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Ship stateroom After so many days traveling we were able to relax and enjoy the AMA Lotus as we sailed down the Mekong River en route to Vietnam. The AMA Lotus carries about 124 guests with a total of 62 staterooms. We had the opportunity to upgrade from a standard cabin to a junior suite. While the standard cabins (226 square feet) are quite nice, the junior suites (290 square feet) are much roomier. The luxury suites (624 square feet) actually have a separate bedroom and two bathrooms. With the exception of the cabins on the lowest deck all of the staterooms offer balconies. The junior suites and luxury suites offer complimentary internet (although service was sometimes limited depending on the location of the ship). Complimentary Wi-Fi could also be accessed in the Saigon Lounge and on the Sun Deck. The feeling of a warm Asian colonial inspired decor complete with wood floors throughout was very fitting with the destination.

Sun Deck on AmaLotusWith such a small number of guests you really get to know your fellow travelers and establish a camaraderie. The Cambodian and Vietnamese staff are simply delightful. During our day on the river we relaxed in the pool, enjoyed massages, read up on future excursions and caught had the chance to catch up on the blog. They offered a cooking class where you learned how to make traditional Pho (Vietnamese soup) and fresh spring rolls. There is a small gym on board for anyone who felt that the steps of Angkor Wat were just not enough. It was a perfect day to relax and re-energized.

Made to Order Pho Soup The cuisine onboard was fabulous. Breakfast and lunch featured a full buffet along with the opportunity to order ala carte options. Dinner options included fresh salads, local seafood and traditional Cambodian and Vietnamese specialties. Complimentary sparkling wine was offered at breakfast and house wine was offered at lunch and dinner. The variety of desserts made the perfect ending to a perfect meal.

Royal Palace

We arrived in Phnom Penh in the early afternoon and took a short walking tour through a local market and continued on to the Wat Phnom Temple. Some of us headed back early as the temperatures reached in the high nineties - it felt at least a hundred degrees! Time to cool off a little in the pool on board the ship as we had the entire next day in the countries capital. That night we took a Tuk-Tuk to the Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) for dinner. The FCC (as it is known to locals) was the meeting place for journalists and expats during the Cambodia conflict and many of the pictures in the restaurant document that history.

Phnom Penh Market The next day we took a motorcoach tour of Phnom Penh which included the Royal Palace, the spectacular silver Pagoda and the National Museum. The king was not in residence but the buildings and the history were amazing. During the Pol Pot regime the king was under house arrest at the Palace and many of his family members were killed. Eventually he fled to China and returned after the end of the Pol Pot regime.

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