AmaDara joined her sister, AmaLotus, on the Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam in August 2015, meaning not only is she luxurious, she’s also box fresh. Like AmaLotus, the latest ship in the AmaWaterways fleet is designed in French Colonial style to reflect the heritage of the area she sails through. She also boasts a swimming pool onboard, which is rare for river cruising! Artefacts from the Mekong add to the authentic ambience onboard, and with just 62 luxury suites and staterooms, and 50 crew providing friendly, attentive service, the atmosphere is exclusive and intimate with an impressive passenger to crew ratio of just 2.5 to one at full capacity.
As AmaWaterways is an American company, it’s no surprise that most of her passengers come from the USA. However she is also popular with well-heeled, well-travelled couples from Canada and the UK, among other countries. Her passengers tend to be 45+ and they choose AmaDara not just for her upmarket floating boutique hotel feel, but also because of AmaWaterways’ passion for immersing its passengers in the culture of the Mekong River.
The AmaDara’s two restaurants, The Chef’s Table on the Saigon upper deck and the main Mekong Restaurant on the Tonle main deck, serve delicious Vietnamese and Cambodian specialities as well as Western favourites. During the day the dining dress code is casual, but in the evenings, smart casual is the way to go, with a jacket and tie requested for men at Captain’s dinners.
Breakfast is an extensive buffet, and at lunchtime salads, soups, hot main courses and desserts are in plentiful supply. Dinner is the main event, with multiple courses and a good choice of Asian and Western main courses prepared by skilled local chefs. Wine and beer flow freely at lunchtime and dinner, and complimentary house brand spirits and soft drinks are always available during your cruise.
The mysterious beauty of the passing scenery is entertainment enough for many passengers as they savour it from the warmth of the Sadec Sun Deck or the stylish, air-conditioned cool of the Saigon Lounge & Bar. The Saigon Lounge & Bar regularly plays host to live piano music, folklore dances and performances from local musicians. There are also regular themed dinners including the Captain’s welcome dinner and the farewell cocktail party and dinner, where ladies dress up to complement their partners’ jackets and ties.
An onboard programme of culture discussion forums and lectures from local experts bring the history and culture of the Mekong River to life onboard. Computers are available for those who wish to catch up with home and there is a gift shop to buy souvenirs and presents.
Each day brings a new opportunity to immerse yourself in the life of the Mekong, with in-depth guided excursions and opportunities to travel by rickshaw, ox cart or smaller boat as you visit temples, markets, royal palaces, Buddhist monasteries and more.
All AmaDara staterooms are outside with twin balconies, and combine French Colonial décor with all the modern luxuries you’d expect from a five-star hotel. Bottled water is replenished daily.
The Sadec Deck is home to two very special 452 sq. ft. Luxury Suites with bathtubs, outside balconies and French balconies. There are also 12 Suites with an area of 334 sq.ft. which also feature the outside balconies and French balconies. This deck also has two 226 sq. ft. French & Outside Balcony Staterooms.
The Saigon and Tonle Decks are both devoted to 22 more French & Outside Balcony Staterooms. These staterooms are divided into three price categories across the two decks.
Amenities in all suites and staterooms include individually controlled air-con, safe, hairdryer and minibar, bathrobes and slippers, cosy sitting area, writing desk, flat screen TV and bathroom with shower.
In addition, suites feature larger sitting areas and bathrooms with separate shower and bathtub, and luxury suites feature all of the above plus king-size beds, full size sofas and extra spacious bathrooms and balconies.
The AmaDara’s Sadec Deck has an onboard hairdresser, masseuse and beauty therapist to take care of passengers’ pampering needs in the Sadec Spa. This deck is also home to a fitness room and sun deck with bar and swimming pool.
The AmaDara is sailing the 16-day Vietnam, Cambodia & the Riches of the Mekong itinerary. This unforgettable odyssey begins with two nights in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, then three in the Cambodian town of Siem Reap, before boarding the AmaDara to spend seven nights cruising the majestic Mekong River. The cruise boasts a packed itinerary with highlights including visits to a Buddhist monastery, a floating market, the Royal Palace and site of the Killing Fields in Cambodia’s Phnom Penh, and the chance to spend the night on a contemporary junk ship in the stunning setting of Hanoi’s Ha Long Bay. At the end of the cruise, passengers disembark in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City to enjoy two nights of excursions and exploration before flying home. Guests can also choose to take a 3 night Siem Reap extension. The itinerary also operates in the opposite direction.