La Marguerite Review - August 2018
Jane Bowen – 06/08/18
April 2018 | 4 Nights | Mekong River Cruise | Phnom Penh to Sadec
The journey started with a short (25 minutes) flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, followed by a 45 minute taxi journey to La Marguerite which was moored very close to the centre of Phnom Penh.
We boarded through the small Panoramic Lounge at the fore of the ship and were greeted with a refreshing fruity drink and cold towels. The décor is predominantly dark wood in an old French Colonial style.
Meetings and entertainment are held in the Saigon Lounge at the aft. Entertainment consisted of local Khmer folk band, crew talent show, or a pianist. Talks about the different destinations and choices of excursions take place here too.
The cabins are quite compact but adequate. We had a Sadec Balcony Suite which had a small balcony, only just big enough for one person to sit out, two would have been quite a struggle. This wasn’t a problem as in fact it was too hot and humid to sit out in the day, and at night there were lots of flying creatures about! So it was nice to have the two windows to see the passing scenery when in the cabin. All cabins have individual air-conditioning units which are quite bulky but essential!
On the upper deck you could watch the world go by on very comfortable loungers with a drink from the bar (only a very limited selection of cocktails), then cool off with a dip in the spacious whirlpool.
Breakfast and lunch were buffet-style with special requests for hot dishes. There was plenty of variety with different salads and soups always available,. Dinner consisted of a choice of 3-course meals included authentic Vietnamese and Cambodian dishes as well as European options.
Tours were all excellent with local guides and included a walk about a rural Vietnamese village and visit to silk factory, visits to the Palace in Phnom Penh, the Killing Fields, a tri-shaw ride and a walking tour of the town of Sadec after disembarking the ship.
The ships crew were mainly Vietnamese or Cambodian and provided superb service with attention to all our names. Some activities onboard included spring roll making, local fruit tasting and ice-carving demonstrations. For an additional but reasonable charge beauty treatments are available in 2 dedicated beauty rooms (I can recommend their facial as being one of the best I have had!)
The maximum passenger capacity is 92 and many on this trip were part of a longer tour which had started in Hanoi then they had joined the ship at Siem Reap. Most passengers were English speaking and either Australian or English.
Some nights were spent moored up mid-stream which meant both sides of the ship had unrestricted views of some fabulous sunsets.
The ship had a calm sophisticated air about it that made for an amazing experience being immersed into this south-east Asian culture.