Cruise Line: The Strand in Myanmar - Ship review by Cruise Express

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The Strand

Reviewed by: Andrew Mevissen

Cruise Line: The Strand

Itinerary: Mandalay and Bagan

Size of ship and passenger capacity: 5,541 GRT and carries 54 guests in 27 staterooms

Year Built: 2015

Where the ship cruises: 3 and 4-night luxury sailings on the Ayeyarwady River, Myanmar

Currency onboard: US dollars

Embarkation/disembarkation: As a small vessel, boarding and disembarking are always easy. Guests are offered a glass of welcome champagne on boarding on the first day and each time you step aboard, a refreshing cold face washer is offered and your shoes are cleaned. Baggage is also carried onto and off the ship for you.

Main features: Operated by the owners of the historic and newly refurbished Strand Hotel in Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon, the 5-star Strand river cruise ship is one of the most luxurious vessels plying the legendary waters of Myanmar’s legendary Ayeyarwady River. Like the hotel, the Strand ship boasts a stylish, colonial theme, with exquisite fittings, grand staircases, teak decks and evocative photographs of life in Myanmar. The 4-deck ship offers a restaurant, lounge bar, spa sanctuary, shop, sun deck, excellent gym and pool deck with cabanas, daybeds and loungers surrounding an alluringly beautiful pool.

Most suited to: Luxe-loving travellers who want to explore exotic, new horizons not yet discovered by mass tourism.

 

Atmosphere: While sumptuous, the ship offers an atmosphere of relaxed, barefoot luxury where guests are encouraged to toss off their shoes and roam the ship barefoot even to lunch and dinner which is a refreshing novelty I should try in Australian restaurants maybe?!! Grand displays of fresh flowers are everywhere as is free wi-fi. The ship is a lavish sanctuary from life ashore. Myanmar is a very poor, agriculture-based country, with few modern facilities but The Strand donates funds to local communities in return and the tourism benefits river ships bring also help the local population.

Encounters with Service Staff: Gracious, ever-smiling, sarong-donning crew, most from Myanmar, offer impeccable service, speaking excellent English, always anticipating your needs and enjoying a joke with you. And with so few passengers, they always know your favourite drink.

Staterooms: Every stateroom offers floor-to-ceiling windows with Juliette balconies offering sliding doors so you can open the sliding doors and let in the vistas and fresh air. The beds are sumptuous as are the Molten Brown toiletries in the marble bathroom. The drenching rain shower is addictive! There’s a TV with international TV channels, 24-hour butler service, free shoe-cleaning service and a beautiful craft gift and rundown of the next day’s meals and excursions appear on your turned-down bed every night.

 

Dining experience: The theme and location of meals each day changes, adding diversity and excitement. Lunches and dinners can be in the main restaurant or up on the sun deck for buffet banquets and barbecues and one memorable night, guests are welcomed ashore on a deserted sand spit in the middle of the river, surrounded by fire torches, for a gourmet feast, golden temples glowing on the shore. The food is delectable and plentiful with a huge selection for breakfast in the sunlit dining room as well.
Entertainment: Local cultural groups came aboard on 2 nights to offer performances of traditional dance and puppetry. The crew also offered lessons in local customs and language, with every passenger receiving a free sarong – called a longyi in Myanmar after being taught how to wear and tie them.

Inclusions: Daily guided excursions ashore to golden temples and villages, meals, wi-fi, local beer, wine with meals, soft drinks/juices/coffees/teas, transfers to/from ship.

Exclusions: Imported drinks, spa treatments, laundry, tips

 

Family Facilities: The cruise is really suited for older children with no dedicated facilities for children.
Self Service Laundry: No but your butler can arrange for clothes to be laundered, with the cost added to your onboard account.

Insiders Tips: Bring sandals for excursions ashore as shoes need to be taken off at each temple. And don’t wear shorts and singlets off the ship either as knees and shoulders need to be covered at temples and pagodas. If cruising north from Bagan to Mandalay, request a cabin on the left/port side of the ship for lovely afternoon sun and unforgettable sunsets. The ship also mostly docks on the right side of the river so a ship on the left side maintains your water views. And when you land in Yangon, exchange some US dollars for local currency as cash is still king in Myanmar. A mix of both currencies is best. In Yangon, be sure to visit the amazing and ancient Shwedagon Pagoda, one of Asia’s largest and most sacred Buddhist temples. A must-do, complimentary shore tour is the dawn visit to a high temple in Bagan for sunrise over a landscape covered in temples and pagodas. Also take time each day on the cruise to be still and just watch and take in the rhythm of life in Myanmar where lives are simple, the pace is gentle and the locals quietly elegant and engaging.

Impressions: The Strand offers a short but unforgettable journey along a tranquil river that is still the life-force of Myanmar. The cruise offers the perfect mix of relaxing cruising during half the day and excursions during the other half, with the vessel tied ashore at night for restful sleep. See Myanmar before mass tourism arrives as the country is still emerging from decades of isolation and change is rapid.

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The Strand

Reviewed by: Andrew Mevissen

Cruise Line: The Strand

Itinerary: Mandalay and Bagan

Size of ship and passenger capacity: 5,541 GRT and carries 54 guests in 27 staterooms

Year Built: 2015

Where the ship cruises: 3 and 4-night luxury sailings on the Ayeyarwady River, Myanmar

Currency onboard: US dollars

Embarkation/disembarkation: As a small vessel, boarding and disembarking are always easy. Guests are offered a glass of welcome champagne on boarding on the first day and each time you step aboard, a refreshing cold face washer is offered and your shoes are cleaned. Baggage is also carried onto and off the ship for you.

Main features: Operated by the owners of the historic and newly refurbished Strand Hotel in Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon, the 5-star Strand river cruise ship is one of the most luxurious vessels plying the legendary waters of Myanmar’s legendary Ayeyarwady River. Like the hotel, the Strand ship boasts a stylish, colonial theme, with exquisite fittings, grand staircases, teak decks and evocative photographs of life in Myanmar. The 4-deck ship offers a restaurant, lounge bar, spa sanctuary, shop, sun deck, excellent gym and pool deck with cabanas, daybeds and loungers surrounding an alluringly beautiful pool.

Most suited to: Luxe-loving travellers who want to explore exotic, new horizons not yet discovered by mass tourism.

 

Atmosphere: While sumptuous, the ship offers an atmosphere of relaxed, barefoot luxury where guests are encouraged to toss off their shoes and roam the ship barefoot even to lunch and dinner which is a refreshing novelty I should try in Australian restaurants maybe?!! Grand displays of fresh flowers are everywhere as is free wi-fi. The ship is a lavish sanctuary from life ashore. Myanmar is a very poor, agriculture-based country, with few modern facilities but The Strand donates funds to local communities in return and the tourism benefits river ships bring also help the local population.

Encounters with Service Staff: Gracious, ever-smiling, sarong-donning crew, most from Myanmar, offer impeccable service, speaking excellent English, always anticipating your needs and enjoying a joke with you. And with so few passengers, they always know your favourite drink.

Staterooms: Every stateroom offers floor-to-ceiling windows with Juliette balconies offering sliding doors so you can open the sliding doors and let in the vistas and fresh air. The beds are sumptuous as are the Molten Brown toiletries in the marble bathroom. The drenching rain shower is addictive! There’s a TV with international TV channels, 24-hour butler service, free shoe-cleaning service and a beautiful craft gift and rundown of the next day’s meals and excursions appear on your turned-down bed every night.

 

Dining experience: The theme and location of meals each day changes, adding diversity and excitement. Lunches and dinners can be in the main restaurant or up on the sun deck for buffet banquets and barbecues and one memorable night, guests are welcomed ashore on a deserted sand spit in the middle of the river, surrounded by fire torches, for a gourmet feast, golden temples glowing on the shore. The food is delectable and plentiful with a huge selection for breakfast in the sunlit dining room as well.
Entertainment: Local cultural groups came aboard on 2 nights to offer performances of traditional dance and puppetry. The crew also offered lessons in local customs and language, with every passenger receiving a free sarong – called a longyi in Myanmar after being taught how to wear and tie them.

Inclusions: Daily guided excursions ashore to golden temples and villages, meals, wi-fi, local beer, wine with meals, soft drinks/juices/coffees/teas, transfers to/from ship.

Exclusions: Imported drinks, spa treatments, laundry, tips

 

Family Facilities: The cruise is really suited for older children with no dedicated facilities for children.
Self Service Laundry: No but your butler can arrange for clothes to be laundered, with the cost added to your onboard account.

Insiders Tips: Bring sandals for excursions ashore as shoes need to be taken off at each temple. And don’t wear shorts and singlets off the ship either as knees and shoulders need to be covered at temples and pagodas. If cruising north from Bagan to Mandalay, request a cabin on the left/port side of the ship for lovely afternoon sun and unforgettable sunsets. The ship also mostly docks on the right side of the river so a ship on the left side maintains your water views. And when you land in Yangon, exchange some US dollars for local currency as cash is still king in Myanmar. A mix of both currencies is best. In Yangon, be sure to visit the amazing and ancient Shwedagon Pagoda, one of Asia’s largest and most sacred Buddhist temples. A must-do, complimentary shore tour is the dawn visit to a high temple in Bagan for sunrise over a landscape covered in temples and pagodas. Also take time each day on the cruise to be still and just watch and take in the rhythm of life in Myanmar where lives are simple, the pace is gentle and the locals quietly elegant and engaging.

Impressions: The Strand offers a short but unforgettable journey along a tranquil river that is still the life-force of Myanmar. The cruise offers the perfect mix of relaxing cruising during half the day and excursions during the other half, with the vessel tied ashore at night for restful sleep. See Myanmar before mass tourism arrives as the country is still emerging from decades of isolation and change is rapid.

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