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Cruise Ship Information
You may only know the mysterious country of Myanmar from Rudyard Kipling's famed poem, "The Road to Mandalay," but many river cruise companies would love to introduce you firsthand to this fascinating place—the Land of the Golden Pagodas—in Southeast Asia. Politically, Myanmar has been on the path to democratization for the past five years, and with that has come more opened borders, with tourism development still in its early stages. That means you'll see this beautiful land in a very authentic, untouched way.
The best way to get to Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is to sail part of the 1,350-mile-long Irrawaddy River, which starts high up in the Himalayas and continues down through the country until spilling out into the Andaman Sea in the south. River cruise experts like Orient-Express, Sanctuary Retreats, Haimark, Grand Circle Cruise Line,Pandaw River Expeditions, Viking River Cruises, and Voyages to Antiquity all offer sailings along the river. Starting in November 2014, popular line AmaWaterways will also offer two of its own itineraries along the Irrawaddy. Expanding its Asia program and marking AmaWaterways' debut on Burma’s Irrawaddy River, the 56-passenger AmaPura  launched in November 2014.
The 56-passenger AmaPura  is a custom-designed, all-suite ship with a choice of spacious staterooms measuring 285 sq. ft., 290 sq. ft. and 420 sq. ft. Every suite features a private French Balcony, a step-out Full Balcony, or Twin Balconies. The stylish décor was thoughtfully conceived to provide guests with an ultra-comfortable and serene home away from home, with a relaxing sitting area, individual climate control and hotel-quality amenities.
Atmosphere on board
Furnished in what AmaWaterways describes as a "combination of modern and traditional motifs," meals onboard are served in the main dining room. Other public areas include a lounge and bar, spa, gift shop and sun deck with a pool. Soft drinks, beer and wine at meals, shore excursions, transfers and flights from the UK will be included within the cost of the overall fare.
Visitors fall in love with the country for its thousands of gilded pagodas, temples, stupas, and mountaintop shrines. It's a place where you can still see traditional villages surviving and thriving along the banks of the river. Cities like Yangon (Rangoon) give a hint to the country's colonial-era past with Victorian-style buildings lining cobblestone streets. The people are also friendly and fascinating and most practice Theravada Buddhism.
AmaWaterways plans to offer two itineraries: the 10-night Golden Treasures of Myanmar and the 14-night Hidden Wonders of Myanmar. Both options may be booked with pre- or post-cruise land tours in Yangon or an extension to Inle Lake.
Both voyages visit Yangon, Pyay, Thayetmyo, Minhla, Magwee, Salay, Thanktkyil, Bagan, Yandabo, Inwa, Sagaing, Mingun, Mandalay, and Amarapura. The longer Hidden Wonders tour also calls on Myaunaung, Zalon, Danuphyu, and Maubin.
Famiily with Kids/Teens
All guests under the age of 18 are to be in a cabin with an adult, and must remain supervised at all times, and their safety is the responsibility of the accompanying adult(s). Children between the ages of 4 – 10 at the time of embarkation may share a cabin with 2 adults provided the child is able to share the bed with the adults – no additional bed will be provided. Please be aware that balcony cabins of any kind may be unsafe for small children if left unsupervised. Children 4-7 years old are not recommended on any program and on our Africa program, due to safety precautions, there is a minimum age limit of 12 years old, unless otherwise agreed upon by AmaWaterways. AmaWaterways does not provide child-specific programs or child-minding facilities. Please let us know if you need anything else.
Past Passenger Programs
Blue Members: Qualify on your 2nd Cruise! Benefits include:
An exclusive $100 per person savings on the cruise price
A private AmaWaterways guest reception on board
Silver MembersSilver Members: Qualify on your 3rd Cruise! Benefits include:
An exclusive $100 per person savings on the cruise price
A private AmaWaterways guest reception on board
Dinner with a senior crew member
A delightful welcome amenity
Complimentary coach transfer to and from the airport
A 50% discount on a one-category stateroom upgrade (excluding suites)
Gold MembersGold Members: Qualify on your 4th Cruise & Onward! Benefits include:
An exclusive $100 per person savings on the cruise price
A private AmaWaterways guest reception on board
Dinner with a senior crew member
A delightful welcome amenity
Complimentary coach transfer to and from the airport
A complimentary one-category stateroom upgrade (excluding suites)
Fitness And Spa
There is no fitness center onboard. Myanmar and Vietnam & Cambodia -- There is a refreshing pool located on the Sun Deck. Please note there is no attendant on duty and use of these facilities is solely at your own risk.
A variety of traditional Asian spa treatments to relax the body and rejuvenate the spirit.
Please Note: Spa treatments are an additional fee.
Food & Dining
All meals on board the ships are included in the cruise price. Meals are served in the dining room in a single seating. For dinner, passengers will be seated by a dining room host. All meals are prepared by local chefs and consist of Western cuisine as well as Vietnamese and Cambodian cuisine. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style. Dinner is a multi-course meal with a selection of entrées.
Onboard, a pianist plays a variety of music before and after dinner, and quite a few passengers on our sailing had enough energy later to dance. On some nights, local entertainment plays in the lounge. The cruise director's nightly talks, mostly focusing on the events of the following day, are humorous and enjoyable, as well as informative. Entertainment is wonderful classical (a string trio ) and regional (think Parisian cabaret singer) entertainment on board. There were also some silly fun things like a comic and a theme night with 60's music. Over all  entertainment onboard is low-key, most evenings some good local musicians come onboard and perform.
AmaWaterways is custom-building the 28-suite AmaPura for use along the Irrawaddy River. Each suite have its own balcony -- either a French balcony, a full step-out balcony, or twin balconies. Cabins range from 285 to 420 square feet. ft. Every suite features a private French Balcony, a step-out Full Balcony, or Twin Balconies. Situated aft on the upper deck, at 420 square feet. All suites feature a balcony -- a French balcony, full step-out balcony or twin balconies (both French and step-out) in the largest suites.AmaPura will offer two itineraries -- 10 or 14 nights -- both starting in Yangon and including pre-cruise hotel accommodation in the city. An optional four-night post-cruise land extension is available on both itineraries, with three nights in Inle Lake and one night in Yangon.
It is about $300 for 2 people for 12 days for the staff which includes the Cruise Managers. On a lot of excursions, it is a walking tour with just the cruise manager.
For the price of the cruise, they should add it in and include it so you don't have to worry about bringing cash.
Burma: Pre and Post Cruise: National Guide US $2 per person per day. Local Guides, US $1 per person per half-day tour, US $2 per person per full day tour. Bus Drivers, US $.50 per person for half-day tour, US $2 per person for full day tour.
Fellow Passengers
AmaWaterways generally appeals to well-traveled, 50-plus passengers with a strong interest in culinary arts and active exploration. Geographically, passengers are strongly drawn from North America, but the cruise line attracts a solid representation from the U.K. and Australia, where its partner, APT Touring, also markets the line.
wonderful mix of people and all were courteous, well educated and well traveled. Many owned their own businesses or were enjoying early retirement. This was NOT a bunch of elderly folks or people out for a cheap vaca and freebies cramming 4-6 into a cabin! No spring breakers or wild partiers, either. Most people were in the 40-60 age range.
Our Recommendation
If you are young and looking for an active itinerary, this cruise is not for you. If you like a leisurely pace with activities for a few hours a day, you will enjoy this cruise. AMA ships feature international staffs. The majority of workers onboard are from ports of call and all staff members speak English. Each cruise also features a knowledgeable cruise director who does everything: leads shore excursions, arranges for airport transportation and offers running commentary during scenic cruising. Daily sightseeing programs are included with each cruise, and tours include wireless audio devices so cruisers don't miss a word on history or culture. All ships offer roughly 20 bicycles that passengers can use to explore ports.