Pandaw River Cruises Coronavirus update
Pandaw River Cruises suspended its entire fleet's passenger shipping operations (all riverboats deployed in Asia and India) by cancelling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 15 through May 31, 2020 (operations resume on June 1st).
All affected bookings received 125% refund as FCC (future cruise credit with rebooking) or 100% monetary refund. To receive the 125% FCC, rebooking must be made within 12 months. The offer includes all itineraries planned for 2020-2021-2022.
Pandaw River Cruises fleet
Review of Pandaw River Cruises
IMPORTANT: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Pandaw River Cruises suspended its entire fleet's passenger shipping operations (all riverboats deployed in Asia and India) by cancelling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 15 through May 31, 2020 (operations resume on June 1st). All affected bookings received 125% refund as FCC (future cruise credit with rebooking) or 100% monetary refund. To receive the 125% FCC, rebooking must be made within 12 months. The offer includes all itineraries planned for 2020-2021-2022.
"Pandaw River Cruises" is a trademarked brand owned by the 1995-founded Pandaw Expeditions Co. The company is the successor of the 1865-founded "Irrawaddy Flotilla Company", which specialized in passenger and cargo river shipping in Burma.
Pandaw (website) is a river cruisetour company operating itineraries in Southeast Asia - Burma (Myanmar), Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, China, India and Malaysia (Borneo). The list of rivers on which Pandaw ships navigate includes Mekong, Irrawaddy, Chindwinn (Irrawaddy's largest tributary), Ganges, Brahmaputra, Red River (and Halong Bay), Tonle River and Tonle Sap Lake (central Cambodia). Company's out-of-Burma itinerary program was inaugurated in 2002 - with cruises on Mekong River. Laos and China (Upper Mekong) cruises were introduced in 2015 as roundtrips from Bangkok (Thailand) to China's Yunnan province.
In 2015, Pandaw entered the ocean cruising market by purchasing the 1963-built, 22-passenger luxury yacht Andaman Explorer. The vessel started operations in June 2016. After the purchase, the vessel was repositioned from Dubai to Rangoon/Yangon, where was redecorated and drydock-refurbished. The full refit was completed in 2017. In 2019, the superyacht was sold to a Dubai-based family and no longer operates cruises.
In 2018, the company reported over 45% repeat passenger bookings. International travellers prefer Pandaw boats for their traditional Burmese design (all vessels are made of wood and handcrafted), special ambiance (marked by colonial-style furniture, teak wood and brass throughout, highly personalized service), authentic experiences on the ship (gourmet dining and traditional entertainment) and ashore (unique land tours), as well as the amazing scenery along the regularly scheduled itinerary routes.
Onboard dining is complimentary and offered indoor (at the Dining Room Restaurant) and outdoor/al-fresco (on Sun Deck). Most dietary requirements are catered for. Company's quality of food and level of service are legendary. The ships are advertised as family-friendly and suitable for all ages. Younger travellers can enjoy mountain biking (quality bicycles are provided complimentary), hiking and trekking ashore, while teenagers can gain valuable real-life experiences from interacting with local kids during port stays in villages along the route. Older tourists will highly appreciate Pandaw expeditions' tranquillity, cultural richness and some of Asia's most unique sceneries.
Due to their small passenger capacity (20-30-60 pax), Pandaw riverboats are regularly chartered (often as rebranded vessels) by some of world's largest river cruise companies, including Uniworld, Viking, CroisiEurope, Fred Olsen, Saga UK. Private full-boat ("time charter" and "voyage charter") arrangements are also offered.
Pandaw riverboats also feature the highest passenger-to-space ratio on the Asian market. The boats offer plenty of quiet areas for relaxation and spacious partially-covered sundecks. All ships have at least one 360-degree (wraparound) Promenade Deck that also serves as "common balcony" for all staterooms.
Next video show some of Pandaw's vessel construction stages.
Breakfast is buffet-style but preceded by light bites, tea and coffee for early risers. Lunch is either buffet-style or sit-down (waiter-served, with a la carte menu choices), while dinners are 4-course and waiter-served. Pandaw's food ingredients are locally sourced and always fresh. Excepting premium spirits, all beverages on the ship are complimentary, including domestic beers and spirits, soft drinks, coffee and tea, unlimited bottled water. The open-bridge policy allows passengers to visit the Wheelhouse (Navigation Bridge) and interact with the officers on duty.
All cruise cabins offer as standard amenities twin beds (some converting to double, all with premium mattresses, quality linens, duvet, two kinds of pillows), French windows (opening onto Promenade Deck), air-conditioning, spacious wardrobe, electronic safe box (in the closet), writing desk (mirrored vanity table with chair and make-up mirror), under-bed storage, en-suite bathroom (WC, shower, washbasin, hairdryer, towels, slippers, bathrobes/kimonos, Spa-branded premium bath amenities), unlimited bottled water, Yoga mats (for in-cabin use), nightly turndown service.
On all shore excursions are complimentary provided shoe cleaning and cold towel services (upon re-boarding the ship), unlimited bottled water (including Pandaw-branded aluminium bottles as giveaways), English-speaking tour guides, first aid-trained assistant guide. Onboard 24-hour laundry is available at extra charge.
Pandaw cruise deals
Cruise fares are inclusive of all shore excursions (with local guides, also sampan boat tours), onboard meals and drinks (including local alcoholic and non-alcoholic, international wines and beverages cost ~USD 5 per drink), Wi-Fi, domestic flights and bus transfers. Not included in the fares are international flights, visas, laundry, travel insurances.
Itinerary of Pandaw River Cruises
When Pandaw owned the superyacht Andaman Explorer (2016-2019), the ship cruises in Southeast Asia and Mergui Archipelago, with Indonesian itineraries leaving from homeport Benoa (Bali) and visits to Lombok, Sumbawa Island, Komodo Island and Flores Island. Another itinerary set offered voyages between Ranong (Thailand) and Rangoon (Burma), stopping in Mergui Archipelago and Moulmein (Mawlamyine). Signature destinations included Lampi Marine National Park (mangrove forests, birds), Naung Wee Island (Moken / gipsy village visit), Nga Man Islands (beaches, trekking, snorkelling), Kyun Pila Island (South Bay / kayaking, swimming, beaches).
Pandaw also used to operate (in 2018-2019) two "partner boats" (Amazon Dream, and Mahabaahu) deployed, respectively, on Amazon River (Brazil) and Brahmaputra River (India). In 2018, Pandaw introduced a new B2B (back-to-back cruise) itinerary program. The "combo itineraries" offer river cruising in Southeast Asia and India (also coastal cruising in Mergui Archipelago). The combo expeditions range in length between 15-21 nights and can be booked with discount flights and hotels.
Next YouTube videos are official (Pandaw Expeditions) releases that review company's river cruise itineraries by destination.
Mekong River (Cambodia-Vietnam-Laos)
Ganges River (India)
Brahmaputra River (India)
Halong Bay and Red River (Vietnam)
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