27 October 2014

CRUISE NEWS: Asian updates

Looks like Asia remains the exciting frontier of the moment for river cruising. Heres a quick look at some of the most recent news coming from Asian rivers.

Design Suite on board the new Aqua Mekong in Vietnam.
Photo: Aqua Expeditions
Ship shape
Aqua Expeditions launched a third luxury vessel on the Mekong in September. The 20-cabin Aqua Mekong sails between Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Siem Reap in Cambodia and features five-star comforts such as walk-in rain showers, on-board spa and Vietnamese-influenced cuisine. Kick back and relax: with panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows, you don’t even need to budge as you watch bamboo forests, Buddhist pagodas, jungle-tumbled mountains and stilt villages float by. All accompanied by a gin pahit once the sun is over the yardarm, of course. More: aquaexpeditions.com

A Colonial Suite on Uniworld's new Ganges Voyager II.
Photo: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Suite dreams
River-cruise companies have been eyeing up India for some time, and now Uniworld has announced the launch of a luxury all-suite ship on the Ganges in January 2016, open for bookings late this year. The company will offer a 12-night itinerary between Delhi and Kolkata, including seven nights afloat on the Ganges Voyager II and stays at plush Oberoi hotels in Agra and Jaipur. With the ship carrying just 56 passengers, it promises pampering and an oasis to calm after exploring the colourful tumult of India’s cities, villages and riverbank monuments. More: uniworldcruises.com.au

Artist's impression of Sanctuary Ananda, Myanmar.
Photo: Abercrombie & Kent
Burmese days
Myanmar is the river-cruising must of the moment, with numerous companies floating ships on the Irrawaddy. Abercrombie & Kent’s new all-suite 48-passenger Sanctuary Ananda joins the flotilla in November. Its journeys will vary between three and 11 nights and, as well as plying the mainstream route between Mandalay and Bagan (and twice a year further south to Yangon), also explore the upper river reaches close to the Indian and Chinese borders. Rather inventively, cigar-making lessons will entertain on board, along with more expected yoga, meditation and cooking classes. Cheroot, anyone? More: abercrombiekent.com.au

Entrance to the Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China.
Photo: River Cruise Insight
Shore things
With all the excitement over the Irrawaddy, and new ships coming to the Mekong and Ganges, river cruises on the Yangtze have been a bit overlooked of late – even though that river remains unbeatable for length, scenic drama and culture. The good news is that Uniworld is paying attention and offering new shore excursions on its 2015 China itineraries aboard Century Paragon and Century Legend. They might see you taking in the Temple of Heaven or a kung-fu show in Beijing, exploring Suzhou’s canals or tucking into dim sum in Shanghai. More: uniworldcruises.com.au


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