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  #1  
Old November 19th, 2011, 11:35 AM
alexandra cruiser alexandra cruiser is offline
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Question AMAlotus review anyone??

Have a 7 day hold on the Dec.25 sailing 2012,,,but can t find any reviews..have read the LaMarguirite ones,,sounds great,,,

Seems only difference is size,,and larger balcony,,which was the plus for me...plus newer...hope to hear from someone,,,but will probably put deposit down.
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  #2  
Old November 19th, 2011, 07:34 PM
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ReturnCruiser ReturnCruiser is offline
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Default AMALotus

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Originally Posted by alexandra cruiser View Post
Have a 7 day hold on the Dec.25 sailing 2012,,,but can t find any reviews..have read the LaMarguirite ones,,sounds great,,,

Seems only difference is size,,and larger balcony,,which was the plus for me...plus newer...hope to hear from someone,,,but will probably put deposit down.
I just submitted a member review of my November 2011 AMALotus trip to Cruisecritic. Not sure how long the review process takes before it is posted. It was rather long. I'm not sure if this will be an issue.

Bob
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  #3  
Old November 20th, 2011, 09:39 AM
alexandra cruiser alexandra cruiser is offline
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Question Return cruiser,,,will check,,but need to know before

7 day hold over,,,is it a great trip,,do you think I should book??Read the LaMarguerite reviews and all gave thumbs up,,do you agree// Hope so, really want to go,,,but can change dates,ships,,etc.if needed...Thanks in advance,,,will keep checking.
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  #4  
Old November 20th, 2011, 11:48 AM
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Default AMALotus Experience

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Originally Posted by alexandra cruiser View Post
7 day hold over,,,is it a great trip,,do you think I should book??Read the LaMarguerite reviews and all gave thumbs up,,do you agree// Hope so, really want to go,,,but can change dates,ships,,etc.if needed...Thanks in advance,,,will keep checking.
Great land/cruise trip. The trip was well organized by AMA. We handled our own flights. If you send me your email address (send to herao at hotmail.com), I'll send you a copy of my review.

Bob
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  #5  
Old November 20th, 2011, 01:16 PM
alexandra cruiser alexandra cruiser is offline
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Thumbs up Thanks for prompt reply,,will book it and

will send my email...think I ll have AMA handle flights,,,since their Business class seems cheaper than what I can find at moment..will probably ask a lot of questions in future,,,am sadly sort of a worry wart and love all details.
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  #6  
Old November 21st, 2011, 09:26 AM
alexandra cruiser alexandra cruiser is offline
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Thumbs up Return cruiser,,,review was excellent,,,thanks

it was very detailed and highly recommend anyone thinking of taking Amalotus,,,check member review section when its posted...

Will book it today,,,now have to wait till next year,,,whew,,,but have Regent booked for Dec.16 ,,and AMA to Prague,,in May,,,what a life,,eh??Lucky I m retired,,and DH still working to pay for them...haha..
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  #7  
Old January 19th, 2012, 02:31 PM
alexandra cruiser alexandra cruiser is offline
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Unhappy Did book it ,,,but,,,read 2 sort of negative reviews.

under Member review section for AMAlotsus.Concerned about noisy ship,smells onboard,stomach flu for half passengers, poor food ,no drawers and suitcase stays out?? Whew,,not the luxury experience I expected.

Hope this has been worked out,,making me rethink this.

Any other cruisers have updates?
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  #8  
Old January 19th, 2012, 03:21 PM
Shorex Shorex is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandra cruiser View Post
under Member review section for AMAlotsus.Concerned about noisy ship,smells onboard,stomach flu for half passengers, poor food ,no drawers and suitcase stays out?? Whew,,not the luxury experience I expected.

Hope this has been worked out,,making me rethink this.

Any other cruisers have updates?
You are over thinking this. Maybe you shouldn't go.

The Amalotus is simply a newer, slightly larger version of the La Marguerite. The management and procedures are the same.

You can google the Sofitel Hotels in Hanoi, Siem Reap and Saigon to determine whether they meet your standards.

I heard no bothersome ship noise, smelled no unpleasant ship odors, and found the food to be good, but certainly not up to, say, Silversea standards. I am unaware of any mini-epidemic of stomach flu on our trip, and found room for the suitcases under the window seat. Our travel companions asked for suitcases to be stored elsewhere, and the staff happily complied.

You would be in two countries that are only a few decades removed from devastating violence, and in the case of Cambodia, genocide. You would be walking dusty paths to visit rural schools and finding joy in the faces of welcoming children. But then -- dusty paths are not exactly luxurious.

Nonetheless, we consider this trip to rank with our Antarctica expedition as the "trip of a lifetime". (And we have had numerous delightful cruises on Silversea, Crystal, Regent, etc.)

But -- if you have a need to be pampered every moment, and have every detail perfect -- this is not the trip for you. It IS a trip for someone with a spirit of adventure and discovery and wonderment in a world far apart from our own.
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  #9  
Old January 22nd, 2012, 12:57 PM
Joseph Mok Joseph Mok is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandra cruiser View Post
under Member review section for AMAlotsus.Concerned about noisy ship,smells onboard,stomach flu for half passengers, poor food ,no drawers and suitcase stays out?? Whew,,not the luxury experience I expected.

Hope this has been worked out,,making me rethink this.

Any other cruisers have updates?
My review of our recent trip on the Amalotus was just posted.

We had no noise or smell problems at all on the ship; the cabins and the dining hall were beautiful. My father and I had no problems with finding space for our luggage (admittedly, we're two men so that might have been the reason). In fact, I found the cabin significantly larger than the one we had on Celebrity Xpedition in the Galapagos.

At a certain point, a significant portion of the passengers had "tummy troubles," but I don't think that should necessarily be blamed on Amalotus. There were many opportunities to eat on land, whether in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh, and some passengers may have picked up stomach bugs that way. My father, for example, came down with food poisoning after eating in a rather upscale restaurant in Siem Reap. And, of course, some of it might not have been "illness" at all, but rather our bodies adjusting to the local bacterial flora.

I did find the food on board a disappointment, particularly in comparison to Celebrity Xpedition (my one point of comparison as it was my only other cruise). That being said, I never found it difficult to find something tasty to eat at meals. I don't eat fried eggs or omelets, but most guests were very happy with that station at breakfast. I usually stuck to the fish courses and was very satisfied with what I was served.

When we were in Phnom Penh, the Amalotus was moored next to La Marguerite, and I went exploring the other ship. There were about 33 passengers, all still asleep at 6:45 am when I walked over. This seems to have been an entirely French group (I heard them later). From what I could see, the ship was just as beautifully fitted as the Amalotus; it was only a little smaller. The only significant difference I noticed was the absence of computer terminals in the lounge, but perhaps I simply didn't see them.

We had three working computer terminals next to the lounge, but only occasional tension over access. Most of the passengers were very considerate about not "hogging" the terminals, and many people used the free wifi to run their iPads or iPhones (though my phone wouldn't log in, don't know why).
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  #10  
Old January 22nd, 2012, 03:41 PM
alexandra cruiser alexandra cruiser is offline
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Default Joseph,,read your review and feel better,thanks

seems most of the problems the last reviewers had have been cleared up..

Think I ll take a RX med before and during trip to prevent stomach probs. We ll just have to be careful of what and where we eat,,on ship and off.

Makes me feel better about the cruise...appreciate it.

Now I just have to find airfare schedule,,seems its hard to get from Orlando to Hanoi in less than 25 hrs..whew..will be longest flight for us,,ever.

Did see a Samantha Brown episode on Vietnam and Cambodia..looks interesting,,,found a you tube video of trip too,,by googling it.
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  #11  
Old January 22nd, 2012, 06:01 PM
shoshona2 shoshona2 is offline
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Thumbs down Stomach Distress

Hi Alexandra cruiser,

When we went to Egypt/Jordan, we took pro-biotics with every meal to get the good bacteria in our stomachs to fight the bad bacteria, and I also chewed a pepto-bismol tablet with my meals. My DH and I were practically the only ones who didn't get "mummy tummy". We're leaving for India next month and I will continue to do the same. Just remember to brush your teeth with bottled water and don't open your mouth in the shower. We're hoping not to get "delhi belly" there.

Sheila
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  #12  
Old January 22nd, 2012, 07:28 PM
Island Cruiser Island Cruiser is offline
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Wow, Mr. Mok. We found the food on La Marguerite quite good, much better than we had anticipated. We found the food on Xpedition, an excellent way to do the Galapagos Islands, just what we expected from the reviews--very very weak. And that was a nearly universal opinion with the other folks we got to know on Xpedition. Now the dining experience on La Marguerite was a different matter. The noise in the dining room was so loud we simply couldn't enjoy the excellent food served by the equally excellent waiters.
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  #13  
Old January 22nd, 2012, 07:47 PM
freddie freddie is offline
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Alexandra C - I would certainly agree with Shorex that it is not likely a valuable exercise to overthink this matter. There is simply no way to be absolutely certain that you won't encounter some of the issues that reviewers have raised.

In our case, having just been on La Marguerite in December, I can respond to a few concerns.

We did not hear anything remotely similar to half the passengers coming down with any sort of ailment. Indeed, we did not hear of anyone coming down with any traveler's illness.

I do not think that the cabins on La Marguerite (and likely the similar ones on AmaLotus) are particularly well-designed with regard to efficient use of space. We had the good fortune of being in an Indochine suite, which had loads of room (although we still put one of our suitcases out on our balcony to get it out of the way). Our friends had a standard cabin, which at 226 sq.ft. - comparable to a cabin on the Paul Gauguin - should have been quite comfortable. Nonetheless, it seemed quite cramped and not at all as spacious as our cabins of the same size on the Paul Gauguin and the Hanseatic. We are still trying to sort out why that is so.

As for the food, we found it surprisingly good, particularly at dinner. Mr. Mok has compared it unfavoringly to that he found on Xpedition, whereas we would make the opposite comparison. As you will have noted from my previous posts, our only complaint about dining on La Marguerite was the dreadful din during dinner in the dining room. The responses to my inquiry with regard to that issue are quite inconclusive - I suspect that it was a combination of a badly-designed dining room and the presence of an unusually boistrous APT group from Oz.

In summary, I would agree again with Shorex that this is a river cruise to be taken with a certain amount of tolerance (aka, lowered expectations). This is not a luxury cruise, comparable in any fashion to our cruises on Regent or Silversea, in terms of accomodation, food, or service. If that is what you are looking for, you would be well-advised to look elsewhere than the Mekong. As far as I can determine from a reasonably obsessive amount of research, the AMA offering is without a close challenger the best one for the Mekong; but it ain't luxury!!

This adventure remains at this time a bit of a discovery sort of trip.

It is interesting that Shorex listed his/her Antarctica trip as their No. 1 trip, as our marvelous cruise to South Georgia and Antarctica on the Hanseatic is also certainly No. 1 in our many trips over the last nearly forty years of traveling together.

Despite the limitations of the AMA offering on the Mekong, it was a very good experience; and our total trip of about three weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia ranks amongst the top 5 of our travel adventures.

Cheers, Fred
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  #14  
Old January 22nd, 2012, 07:48 PM
doreen22 doreen22 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandra cruiser View Post
seems most of the problems the last reviewers had have been cleared up..

Think I ll take a RX med before and during trip to prevent stomach probs. We ll just have to be careful of what and where we eat,,on ship and off.

Makes me feel better about the cruise...appreciate it.

Now I just have to find airfare schedule,,seems its hard to get from Orlando to Hanoi in less than 25 hrs..whew..will be longest flight for us,,ever.

Did see a Samantha Brown episode on Vietnam and Cambodia..looks interesting,,,found a you tube video of trip too,,by googling it.
Hi Alexandra,
DH and I are light sleepers so we did find that the noise on the Amalotus at night would jar us awake. Dh had the intestinal troubles on the boat for a few days. But we are still so very glad that we did this trip and would definitely recommend it to anyone that does not have mobility issues. I think we enjoyed it more than last year's Danube river cruise (Amalegro). We liked that it was a bit of an adventure, we enjoyed learning so much about the recent history of Vietnam and Cambodia. We liked that the villages we stopped at were not inundated with other tourists. All in all it was a wonderful trip!
Susan
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  #15  
Old January 23rd, 2012, 08:46 AM
alexandra cruiser alexandra cruiser is offline
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Smile Thanks,,tried that in Egypt,,,but sadly,,still got

Quote:
Originally Posted by shoshona2 View Post
Hi Alexandra cruiser,

When we went to Egypt/Jordan, we took pro-biotics with every meal to get the good bacteria in our stomachs to fight the bad bacteria, and I also chewed a pepto-bismol tablet with my meals. My DH and I were practically the only ones who didn't get "mummy tummy". We're leaving for India next month and I will continue to do the same. Just remember to brush your teeth with bottled water and don't open your mouth in the shower. We're hoping not to get "delhi belly" there.

Sheila
very sick,,even following all the rules,,,so think I ll need Rx meds this time.Have a stomach problem to begin with,,,but good suggestion for most.thanks...
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  #16  
Old January 23rd, 2012, 08:50 AM
alexandra cruiser alexandra cruiser is offline
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Smile Doreen,Island Cruiser,,etc...

thanks all for your updates,makes me feel I can manage this..really wasnt looking for "luxury"cruise,per se...Just the 5 star one that s advertised.

Will be going on my first AMA river cruise,,in May,,,have been on 8 other ones.

Looking forward to both,,,NOW...just more aware of the realities.
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  #17  
Old March 15th, 2012, 03:21 PM
alexandra cruiser alexandra cruiser is offline
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Question A few questions for AMAlotus cruisers...

Was there a library?if so,,any non fiction types or just novels? Do others leave books behind for others??

Did you leave balcony door open for fresh air,,or too many bugs,...love fresh air and prefer over AC..even in FL...I know,,crazy..

Did ship dock next to others,,so that you must walk thru to get to dock...did this on Europe cruises..even woke up to boat right next to my open window...

Are there set dinner times? or open?

Thanks,,appreciate your answers...know I m hung up on details...sorry
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  #18  
Old March 15th, 2012, 07:10 PM
Charlie Chan Charlie Chan is offline
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Hi Alexandra

There is a library. It was always very hot there as they didn't seem to turn on the aircon when we were on board. It had novels and non fiction. There were some interesting books on the history of the region but they disappeared very quickly, so get in early. There were also DVD's there. I'm not sure about people leaving books but I did.

It was way too hot to leave the doors open - and not good for the whole aircon system if you do. There were heaps of bugs outside, so I wouldn't risk it. Some even managed to get into the cabin when we went outside for photos.

You are mostly anchored midstream, so don't have that problem. We were tied up beside the Marguerite in Phnom Penh. We were closest to the dock on that occasion. Being midstream means you can't just wander ashore at leisure, so you need to go on the organised shore excursions to access the tenders.

They would announce that the dining room was open. Most people wandered in then. If you go later, you may find that you would need to share a table and that those already there will have ordered, so it can be a bit confusing for the staff. It's not like an ocean liner where they wait for the table to fill before taking orders. Lunch was similar. You are given a menu at lunch which has hot items. There is also a hot food station that has a couple of specialities and a salad bar. We'd quickly check the menu to see if anything tempted us then decide which areas to visit. There didn't seem to be any real order as to what dishes should come 'first'. There was also a good local fruit selection and sweets to follow on the buffet.

I'm like you - like to know what to expect!
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  #19  
Old March 16th, 2012, 08:30 AM
alexandra cruiser alexandra cruiser is offline
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Smile Thanks Charlie Chan

Interesting facts,,and very helpful.

Guess there s no choice re,excursions,,,tenders only run then??Seems odd..

May bring some paperbacks ,,and leave them for others.

Will have to "put up" with AC,,don t want the bugs..will feel like summer here in FL>,,,hot and humid...

But really looking forward to seeing this area of the world...can t wait till Dec..leaving in 2 mos.of first AMA cruise to Prague and Budapest...
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  #20  
Old March 16th, 2012, 09:31 PM
Charlie Chan Charlie Chan is offline
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Hi again Alexandra

Our cruise had all excursions included. I'm not sure if this is always the case. We had 4 groups - 2 Australian and 2 mostly American. So everyone left at the same time. They'd just call our colour group and we'd board the tenders. We could explore Phnom Penh at leisure as we could just walk off.

I think the groups were kept separate as we had different booking conditions. Australians like to have everything included, so we didn't have to tip each time. Sometimes the excursion was a walk through a very small village with a visit to a school. There was no commercial centre. You really needed to follow the guide so you could experience the visits he had planned - i.e, to a weaving 'factory' which was just set up under a local house. There were a couple of other actual 'towns' that we visited. I'd loved to have explored them more independently, but it wasn't possible. On one occasion, the tender drop off point was different from the pick up point, so it would have been difficult to leave the group.

You'll be able to enjoy the fresh air on the top deck, but it is under sails and can be quite warm there. But you are used to that! It's lovely at night - but put on the bug spray to keep safe.

Another thing you might consider. There's not a lot of room for suitcases in the standard rooms. They won't fit under the bed. There is a hotel style rack, but it's quite small. I think I read somewhere where some passengers asked the crew to store the cases elsewhere on the ship. We travel fairly lightly and our smaller cases were fine.

We did the Amsterdam to Budapest cruise and absolutely loved it. Enjoy your May trip.
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