The Perfect Match

These AAA Members enjoyed an Asian river cruise with just the right combination of luxury and activity.

Ha Long Bay

Photo: Sherry Westernoff

Sherry and Bill Westernoff knew they had made the right vacation decision on one of their first days in Vietnam. While sailing in luxury on a traditional Vietnamese junk boat, they were awed by the limestone cliffs that tower over the blue-green waters of Ha Long Bay. “It was unforgettable,” Sherry said. “We looked out our cabin window and saw all the other junks with huge, unfurled orange sails. It was absolutely gorgeous.”

Months earlier, the retired couple from Alameda, California, discussed the idea of touring Vietnam and Cambodia with their AAA Travel Counselor, Linda Baehr of the Walnut Creek, California, branch. Baehr recommended a package from AmaWaterways, which operates cruises on the Mekong River that include pre- and post-cruise visits to Hanoi, Halong Bay, Ho Chi Minh City and the magnificent temples at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

For Sherry, 65, a retired AAA Travel manager, and Bill, 72, a retired export marketing manager, visiting floating markets on shore excursions and meeting locals in fishing villages perched along the Mekong River were highlights of the trip aboard the AmaDara.

Angkor Wat

Photo: Sherry Westernoff

But it was an early-morning visit to Angkor Wat—an experience Baehr said the Westernoffs couldn’t miss—that stole the show. “We went at dawn to see the sunrise, and it was magical,” Sherry says. “You’re in an amazing, ancient setting, looking at temples as the sun comes up. It was definitely worth getting up very early for.”

The couple also relished the spacious cabins aboard the AmaDara—which come with twin balconies, a French balcony or a full balcony—and the ship’s onboard dining, which featured continental fare and Asian cuisine.

“We like smaller ships because they feel more personal and you can get to know people easily,” said Sherry. “And the shore excursions were excellent. They offered different choices based on activity level at each port of call. You could be as active as you wanted to be.”

Soon after they returned from their Mekong River cruise aboard the AmaDara, Sherry and Bill booked another AmaWaterways cruise trip—a Paris stay combined with a roundtrip river cruise from Paris to Normandy.

Member story originally published in the Fall 2016 issue of AAA Traveler.
Read more about cruising the Mekong with AmaWaterways.

Ready for a river cruise on the Mekong? Call 877-396-7159 to contact a AAA Travel Counselor or browse the options online.

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Marco Ruiz, AAA Travel Counselor, Monterey, Calif.

I love to suggest Italy and Spain because of the culture and the flair of the people–their fashions, language and way of life. They take time to enjoy life's pleasures. When you're there, you feel it, too.

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