A 56-passenger ship, AmaPura cruises 10- and 14-day itineraries along the Irrawaddy — or Ayeyarwady — River in Myanmar, formerly Burma. These cultural-immersion cruises offer a glimpse into this unique and developing country, no longer closed to outsiders after more than 50 years of isolation. Excursions include trips to the glittering pagodas and colonial-style buildings of Yangon, the ancient temples of Bagan, the 19th-century palace of Mandalay, and many small villages in between.
What We Love
Flavorful Fare: Be prepared to gain a pound — or 10. From morning noodle soups to lunch salads and various curries, the delicious, authentic (albeit modified slightly for Western tastes) regional dishes whipped up by the onboard chefs use produce and spices grown locally.
Comfy Cabins: AmaPura is an all-suite ship with staterooms averaging 285 square feet. Every cabin has a balcony or French balcony for easy, in-room sightseeing.
Best Known For
Immersive Shore Excursions: AmaPura’s staff and crew are made up of locals, and the cruise managers are also your land tour guides. From setting up rides on a trishaw or a horse and buggy to arranging visits to textile, pottery, and lacquerware workshops, they are eager to present travelers with a genuine experience of the local culture and people.
Photo Ops: Amateur and professional photographers alike won’t have an issue snapping memorable shots, whether on board AmaPura or on land. Sunsets and sunrises are a real treat.
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Who It's Best For
Cultural Cruisers: If you’re looking for a relaxing, chic vacation, this ship — or better put, this itinerary — is probably not for you. It is, however, ideal for those looking to immerse themselves in the area. The days are filled with stops at religious temples and shrines and visits to small villages.
History Buffs: Myanmar can trace its societies back two millennia, and its long history is tangled and complicated. Travelers can soak up a lot of it firsthand with visits to ancient cities, Buddhist monasteries, UNESCO World Heritages sites, and colonial era forts and buildings.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Brace for a Digital Detox: Saying the Wi-Fi on board is intermittent or limited is more than generous. Myanmar is playing catch-up when it comes to connectivity and many of the river ships are no exception.
Bring a Book, or Several: From talks on Buddhism and local culture to showings of films and cooking demonstrations, the staff does a great job on planned presentations, but expect plenty of downtime. Contrary to dated photos and other materials, AmaPura no longer has a pool.
Kristen Boatright is the New York City-based senior video editor of ShermansCruise.com.