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Hoyaheel

Avalon Mekong Gratuities

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Can anyone who has sailed the Mekong with Avalon let me know if gratuities are just for onboard personnel or if other guides are included? My invoice indicates I've paid the gratuities, but I haven't found in any of my documentation WHO they apply to. I know when we sailed Avalon in Europe, the drivers/guides on shore were NOT included in the gratuities we paid so we tipped separately. But the Mekong is a little different as half the trip is on land, not just on the boat, so I don't know what applies. Just doing my "cash" planning now, trying to figure it out. Thanks!

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I just asked a similar question, sailing the Mekong on Ama Waterways with 8 hotel days with extensions on both ends.  I also got pre-paid gratuities and when I saw how low they were I was confident it did not include the one-day local guides or rickshaw or ox cart drivers. I did get a response and they were not included on Ama. My response indicated they were glad to receive US dollars or local currency.  I plan on taking more single dollar bills than I would normally carry. 

I have learned on Ama that people taking the land excursions will have the same Ama guide throughout the entire trip.  I would not be surprised if that was not the same on Avalon.  I am hopeful they will be great and earn extra consideration.  

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Avalon uses local guides, keeps the same cruise director. We're not doing an extended tour with Avalon, just HCMC to Siem Reap. I saw your AMA thread, guessed it might be the same but would be nice to know. Hoping our final travel info from Avalon comes soon and has more details ;-)

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Hi Hoyaheel,

We are following as we are going on the Avalon Mekong in January.  You might ask Terry who has posted a very long review of his trip.  

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Posted (edited)

On our trip with Avalon, we had a dedicated guide on both the Vietnam portion and the Cambodia portion.  Their tips were not included. They stayed on the boat with us. Can't remember any other local guides.  This was a wonderful trip, only 19 of us on 32 pax boat. Only 2 had done the Hanoi precruise.  The rest only went from HCMC to Siem Rep. Am a bit claustrophobic, so we skipped to tunnels.

One thing that we really liked was that we embarked right in HCMC and not down the delta.  Enjoy, Pat

Edited by pacmom
misspelling

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55 minutes ago, pacmom said:

 Am a bit claustrophobic, so we skipped to tunnels.

Am massively claustrophobic so will not be going in the tunnels, but still will go on the excursion to see museum and site. You don't have to go into the tunnel.....[or so I've read in trip reports ;-)]

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42 minutes ago, Hoyaheel said:

Am massively claustrophobic so will not be going in the tunnels, but still will go on the excursion to see museum and site. You don't have to go into the tunnel.....[or so I've read in trip reports ;-)]

No, you don't. There is lots of other stuff to look at. (I did the tunnels and messed up my back. It was awful.) The rest was very interesting.

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I should have been patient 🙂 Our detailed travel documents came today and include a list of who is included in the pre-paid gratuities - local guides & drivers are included (for ship/tour excursions - not anything we do on our own, of course). Good to know!

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I can't speak for the Asian cruises but all the Avalon  European cruises include tips for local guides and drivers.  We always prepay tips for our staff and Cruise director but like to give out a little extra cash to special waiters who keep our wine glasses full!

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