Cruising Asia’s Waterways

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The Avalon Myanmar.
The Avalon Myanmar.

uniworld boutique river cruise collection
Debuting in two months in India is Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s new ship, the Ganges Voyager II. This intimate, 56-guest, all-suite ship offers very high-end accommodations, including the 400-sq.-ft. Maharaja Suite; two 360-sq.-ft. Viceroy Suites; two 280-sq.-ft. Heritage Suites and twenty 261-sq.-ft. Standard Suites. Clients booking the Maharaja or Viceroy suites get daily butler service, laundry service and a complimentary spa treatment per person. Public areas include the Governor’s Lounge with cultural events; the 360-degree-view observation deck; a spa/fitness center; and the East India Restaurant with menus showcasing both Indian and Western dishes.

Along with the new ship comes a new itinerary, the 13-day India’s Golden Triangle & the Sacred Ganges (starting rates $7,599). It includes seven days sailing the Ganges and five nights at three Oberoi properties in New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Among the captivating sights your clients will set their eyes on are Mother Teresa’s tomb and former home in Kolkata; a Verdic temple in Mayapur; the Taj Mahal, which on this journey will be visited twice, at sunset and sunrise; and medieval bazaars in New Delhi. Cool experiences include a ride on horse cart to Katra Mosque; visiting an orphanage; and seeing the sights of Kalna via a trishaw ride.

avalon waterways
Guests who want to venture into fascinating Myanmar can opt for Avalon Waterways’ 14-day Golden Myanmar & the Alluring Irrawaddy itinerary, with rates from $5,849 (regional cuisine, local beer, and VIP entrance to must-see sights are included). While sailing the Irrawaddy on the new all-suite, 36-passenger Avalon Myanmar, guests make themselves at home in suites that feature a sitting area and a 14-ft., wall-to-wall window—for optimal views of the passing shrines, cliffs, teak forests and riverside villages (who needs TV when you’ve got this brilliant world on display?). Hanging with the locals is part of the experience—from local school children and fishermen to monks—and there are also visits to a local market, a nunnery, an elephant camp and a pottery-making village. It’s a striking world of vivid colors and grand structures—made for clients who want to dive into the exotic. 2016 dates are January through April and September through December.

emerald waterways
For 2016, Emerald Waterways has added  a sprinkling of Asia itineraries to its roster. The 16-day Highlights of Vietnam & Cambodia and Mekong River Cruise (starting at $4,995) and the Mystical Myanmar and Irrawaddy River Cruise ($7,175), along with the 10-day Irrawaddy River Cruise ($2,895), represent the line’s first foray into Asia. The Vietnam cruise highlights include sightseeing through Phnom Penh on a cyclo tour; enjoying traditional Cambodian folk dances; seeing a traditional shadow puppet show; receiving a Buddhist water blessing from the monks at Wat Hanchey; and watching a performance by the Cambodian circus, Phare. On the Irrawaddy trip, meanwhile, guests will view the world’s largest uncracked ringing bell in Mingun; explore the former capital Ava by horse cart; get an up-close look at the temples of Bagan; and discover the grottoes of Monywa filled with hundreds of Buddha statues.

The pull of fascinating Southeast Asia has Tauck adding to its portfolio for 2016 with such itineraries as the 13-day Treasures of Southeast Asia on board the small ship L’Austral (a Ponant ship). After a couple of days in Hong Kong, guests set sail on a 9-night cruise along the South China Sea, stopping in Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Da Nang, Chan May and Ho Chi Minh City. Highlights include touring the 11th century Temple of Literature in Hanoi, as well as lunching at the city’s distinguished Press Club; while in Ho Chi Minh City, clients can opt to visit the tunnel complex at Cu Chi, used during the Vietnam War to shelter and support Viet Cong forces. Departures take place in October and November 2016 and rates start at $8,990 pp dbl (includes the 2-night stay in Hong Kong pre-cruise).