We sought the opportunity to explore Myanmar before the western world changes it forever. APT's Irrawaddy cruise on RV Samatha looked like a great option to achieve the objective. Apart from three detracting matters (two of which coincidentally took place after the review questionnaires had been submitted!), this cruise would have been rated "excellent". Service delivered by crew (particularly Zin Mar, Lynn, Than, Myo, Bo, Muppet and Thet Thet) was exceptional. Cruise Director (San) and his guide (Clement) provided great information and entertainment. Cleanliness throughout the vessel was exceptional, and food and beverage quality and range could not be questioned. All of these aspects exceeded any expectation we had - brilliant.
But, the three detracting features were considerable. Firstly, the ship crew (responsible for daily sun deck preparation) would do so between 5:30 and 6am daily. This entailed significantly heavy walking above the main cabin deck, banging of deck rails removing insects from overnight, wiping down and dragging deck furniture across the deck. When raised with the Hotel Manager, we were told that the matter would be addressed with the ship crew - but nothing changed. Very annoying.
Secondly, through the final full day when docked in Yangon, the Engineer took a decision to address some water filter matters. This resulted in showering water (taken directly from the somewhat dirty Irrawaddy river) remaining very dirty for approximately eight hours - including the period through which preparation for final night celebrations were required. We'd been told the shower water was taken directly from the river, but sufficiently filtered for safety. The water we were delivered on this day could only, in our opinion, represent a considerable health risk. This wasn't good enough.
Excellent shore excurions