On Avalon Myanmar, entertainment comes in the form of enrichment. Shore excursions take place in every port, and they usually start early in the morning and conclude by lunch. Lectures take place onboard, covering a variety of topics about the Burmese culture. For example, you might learn how to wear a traditional Myanmar longyi, or how to apply the popular all-purpose cosmetic thanaka, favored by the Burmese people. Lectures are both entertaining and educational. Activities aren't always listed on the daily schedules, which appear in your cabin each evening, but the cruise director will make impossible-to-miss announcements over the boat's loudspeaker.
Entertainment is also brought onboard. For example, a stop in Bagan will begin or end with a traditional Burmese puppet show, where local entertainers will board the boat and put on a performance.
All excursions are included in the cruise, and most take place in the mornings. Like everything else on Avalon Myanmar, the organization is casual. All passengers leave the ship at the appointed time, picking up a laminated boarding pass as they head off. They meet the local guide, who is waiting onshore. When everyone arrives, the tour begins, in one group. It might be a walking tour or something that requires coach travel. A few are more active, requiring longer walks uphill. The cruise director will indicate that ahead of time. Headsets are provided that pick up a signal from the guide's microphone so you never miss what's going on. Most excursions get passengers back to the boat for lunch. Occasionally, excursions take place at sunrise or in the evening, and sometimes you might have a morning and afternoon excursion on the same day.
The boat's only bar is located in the Panorama Lounge, on Deck 2. Decor is simple yet lovely, with dark wood floors, cushy beige chairs, red couches and plenty of throw pillows. The showstopper is an intricately carved floor-to-ceiling bookshelf, created by local artisans. (The bookshelf serves as the boat's library and game room: This is where you'll find a small selection of books -- many about the region and some fiction options, too -- as well as games like Scrabble and Monopoly.) Just prior to dinner, the lounge hosts a cocktail hour, featuring two drinks of the day and hors d'oeuvres. While tables are set up for four people, passengers tend to bond quickly, and crew are happy to rearrange seating for a more social experience.
Every few nights, passengers can head to the Panorama Lounge after dinner for a movie -- something related to the region, ranging from documentary to drama. You won't find -- or miss -- a theater, casino or lounge for dancing onboard; many passengers head to bed early to be rested for the next day's activities.
The boat has a small reception office, located on Deck 2. It's generally unnecessary, as crew members are impossible to miss and are found everywhere. The boat's cruise director is the primary problem-solver onboard, and he mingles with the passengers all day.
Avalon Myanmar doesn't have self-service laundry facilities, but laundry can be sent out for washing ($2.50 for a T-shirt to $4 for dresses and trousers, for example) and pressing (from $2 per item).
There is no Internet cafe; free Wi-Fi is available, but the remote nature of the cruise makes it mostly moot. Expect to be unplugged for much of the cruise, though you might stumble into small pockets of connectivity, especially at the southern end of the Irrawaddy.
The spa on Avalon Myanmar comprises two treatment rooms. Each small room, located on Deck 3, is simply decorated, with cream walls and Asian screens. Each also has a cushioned chair, ottoman and massage table. Treatments include massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and body scrubs. Prices are low by cruise ship standards: You can get a traditional Thai massage (60 minutes) for $40 or a 50-minute facial for $35. The adventurous should try the traditional Myanmar massage ($40 for 60 minutes), in which the therapist focuses on the pressure points using any means necessary -- her hands, elbows, forearms knees and feet. Spa appointments are made using a signup sheet found on Deck 2 outside the reception office. The recommended gratuity is 10 percent, and it can be paid in cash directly to the therapist in either U.S. dollars or Myanmar kyat.
The fitness center is located across the hall from the spa treatment rooms. The small one-room gym has a treadmill and flimsy elliptical trainer, fitness ball, yoga mat, jump rope, foot-pedal steppers and a selection of lighter hand weights (up to 6 kilograms).
Avalon Myanmar doesn't have a pool, but it does have two sun decks -- one located at the front of the boat on Deck 2 (the Observation Lounge) and the other (called the Sky Deck) at the back on Deck 3. The sun decks feature wicker furniture and wooden loungers with thick cushions, as well as small tables. There's plenty of seating, and in the afternoon, passengers are apt to grab a nap while lounging and watching the scenery. The Observation Lounge features a large overhang area that provides shade and fans, while the Sky Deck is the only spot on the ship where passengers are permitted to smoke.
The boat offers no facilities or programs for kids.