Two luxury cruises dock in central Vietnam

By Vi Nguyen    February 20, 2020 | 07:45 pm GMT+7
Two luxury cruises dock in central Vietnam
U.S.’s Crystal Symphony cruise ship docks at Chan May Port in Thua Thien-Hue Province on February 19, 2020. Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises.

Two cruise ships with more than 1,300 foreign tourists docked at the Chan May Port Wednesday on tours to central and southern Vietnam.

The U.S.’s Crystal Symphony, owned and operated by Crystal Cruises, and Silver Spirit, operated by Silversea Cruises and sailing under the Bahamas flag, docked at the Chan May Port in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue. They have 900 and 400 foreign tourists on board, respectively.

Passengers and crew members of Crystal Symphony will go onshore to visit Hue, Vietnam’s former imperial capital, said Phan Xuan Anh, director of Viet Excursion travel firm, which received both the ships.

"It was planned that they would have a special party at the Imperial Palace. The travel company and the cruise company had prepared this program a year ago, but now have to cancel it for fears of crowding amidst the coronavirus epidemic," Anh said.

After leaving Chan May Port, Crystal Symphony will dock at Hiep Phuoc Port in Ho Chi Minh City. Passengers will visit famous tourist spots in the city and later, the Cai Be floating market in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang before leaving the country on February 24.

Crystal Symphony has been voted one of the world’s 10 most luxurious cruise ships by Cruise Lines International Association. It mainly carries passengers to destinations in Europe and Asia, including Vietnam’s HCMC and Thua Thien-Hue, Singapore and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, Silver Spirit had docked at Tien Sa Port in Da Nang City Tuesday, and their passengers and crew members visited the ancient town of Hoi An and the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture. They will explore the attractions in Hue Town and conclude their Vietnam trip.

Anh said all 1,300 people onboard the two cruise ships had undergone medical checks to look for any novel coronavirus infection or its symptoms.

Many cruise ships have recently canceled their plans to dock at ports in Ha Long Town in the northern province of Quang Ninh, home to UNESCO heritage Ha Long Bay, but said they would maintain their schedules in southern Vietnam, Anh said.

Earlier, authorities in Quang Ninh had been reprimanded by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam for denying Italian vessel Aida Vita over Covid-19 concerns. Following Quang Ninh’s refusal, the cruise ship decided to cancel its entire trip to Vietnam, which would have started last Thursday and taken it to Ha Long, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam has recorded 16 novel coronavirus infections so far, 11 in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, three in Ho Chi Minh City and one each in the central provinces of Khanh Hoa and Thanh Hoa. Fourteen have been discharged so far.

As of Thursday, the global death toll had climbed to 2,129 and confirmed infections topped 75,000, mostly in mainland China. More than 16,000 patients have recovered.

 
 
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