Six-star cruise ship docks in Ha Long Bay - 23/10/2009
Some 641 passengers aboard the luxury cruiser Seven Seas Mariner berthed in northern Ha Long Bay on Monday as part of its tour through coastal Vietnam until Saturday.
According to HCMC-based tourist firm Tan Hong Travel Co., which provides land services for the ship, most of the Seven Seas Mariner’s passengers were from the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
The visit is part of the ship’s 46-night cruise from Hong Kong to Auckland, New Zealand. Prices for high-end trip start at US$20,995 per person.
Passengers boarding the cruise, departing on October 17 from Hong Kong, were scheduled to spend two days exploring UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay in northern Vietnam on Monday and Tuesday this week.
Some 47 tourists also chartered two private airplanes to visit Hanoi before the ship makes a stop in the former imperial city of Hue in the central region the next day.
The medium-size luxury vessel is due to dock in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday, the last stop of its tour of Vietnam, allowing passengers and crew members to explore the country’s largest city until Saturday.
The world's first all-suite, all-balcony ship, Seven Seas Mariner, is one of the four vessels managed by six-star U.S.-based cruise line Regent Seven Seas Cruise whose ships bring guests to more than 300 ports on all seven continents, including Antarctica.
The untapped potential of Vietnam’s sea tourism due to poor tourist services and a lack of port facilities has been a hot topic among tourism authorities and business.
Sea arrivals currently account for about five to six percent of total visitor arrivals.
Vietnam welcomed 57,738 sea tourists in the first nine months of 2009, down 52.5 percent year-on-year.
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