Mekong River Cruise Just returned

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!


Unregistered, just back from your river cruise? Get published on Cruise Critic; Write a Review!
River Cruising
Find Others on Your River Cruise! River Cruising Roll Calls
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 01:25 AM.
#1
Australia
179 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
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


Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Rhapsody of the Seas October 2010
Radiance of the Seas November 2011
Avalon Panorama Budapest to Amsterdam April 2012
Voyager of the Seas November 2013
Avalon Angkor Mekong River Cruise June 2014
APT Amacello/Amadagio Amsterdam to Aarles Nov 2014
Celebrity Solstice Feb/March 2015
Voyager of the Seas Nov 2015 B/back
Voyager of the Seas December 2015
Voyager of the Seas April 2016
#2
Raleigh NC
24,464 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Thanks for the report! This cruise is on our to do list.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Kirk


Future Cruises
HAL Amsterdam 1-4-2017 - The World Cruise
HAL Prinsendam 7-15-2017 - Four months on the Elegant Explorer
Hurtengruten Fram 12-15-2017 - Christmas and New Years with the penguins
HAL Amsterdam 1-4-2018 - FLL to Sydney Segment
Azamara Journey 3-7-2018 - An Azamara World Cruise
Crystal Serenity 2-20-2019 - Perth to Cape Town
#4
Madison WI
174 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
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.
#5
Langley B.C. Canada
2,521 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
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.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Betty https://sharemytraveladventures.shutterfly.com/



2016 RV Mekong Prestige II - Cambodia & Vietnam Mekong
2015 Viking Idi - Rhine Getaway
2015 Coral I - Galapagos Western & Southeastern Islands
2013 RCI Voyager of the Seas - Exotic Asia
2013 HAL Veendam - Canada & New England
2012 NCL Star - Western Caribbean
2012 Celebrity Silhouette - Adriatic & Mediterranean
2012 Carnival Fantasy - Charleston, Key West & Bahamas
2011 Celebrity Millennium - Alaska
2010 Royal Princess - Tahiti & French Polynesia
2009 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia
2009 Crown Princess - British Isles
2009 MS Royal Ruby - Nile River Cruise
2008 Grand Princess - Western Mediterranean
2008 Coral Princess - Panama Canal
2007 Regal Princess - Panama Canal (cancelled at embarkation)
2006 Louis Pearl - Greece & Turkey
1996 RCI Song of Norway - Mexican Riviera
1987 Sun Princess - Eastern Caribbean
#6
Australia
179 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
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.


Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Rhapsody of the Seas October 2010
Radiance of the Seas November 2011
Avalon Panorama Budapest to Amsterdam April 2012
Voyager of the Seas November 2013
Avalon Angkor Mekong River Cruise June 2014
APT Amacello/Amadagio Amsterdam to Aarles Nov 2014
Celebrity Solstice Feb/March 2015
Voyager of the Seas Nov 2015 B/back
Voyager of the Seas December 2015
Voyager of the Seas April 2016
#7
2,455 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
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
#8
Langley B.C. Canada
2,521 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
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.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Betty https://sharemytraveladventures.shutterfly.com/



2016 RV Mekong Prestige II - Cambodia & Vietnam Mekong
2015 Viking Idi - Rhine Getaway
2015 Coral I - Galapagos Western & Southeastern Islands
2013 RCI Voyager of the Seas - Exotic Asia
2013 HAL Veendam - Canada & New England
2012 NCL Star - Western Caribbean
2012 Celebrity Silhouette - Adriatic & Mediterranean
2012 Carnival Fantasy - Charleston, Key West & Bahamas
2011 Celebrity Millennium - Alaska
2010 Royal Princess - Tahiti & French Polynesia
2009 Emerald Princess - Scandinavia & Russia
2009 Crown Princess - British Isles
2009 MS Royal Ruby - Nile River Cruise
2008 Grand Princess - Western Mediterranean
2008 Coral Princess - Panama Canal
2007 Regal Princess - Panama Canal (cancelled at embarkation)
2006 Louis Pearl - Greece & Turkey
1996 RCI Song of Norway - Mexican Riviera
1987 Sun Princess - Eastern Caribbean
#9
France
516 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
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 ?
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Celebrity Constellation Vietnam & Philippines March 2017
NeoRiviera Venice,Split and Greek Islands Nov 2016
Costa Fascinosa Western Mediterranean June 2016
Star Princess South America March 2016
Costa Fascinosa Western Mediterranean Nov 2015
Costa Fortuna Western Mediterranean May 2015
Star Princess Hawaii Feb/March 2015
Costa Magica Eastern Mediterranean Oct 2014
Emerald Princess Southern Caribbean April 2014
Coral Princess Alaska cruisetour June/July 2013
Costa Mediterranea Western Mediterranean April 2013
NCL Epic Western Mediterranean June 2012
Diamond Princess Far East cruisetour March/April 2012
Celebrity Constellation Western Mediterranean Oct 2010
Sea Princess South & Eastern Caribbean February 2010
RC Voyager of the seas Western Mediterranean Oct 2009
NCL Pearl B2B West & East Caribbean 2008


#10
Florida
19,086 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Thanks for the report ..
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
We've been on
Carnival: 27 voyages 184 days
Celebrity: 3 voyages 24 days
Holland: 27 voyages 605 days
Norwegian: 2 voyages 16 days
Princess: 16 voyages 154 days
Royal Carib: 5 voyages 35 days
Vantage:River 2 voyages 39 days
GRAND TOTAL: 82 Cruises 1057 days

NOT YET SAILED

Rotterdam Voyage Vikings 8/17 - 38 days
Maasdam Boston to San Diego 9/17 18 days
Veendam Atlantic Crossing 10/17 - 49 days
Amsterdam World Cruise 1/18 - 113 days
Rotterdam crossing. 6/18 - 32 days
Prinsendam 8/18 - 96 days
Amsterdam World Cruise 1/19 113 days
#11
Australia
179 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
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!


Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Rhapsody of the Seas October 2010
Radiance of the Seas November 2011
Avalon Panorama Budapest to Amsterdam April 2012
Voyager of the Seas November 2013
Avalon Angkor Mekong River Cruise June 2014
APT Amacello/Amadagio Amsterdam to Aarles Nov 2014
Celebrity Solstice Feb/March 2015
Voyager of the Seas Nov 2015 B/back
Voyager of the Seas December 2015
Voyager of the Seas April 2016
#12
France
516 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Thanks Keenmolly , it does look a great cruise
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Celebrity Constellation Vietnam & Philippines March 2017
NeoRiviera Venice,Split and Greek Islands Nov 2016
Costa Fascinosa Western Mediterranean June 2016
Star Princess South America March 2016
Costa Fascinosa Western Mediterranean Nov 2015
Costa Fortuna Western Mediterranean May 2015
Star Princess Hawaii Feb/March 2015
Costa Magica Eastern Mediterranean Oct 2014
Emerald Princess Southern Caribbean April 2014
Coral Princess Alaska cruisetour June/July 2013
Costa Mediterranea Western Mediterranean April 2013
NCL Epic Western Mediterranean June 2012
Diamond Princess Far East cruisetour March/April 2012
Celebrity Constellation Western Mediterranean Oct 2010
Sea Princess South & Eastern Caribbean February 2010
RC Voyager of the seas Western Mediterranean Oct 2009
NCL Pearl B2B West & East Caribbean 2008


#13
27 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
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!
#14
Australia
179 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by BooBooTX
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.


Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Rhapsody of the Seas October 2010
Radiance of the Seas November 2011
Avalon Panorama Budapest to Amsterdam April 2012
Voyager of the Seas November 2013
Avalon Angkor Mekong River Cruise June 2014
APT Amacello/Amadagio Amsterdam to Aarles Nov 2014
Celebrity Solstice Feb/March 2015
Voyager of the Seas Nov 2015 B/back
Voyager of the Seas December 2015
Voyager of the Seas April 2016
#15
Tasmania, Australia
654 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
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.
Deb
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature


Avalon Panorama, Magnificent Europe, Budapest to Amsterdam August 15 -29th 2012
Avalon Scenery, Grand France , Cote D'Azur to Paris, 30th June - 8th July 2014
Avalon Creativity, Grand France, Paris-Normandy Beaches-Paris, 8th - 15th July 2014
HAL Oosterdam, Mediterranean Dream , Venice to Rome , 17th -29th June 2016
#16
california
106 Posts
Joined May 2012
Thanks for this review--I was just looking at this cruise this morning for next July 2015. Was your weather really hot and humid?
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#17
United Kingdom
27 Posts
Joined May 2012
Originally posted by keenmolly
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


Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app
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
#18
Australia
179 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
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.


Sent from my iPhone using Forums
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Rhapsody of the Seas October 2010
Radiance of the Seas November 2011
Avalon Panorama Budapest to Amsterdam April 2012
Voyager of the Seas November 2013
Avalon Angkor Mekong River Cruise June 2014
APT Amacello/Amadagio Amsterdam to Aarles Nov 2014
Celebrity Solstice Feb/March 2015
Voyager of the Seas Nov 2015 B/back
Voyager of the Seas December 2015
Voyager of the Seas April 2016
#19
United Kingdom
27 Posts
Joined May 2012
Originally posted by keenmolly
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.


Sent from my iPhone using Forums
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.
#20
Tasmania, Australia
654 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
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
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature


Avalon Panorama, Magnificent Europe, Budapest to Amsterdam August 15 -29th 2012
Avalon Scenery, Grand France , Cote D'Azur to Paris, 30th June - 8th July 2014
Avalon Creativity, Grand France, Paris-Normandy Beaches-Paris, 8th - 15th July 2014
HAL Oosterdam, Mediterranean Dream , Venice to Rome , 17th -29th June 2016