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  #1  
Old July 5th, 2014, 08:01 AM
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keenmolly keenmolly is offline
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Default Mekong River Cruise Just returned

Avalon Angkor Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City
We have just returned from the most amazing adventure with Avalon Waterways Our journey began in Siem Reap Cambodia where we stayed in a boutique hotel Shinta Mani Club for 3 Nights 5 star service and accomodation. We met up with our fellow travellers who had flown in from Bangkok and also our cruise director Phiem. What an awesome CD he was . Nothing was too much trouble for him and his knowledge that he passed on to us was exceptional.
While in Siem Reap we went to Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom we were captivated with all the temples, so much history. After enjoying Siem Reap for a few days it was time to begin our luxurious cruise 7 days of bliss. The water was too low to embark the boat on Tonle Sap Lake so this meant a 7 hour trip by bus which is not unusual for this time of year. Never mind we all enjoyed the ride as we saw a lot of the local country side and stopped at a few places along the way including a bathroom stop where my husband was approached by a young girl who placed a large tarantula on his t-shirt. "Oh my Buddha" it was scarey!
We arrived to our boat Avalon Angkor around 2.00 pm where a very tasty lunch was ready for us. Well we were just amazed by the luxury of this beautiful boat. Our home for seven days.Polished wood everywhere beautiful timber decks. Our cabins were small but everything was just 5 star. The shower was huge and had very good water pressure. How we looked forward to the shower after our many tours in the quite warm weather.
The crew on the boat were wonderful caring, smiling and helpful all just real gems. Food on board for breakfast ,lunch and dinner was just fantastic (thanks to the chef) Nothing to complain about at all (except I managed to put on 3 kgs while lapping up the delicious food and free flowing drinks and lovely local cocktails every night) our glasses never seemed to be empty.
Some of the tours we did (all included) were things we would never do if travelling solo. We went to a local school where young children were able to practice their English, most enjoyable. Went on an ox cart ride, cyclo tour, Tuk Tuk ride, a visit to a local fish farm, brick factory a San pan ride. We also went through a local market having been given 5 items to find and trying to communicate with non English speaking locals Oh what fun and a real challenge. It was a little like" Amazing Race"We also went to a Vietnamese cooking school where we made a chicken/ginger dish, Vietnamese spring rolls and also a noodle soup.
We have been so busy. Arrived in Ho Chi Minh City. The traffic is just mad motorbikes going every which way. So hard to cross the road.
Well it was time after a visit to the Chu Chi Tunnels to have a farewell dinner at a local restaurant "Ly Club". What a fantastic night. Phiem our CD got up and sang a few songs. Soooo good!!!!!
We have had the most amazing and interesting experience and we have really enjoyed our time with Avalon Waterways(our second river cruise with them) we would recommend this trip to anyone who may be considering a Mekong River Trip. Avalon Angkor is only a small boat holding 32 passengers (travellers) but it is able to go to many places where the larger boats can't. So therefore you get to see a lot more of the local lifestyle.
We highly recommend this cruise.
Thank you Avalon and especially Phiem an awesome cruise director who has taught us so much. If anyone wants to know more we are happy to answer any questions 10/10


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  #2  
Old July 5th, 2014, 10:03 AM
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KirkNC KirkNC is offline
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Thanks for the report! This cruise is on our to do list.
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  #3  
Old July 5th, 2014, 11:47 AM
Keith1010 Keith1010 is offline
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So glad you enjoyed the cruise and thank you for writing and sharing your report.

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  #4  
Old July 5th, 2014, 06:52 PM
Shebely Shebely is offline
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Default 2015 Avalon cruises low water no busing -Mekong

Thank you so much for your review. We are really, really wanting to book this trip in fall 2015.
Per Avalon travel guide for 2015, if the water is to low, generally late December to June, they will fly travelers if the ship cannot cross Tonle Sap.
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  #5  
Old July 5th, 2014, 09:26 PM
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Thanks for sharing your experience. A Mekong River cruise is on my to do list. Spent a couple days last October in Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta while we were overnight in port on an ocean cruise. Absolutely loved our 2 days in Vietnam, touring on the back of motorbikes. I know what you mean when you say the motor bikes and streets are crazy. We had a blast in HCMC and the countryside but sure wouldn't have driven those bikes ourselves! The two days was a little appetizer for us to go back and spend more time. A river cruise sounds like an ideal way to do it.
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  #6  
Old July 5th, 2014, 09:44 PM
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Hi shebely you mention the fact that in the future you can fly if the water is too low. I must say that we found the bus trip extremely enjoyable with plenty of stops on the way and so much to see. Flying for us would not be as desirable.


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Old July 6th, 2014, 09:35 AM
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Keenmolly, so glad you enjoyed your Avalon trip. We took the same trip in the opposite direction with Mark as our CD. There were only 22 of us and we thoroughly enjoyed one another's company. Am trying to figure out where they would be flying from--maybe Phonmen Pen?Pardon the spelling. We have traveled on all the other lines on the Mekong, but never had tried Avalon. Think we made a wonderful decision. This was our 18th river cruise and one of the best. Pat
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  #8  
Old July 6th, 2014, 09:58 AM
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I would think going overland vs plane would be much more interesting. In Vietnam we drove for 2 hours to get from ocean cruise port into Ho Chi Minh City and the sites along the road were great. Saw so much of the local action and culture right along the roadside.
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  #9  
Old July 9th, 2014, 09:43 AM
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We want to do this cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary in 2017 and were wavering between avalon and viking , preferred the Avalon cruise so this has swayed us now , thanks for the review
Is all the alcohol , wine , beer and cocktails included in the price in the evenings too or just with your meal ? What do you do in the evenings after dining ?
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Old July 9th, 2014, 09:44 AM
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Thanks for the report ..
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  #11  
Old July 9th, 2014, 07:59 PM
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Hi petlady7 you asked about the drinks. Yes drinks are complimentary all day. (Only local beer and spirits) but we found them fine. Plenty of cocktails at 6.00 every night and good wines at dinner time. As far as after dinner at night we had a couple of films which related to the area we were visiting but we quite often just relaxed on the open air lounge with fellow travellers enjoying drinks and the warmth. I am sure you would really love this trip. Next year Avalon will have a new boat which I think will be even more luxurious and a little larger cabins. Still though only for approx 32 passengers. We loved the fact that that we all became a big family. So much fun!


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Old July 16th, 2014, 05:40 AM
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Thanks Keenmolly , it does look a great cruise
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  #13  
Old July 22nd, 2014, 12:49 PM
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Hi keenmolly. Thanks so much for your review. We are considering this cruise for November. Would you be kind enough to give any information about cabin selection? Some posts have indicated that forward cabins are noisy and that the afternoon sun is a problem for some cabins. Thanks!
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  #14  
Old July 23rd, 2014, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BooBooTX View Post
Hi keenmolly. Thanks so much for your review. We are considering this cruise for November. Would you be kind enough to give any information about cabin selection? Some posts have indicated that forward cabins are noisy and that the afternoon sun is a problem for some cabins. Thanks!

Hi BooBooTX
We were in cabin 107. We found this to be quiet but having said this the people who were to the front didn't have any complaints as the crew did not drop the anchor during early hours. As far as the sun being a problem the river twists and turns so you don't know from one day to the next wether it will effect you but air conditioning was very good so no problems for us. A lot of the time while on the boat you spend up on the undercover open air deck with your fellow travellers watching the passing scenery and having a few nice cool alcoholic beverages complimentary.
Once again I recommend this trip especially with Avalon as their boat is smaller and able to go where larger boats can't therefore avoiding extra bus rides. Get cracking and book it you won't be disappointed.


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Old August 4th, 2014, 08:24 AM
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Great review it sounds fantastic, the more I read the sooner I want to go! We only got home last monday from France after 5 weeks away.
Did you cruise have similar age groups and country mix as on the european ones? Did you have to have visas for that area and vaccinations?
I'm sure I'll think of more questions as time goes by.
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Old August 4th, 2014, 01:24 PM
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Thanks for this review--I was just looking at this cruise this morning for next July 2015. Was your weather really hot and humid?
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  #17  
Old August 4th, 2014, 01:56 PM
daddynews daddynews is offline
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Default Mekong River Cruise

Quote:
Originally Posted by keenmolly View Post
Avalon Angkor Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City
We have just returned from the most amazing adventure with Avalon Waterways Our journey began in Siem Reap Cambodia where we stayed in a boutique hotel Shinta Mani Club for 3 Nights 5 star service and accomodation. We met up with our fellow travellers who had flown in from Bangkok and also our cruise director Phiem. What an awesome CD he was . Nothing was too much trouble for him and his knowledge that he passed on to us was exceptional.
While in Siem Reap we went to Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom we were captivated with all the temples, so much history. After enjoying Siem Reap for a few days it was time to begin our luxurious cruise 7 days of bliss. The water was too low to embark the boat on Tonle Sap Lake so this meant a 7 hour trip by bus which is not unusual for this time of year. Never mind we all enjoyed the ride as we saw a lot of the local country side and stopped at a few places along the way including a bathroom stop where my husband was approached by a young girl who placed a large tarantula on his t-shirt. "Oh my Buddha" it was scarey!
We arrived to our boat Avalon Angkor around 2.00 pm where a very tasty lunch was ready for us. Well we were just amazed by the luxury of this beautiful boat. Our home for seven days.Polished wood everywhere beautiful timber decks. Our cabins were small but everything was just 5 star. The shower was huge and had very good water pressure. How we looked forward to the shower after our many tours in the quite warm weather.
The crew on the boat were wonderful caring, smiling and helpful all just real gems. Food on board for breakfast ,lunch and dinner was just fantastic (thanks to the chef) Nothing to complain about at all (except I managed to put on 3 kgs while lapping up the delicious food and free flowing drinks and lovely local cocktails every night) our glasses never seemed to be empty.
Some of the tours we did (all included) were things we would never do if travelling solo. We went to a local school where young children were able to practice their English, most enjoyable. Went on an ox cart ride, cyclo tour, Tuk Tuk ride, a visit to a local fish farm, brick factory a San pan ride. We also went through a local market having been given 5 items to find and trying to communicate with non English speaking locals Oh what fun and a real challenge. It was a little like" Amazing Race"We also went to a Vietnamese cooking school where we made a chicken/ginger dish, Vietnamese spring rolls and also a noodle soup.
We have been so busy. Arrived in Ho Chi Minh City. The traffic is just mad motorbikes going every which way. So hard to cross the road.
Well it was time after a visit to the Chu Chi Tunnels to have a farewell dinner at a local restaurant "Ly Club". What a fantastic night. Phiem our CD got up and sang a few songs. Soooo good!!!!!
We have had the most amazing and interesting experience and we have really enjoyed our time with Avalon Waterways(our second river cruise with them) we would recommend this trip to anyone who may be considering a Mekong River Trip. Avalon Angkor is only a small boat holding 32 passengers (travellers) but it is able to go to many places where the larger boats can't. So therefore you get to see a lot more of the local lifestyle.
We highly recommend this cruise.
Thank you Avalon and especially Phiem an awesome cruise director who has taught us so much. If anyone wants to know more we are happy to answer any questions 10/10


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Hi keenmolly,

Interested to read your report on your recent Mekong river cruise.

We are going Thursday this week and I am getting really excited. Going with Travelmarvel on the RV La Margeurite. Am taking smart casual clothes with a few smart dresses for dinner, hope this is ok.

We have got some vietnamese dong but the majority of cash in US dollars. Will this be ok?

Also what's the position with mosquitoes at this time of year?

Any restuarants in Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh you could recommend would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks.



daddynews
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  #18  
Old August 4th, 2014, 07:59 PM
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keenmolly keenmolly is offline
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Hi daddynews I do hope you have as great a trip as we did. Yes casual clothes are fine. We took American dollars and changed some for a few dong in Vietnam. Mainly everyone takes American but you do need dong for taxi in Saigon which I must say are very cheap.
We had no problem with mozzies but did put on repellent sometimes.
As far as restaurants we went to a French restaurant Topaz in Phnom Penh I must say it was the best French meal we have ever encountered. We give it 10/10. And in Saigon we picked up some delicious treats and snacks at the night market plus ate at our hotel the Intercontinental which was fabulous. Hope this helps you and once again enjoy your upcoming trip and we look forward to reading your review.


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Old August 5th, 2014, 11:54 AM
daddynews daddynews is offline
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Default Mekong river cruise

Quote:
Originally Posted by keenmolly View Post
Hi daddynews I do hope you have as great a trip as we did. Yes casual clothes are fine. We took American dollars and changed some for a few dong in Vietnam. Mainly everyone takes American but you do need dong for taxi in Saigon which I must say are very cheap.
We had no problem with mozzies but did put on repellent sometimes.
As far as restaurants we went to a French restaurant Topaz in Phnom Penh I must say it was the best French meal we have ever encountered. We give it 10/10. And in Saigon we picked up some delicious treats and snacks at the night market plus ate at our hotel the Intercontinental which was fabulous. Hope this helps you and once again enjoy your upcoming trip and we look forward to reading your review.


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Hi keenmolly,

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. You have reassured me about dress code and money, we always take far too much but its better to be prepared.

Thanks for the tip about the restaurant we shall certainly look out for this.

All we have to do now is pack.

Will certainly write a review on our return and hope its glowing.

Regards.

daddynews.
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  #20  
Old August 5th, 2014, 07:01 PM
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tassietravellers tassietravellers is offline
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Hi Keenmolly,
Great review it sounds fantastic, the more I read the sooner I want to go!

We only got home last monday from France after 5 weeks away.

What visas did you have to get for that area?

Deb
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