FINAL POST - Final Thoughts

Posted by: Cyndi Hansen on Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 10:20:00 am

This will be my final post on our Journey back to Cambodia on a Mekong River Cruise.   We are back home and have started to organize hundreds of photos we took during this trip.  Nyah is anxiously telling all her friends and family members about her experience.  I’ll be posting photos in the next couple of days, so look for them on my website under the “photos” icon. 

Our experience was beyond incredible.   For Nyah, it was an opportunity to see her birth country and experience the Cambodian culture.  For many years, Nyah seemed so dis-interested and almost bothered by her physical differences she saw between herself and her siblings.   She was also disinterested in anything Cambodian up until this point, so I never pushed it on her.   Although Nyah is 100% American and proud to be, it was pretty cool to see her embrace her Cambodian roots.  The moment she was placed in my arms I loved her more than life itself.  I gave birth to her from my heart, and I believe this trip finally made her feel comfortable in her own skin.


So, for those of you who are looking for a different type of “travel experience” is a Mekong or even an Yangtze River Cruise right for you?   River Cruising has become so popular, they can’t build the ships fast enough and some itineraries fill up almost a year in advance, especially in Europe.  In fact, in my opinion if you would like to visit some parts of Europe, Russia or Asia, River Cruising gives you the ability to do so in a relaxing way.  I can’t stress the word “relaxing” enough.   Once you arrive at the airport, all your needs, wants, questions and concerns are taken care of when you choose River Cruising.  You spend more time “being there” instead of using up your valuable vacation time figuring where to go, how to get there, what to do, where to buy tickets, packing and unpacking…..I could go on and on. 

As for an Asia River Cruise, it is quite the experience.  There were all ages on our cruise, so it really isn’t age specific.  An Asia River cruise, specifically a Mekong River Cruise visiting Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand offers cruisers an opportunity to see parts of these countries that you wouldn’t normally see on a “on your own” trip or even an escorted tour.    So, is a Mekong or Asia River Cruise for everyone?  Probably not!  Here is my humble opinion, from my experiences on who would or would not like an Asia or even River Cruising in general. 

Who WOULD NOT like a Mekong River Cruise (Yangtze – China)?

  • For those who do not like to fly, getting over to Asia is no small task.  If you book your flights early enough, you probably could arrive to your destination with only 2 changes of planes.  But keep in mind, along with any lay overs, it is about 20+ hours of flying time, depending on where you may be coming from.
  • For those of you who are not as social, you may feel uncomfortable being on a ship with only 20-30 passengers.  The ships are small and you will spend time with the other passengers on the ship throughout the day. 
  • Our ship did not have a TV, which we didn’t care about.   But for those TV addicts, that may not be acceptable.  I believe there are TVs on some River Cruise ships though.
  • Wi-Fi is limited.  While traveling, there is limited wi-fi throughout the cruise.  So, if you need to be connected 100% of the time, this could be frustrating.
  • With River Cruising, the ship is not the destination.  It is the vehicle that gets you to the unique destinations for exploration.  If you are looking for casinos, elaborate bars, discos, etc., you will not find it on a River Cruise.
  • If you are type that like to wear your best heels and dressy attire, you will not find this on a Mekong River Cruise.  Tennis shoes, casual shorts, t-shirts and jeans will be your attire while cruising and touring.
  • A Mekong River or Yangtze River Cruise visits unique villages with dirt roads, livestock, and rural villages.   As a result, bug spray is a must.  This may not appeal to some travelers.
  • If you are a steak and baked potato “American Food” type of person, you would not like the food on River Cruising.  Although an American option may be available, you will mostly experience different foods, spices and flavors for most of your meals. 

Who WOULD like a River Cruise or a Mekong River Cruise (Yangtze – China)

  • If you like new and different type of travel experiences, then you will love an Asia River Cruise.  Even for the experienced, seasoned traveler, this is a memorable enriching vacation. 
  • If you are looking for self-discovery, then a Mekong or Yangtze River Cruise will open up your mind and heart to the experiences you will explore.
  • If you are tired of beach vacations, and want something different, you will never be bored.
  • If you would like to maximize your time while visiting a new destination.  A travel guide is with you every step of the way.   From the moment you step on the ship, to each destination you will visit. 
  • If you have ocean cruised before and looking for something different, then try any type of River Cruise in Asia, Europe or Russia.
  • If you like the idea of relaxing and having constant scenery, then you will love River Cruising.
  • River Cruising is definitely a “bucket-list” vacation or even an annual memorable vacation experience for your family.
  • With River Cruising, you get the opportunity to see the destination in a non-intimidating fashion. If you have always wanted to see Asia, but was nervous about the airports, traveling, currency exchange, the language barrier, then River Cruising will help you feel more comfortable. Being picked up at the airport, guided on tours, assisting in currency exchange if needed, and English speaking guides and staff will guide you along the way.  No need to worry as there is someone there to help you.
  • The service on Avalon River Cruise line was impeccable, friendly and always warm. I was extremely pleased with the service overall.
  • You will enjoy the culture and history at each destination. From museums, palaces, historical sites, charming villages, different cultures, food, languages you are unlikely to reach these places in any other way.
  • On guided tours, I enjoyed that everyone had their own personal headset, so it was no problem listening to the guide. By the way, the tour guides were interesting and entertaining.
  • Attire on the ship is casual. I really like the idea that I didn’t have to dress to the "nines" for dinner. And by the way, seating is where and with whom you like.  Wine and Beer were included and mixed drinks at a nominal charge. 
  • On board entertainment was of the local music, movies, and cooking classes. by local experts.
  • River cruising is intimate. With less than 32 passengers on a Mekong River Cruise, you really get to know everyone and the staff really gets to know you as well.
  • With River Cruising, each port is different. Different landscapes, different cultures, different food, different languages, different architectures, different history, different excursions and guided tours, and different shopping. Looking for something different in cruising, then River Cruising may be for you.
  • Relaxing and quiet - Although there were back to back excursions, guided tours, and sightseeing options, the mood was always relaxing.
  • If you are going on a River Cruise as a family, you children will receive more education than they will ever get in a classroom or out of a book.  Don’t hesitate for a minute to pull your kids out of school for this life-changing, educational travel experience.
  • If you are traveling as a couple, River Cruising is intimate, relaxing and romantic as well.  

Additional Resources

Overview of River Cruising -

Mekong River Cruise –

Yangtze River Cruise – 

Adoption Dedication Poem to my Daughter -

Finally, thank you to everyone for your kind words and interest in our journey.  And please feel free to contact any of our Red agents if you think you would like a River Cruise experience for your next vacation.  


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Posted by: sunny on November 25, 2015 at 6:40:19 am

It has been wonderful reading your Mekong blog! I'm so glad you and Nyah enjoyed the trip. What an amazing opportunity for both of you to share this wonderful experience! We were honored to have you cruise with us!
Posted by: Sandy Stemen on January 12, 2015 at 6:15:44 pm

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