The largest and most luxurious cruising vessel to ever ply Halong Bay’s waters has impressed its inaugural passengers with its elegant cabins, evening piano bar, expansive sun decks, spa and fine dining.
New Vietnamese luxury cruise operator Lion Asia put the first of two President Cruises ships on the water on November 15. Measuring 86 meters long, 13.9 meters wide and 13 meters high, the five-deck 1200-ton steel craft is the largest overnight ship to debut on the UNESCO World-Heritage listed site.
President Cruises’ Canadian-born General Manager Franco Muzzone welcomed aboard more than 80 passengers from Vietnam and around the globe, including from North America, Europe, and East Asia, for the ship’s maiden voyage on November 15, marking an exciting new chapter for Halong Bay.
“I’m absolutely blown away by my first experience in Halong Bay,” said Jennifer Hardley from Surrey, UK. “I’ve spent a lot of the cruise on the sun decks as it’s really hard to claw yourself away from the incredible views here, especially at sunset with cocktails. Everything about the ship is exceptional. Definitely a must-do on anyone’s bucket list.”
In the elegant piano bar evoking the refined atmosphere of a 1920s New York jazz café, a jazz duo stages performances nightly as guest are treated to free flow after-dinner drinks. Acclaimed Vietnamese wellness group Kaia Spa offers indulgent treatments at the six-treatment room spa.The vessel’s finding dining restaurant has unveiled an a la carte menu of delectable Japanese, Korean, and European-inspired dishes.
The vessel’s two huge sun decks totaling 324sqm and 250sqm lend themselves to large corporate events, weddings, and other special occasions to a backdrop of the bay’s dramatic limestone karsts.
“When it comes to redefining luxury in one of the world’s most stunning natural settings, our new President Cruise is full steam ahead with our unrivalled entertainment, dining and relaxation options,” said Muzzone.
All of the 46 high-design cabins across five cabin types feature walk-in robes and large windows that take advantage of the spectacular surrounds. 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 130sqm Presidential Suite is the largest cabin on Halong Bay with a capacious private terrace, intimate dining area, private bar and floor-to-ceiling windows ushering in stunning vistas of the bay.
As part of President Cruises’ one and two-night itineraries, a luxury speed boat transports passengers to an array of destinations around the bay including caves, beaches, floating villages and an islet offering wrap-around views. Sunrise tai chi, cooking classes and squid fishing are also on offer.
A limousine transfer service connects Hanoi with Halong Bay on a new highway that has slashed the drive time between the destinations in half to two hours. Arriving passengers immediately embark on the ship rather than waiting in a lounge. The vessel is also the first on Halong Bay to feature an elevator system catering to people with disabilities and the elderly.
President Cruises’ rates start from USD 450 (VND 10,500,000) per person with the Presidential Suite priced at USD 7800 (VND 181,000,000) inclusive of attractions on the itinerary, meals and transfers.