Friday 8 September 2023

Heritage Line sets sail on maiden Upper Mekong voyage

A fortunate group of guests has become the very first cohort to experience luxury Southeast Asian river cruise specialist Heritage Line's first-ever Upper Mekong voyage on board its brand-new designer ship Heritage Line ANOUVONG, during a sensational voyage along one of the world's most remote yet captivating waterways.

Departing from the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Luang Prabang in Laos, this special four-day, three-night inaugural sailing "Golden Triangle Traverse" included all daily guided shore excursions, insightful demonstrations and lectures, an onboard expert guide, and full-board dining featuring classic Laotian dishes alongside international favourites. On the final evening, the ship moored in an atmospheric secluded location on the Mekong River and guests were treated to a memorable farewell alfresco dining event on the sun deck.

During the voyage, each day heralded a new and different adventure as travellers explored traditional villages only accessible by river, including several tiny river hamlets exclusively visited by Heritage Line ANOUVONG, which was named after the last Laotian king.

English couple Sarah and Jonathon made a last-minute decision to join the maiden voyage whilst travelling in Southeast Asia after seeing the cruise advertised on Heritage Line's website, and their feedback was fantastic: "The Baci Ceremony we actively witnessed in the small local village at the first stop was just thrilling. We travel the world a lot and this was one of the most exceptional, natural, and authentic encounters we have ever experienced".

Heritage Line ANOUVONG has just eight staterooms and two Signature Suites spread over two public decks. All cabins and public facilities feature a bespoke Laotian ambience along with local artwork, artefacts, and a French-Colonial finesse. The ship's cabins – ranging in size from 20sqm up to 30sqm - are the largest of any river-going vessel on the Upper Mekong, and guests can choose whether to enjoy their privacy in the comfort of their accommodation or socialise with like-minded guests in the lounge or on the open-air sun deck.

A solo traveller from New Zealand who joined the maiden voyage en route to Europe said: "I really liked the size of the cabin, which allowed me to take in the absolutely amazing river scenery and watching the shores float by. At other times, I sat in the lounge reading or sending emails and photos to my family at home."

Heritage Line ANOUVONG Is the seventh addition to the cruise line's designer fleet, setting a new bar for luxury river cruising on the Upper Mekong river in Laos. "We were delighted to finally welcome guests on board our first official Upper Mekong sailing, and over the moon to receive their excellent feedback on their luxurious floating home and the extraordinary mix of cultural, educational, and adventurous shore experiences on offer," said Heritage Line's Director of Sales & Marketing, Andreas Schroetter. "We are looking forward to introducing many more travellers to this beguiling destination, and beautiful new ship."

Highlights of the 3-night itinerary aboard Heritage Line ANOUVONG between Luang Prabang – Huay Xai (or vice versa) include:

· Visiting the famed Pak Ou Saves, home to 4000 sacred Buddhist statues
· Exploring unique local riverside villages, including unforgettable shore experiences such as a traditional Baci blessing ceremony, or the fascinating daily life and work of local farmers
· Discovery of the best Laos' sustainably managed elephant sanctuary near Pakbeng
· Daily sunrise yoga classes on the open deck
· Learning about the Golden Triangle's distinctive tribes such as the Khmu, Hmong, and Lao, and partaking in an onboard handicraft workshop
· Chef-led cooking classes to learn how to cook easy and tasty Laotian dishes at home.

Heritage Line ANOUVONG offers a series of exotic and educational three, seven and nine-night itineraries exploring the sights, sounds, cultures, people and cuisines of the Upper Mekong, one of the least discovered cruise destinations in Southeast Asia.

Longer itineraries include:

7-night itinerary from Huay Xai to Vientiane

Setting sail from the Thai-Lao border town of Huay Xai, this longer journey travels from the Thai-Lao border via Luang Prabang to the Laotian capital Vientiane.

Shore experience highlights comprise the same activities outlined in the above three-night program plus an array of additional exciting excursions in Luang Prabang and along the lower part of the Mekong River. Guests enjoy a guided city tour of Luang Prabang, a special gala dinner in one of the city's finest restaurants, as well as insightful onboard lectures about Laotian culture and history, a kayaking tour, a long-tail boat outing and the chance to visit artisans in their traditional handicraft workshops. Priced currently start from USD3354 per person.

9-night sailing from Vientiane to Huay Xai

Calling at identical ports and offering the same experiences as the 7-night southbound itinerary, this northbound sailing from the Laotian capital upstream to Huay Xai travels at a more leisurely pace, giving guests more time to enjoy the lounge, spa, sun deck and onboard cultural activities. Priced from USD4186 per person.

All Heritage Line Upper Mekong sailings for 2023 and 2024 (2025 available soon) are currently available for bookings. Detailed departures and prices available on or by contacting the reservations team at:

Each cruise fare includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, welcome drink, mineral water, coffee and tea, daily group shore excursions, entrance fees, onboard entertainment and activities as outlined in the detailed program, onboard wi-fi and English-speaking guides, both on the ship and ashore.

Beyond the Upper Mekong – Heritage Line's refined waterway voyages in Southeast Asia

While the Upper Mekong is the latest addition to Heritage Line's voyage collection, the cruise line also sails three, four and seven-night journeys in the Lower Mekong (Vietnam and Cambodia) on Heritage Line THE JAHAN and Heritage Line JAYAVARMAN, as well as unique one and two-night itineraries in Vietnam's beautiful Halong Bay on board Heritage Line VIOLET, and one and two-night escapes in Lan Hay Bay on board Heritage Line GINGER and Heritage Line YLANG.

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