This was our second trip with Viking. We chose this cruise because we wanted to see Southeast Asia and we had had a great experience with Viking on our last cruise. This cruise exceeded our expectations and we would highly recommend it. I would say that this is a higher end cruise-specialty cruise. The cruise consists of both a land portion and a cruise on the Mekong. We started at Hanoi, then went to Seim Reap and then drove to the boat. Our last stop was Saigon. We added an additional package to Bangkok at the end.
The Mekong Viking is a small (54 passenger) boat. The rooms are very small but nicely decorated. Each room opens up to an outside walkway around the boat. We had a least expensive stateroom but it was more than sufficient.The restaurant is on the main level and has windows to look out. There are long tables sitting about 10. These facilitate getting to know others. Seating is by choice. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style. There were generally three choices for dinner and they accommodated people with special health needs. Lunches included a wide variety of foods and some specialty items. Fried insects were served for dessert one night. We felt the food was excellent both on the ship and on the land portion. On the top floor of the boat, the sides are open but most of it is covered to protect from the sun. This is where everyone spend most of their time. There was also an enclosed bar. Usually there was nightly local entertainment. (Most people were older and tired at night so entertainment tended to be low key but good.) The ship had a mixture of people from the US, Britain, Canada, and Australia.
On this cruise, all tours are included. The passengers were divided into two groups. Each group had a program manager for the duration of the trip. I can't say enough good things about ours-Kong. He was very knowledgeable, fun, resourceful and had a great personality. I know the other group also enjoyed their program manager. Kong was always with us and met our every need. We enjoyed all of the excursions. While on the river, we stopped at many small villages which gave us a more rounded picture of Vietnam and Cambodia. We had excellent tour guides-all local. Their personal insights and openness about their lives deeply enriched our experience, especially the guides in Cambodia.
The hotels we stayed in were first class. The Metropole in Hanoi is a classic old French built hotel in downtown Hanoi. In Seim Reap, we stayed at the Sofitel Angkor Wat. In Saigon we also stayed at the Sofitel. We particularly liked the hotels in Hanoi and Angkor Wat. The breakfasts were huge buffets. The rooms were roomy, and beautifully designed. In Angkor Wat, for example, we had fresh fruit in the room. We had lunch poolside in Angkor Wat. Service in these hotels was excellent. We felt the hotel in Saigon was more dated in decor.
Our only glitch was with Viking's air travel department which initially made the wrong airplane arrangements.