River Cruise Testimonial for RICHARD WILLIAMS, UK, MANDALAY PAGAN PACKET, JAN 2017 | Pandaw.com
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MANDALAY PAGAN PACKET REVIEW

RICHARD WILLIAMS, UK, MANDALAY PAGAN PACKET, JAN 2017

Real cruising on the Irrawaddy. The trouble with our cruise on the Pandaw Orient was that it had to finish. The journey north from Mandalay was not possible because of the river level being so low, but we didn't know about the change of itinerary until mid-way through the cruise, but it didn't matter. We were looked after regally by a lovely friendly crew, bar staff who made excellent cocktails as well as supplying a seemingly endless stream of gin and tonics and the waiters in the dining room knew us all even when we sat at different tables. Food was great – sometime a buffet, sometimes a la carte which you ordered in the morning at breakfast – the freshly cooked omelettes were amazing. Excursions and activities were organised; sometimes a walking tour of the village where we had stopped or a coach trip to places slightly farther afield. Evening entertainment was arranged of local dancers, puppet shows, even fashion parades featuring the all-male crew!! But the most surreal moment for me, was sitting around a blazing fire on a sandbank in the middle of the Irrawaddy River, with fireworks being let off, oil lights twinkling, watching our skipper singing John Denver songs and then everyone dancing around the bonfire to the accompaniment of Abba songs – and this was before dinner!!

There were about 50 passengers on board, we all ate together and no one cared if you wanted to chill out on the sun deck by yourself or get up to watch the sunrise early in the morning. But the experience of this Pandaw cruise has certainly put me off cruising on a big ship. We didn't get lost looking for my cabin, we didn't have to wait for the right sitting at the right dining room for food, we didn't have to queue to get on and off the boat and then queue to get into a coach for a trip and we got to meet a lot more people on our small boat than we would ever have done on a huge ship. Where to go next with Pandaw cruises is the next question.

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