Avalon Siem Reap
Launched especially to cruise the Mekong River, with voyages that tour Vietnam and Cambodia, the Avalon Siem Reap brought the Suite Ship design that is so often seen on Europe’s waterways, to Asia. Released in 2015 along with its sister, the Irrawaddy-based Avalon Myanmar, the Siem Reap offers sensational voyages through some of the most beautiful places on Earth, and offers guests a well-rounded, once-in-a-lifetime Asian adventure that will be remembered forever. Imagine waking up and, at the touch of a button, transforming your suite’s 14-foot-wide panoramic windows into Open-Air Balconies. With a voyage on the Avalon Siem Reap, you can do that at the same time as cruising along the glorious Mekong River between Ho Chi Minh and Siem Reap.
PassengersThe Avalon Siem Reap only carries a maximum of 36 passengers, so it’s as intimate a river cruise as you can imagine. Plus, with 24 English-speaking crew members onboard, every guest can feel confident that they will receive impeccable service. The dedicated Cruise Director will ensure that all needs are met, and excursions are organised, with Certified Local Guides, who also have excellent English skills, providing expert sightseeing opportunities. The primary audience for Avalon cruises is senior American travellers with a love of history, culture and travel, but cruises with the line are becoming increasingly popular with British, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian travellers.
Dining There is one dining room onboard, situated on the Tonle Deck, which, despite only serving 36 guests, is spacious and uncrowded, operating an open-seating arrangement. A full buffet breakfast and buffet lunch are served every day, offering typical Western breakfast items and a variety of regional and traditional dishes for lunch, including a live cooking station where guests can watch the head chef prepare local delicacies with perfection. Dinner service includes a gourmet four-course a la carte service, freshly prepared from local, seasonal produce. Complimentary wines, beers, spirits, soft drinks and hot beverages are served with lunch and dinner, and complimentary juices are available with breakfast. Daily early-riser hot beverages are also available.
Entertainment The air-conditioned Panorama Lounge, situated on the Tonle Deck, is where the majority of onboard entertainment takes place, including movie nights, relaxed evenings and itinerary-specific entertainment that will bring the culture, music and customs of Vietnam and Cambodia onboard for guests to appreciate. The venue also benefits from an upscale, full-service bar that serves premium spirits, and offers a daily cocktail hour which includes cocktail of the day and hors d’oeuvres. Guests can also look forward to the Welcome reception (with open bar and hors d’oeuvres) and both welcome and farewell dinners. Dress code onboard is generally casual but some guests prefer to dress up for the gala evenings.
Activities Onboard, guests can relax in the open-air observation lounge kitted out with premium deck chairs and shade system, and there is also a library and games area if guests wish to enjoy a book or socialise with friends. The lounges also offer complimentary Wi-Fi when the signal allows. The onshore excursions are varied and well-balanced, with a selection of visits and tours to choose from depending on the port. Certified guides are available to lead the way, and headsets are available for all guided excursions so you don’t have to worry about missing important information. Special performances by children at a Phnom Penh orphanage, oxcart rides through the countryside, Apsara dance performances in Siem Reap and a tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh are just some of the options available.
Accommodation All 18 suites onboard, situated on the Mekong and Tonle decks, are 245 sq. ft. in size (bigger than the Panorama Suites on European Suite Ships), and feature the acclaimed Avalon Open Air Balcony technology that allows guests to take in the views and the fresh air from their king size Comfort Collection bed that’s fitted with Egyptian cotton linens and European-style duvets. Every suite also features a full-size bathroom with private shower cubicle.Other amenities include individual climate control, in-house telephone, hairdryer, a choice of soft & firm pillows, bathrobes and slippers, ample storage, in-room safe, writing desk, nightly turn down service, mini-bar filled with complimentary drinks and bottled water, and spacious seating area to make the most of those passing panoramas.
Spa/WellbeingThe Mekong Deck features a well-appointed gym and there is a spa treatment room on the Tonle Deck for guests to feel pampered and relaxed.
Itineraries The Avalon Siem Reap navigates the Mekong River between Vietnam and Cambodia, and due to its innovative design, can access areas of the Mekong that would otherwise be difficult to navigate. This means that the whole route between Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Siem is sailable (depending on water levels). The result is that passengers could save a total of seven hours travel time by coach.Travellers have a choice of an eight day ‘Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia and Mekong River Cruise’ or a 13 day alternative. Unique and exclusive excursions are available on all itineraries and allow guests to see how rice paper and rice wine are made in Cai Be, visit the religious sites at Sam Mountain, explore Phnom Penh and visit the phenomenal and iconic Angkor Wat temple. Optional extensions to include Bangkok, Luang Prabang, and Hanoi & Ha Long Bay are possible. A combination of them, for an even longer adventure, is also an option.