Traveling on the Mekong

A luxury river cruise on the Mekong Delta is how we chose to spend Summer vacation. The Amawaterways, AmaDara was our home for 7 amazing nights from Saigon, Vietnam to Siem Reap, Cambodia. We could not have chosen a better choice for those days and nights. Ama treats you like family and the ship was amazing.

The ship

The AmaDara was first put into service in 2015 so she is a new vessel and that shows in every detail. There are three decks of cabins and we were mid ship on deck two which was a perfect location. The ship only has a total of 62 cabins and suites so we knew we were in for an intimate cruise.  Although the ship can hold up to 124 passengers, we only had 85 in the first sailing of the season.  The ship also had an excellent crew to passenger ratio as we had 52 crew for 85 passengers.


Our Cabin

All the cabins on the ship are either balcony cabins or suites. We had a mid-ship balcony. These cabins actually have both a French balcony and a regular balcony with two chairs to sit outside. We never sat outside. Way to humid. I did go out a few times to take pictures while sailing and when we were docked. If it wasn’t so damn hot we would have used it more.

The bed was comfortable and could be set up as a large bed or two singles. We opted for the King. They put fresh bottled water in the room every day and the room was serviced twice a day.  They also had the headsets set on the desk that we used for the tours each day.

We used the shower more than one time a day and the cabin steward brought towels and cleaned the room two times a day and brought us fluffy towels. Our ship and the bathroom had nice amenities.


The food and service on the AmaDara was fantastic.  The main dining room had a buffet for breakfast with tons of choices.  Every morning you could get made fresh omelets and the noodle soup of the day.  That was standard fare throughout Vietnam and Cambodia.  For lunch there was both a buffet and a menu you could order from.  Plenty of choices for everyone to eat.

The ship took food allergies very seriously.  Every day my husband would get the next days menu so he could order the next days meal and so they could accommodate his food allergies.  Such great service.  Maria in the dining room took great care of us at every meal.  Dinner was a sit-down meal that allowed for a variety of local menu choices as well as continental cuisine.  The ship also had some food demonstrations on board, along with a fresh fruit tasting.  Who wouldn’t love fresh fruit all day long?.

We also ate one night in the specialty restaurant on board the ship.  As a group of 11, we had arranged dinner in the Chef’s Table ahead of time. The steak was delicious.  All the meals included local wine and beer.  You could also get local spirits.  There were premium drinks you could pay for either at dinner or in one of the bars.

Spa and Ship

Spa treatments are incredibly inexpensive throughout Asia.  We had quite a different kinds of massages throughout the trip.  On the ship I got a scalp massage that was extremely relaxing.  We also went for a couples reflexology massage that was 90 minutes of bliss.  Both treatments were under $50 each.

The ship is well appointed with a small pool on the top deck along with a covered terrace for lounging as we sailed the Mekong.


The ship had an amazing cruise director named Son.  He took care of us along with local English-speaking guides in both Vietnam and Cambodia.   The itinerary was switched up on us right before we were about to leave due to high river levels.  We went during rainy season, so that wasn’t really surprising to us.  We didn’t get much rain during the trip, but evidently they had gotten Monsoon-type rains in the two weeks before we arrived.

Our trip was from Saigon (Ho Chi Mihn City) to Siem Reap.  We ended up getting two overnights Phnom Penh on this trip which was a real treat.  There we ate in the city to get some additional local color.  We had a great meal at Foreign Corespondents Club Restaurant for a lovely rooftop dinner overlooking the river.  The meal was very reasonable and the food was outstanding.  Crossing the street was very difficult and a bit scary at times.  You just had to trust that no one was going to hit you.  Our group tended to cross the street together and stay as a group like “sticky rice.”

This trip included a variety of interesting destinations on the trip.  We visited silk factories, and a local school.  At the local markets we saw a variety of goods being sold.  Some items were very odd and other items looked delicious, from rats on sticks to fresh clams.  You could get just about anything.


Post Cruise Summary

This cruise was an amazing experience and there is little I would change of it.  The plane ride was long, but the sites made up for the to twenty hours it took us to arrive.  Traveling to Vietnam and Cambodia are life changing.  We met people along the way that changed who we are as people.  The AmaDara treated us like family and the service was top notch.


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