feel to it and to say that it is only 18months old is showing signs of wear already. However despite the faults it was a pleasure to sail on the Aura. Next the crew - they were fantastic and always ready with a smile. Many thanks to Chantel, the Cruise Director , who was always around to solve any hitches or have a chat with and the Captain who was always there with a helping hand when embarking or dissembarking. A word of warning here, this trip is not for people with mobility issues as there are no proper docking facilities, at many of the places the ship stops climbing up sand banks or rough ground was the norm. So in conclusion the Aura is a nice ship with plenty of space for the passengers, it has good bedrooms, fantastic dining area and one of the nicest crews we have come across. Also the food was as good as any river or sea cruise ship and not overtaking. The variety of the Wines were reasonable and premium drinks were included throughout the day. Scenic always have great tours and this cruise (Yangon to Mandalay) was no exception. Some wonderful cultural visits, insight into the people and their ives all brought to life with a great Tour Diector - PA PA Min. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We were inspired by the movie "The Lady" to visit Myanmar to see and support this country that so recently had emerged from absolute Military control. We had traveled with Scenic before and were impressed by their care and ... Read More
We were inspired by the movie "The Lady" to visit Myanmar to see and support this country that so recently had emerged from absolute Military control. We had traveled with Scenic before and were impressed by their care and service. We were again very happy with the cruise and associated hotels. We traveled from Yangon to Mandalay and did the Inle Lake extension. Our guide PuPu was a wonderfully caring, knowledgeable and organised person who we had complete trust in so we could relax and enjoy the trip. PuPu's expertise added immeasurably to our enjoyment. The hotel in Yangon is excellent and well located and the food terrific. We did the market free choice and could have easily done it on our own with a map. This excursion could readily be a more extensive walk around the city area to see other sites. The coach trip to Prome is 8 hours and although breaks and box lunch are organised it is a long way, be prepared! The Scenic Aura is beautiful with magnificent cabins and suites and with everything included all that is left is to enjoy yourself. Staff are caring, friendly and go out of their way to make your cruise very special. Meals are delicious and varied and promptly served with a smile. The excursions are varied and much thought has gone into exposing Scenic travellers to different modes of transport and seeing as much variety in villages as possible. As shoes and socks need to be removed to enter religious sites on just about all excursions, sealed wet towels are supplied to wash feet before putting shoes back on and shoes are cleaned when you return to the ship as it is dusty. Both very thoughtful touches. Shoulders and knees need to be covered for admission to religious sites but trousers and Capri pants are fine, skirts are not necessary. The hotel in Mandalay is very nice and meals were, again, delicious. The add-on to Inle Lake was wonderful. The trip there, the magnificent hotel, the amazing day trip around the lake's sights, the meals and the exceptional sundowner party on our last night there exceeded all expectations. We chose to spend the final day at the resort rather than do either of the Scenic Free choices as they both involved 5 hour bus journeys for a 3 hour stop and most of us decided that was too much travel. We had a lovely restful day at the beautiful resort. There were a couple of issues! 1)The layout of the Scenic Aura means there is nowhere under cover where all 44 guests can gather to hear and see speakers or events. The only space is around the pool which can be plagued with insects being outside. 2) A free choice at Inle Lake that doesn't involve 5 hours travel could be offered, a trek was mentioned in the brochure but not offered possibly because we were a smaller group. 3) Be careful with flights to Yangon. Scenic booked our flights and we arrived at the hotel halfway through the briefing and after travelling for over 17 hours we were too tired to catch a bus to the restaurant for the welcome dinner. I would strongly advise arriving the day before and spending the night at the hotel at your own expense so you can enjoy the beginning of the package. One other tip could be to take a couple of balls or something to play with the children at the monastic school, I'm sure they would enjoy it more than just talking. We loved the trip and wholeheartedly recommend it but in February, March and April the river is getting low and problems with sandbanks could occur and the countryside is very dusty. September and October the river is very high which could impact some excursions. We were told November and December were the best months but whenever you go it's a wonderful experience. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Jan 2016 Having just returned from our AMAPURA cruise and our third trip to Myanmar. I have some suggestions for future passengers: Bring warm clothing..early morning or evenings are cool (55 degrees F).For the few of us on deck for ... Read More
Jan 2016 Having just returned from our AMAPURA cruise and our third trip to Myanmar. I have some suggestions for future passengers: Bring warm clothing..early morning or evenings are cool (55 degrees F).For the few of us on deck for sunrise each morning at 6:30AM; wool caps; warm jacket;maybe even gloves. Consider you will need a jacket on plane also. Light weight long sleeve shirts for day use. Insects few but present at dock in Yangon & Mandalay. Insect repellant needed there. Flashlight since some tours get back at night..and crew is there to help get down riverbank steps dug in sand. In Yangon pre trip watch out for uneven sidewalks with holes. Moldskin to cover delicate feet for shoes/socks off temple visits. I found this very helpful and replaced it prior to each shoes off tour. They provide feet wipes at each temple visit. Some used sandals issue then is dirty dusty streets I use walking shoes with high socks felt more protected but more time to geton/off; took a small shoe horn which was very helpful. You are watched/helped all the way with crew members on each tour with the cruise director or assistant CD leading. Cold water bottles with bottle holder given out before each tour. Hand use of liquid disinfective prior to entering dining room and dispensed by crew after returning to ship. However a lot of passengers developed significant coughs therefore bring Rx Levofloxacin; Rx cough liquid at night to sleep; Mucinex without DM time release for daytime use to thin out mucous; Afrin to clear ears before plane. Tissues on board ship. Take bottles of hand santizers and use after each time touching local currency. We used ships very good laundry back in 24 hours.You will not have any internet while onboard, occasional CNN or BBC. Sim cards $5 US dollars so some got internet with their cell phones. Get 1,000 Kyat notes(73 cents) at airport...to use for tips..I got $100 USD worth...left over Kyat used for ships crew tips; money is old/used and dirty but needed for tips to bus driver; tuk tuk; horse cart 1000 Kyat each person for full day and 1/2 for half day tour...Kyat used in small villages for tourist items and in Yangon/Mandalay/Bagan US dollars used for tourist items. We bought sand paintings $20 each on previous trip..best selection in Bagan. Eyeglasses in Yangon done in 2 hours. Gold leaf art in Mandalay (on ship tour). Silk/cotton scarfs (on ship tour). Bagan: We did a balloon sunrise last time on a land tour and this time hired a guide/$100 US and driver $40 US arranged by ship..sunrise at a temple shoes & socks off; take a towel to put under feet stone while standing before sunrise is very cold before sunrise and wear your winter coats/hats/gloves. We did sunset at a hill (shoes on) no crowds. Came back for breakfast and lunch. Had an amazing day exploring pagodas without any other tourists. Amazing trip..and after going you will see why we went back to this magical land. Cabin was great with A/C controls; shower modern with hot water after some wait, food was excellent and I put on 12 pounds over 14 days; crew was very helpful and always smiling and knew what drinks you like by the second day. Transfers were smooth. And each day you have a choice of tours at different activity levels. Walking sticks were helpful to some. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
This is a small river ship. On our cruise it was staffed, 2 staff for every passenger. The operator Belmond is running the ship like the Four Seasns hotel. They just knows how to say yes to passengers requests. We asked to open the gym ... Read More
This is a small river ship. On our cruise it was staffed, 2 staff for every passenger. The operator Belmond is running the ship like the Four Seasns hotel. They just knows how to say yes to passengers requests. We asked to open the gym early, to walk back from a tour, for special meals, etc. The answer was always yes! For example: When returning from a tour they collected and wash your shoes. The food was unbelievable good. It was carefully prepared and there was a large enough selection. We stopped in little villages which seemed have not seen many tourist. My knees are not great, walking down hill can be challenging, but always there was a staff to lend a should to make my down hill journeys save. Our room was large enough with two large windows from which we could watch our journey down the river. Read Less

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