Mother of all Halong Bay ships sets sail

HALONG BAY, Vietnam 9 November 2028: A new Vietnamese cruise operator Lion Asia will launch the first of two ‘President Cruises’ ships on the already crowded waters of Halong Bay, 12 November.

A second vessel will take to the water in 2019, but the first one could be named the mother of all Halong Bay vessels.

Claiming to be the “biggest and most luxurious cruise vessel” on the bay it will have 46 cabins and suites.

Apart from the double occupancy cabins it decks have an evening piano bar, spa, restaurant and two sun decks.

The 1200-ton steel craft measures 86 metres bow-to-stern, has a 13.9 metres beam and is 13 meters high, making it the largest overnight ship to ever ply Halong Bay’s waters.

If size is important for cruise goers then it’s better than anything Halong Bay has ever seen, or so President Cruises’ Canadian-born general manager Franco Muzzone claims.

It’s so big it requires an elevator to assist people with disabilities and the elderly to move between the five decks.

With a capacity to accommodate up to 120 passengers, the ship owner is counting on large corporate events, weddings and other special occasions to keep the tills ringing.

There are five non-smoking cabins and various cabin types based on size up to 30 sqm Ambassador Balcony and Premier Balcony cabins as well as spacious Presidents Suite.

President Cruises offers one and two-night itineraries with rates starting from USD450 (VND10,500,000) per person inclusive of attractions on the itinerary, meals and transfers.

A check of popular Halong Bay cruises on TripAdvisor flags Bhaya Classic and Premium Cruises at the top-end with a three-day cruise priced at USD434, on-board a four-deck vessel.

Halong Dragon Cruises sells a three-day trip for USD256 and the same trip on Scorpion Cruises sells at USD286.

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If you take superlatives as the measure then this new ship beats them all. It’s owners claim it is the most luxurious, biggest and boldest to float on Halong Bay. With 120 bunks to fill, this will challenge the sales team, but it is pitching for corporate events, incentives and weddings and there are more than enough in Hanoi to feed the mother of all Halong Bay ships.  But with the waters already crowded our vote would go to a smaller version more in tune with the bay’s World Heritage status and the environment, which desperately needs preserving.