Halong Bay is bracing itself for its biggest and most luxurious cruising vessel yet replete with 46 spacious cabins, an evening piano bar, spa, fine dining restaurant and two expansive sun decks.
New luxury Vietnamese cruise operator Lion Asia will debut the first of two President Cruises ships at the UNESCO World Heritage site on November 12. The second vessel will take to the water in 2019.
The 1200-ton steel craft measures 86 meters long, 13.9 meters wide and 13 meters high, making it the largest overnight ship to ever ply Halong Bay’s waters. But it is the five-deck vessel’s sublime selection of onboard entertainment and conveniences and elegant cabin design that promise to impress its first passengers the most.
A Brazilian jazz duo will stage nightly performances in the stylish piano bar that evokes the refined atmosphere of a 1920s New York jazz café. An a la carte menu of innovative Japanese, Korean, and European-inspired dishes to be plated up at the ship’s fine dining restaurant. Renowned Vietnamese wellness group Kaia Spa will offer indulgent world-class treatments at the six-treatment room spa.
“It’s bigger, it’s bolder and it’s better than anything Halong Bay has ever seen,” said President Cruises’ Canadian-born general manager Franco Muzzone. “Our debut takes cruising in the bay, and possibly worldwide, to a whole new dimension with unsurpassed dining, entertainment and relaxation options so that time spent on the ship is hands down the highlight of the cruise.”
The vessel stakes a claim to being the first on Halong Bay to feature an elevator system catering to people with disabilities and the elderly.
The ship is also home to two capacious sun decks totaling 324sqm and 250sqm that each have the capacity to accommodate all 120 passengers, lending themselves to large corporate events, weddings, and other special occasions to a backdrop of the bay’s dramatic limestone karsts.
Ranging from an ample 30sqm to an immense 130sqm, the 46 high-design cabins across five non-smoking cabin types are bedecked with dark parquet wooden flooring and neutral and earthy palettes, and include walk-in closets and large windows providing spectacular views of the bay.
The 30sqm Ambassador Balcony and Premier Balcony cabins are equipped with private balconies while the Cabinet and Treasury suites span 35sqm and 38sqm respectively and offer outside terraces and bathtubs.
Situated on the upper deck at the front of the ship, the 130m2 Presidential Suite is the largest and most lavish cabin on Halong Bay with a generous private terrace, private bar and dining area, and floor-to-ceiling windows affording sweeping vistas of the bay.
A limousine transfer service with reclining seats connects Hanoi with Halong Bay on a new highway that has cut the drive time between the destinations in half to two hours. Arriving passengers immediately embark on the ship rather than waiting in a lounge.
President Cruises offers one and two-night itineraries with a luxury speed boat transporting passengers to a host of destinations around the bay including caves, beaches, floating villages and a pearl farm. The ship also offers sunrise tai chi and cooking classes onboard.
With more than 2,000 limestone karsts jutting from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, Halong Bay makes for a mystical landscape that lures millions of tourists each year.