With its inaugural voyage in January 1996 the Road To Mandalay marked a new venture for the famed Orient-Express. With the Union of Myanmar (formerly Burma) gradually reopening its doors to the outside world, the Road To Mandalay became the ideal way to explore the undiscovered beauty of this long-hidden land.
The ship itself originally began life as a Rhine cruiser in Germany and made her maiden voyage on 6th July 1964. Originally built to very high standards for its day, the ship was purchased by Orient-Express Hotels, Trains & Cruises in 1994 following a period as a floating hotel in Dresden.
The ship underwent a major refurbishment programme at Lauenberg/Hamburg at a cost of US$6 million. This mostly consisted of reducing the number of cabins from 98 to 72, and installing decorations that blend contemporary designs with traditional Burmese, plus a state-of-the-art sewage system to preserve the purity of the Ayeyarwady River. Once the refurbishment was completed the ship was transported, courtesy of a specialist transporting ship, via the English Channel and the Suez Canal to Myanmar, arriving towards the end of 1995. The Road To Mandalay was unloaded in Yangon and, after attracting a great deal of local interest, sailed up the Ayeyarwady River to Mandalay.
Once in Mandalay local craftsmen added final decoration and fittings including locally woven furniture for the Observation Lounge, and carvings for the Restaurant. Local antiques were also sought and carefully chosen to provide a true Burmese atmosphere on board.
The inaugural cruise departed Mandalay on 31st January 1996 and arrived in Bagan on 5th February 1996, guests included HRH Prince Michael of Greece, Helena Bonham Carter, HRH Princess Michael of Kent and HRH Princess Marina of Greece.
Today the Road To Mandalay continues to ply the waters of the Ayeyarwady River giving passengers the opportunity to see this fascinating and ancient land while travelling in traditional comfort.
The Road To Mandalay is spread across four decks providing passengers with luxurious facilities in excellent comfort and space, offering sublime views of Burma and the Irrawaddy River.
Inside this graceful river cruiser the emphasis rests on traditional comfort combined with delightful luxury. The spacious en suite cabins are fully air-conditioned and furnished with the most beautiful fabrics, finest linens and softest towels.
5 newly refurbished cabin types are available on the Road To Mandalay, all of which feature a small personal safe, telephone, satellite television, en-suite bathroom and shower amenities.
- Governor's Cabin
- State Cabin
- Deluxe Cabin
- Superior Cabin
- Single Cabin
No journey to Asia would be complete without sampling the regional cuisine, and on board you can enjoy an acclaimed gourmet menu of Eastern and Western delicacies, all served with Burmese courtesy and charm.
Buffet-style lunch is served on the Observation Deck or in the Restaurant in seven different themes: Burmese, Shan, Thai, Indonesian, Chinese, Indian and European.
Dinners are served in the Restaurant, at a time to suit you, and offer a choice of dishes to suit all tastes from the flavours of asia to a la carte menus. A selection of European and Australian wines are also available to compliment your meal.
At the end of a day of discovery, guests may also retire to the Piano Bar for an evening in the company of fellow travellers. Decorated with a mixture of light wood and Burmese lacquerware, the Piano Bar offers guests a range of delicious local and international cocktails while enjoying the musical talents of the local pianist.
A cruise onboard the Road To Mandalay is the adventure of a lifetime. Gently cruising along the Irrawaddy River, passengers will encounter astonishing natural beauty, timeless landscapes, unparalleled cultural heritage and some of the most welcoming and hospitable people in the world.
LIFE ON BOARD