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Sailing the Cát Bà archipelago (photo: Heritage Cruises)

Vietnam launches “first boutique cruise”

The luxury journey by Heritage Cruises sails through the unique landscape of the Cát Bà archipelago.

Already operating in Vietnam’s Nha Trang Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay under the luxury brand Emperor Cruises, Heritage Cruises will launch its first boutique cruise in the unique Cát Bà archipelago.

Together with a new website and the first cruise photos on display at heritagecruises.com, the company is promoting through various travel trade shows and roadshows in Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America.

A member of the Lux Group, Heritage Cruises will launch the cruise on the Red River and the Gulf of Tonkin in May 2019, offering “authentic experiences for 40 guests aboard an architecturally designed boutique river and ocean cruise ship”.

Amenities on the three-deck ship include a luxury spa, movies under the stars, two restaurants, indoor and outdoor lounges, pool bar and swimming pool and 20 suites with windows to the river and ocean views.

Intimate atmosphere
“Like boutique hotels, boutique cruises are characterised by their intimate atmosphere and idiosyncratic style,” explains Pham Ha, chief executive of Heritage Cruises.

“They distinguish themselves from larger chain cruises by offering personalised attention and stylish, themed accommodation and a story to tell. We want to create memorable moments that focus on the local culture and arts encountered on the way.”

Besides offering a cosier atmosphere, the small size of the ship creates a completely different experience, both onshore and on board, he adds.

It can also access remote, less-visited places that bigger vessels can’t get to, leading to unique itineraries. It will cruise the Gulf of Tonkin to places like Lan Ha Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay and Halong Bay, complemented by on-request limousine transfers all the way from Hanoi.

Cát Bà is the largest of 366 islands in the archipelago, which makes up the south-eastern edge of Halong Bay in northern Vietnam. About half of the island is covered by a national park, home to endangered species but also with beaches, lagoons, coves, tropical forests and lakes and open for swimming, kayaking, biking, squid fishing and snorkelling.

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