A new addition to the Avalon Waterways fleet, the Avalon Myanmar debuted onto the Irrawaddy River in 2015, helping adventurous guests to explore the beauty of Burma. It’s the sister ship to the Siem Reap which was launched at the same time onto the Mekong River - both ships bringing the renowned Suite Ship concept, that Avalon has already successfully introduced into Europe, into Asia as well. With exclusive and unforgettable tours, excursions and activities, and a luxurious vessel from which to experience them, a voyage onboard the Avalon Myanmar would be a perfect way of discovering the exotic and cultural haven that is ‘the Golden Land’, including harder-to-reach areas of the Upper Irrawaddy that are seldom explored.
The Avalon Myanmar is an extremely intimate, uncrowded and spacious ship - with just 36 guests onboard when travelling at full capacity - which means its itineraries are unrivalled and extraordinary. There is an exceptionally good crew to passenger ratio too, with 24 crew and staff onboard to tend to the needs of guests from beginning to end. Guests are typically senior, well-travelled passengers from the USA, but river cruises with Avalon are growing increasingly popular with travellers from other English-speaking countries, particularly the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Dining There is one dining area onboard, situated on the Mandalay Deck, which operates an open-seating policy. The area is spacious, well-appointed and finished beautifully with crisp white linens, polished silver cutlery and gleaming glassware. Here, guests can enjoy a buffet breakfast and lunch service every day, with a range of sumptuous dishes on offer including a live cooking station showcasing the preparation of local delicacies. Dinner is a la carte with waiter service and consists of four courses of gourmet fare, encompassing both authentic Burmese specialities and Western favourites. Complimentary soft drinks, wines, beers, spirits and hot beverages are available with lunch and dinner, and complimentary juices are served with breakfast. Early-riser tea and coffee are also available.
Entertainment Guests can enjoy a Welcome reception with open bar, including local beer and spirits, as well as hot and cold hors d’ouevres, at the beginning of every voyage, as well as a gourmet Welcome dinner in Yangon and a Farewell dinner onboard. There is also a cocktail hour every day, with a cocktail of the day on offer, made with local spirits. The Panorama Lounge is located on the Mandalay Deck, and has a full-service upscale bar. At the front of the lounge, guests can enjoy an open-air observation lounge fitted with premium lounge chairs – a perfect spot to watch the Burmese landscapes drift by. An all-inclusive entertainment programme is also available as part of the enthralling itinerary, including music and dancing, plus a traditional puppet show. Guests can also attend relaxing onboard movie nights.
Activities Onboard, guests can read a book or play a game in the library, or use the complimentary Wi-Fi in the lounge - but the main appeal of the itineraries is the shore excursions. Avalon Choice ensures guests can choose to sign up for excursions that interest them, from guided tours of pagodas and temples to visits to woodcarving workshops and authentic tea shops. Audio headsets are available for all guided tours, which are led by certified local experts.
Accommodation There are 18 beautifully-finished suites onboard, located across the Mandalay and Irrawaddy Decks. All are a spacious 245 sq. ft., and feature similar amenities to the Avalon Suite Ship vessels operating on Europe’s rivers, including the innovative Open-Air Balcony concept that has proven to be extremely successful. All rooms have a king-size Comfort Collection bed and a full-size bathroom, as well as individual climate control, telephone, hairdryer, premium bath products, pillow choice, bathrobes and slippers, in-room safe, complimentary mini-bar with water, ample storage and a seating area.
Spa/WellbeingThere is a spa treatment room and a gym located on the Sky Deck, as well as plenty of premium lounge chairs where guests can sit back, relax and enjoy the voyage.
Itineraries The Avalon Myanmar sails the 14-day ‘Golden Myanmar and the Alluring Irrawaddy’ cruise, both northbound and southbound, which includes a stay in Yangon. There are also optional extensions available in Bangkok and/or Inle Lake. As part of this itinerary package, guests will have the opportunity to appreciate local cultures and customs including visits to tea shops in Yangon, plus pagodas, temples and monasteries, as well as experiencing unforgettable activities including elephant rides in Katha Elephant Camp, sampan rides in Amarapura, oxcart rides in Bagan and gold leaf workshops in Mandalay. The smaller design of the ship means that it can cruise areas of the Upper Northern Irrawaddy that are otherwise inaccessible to larger ships.