Vietnam becomes popular destination for luxury cruise ships
On February 6, French luxury cruise ship Le Soleal left Saigon Port in Ho Chi Minh City with 200 French tourists.
The vessel and its passengers had spent eight days in the country, touring several places from the northern city of Hai Phong to HCMC, before leaving for Singapore.
Le Soleal was one of many luxury cruise ships to visit Vietnam this year, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported Friday.
Saigontourist, one of the country?s leading tour operators, for instance, was contracted to serve over 52,000 tourists and crew members on more than 20 international cruise ships from January 23 to February 15, it reported.
The ships, including Superstar Gemini, Costa Victoria, Azamara, and Celebrity Millennium, docked at ports in Ha Long Bay, the central city of Da Nang, and HCMC, the newspaper quoted a company spokesperson as saying.
Since it is now the peak season for cruise tourism, Vietnamese ports are busy with passenger ships, the spokesperson said.
Tran Chi Cuong, deputy director of the Da Nang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, told the newspaper that the city expects 66 cruise ships to arrive in the first quarter.
Thirty have already come, he said.
Le Dinh Tuan of travel firm Tan Hong Company?s southern office said his company has signed contracts with many cruise vessels like Seabourn Legend, AIDAaura, Diamond Princess, and Queen Elizabeth.
Phan Xuan Anh, chairman of Viet Excursions, which provided shore services for Le Soleal?s passengers, said it was the first time the five-star cruise ship belonging to Compagnie du Ponan had docked Vietnam.
It would return to Vietnam with more than 100 tourists for a trans-Vietnam tour this month, he said.
Since the passengers arriving by luxury cruise vessels are affluent, they demand quality service, Anh said.
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