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Similar to the Egyptian model of a luxury hotel operating a cruise, Myanmar’s legendary The Strand Hotel introduced luxury The Strand Cruise last December. It is offering three- and four-night itineraries between Bagan and Mandalay on Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River. The trips are usually coupled with a stay in the all-suite Victorian Strand Hotel, which was built in 1901 and boasts a huge roster of distinguished guests, including British statesman and naval officer Lord Mountbatten, author Rudyard Kipling and singer Mick Jagger. However, the cruise and hotel are sold separately, so the combination is optional.
The Strand Cruise ship has 27 staterooms and suites, which include two 430-square-foot Strand Suites with private terraces; two 328-square-foot State Suites; 13 Strand Cabins, each at 237 square feet; and 10 Deluxe Cabins, each measuring 178 square feet. Charters are available for up to 54 passengers, and the company can tailor-make itineraries. The vessel’s shallow draft is designed to travel on many of the waterways of Myanmar and provides individually controlled air-conditioning and Wi-Fi access. It has access to many private moorings close to landmarks along the river.
A highlight of the itinerary sailing from Bagan to Mandalay is an exclusive mooring overnight at Ava, which gives passengers access to the extraordinary and elaborate Buddhist temple of Maha Aungmye Bonzan after the crowds have departed. In the morning, monks will join passengers for a special farewell.
The company is also the only operator on the river to offer visits to the constantly photographed U-Bein Bridge on both north- and southbound itineraries.