Travel

Cruise like a President through Halong Bay

Go on a 2D1N cruise at the Unesco World Heritage Site in Vietnam

It was a night of glitz, glamour and gastronomy.

President Cruises at Halong Bay, launched earlier this month, aims to provide customers with a superior cruise experience with outstanding service and sophistication.

This is evident in every detail throughout the ship, starting with the six-course dinner prepared by Michelin-starred celebrity chef John Burton-Race.

As beautiful as it is inside the five-deck steel craft, it is stunning outside, at Halong Bay, in Vietnam's Quang Ninh province is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

President Cruises is managed by new Vietnam's luxury cruise operator Lion Asia, with the largest overnight cruise ship in Halong Bay.

An overnight cruise could be the highlight of your Vietnam itinerary.

The journey from Hanoi city centre, where we were picked up from our hotel in a mini-van, to Halong Bay took about two hours.

The trip was comfortably snug, in the chill of Hanoi at this time of the year.

There is also a seaplane option if you feel like winging it in style.

At Halong Bay, the transfer from the private pier to the ship was seamless.

The floating hotel has a capacity of 120 people and is a picture of grandeur at almost 14m high.

Guests can relax at the luxury spa on board or take a dip in the jacuzzi on the 87 sqm sundeck and while away the time enjoying the panoramic view.

Musicians playing timeless jazz hits in the piano room add to the atmosphere.

The space on board ensures that you do not get that confined feeling that you may on many cruises.

This is a result of excellent space planning throughout the ship.

Huge glass panels and windows line the spaces in the ship, including its 46 rooms and suites, letting your eye focus on the stunning scenery of the bay.

LIFTS

The ship is also equipped with lifts, a feature planned specifically with the elderly and disabled passengers in mind, something missing in other vessels sailing in Halong Bay.

For me, aside from food (which was the best I've eaten on a cruise), the most important aspect of a cruise is the room.

As someone who's mildly claustrophobic, I'm often reluctant to take a cruise because of how cramped most of the cabins are.

But the size of those offered by President Cruises is impressive - ranging from 30 sqm to a colossal 130sqm. I stayed in the 30sqm Premier Balcony room and I didn't feel cramped at all.

Beyond all the frills, President Cruises' team of well-dressed staff and crew display a high level of professionalism, tirelessly providing top-notch service to all guests throughout the two-day, one-night itinerary.

Prices range from US$400 (S$544) per person to US$3,500.

They make their jobs seem effortless and there is a smile on every face despite the long hours.

This dedication is partly attributed to the fact that the general manager, Mr Edgar Cayanan, personally trains and spends time with each staff member to ensure both their professional and personal needs are taken care of so that they can focus on delivering the best of themselves on board.

And did I mention you'll have your personal butler too?

It was an experience fit for a President indeed.

To book a cruise on President Cruises, visit presidentcruiseshalong.com

TOURISM & TRAVEL