One of Vietnam’s leading providers of luxury hospitality services has sailed into uncharted waters with the launch of its inaugural cruise in Lan Ha Bay, situated just south of famed Halong Bay.
A UNESCO biosphere, Lan Ha Bay is a geological extension of Halong Bay minus its large tourist numbers and home to 300-odd towering limestone karsts, emerald waters and white sand beaches.
Paradise Vietnam unveiled the first of two Paradise Grand vessels, the most luxurious overnight boats to ever ply Lan Ha Bay’s waters, on January 25, 2020. The second vessel will take to the water in April this year.
The five-deck steel craft measures 70 metres long and 13.5 metres across the beam, caters for up to 80 passengers and houses 39 spacious cabins with separate walk-in closets, ensuite bathrooms and private balconies affording vistas of the bay.
Paradise Grand’s plethora of conveniences range from butler service for all guests, a fine dining menu crafted by celebrity British Michelin-starred chef John Burton-Race and an indulgent spa with four treatment cabins, to live music at an elegant piano lounge, a vast sun deck home an outdoor movie theatre and adjacent sky bar with panoramic views dominated by the bay’s dramatic limestone karsts.
Signature dishes on Burton-Race’s menu include grilled premium lobster with special chili sauce, and grilled Nha Trang lobster with bouillabaisse sauce served with glazed fennel, cherry tomato confit and saffron potatoes.
Highlights on the new cruise’s one-night and two-night itineraries include kayaking in Lan Ha Bay, and trekking and cycling in Cat Ba National Park on Cat Ba Island, as well as a cooking class, Vietnamese wine tasting and sunrise tai chi and yoga onboard.
Passengers check-in at Paradise Vietnam’s exclusive lounge on Tuan Chau Island before departing for Cat Ba Island on the region’s first high-speed ferry, Paradise Express. With 198 airline-style seats and six round trips daily, Paradise Express cuts the ferry between the islands from 45 minutes to 15 minutes.
“Lan Ha Bay is breathtakingly beautiful and Paradise Grand makes for an exciting new horizon for us,” said Nguyen Cao Son, chief operating officer of Paradise Cruises. “We are drawing on the best of everything we have learned since launching our first boat more than a decade ago, and introducing new experiences such as Lan Ha Bay’s first ‘floating movie theatre’ with a large, state-of-the-art projector and capacity for up to 60 movie-lovers to watch classics and new movies under the stars.”
Ranging from 28sqm to 35sqm, Paradise Grand’s 39 cabins across four cabin types – Grand Balcony, Executive Grand Balcony, Grand Balcony Suite and Captain’s View Grand Suite – feature parquet wooden flooring, neutral and gray palettes and floor-to-ceiling windows. The Grand Balcony Suite and Captain’s View Grand Suite also have bathtubs. Families and larger groups have the option of connecting Grand Balcony and Executive Grand Balcony cabins on the vessel’s first and second floors.
The Paradise Grand ships are available for private charters, targeting wedding ceremonies, birthday parties, corporate events and other special occasions.
Since putting its first boat on the water in 2008, Paradise Vietnam has made a name for itself as the premier luxury cruise operator on Halong Bay. Paradise Vietnam also owns and manages Halong Bay’s first boutique hotels, Paradise Suites Hotel and Paradise Trend Hotel, and a burgeoning portfolio of restaurants situated in Hanoi, Halong Bay, Danang, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City.