New Halong passenger terminal berths first cruise vessel

By Phat Dat   December 3, 2018 | 10:00 pm PT
A five-star cruise ship with more than 3,000 passengers and crew berthed in Halong City a few days ago.

The Celebrity Millennium belonging to the U.S.’ Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, which departed from Hong Kong with more than 2,000 passengers from various countries, came for them to see one of the world’s wonders, Halong Bay, and other tourism attractions in Quang Ninh Province.

A luxurious modern vessel, Celebrity Millennium specializes in Asia and the South Pacific. If left the Vietnamese port in the afternoon of November 28.

Welcoming the first international passenger cruise vessel was a major milestone in Quang Ninh’s tourism development journey by opening up new spaces for international tourism and economic co-operation and development.

By entering commercial operations, the Halong International Passenger Terminal, Vietnam’s first specialized terminal built by a private company to serve international visitors, is expected to attract affluent visitors to the heritage city, further spurring local tourism development.

The first cruise vessel at Halong Bay.

The first cruise vessel at Halong Bay.

In fact, ports in many Vietnamese localities also berth freight ships, and so fail to be attractive to cruise vessels.

In many places, they simply serve as transit or landing points for ships and have poor technical and service facilities.

In many cases, passengers need to transfer to smaller vessels quite a distance from the ports before reaching them. This practice is a bottleneck hindering cruise tourism development and detracting from the charm of tourism attractions.

But since the cost of building a passenger terminal is huge, no locality or investor have put money into building such ports in Vietnam. Thus, Quang Ninh’s mobilization of private sector capital to build this kind of port is of great significance not only for the province’s development, but also for opening new horizons for national cruise tourism.

While it is expected to be hard for a specialized passenger terminal to break even in the first several years, it attests to Quang Ninh’s strong commitment to "going green."

This is a focal transport infrastructure project that will help the province attract more investment for socioeconomic development.

According to Nguyen Duc Long, Chairman of the Quang Ninh people’s committee, the Halong International Passenger Terminal will play a significant role in economic development and the public-private partnership model applied in building the terminal is an effective investment model that has been used for a raft of major transport projects in the province.

He expressed the hope of welcoming more international cruises and tourists to Halong and Quang Ninh in general.

Earlier, on November 22, the Ministry of Transport’s Vietnam Maritime Administration issued a document approving the operation of the Halong International Passenger Terminal.

The construction of the port began in November 2017 at a cost of VND1.1 trillion ($47.8 million) by Sun Group and Quang Ninh Province.

The facility consists of a quay, a marina, a passenger terminal, and an administrative building, with the 524m quay being able to berth two cruise ships at the same time, each with a capacity of up to 225,000GRT and a total of 8,460 passengers and crew members.

The five-star, three-storey passenger terminal measures a total of 13,500sq.m and was designed by Bill Bensley, one of the world’s five most acclaimed architects.

It reflects both Vietnamese and European cultures and architecture, resembling the ancient Hoi An town of the central region in its outer appearance while its sophisticated interiors bring to mind an ocean cruiser from the 13th century with wooden poles and steel and wooden ceilings.

The terminal’s walls feature a unique design and have 27 photographs depicting nautical charts and old ships.

The Halong terminal is expected to receive 10 international cruise vessels this year, laying the foundation for the province to usher in a new chapter in tourism development with the number of international arrivals set to far exceed the 5,2 millions benchmark set for 2018.

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