Today, preceded by a traditional Vietnamese blessing ceremony, the AmaLotus set out on her maiden voyage along the Mekong river.
The 124-passenger AmaLotus is AmaWaterways’ second new river ship to cruise the Mekong river. Along with her sister ship, the La Marguerite built in 2009, the AmaLotus will offer unique 7-night cruises from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in Vietnam. This itinerary, the “Vietnam, Cambodia and the Riches of the Mekong”, has an option to add two nights in Hanoi, three nights in Siem Reap and two nights in Ho Chi Minh City, for 16-night once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“Vietnam and Cambodia offer an incredible array of interesting, historic and scenic destinations, especially along the Mekong River. We’re extremely proud to introduce a second ship there with the features and amenities of the MS AMALOTUS,” said Rudi Schreiner, President, AMAWATERWAYS.
Over 90 percent of the staterooms have outside balconies with only six staterooms having portholes. An interior design that incorporates Colonial elegance with regional Khmer accents is evident throughout the ship, from the public areas to the passenger staterooms. Beautiful polished hardwoods adorn almost every room on the ship, along with gold, white and muted color accents.
Staterooms range in size from the standard stateroom at 226 sq. ft. to the top two luxurious suites measuring 624 sq. ft. There are also ten Jr. Suites at a generous 290 sq. ft. All the staterooms include comfortable sitting areas, individually controlled air-conditioning, a mini-bar and safety deposit box. The Jr. Suites and grand Suites also have luxurious bathtubs and kimonos and slippers.
To please every palate, the dining room offers Asian and Western cuisine with carefully selected complimentary wine (and beer) at lunch and dinner. Throughout the cruise, there are complimentary house-brand spirits and soft drinks for your choosing.
Onboard Special Highlights including folkloric dances and musical performances by entertainers who board in various ports just for their special performance. There are also guest speakers discussing the local cultures, themed dinners and nightly piano entertainer.
Other public areas include two lounges, a fitness center, spa and a gift shop. The entire staff is fluent in English and the Hotel Manager is European. There’s a lovely partially shaded sun deck complete with a small outdoor pool and chaise lounges; the perfect spot to stretch out, relax and marvel at your spectacular surroundings.
The 7-night cruise itinerary begins in Siem Reap and meanders along the Mekong, the 12th largest river in the world. Your journey aboard the AmaLotus includes several ports of call in both Cambodia and Vietnam. Upon departure from Siem Reap, the next visit is to Kampong Chhnang, Oudong, Chongkoh and Phnom Penh, all in Cambodia. Across the border, you’ll enter into Vietnam and visit bustling cities and small towns of Tan Chau, Sa Dec and end your cruise with an overnight in Ho Chi Minh City. The same itinerary is also available in reverse.
My advice? You don’t want to travel half-way around the world and only take the 7-night cruise. Add on the pre and post land packages and you’ll have the opportunity to visit some of the most exotic and remote areas of these countries, including the recently discovered Angkor Wat temple in the middle of the jungle near Siem Reap. Built in the 12th century, it is the world’s largest religious building.
Sherry is editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com. An expert on ocean and river cruises plus trains in the US and Europe, Sherry’s goal is to share her experiences to entertain, inform and inspire readers to travel the world.