The morning boarding of the boats was a bit chaotic. It was first come, first serve, but first boat loaded, left last. It did not matter in final analysis, as all the boats arrived after 9 hours, almost the same time, as the boats stopped along the way to pick up more passengers. 3 boats were filled up in Pak Beng, but each got overloaded by the time we arrived at final destination. Booking On Line, is not an option yet! ;-)
The steep embankment was hard to negotiate, if you had sandals and heavy luggage!
I have come on board as one of the last ones, as my timing was already adjusted to Lao/Thai attitude. Easy does it. However, we still manage to get 1 st class seats!
It was fine to suffer a little bit with my fellow young travelers. The trip cost us about $100/for 2 (starting at Chiang Mai), and we had friends in Luang Prabang in every restaurant we had a meal, as the trip bring together a lots of like minded people.