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Asian Adventure

Guests depart Miami on Oct. 20 for the “Colombia & Panama” sailing and, after a fun stop in Key West, head to Central America. In the vibrant Belize City, guests explore colonial houses, seaside parks and Mayan ruins, while in Roatan Island, the focus is on snorkeling amongst the vibrant coral reefs or relaxing for the day on the white sand beaches. Isla de Providencia is part of Colombia—its remoteness made it an ideal location for the former base of the notorious pirate Henry Morgan and now offers guests a place to explore away from the tourist crowds. Other ports include Costa Rica’s Puerto Limón, where guests visit the Jaguar Rescue Centre and Sloth Sanctuary; and the San Blas Islands, home to the remote Kuna people and ideal for snorkeling and learning about the lifestyle of the natives. Disembarkation is in Cartagena, Colombia and fully-inclusive prices start at US$8,095.

Scenic Eclipse, launching on August 15 and spending six weeks sailing along the North American east coast, is the world’s first Discovery Yacht. The Polar Class 6 ship, the highest passenger ship ice class rating, has 114 all-verandah suites range in size from 345 ft² to 2,659 ft²; 10 dining options – from Asian Fusion to French fine dining to a chef’s table to a poolside buffet; a 5,920 ft² spa with a well-equipped gym and separate yoga and Pilates studio; two six-guest helicopters and one six-guest submarine capable of depths of nearly 1,000 feet – to allow for explorations far beyond any done on expedition ships to date; a 240-seat theater for entertainment and lectures; indoor and outdoor plunge pools; butler service for all guests; and an almost 1:1 guest-to-staff ratio. The fully-inclusive fares include everything from gratuities to premium liquor and wines to butler service for every cabin. The only additional costs to guests are excursion in the helicopters, submarine, scuba diving and spa services (beauty treatments and massages).

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours has grown over its 33-year history to include award-winning, all-inclusive escorted tours that take participants to many of the world’s most fascinating destinations and, since 2008, truly all-inclusive, five-star river cruises in Europe, SE Asia, Russia and Egypt on its 15 Space-Ships. On August 15, 2019, Scenic is introducing the world’s first Discovery Yacht, the 228-guest Scenic Eclipse. Sister brand Emerald Waterways has seven Star-Ships offering European river sailings with an eighth (Emerald Harmony) launching this year for SE Asia’s Mekong River. Exclusive charters are offered on SE Asia’s Irrawaddy River; the Volga River in Russia; yacht cruises out of Croatia; and Egypt’s Nile River.

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Mainstream lines debuting on both rivers include Scenic, which launched the 68-passenger Scenic Spirit in January and has its first standalone Southeast Asia brochure. With a staff-to-guest ratio of almost 1:1, the 64-passenger all-suite ship with facilities including a pool and open-air cinema offers five Mekong itineraries through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. Sibling vessel Scenic Amber launches on the Irrawaddy in September.

“Our success in Europe has driven us to look for new, exciting voyages for our customers,” said managing director Chris Townson. “Scenic endeavours to be in keeping with trends and the Irrawaddy and Mekong itineraries were a natural progression to achieve that goal.”

Scenic’s mid-market sister brand Emerald Waterways exclusively charters the Mekong Navigator and for 2016/17 offers a collection of itineraries ranging from 14 to 21 days alongside a seven-night Ho Chi Minh City to My Tho cruise.  Excursion options including cooking and lantern-making classes, attending an imperial banquet and taking part in a traditional Buddhist water blessing.

In 2015 Avalon Waterways launched two 36-passenger vessels – Avalon Siem Reap and Avalon Myanmar – which sail on the Mekong and Irrawaddy, respectively. The line used to offer cruise only prices for Asia, but is now packaging itineraries with flights to make it easier for agents to quote to their customers.

Last August AmaWaterways welcomed the new 124-passenger AmaDara to the fleet. Sailing on the Mekong, all 62 cabins have balconies and the ship includes a spa.  The line is currently offering free flights and £500pp savings for 11-night itineraries departing in March 2017, subject to availability. Savings are also being offered on the all-suite Myanmar vessel AmaPura.

AmaWaterways operates in partnership with APT, and the Mekong vessel AmaLotus has undergone a refit. All cabins now have a balcony and there’s a new private dining room and Vietnamese-inspired cafe.

Viking, the largest river cruise line, operates a 56-passenger vessel on the Mekong and Irrawaddy and head of sales, Neil Barclay said: “It’s a great alternative for agents to suggest to clients who have already cruised around Europe, or for land-based clients looking for an adventurous holiday destination.”

By Jeannine Williamson

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Sales Tips

A river cruise is less tiring than land-based travel and passengers only need to pack and unpack once.

Mekong and Irrawaddy itineraries provide authentic experiences, exploring many places untouched by commercialism and mass tourism.

Suggest Asia cruises to active, open-minded clients with a sense of adventure.

The best time for cruises on both rivers is during the cooler, dry season from November to March.

Ships are small and intimate and friendly staff provide a personal touch.

Book your suite today! Contact your Travel Professional or call our Reservations Team at 855 430 4464.
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