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Sunday, April 2, 2023

Lotus Cruises Announces Ship Launch And New Laos Itineraries

Lotus Cruises, one of the Mekong’s leading luxury river cruise lines, has announced the launch of a new, boutique, 14-cabin ship called RV Mekong Muse.  Synonymous with adventure, authenticity and style, Lotus Cruises will welcome its new ship in October 2021, offering exotic journeys on the Upper Mekong River in Laos.

RV Mekong Muse will join Lotus Cruises’ existing vessels – RV Mekong Navigator, which launched in 2014 and RV Mekong Jewel, which launches in January 2020, both of which sail itineraries on the Lower Mekong, between Vietnam and Cambodia.  The new ship will offer 10-night itineraries, both upstream and downstream, between Vientiane and Chiang Saen in Laos as well as shorter, five-night itineraries between Vientiane and Luang Prabang or between Chiang Saen and Luang Prabang and vice versa.

The new itineraries will offer a luxurious cultural adventure in Laos. Navigating the Mekong River with its cities rich in French colonial influence and abundant flora and fauna, the carefully tailored itineraries and dedicated guides ensure a deep insight into the raw beauty of Laos. Ports of call will include the Laos capital of Vientiane, a peaceful city of tree-lined boulevards, steeped in historic shrines such as the riverside Buddhist temple, Wat Chanthaboury, with its enormous bronze seated Buddha; the villages of Xanamkhan and Ban Mouang; the market town of Pak Lay; the Kuang Si Waterfall; the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang; the Pak Ou Caves; Huay Xai and Chiang Saen.

Reflecting Lotus Cruises’ authentic approach to luxury river travel, the boutique river ship will feature romantic French colonial décor inspired by the spirited heritage of the region, combined with elegant spacious suites with modern facilities. Guests will be able to relax on the sun deck and watch the unfolding scenery as they cruise along the mighty Mekong River.  The RV Mekong Muse will have three suite types, including two Grande Suites which, at 30 sq metres, will be the largest suite sailing on the Upper Mekong River, with a separate seating area, marble bathroom and private terrace. Six Signature Suites will offer guests an airy 20 sq metres of comfort, with French balcony and floor-to-ceiling French doors located in the upper deck.

The six Vista Suites come with a French balcony and are located in the main deck.  Both Signature and Vista suites have a separate minibar and an elegant marble bathroom, which flood with light as the scenery of the Mekong rolls by.

The Grande Suites include a butler service, with extras such as daily gifts, pillow menu selection, unpacking service and scented bath preparation. All guests in these suites will enjoy a complimentary one-hour spa treatment and a private dining experience in the room or on the balcony.

The ship will have a library and a gift shop onboard.  The main restaurant will offer open seating and the lounge-bar on the top deck will feature an observation area with floor to ceiling glass walls and a full glass ceiling to allow guests to enjoy the stunning scenery from the comfort of a fully air conditioned spot. A spa will be available onboard offering a menu of deluxe, specially designed treatments.

The top deck of the ship will have a seating area with canopies, sunbeds, a unique herb garden and a jogging track.

Prices start from US$3,880pp, based on two sharing, for the 10-night itinerary. This price includes 10 nights’ accommodation; full-board meals; wine, beer and soft drinks for lunch and dinner,  champagne welcome reception, wine pairing dinner, speciality coffee and fine tea selection, daily sundowner cocktails, spirits, water onboard and during excursions; personalised aluminium water bottle for excursions; Wi-Fi in-room and public areas; a variety of onboard cultural experiences and performances, including calligraphy and crew farewell performance; the services of an English-speaking crew, expert local guides and destination resource speakers and authentic excursions with visits to communities supported by a Lotus Cruises dedicated guide. International flights and pre and post-cruise hotel stays are additional. Prices for the shorter, five-night itineraries start from US$2,520.00pp

Lotus Cruises’ RV Mekong Navigator has plied the waters of the Mekong since 2014, offering a seven-night itinerary between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap and vice versa, plus shorter four-night itineraries that sail from My Tho (Ho Chi Minh City) to Phnom Penh, and vice versa. Hosting up to 68 guests, the 34-suite cruiser features a fitness centre, spa, library, lounge, convivial dining room and an array of spacious, well-appointed suites of luxury-hotel standard.

The Upstream route is from My Tho (transfer from Ho Chi Minh City), visiting Cai Be, Sa Dec and the island village of Hong Ngu in Vietnam, before crossing the border into Cambodia, heading for Phnom Penh, Angkor Ban and Kampong Cham (transfer to Siem Reap). The Downstream itinerary follows the same route in reverse.

Prices start from US$1,619pp, based on two sharing, for the seven-night itinerary. Prices for the four-night itinerary start from US$777pp. International flights are additional.

Lotus Cruises’ RV Mekong Jewel, which launches in January 2020, features 34 suites with lavish high ceilings, elegant décor and luxury bathroom; a jet pool, infrared sauna, fitness centre, spa, hair salon and nail bar; restaurants including The Emerald Dining Hall which prepares mouth-watering international and local dishes and the multi-functional Opal Al Fresco restaurant, which features convertible glass walls, so that no matter what weather is on the horizon, guests will enjoy the feeling of al fresco dining; a sophisticated lounge and bar, serving well-crafted cocktails; and a sun deck boasting comfortable loungers and an emerald swimming pool.

RV Mekong Jewel will sail the same seven-night itinerary, from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, or vice versa, as RV Mekong Navigator.  Prices start from US$2,231pp, based on two sharing.  International flights are additional.

The beauty of the three ships lies in their French colonial stylings, modern amenities and hints of romance of a bygone era, amidst which passengers are attended to by a warm and welcoming crew.

Pre and post-cruise extension packages are also available in Siem Reap, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Chiang Saen and Vientiane for an additional cost.

Private charters are welcome on all three ships, for large groups and special occasions.

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