Halong Bay draws more cruises

HANOI, 30 November 2018: Halong Bay’s international passenger terminal welcomed its first ever five-star cruise ship, the Celebrity Millennium, owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

Ship officials told Voice of Vietnam there were 3,000 passengers and crew on board when it docked at the port in Bai Chay Ward, Halong City, in the northern province of Quang Ninh 27 November.

The cruise ship had departed from Hong Kong  carrying more than 3,000 passengers and crew to visit Halong Bay and other tourist attractions in Quang Ninh on a Southeast Asia cruise that concludes in Singapore.

Tourism officials said the docking of the first international cruise ship at Halong harbour would mark a turning point for tourism in Quang Ninh.

Large cruise ships previously had to anchor offshore and use tenders to ferry passengers to the city’s wharf.  The opening of Halong’s international passenger port changes all that allowing ships to dock at the port adjacent to a brand new cruise terminal.

The harbour is the first specialised cruise passenger port in the country as opposed to mix-use ports that also cater to cargo shipping.  It was licenced by the Vietnam Maritime Administration, under the Ministry of Transport. Sun Group has invested over VND1 trillion in the harbour designed to receive the world’s largest cruise vessels. It was built under a public-private partnership contract.

According to a report in Vietnam Express International the three-floor cruise terminal has a capacity to handle up to 8,400 persons at one time, or two ships berthed at the terminal’s jetties.

Officials said up to 10 international ships are planning to use the cruise port in 2019.

Quang Ninh province forecasts 12.2 million tourists will visit this year of which 5.2 million of them will be foreigners, making it the most popular destination after Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

In the first 10 months this year, over 200,000 people came to Vietnam on ships, down 2.3% year-on-year, according to the Vietnam’s General Statistics Office.

Halong Bay is hosting the annual ASEAN Tourism Forum, 14 to 18 of January 2019, an event that will attract up to 400 travel professionals worldwide and around 100 media who will meet with a similar number of travel content suppliers from the 10 ASEAN nations

(Source: TTR, VOV, Vietnam Express)