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River cruise fans looking for the newest in high-end travel through Southeast Asia may want to consider a 2016 trip down the Mekong River on Scenic Tours’ brand-new luxury vessel.
The tour operator will launch the 279-foot, 68-passenger Scenic Spirit in January of next year, but the company has already actively begun marketing to U.S. consumers, hoping to build on the growing success it has experienced with European river products in recent years.
“River cruising is the hottest mode of transportation in the travel industry,” said Bill Spaeth, director of U.S. marketing for Scenic Cruises. “European river cruise inventory is growing and the demand is growing as well, but there are some obvious choices about where you can expand. The Mekong is a big one for us.”
According to Spaeth, Spirit will house 34 one-bedroom suites, each featuring its own private balcony. The vessel’s 860-square-foot Royal Panorama Suite, one of the largest suites on the rivers, will offer an outdoor deck with a private Jacuzzi and a dining table.
“Every guest also gets his own butler,” Spaeth told TravelAge West. “They’ll have four dining venues to choose from. All of our drinks are complimentary all day and all night, including beer, wine, soft drinks, water, coffee and premium liquor. We’ll have complimentary WiFi that’s included, [and] all of the shore excursions are complimentary.”
Spaeth referred to the Mekong as a boutique destination, but he said it had the three major components clients look for in an appealing river cruise: terrific history and culture, combined with an element of mystery and fabulous food.
“When customers are deciding where they want to go, part of the equation is always determining what they want to eat,” he said. “And customers get excited about sampling authentic cuisine from the region they’re traveling in. Southeast Asia has some of the most incredible cuisine you’ll ever find.”
Commissionable to agents, Scenic Tours new luxury Mekong-base product will travel from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Pricing starts at $2,545 per person for the eight-day cruise.