Myanmar River Cruise

1 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type



Date of travel

January, 2016

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with


Reasons for trip

Getting to another destination

APT RV Prrincess Panhwar – 14 Nights Irrawady River Cruise, Myanmar (Burma).

Whilst advertised by APT, this cruise is operated by Travel Marvel.
Princess Panhwar is a new river cruiser and we sailed on its second cruise from Mandalay to Yangon. This boutique cruiser has 36 cabins on two decks with either a French Balcony on the lower deck or an Outside Balcony on the upper deck. We had an outside balcony which proved worthwhile as you sit enjoying the many awesome sunsets. Every cabin is air-conditioned and this was extremely effective and quiet and is furnished with a double or twin beds, a writing desk/dressing table, plenty of wardrobe and drawer space and a safe and flat-screen television. Whilst wifi is advertised as available in the public rooms it is to all intents and purposes non-existent due to communication difficulties in Myanmar. This was the cause of major frustration amongst passengers and APT/Travel Marvel need to give priority to sort out this problem.

Besides a spacious Sun Deck with lots of seating but no deck pool or plunge pool, the public areas include a spacious air-conditioned lounge and dining room. There is also a small spa and a rather basic exercise room (treadmill, cross trainer and basic step machine).

The onboard service is excellent. Rooms are kept spotlessly clean. Copious free bottles of mineral water are provided daily and a water carrier is loaned to each passenger for carrying a bottle on shore excursions. The dining room offers an extensive selection of interesting, ethnic, international food for all the three meals. Wine, beer and soft drinks are offered free of charge with meals.

The Irrawady has a sandy river bed and this generates the occasional problem with sand banks. Indeed we were stuck on one for some time, which provided an entertaining few hours until we were released by a river barge. This, however, gives rise to another problem. At the end of our cruise we learnt that the next cruise from Yangon would not be able to sail all the way to Mandalay due the changing depth of the river and the sand banks. Passengers would have to be coached to Mandalay from an indeterminate point. Thus it is essential that you check on this aspect when considering this cruise, but this must not put you off an otherwise beautiful and fascinating cruise. One should also note that due to the changing river levels there are no established mooring jetties (apart from at Mandalay and Yangon). Instead passenger have to negotiate sandy (and at times steep) river banks wholly helped by all the crew members who line the access and help passengers on and off. Passengers can cope with this without too much of a problem and, indeed, so did some passengers with restricted mobility. If, however, you rely on a wheelchair, zimmer frame or other mobility aids you will be unable to manage this.

The overall itinerary is extensive and busy with several interesting included daily excursions that give you an excellent insight into all aspects of life, living, customs and traditions of Myanmar and its charming people who are delighted to meet and greet tourists with a smile and a wave. Visits to local markets and schools are included and here practical gifts such as pencils etc are welcomed. The welcome by the children is a real joy to experience. As the cruise progresses there are also periods of rest and relaxation on board. In this respect, the local cruise director and his other two guides are most helpful, attentive and informative. Besides guiding excursions, they also offer a programme of on board lectures covering all aspects of Burmese and Buddhists life and traditions. Don’t expect any stage entertainment but instead there are craft demonstrations and a folklore dancing show; a puppet show; the film The Lady (over two evenings) about Aung San Suu Kyi.

As far as spending money goes, besides any drinks on board and any laundry, Myanmar is dirt cheap. Most basic purchases are US $1.00 or local equivalent. A good quality T shirt in the market at Yangoon will set you back $5. In sum you don’t need much. Bills on board can be settled in US $ or Kyats but beware that if you pay by credit card, there is a hefty 4% charge.

Everyone on board does their utmost to make this cruise enjoyable with a most helpful attitude.

Visiting Myanmar in this way enables you to see it in its raw and authentic state. It is a country of aspiration and, whilst poverty abounds, you will be fascinated by what you encounter and see. I’m sure you’ll enjoy every moment.


Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.