Seabourn began taking travelers to Vietnam shortly after the country re-opened to foreign tourism. The company’s intimate, nimble ships offer a comfortable and convenient way to explore this fascinating country, where independent travel is somewhat difficult. Over the years Vietnam has formed the heart of a perennially popular cruise itinerary combining Vietnamese ports with calls in Thailand and Cambodia on voyages between Singapore and Hong Kong.
Seabourn’s Vietnam itineraries explore both its ancient and more recent cultural and historic aspects. Seabourn’s ships can navigate the Saigon River right into the center of Ho Chi Minh City, still fondly called Saigon by many of its residents. A short walk brings guests to the broad, Parisian-style boulevards of the city, teeming with rivers of motorbikes and minivans flowing past the impressive 19th-century French colonial landmarks such as the Independence Palace, the People’s Committee (Old City Hall), the Saigon Central Post Office and the Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral. More modern landmarks include the Reunification Museum and the War Remnants Museum, with exhibits documenting the brutal effects of the ‘American War’ on civilians. Other popular attractions for visitors include the Thien Hau Pagoda, the bustling Binh Tay Market and the towering Bitexco Financial skyscraper with a Saigon Skydeck on top. Night-time entertainment in HCMC includes folkloric music and dance at the legendary Rex Hotel and elaborate water-puppet shows. Two-day stays allow guests to further explore such surrounding highlights as the wartime Cu Chi Tunnels and the fertile Mekong River Delta. Adventure off the beaten path and take a 3-day, mid-cruise journey to Angkor Wat: A UNESCO Partner Tour.
The central Vietnam port of Da Nang offers access to two UNESCO World Heritage sites: northward over a mountain ridge lie the tombs and palaces of the ancient Imperial City of Hue, the former Cham dynasty capital of Vietnam astride the Pearl River. In the venerable Old City of Hoi An, a distinctive wooden Chinese-style bridge survives from its heyday as a Chinese trading post. Today it is famous for the fine art offered in its galleries, the lightning-fast tailor shops that can fashion clothing within hours and the colorful open market. Not far away are the stone sculpture workshops of the Marble Mountains and lovely China Beach.
Halong Bay is one of Vietnam’s most famous features, an expanse of the emerald Gulf of Tonkin festooned with thousands of fantastic karstic limestone islands topped by shaggy tropical vegetation. The surreal environment hosts a population of semi-nomadic fisher-folk living on sampans and trading in the nearby port of Haiphong. On your Halong Bay cruise visit the popular destination Cat Ba National Park for the sea kayak and junk tours that course through the island maze. From Haiphong, a crowded highway leads to the nation’s capital at Hanoi, where visitors can visit the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, the ancient One Pillar Pagoda, the notorious Hoa Lo Prison Museum and the serene Temple of Literature.
Seabourn guests regularly list our luxury cruise to Halong Bay Vietnam as one of their most treasured travel memories, with colorful, memorable sights, fascinating cultural insights and friendly, welcoming people.