AmaWaterways' 124-passenger AmaDara launched in 2015 and cruises on the Mekong River through the heart of Cambodia and Vietnam. It is similar to sister AmaLotus, with spacious staterooms, a lounge with river views, and an expansive sun deck with a small pool and bar. The major differences are that AmaDara has a second restaurant, and even the standard cabins have true balconies. The ship sails seven-night itineraries that can be combined with seven-night land stays. One can’t-miss land experience: sunrise at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
What We Love
Complimentary Beverages: It’s all included on AmaDara, from sparkling wine for morning mimosas to wine with dinner and cocktails after. And a supply of chilled, bottled water is replenished in staterooms daily.
Local Crew: AmaWaterways employs a largely local staff — enthusiastic and at times charismatic and even quirky attendants who add to the regional flavor of the cruise experience.
Best Known For
Stateroom Views: On AmaDara, all staterooms and suites, which range from 251 to 502 square feet, have a full balcony with two chairs and a small table, as well as a French balcony with a sliding door, to maximize your viewing pleasure.
Combining Land and Sea: Besides Siem Reap, the land portion of AmaWaterways' "Vietnam, Cambodia & the Riches of the Mekong" itinerary includes overnights in Hanoi and lots of time to explore Phnom Penh, the fascinating Cambodian capital.
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Who It's Best For
Adventurous Adults: These itineraries appeal mostly to well-traveled couples in their 50s or older, but be aware that the included tours sometimes require walking up stairs and on uneven pavement in hot, sticky weather — and riding in tuk-tuks, trishaws, and oxcarts.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Anticipate a Dinner Din: The main restaurant can get very boisterous. At certain tables in the middle of the room, the noise level can make it hard to carry on a conversation with anyone not right next to you.
It's Tropical: Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, insect repellent, and an umbrella.
Theresa Norton Masek is a Chicago-based contributor to ShermansCruise and a longtime cruise writer.