Pandaw River Cruises
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Your ship is beautiful and your personnel excel in service and food standards equalling any of the experiences we have had on other Pandaw trips. This is very much a company strength. Stuart Hickman did an excellent job helping smooth the rough edges on this maiden voyage. His food knowledge and skill is truly exceptional. The food on this voyage surpassed others (which have been very good in every case). He promptly addressed many issues and was working everywhere behind the scene training the crew and watching out for us passengers. Maung Maung Hein Tun did an excellent job as local guide and had the skills and work ethic to always assist the crew and the passengers. His English was very adequate, knowledge extensive and he worked hard. You need to hire this guy or someone like him. He was invaluable. Mai & Pai Pai both did an absolutely superb job. We had been with them both on the RV Pandaw Kalay two weeks earlier and know they are two of the best. We were extremely happy with them both. Pai Pai was simply a superior chef and his dishes were fantastic. We do hope he receives a permanent promotion. Note: Pastry Chef (Ney on?) seems also very promising but we had less exposure to him. Paing Soe Thu was a very responsive purser. We had a number of small issues related to cabin, etc. and he seemed to be everywhere helping with on shore excursions, dining area, everywhere. Hard working great representative for your company. The ship’s crew and officers were all very friendly and fun to spend time with. A great crew.

Points needing attention: While life aboard ship essentially met our Pandaw expectations, leaving the ship presented some problems. The gangway needs to have a longer platform at the bottom with bumpers to allow the tenders to tie up parallel to the platform and guests easily step back and forth. You might do better with open Zodiacs. There was very little value in having “Ronald”, the guide from Yangon accompany us. Ronald had very little to offer regarding local information while Hein Tun was a wealth of information. All cabins should be supplied with at least one portable fan. You might consider adding some local flavor activities that come to the ship. The local squid fishing fleet was fascinating. Perhaps bringing a squid boat alongside the Andaman Explorer for an up-close view and photo opportunity might be an example of one such activity.

Again, please don’t take this correspondence as complaints. We did not sign up for a maiden voyage expecting perfection but rather the unique opportunity to participate in a new adventure. We fully expected there would be some glitches and learning involved. My message is only intended as constructive criticism which I hope can benefit you in making a great travel company even better. Thanks again Pandaw for all the adventures you have taken us on!

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