This was a wonderful cruise and both the crew and staff were wonderful, the boat was luxurious and very comfortable. It was extremely relaxing, most of the excursions were very informative, and overall the trip was great value for money. I would truly recommend using Travelmarvel and visiting Myanmar anytime, don't believe the bad press about the country, ...read more the people are very warm and friendly.
But there were a couple of downsides to this trip along with criticisms, if I had been informed;
In Mandalay I would not be visiting the Royal Palace and the Mandalay Hill Su Taung Pyae Pagoda, I would have arranged to visit there off my own back on the Saturday. Also it would have been worth Travelmarvel actually offering this excursion to the early arrivals on the Saturday joining the boat rather than waste all afternoon doing nothing.
The teams of Blue, Orange and Yellow should have been split up into peoples physical ability, you ended up with people who were reasonably fit being slowed down and missing out out on things because of this issue.
And further a trip to the Mandalay Jade market early on the Sunday morning would have been better than visiting the workshops we visited on the Sunday, as most travellers we have seen loads of silver, gold and silk workshops previously.
Sometimes the lack of information and different versions of the same story didn't help e.g. In AVA/Amarapura we did a horse cart ride, there was still visible the old brick castle wall and moat to be seen as we drove past it for some distance, our guides didn't even think to point out that we could see it as we passed through the old gates.
In Bagan we should have visited the world famous five sided Dhammayazika Pagoda in the afternoon excursion, rather than the ones on offer. When questioned about this we were told it's too far to travel and having flown over the pagoda on the morning balloon ride it was clearly not more than 30 minutes from where the boat was moored. Additionally in Bagan we visited a brick pagoda whose mural was stolen in the 19th century by a German explorer, I noticed there was still an early depiction of Buddha shown in an early Egyptian style, sadly our guide didn't even think it was worth pointing out.
I really disagreed with the school visit, I don't mind supporting or visiting the school but disagree with the children been disrupted often regularly by travel excursions (and to be taught the birdy song, really). If I had this happening in my child's school in Australia regularly by a busload of Myanmar visitors I would be making huge complaints.
The visit to the burial site of General Mahaa Bandula was sadly lacking in detail about one of Myanmar's great Generals, apart from there he is by our guide, when his life story was fascinating. The evening entertainment l felt let the boat down, the putting on of any movies from documentary and historical was pointless after 9pm, most passengers went to bed after the evening meal at 8.30pm. They would have been better shown in the afternoon on days with one excursion in the morning when we were sailing for 5-6 hours in the afternoon. More people would have watched and then they could have offered something else in the evening with passenger participation.
Additionally as a solo traveller to find out that some passengers had been given generous discounts and also the two for one deals with couples paying half of what I paid for myself really left me feeling ripped off, especially considering what I got hit in a single supplement. I feel Travelmarvel should have offered a free laundry and local drinks package as compensation to solo travellers or better still scrapped the solo supplement, please pass my feedback to Travelmarvel.
Lastly Global Journeys were wonderful from the day I contacted them to when I returned, nothing was too much trouble and I am very happy with the service Jemma gave me and would use you again.