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Road To Mandalay

1 of 2 hotels in Myanmar Cruises

5 out of 5 from 1 review
The luxury river cruise ship has been created by Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express from Road To Mandalay Cruise the former MS Nederland. Totally refurbished in 1995, this ship sails between Mandalay and Bagan. Facilities include a swimming pool, sun deck, observation lounge with large windows and a restaurant.

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An excellent cruise
5 years 5 months ago
A personal opinion based upon a 7 night stay, November 2012 of The Road To Mandalay. Quite a gem! An Orient Express experience – in a floating hotel on the water.

The Road to Mandalay is a splendid way to see the sights in and around Mandalay and Bagan on the Irrawaddy river. It is possible to stay on board for 3, 4 or 7 nights for slightly differing experiences. During the rainy season they also offer 11 night packages to the gorges of the far north as far as Bhamo, near the Chinese border.

As you would expect from Orient Express, all your needs are catered for. You effectively “check in” at Rangoon airport, where you are relieved of your suitcases (you next see them in your cabin, on board), are issued with boarding passes for the short flight to Mandalay (or Bagan) and guided through the airport formalities. Following the flight you are directed to transport that will take you to the Road to Mandalay following a short sightseeing trip.

With only 43 cabins (4 single – at ½ the price of superior - 4 superior, 16 deluxe, 18 State and 1 Governors) it is not exactly a cramped existence. We had opted for a deluxe cabin which, although snug, had sufficient space, was furnished to a high standard, was well provided and offered all the facilities that you would expect in a good standard hotel (even tea or coffee, served in your room, in the morning!). We were impressed.

All food and tea, coffee, soft drinks and local beer are provided throughout your stay. You only need to purchase wine, spirits and liqueurs. Service is excellent – both attentive and friendly without being over familiar.

The upper deck has a smallish pool, with sun loungers provided. There is a shaded bar area and lounge area on this upper deck and a buffet style lunch is also served when you are not away on trips. We found this very pleasant for post dinner drinks.

The next level down comprises the main restaurant, which is well furnished and has large windows for observation, serving breakfast, buffet lunch, and an evening meal in two sittings. This level is fully air conditioned and also features a pleasant bar with pianist (excellent for pre-dinner drinks) a small gift shop and a lounge/observation area which doubles as a venue for regular evening entertainment or informative lectures.

Below this is the deck with reception (again air conditioned) and state and superior cabins and below that is deck (also Air conditioned) with deluxe and single cabins, a wellbeing centre, offering massage (excellent) and spa treatments, a fitness room consisting of three exercise machines (stepper, bicycle, treadmill), stretch/crunch area and a shower with a changing room. There is also a medical centre adjacent to the wellbeing area (the RTM has its own doctor).

There are daily trips included in the package. In general we found the trips (but not necessarily the transport) to be very good and interesting. The two lunches provided on full day trips (by outside agencies and not Orient Express) can only be described as poor. There is also a fairly comprehensive programme of evening and, occasionally, daytime entertainment available, in addition to the included tours.

If you get the opportunity to take an optional balloon flight to see the temples of Bagan, grab it with both hands. Expensive – yes, but an experience with an unforgettable view. Our trip was cancelled due to high winds, but we saw the photographs and videos taken by others - breath-taking!

In summary - an excellent experience, in comfortable surroundings, with a high standard of catering and totally stress free, although if you take all the tours expect some early starts.

We are thinking of taking the extended 11 night tour in the future, which probably says a lot about the experience. There are, however, many other experiences in this country that will take precedence - the 11 night tour may have to wait!

For a report on the whole trip please see http://www.holidaytruths.co.uk/forum/myanmar-burma-t154341.html#p1594958
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