Their arrival affirms Vietnam’s growing reputation as a top Asian cruise destination.
The Genting Dream, the largest luxury cruiser in Asia, with 4,060 Singaporean tourists on board, stopped at several Vietnamese beach towns this week.
It docked at the Phu My Port in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Wednesday after visiting Nha Trang, a popular beach town in the central province Khanh Hoa Tuesday.
The group of Singaporean holiday-goers then joined a city tour to explore Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s southern metropolis, and took a short trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels, around 70 kilometers (43 miles) northwest of downtown HCMC.
The famous tunnel network is an enduring symbol of Vietnamese resistance and bravery during the Vietnam War and has been preserved as a war memorial, attracting tourists from all over the world.
The Genting Dream, which is 335 meters long with a capacity of 3,400 passengers and 2,000 crew members, serves the Asian cruise market with a large number of restaurants and a casino.
On Thursday, the Voyager of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean International (RCI), carrying more than 3,000 British, Australian and American passengers, docked at the Phu My Port before departing for Nha Trang Friday.
Its next stop will be at the Chan May Port in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue Saturday, taking tourists to discover famous attractions in central Vietnam including the Hue Imperial Citadel, My Son Sanctuary and the UNESCO heritage site of Hoi An ancient town.
More international cruise ships are heading to Vietnam in recent years.
Last May, the U.S.-based cruise line Royal Caribbean International’s Spectrum of the Seas, which can accommodate up to 6,500 passengers and crew members, made its first Vietnam port call.
Vietnam received 493 visits by foreign cruise ships last year, a 20 percent increase from a year ago, to rank fourth among the most-visited cruise destinations in Asia, according to the 2018 Asia Cruise Trends report.
Japan topped the list with 2,601 visits, followed by China (1,021) and Thailand (581).
A survey by cruise travel site Seahub, which last year studied nearly 1.8 million Instagram posts tagged on various ships and ports around the world, named Vietnam among the 15 most Instagrammed global cruise destinations.
A cruise ship near rock islands in the famous Ha Long Bay of Quang Ninh Provimce, northern Vietnam. Photo by ShutterShock/Tung Duong
Last year U.S. lifestyle magazine Food and Wine named a cruise in Vietnam one of the 11 best trips across the globe for retirees.
The number of foreign tourists visiting Vietnam in the first half of the year rose 7.5 percent year on year to 8.5 million, according to the General Statistics Office.
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