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Vietnam New Addition to Princess Cruises Southeast Asia Destination

In response to a huge potential in its cruise market, Princess Cruises will inaugurate a Southeast Asian itinerary beginning November this year, and Vietnam is among its destination.

Princess Cruises has already coordinated with the local travel agencies and Vietnam Airlines and it will launch its new destination on a four-month cruise season. Sapphire Princess is set for a destination to Vietnam and Thailand which will take between three to eleven days. Its itinerary includes a seven-day trip to the two countries and a dock at Phu My Port in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province; and an 11-day Southeast Asian journey plus a stop at Phu My and Nha Trang.

Phy My Port in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province and Nha Trang City in the central province of Khanh Koa are two of the most famous international cruise destinations in Vietnam. Vung Tau is known for Southern Vietnam and HCMC as a favorite weekend getaway and as the “economic and cultural hub of Vietnam.” Nha Trang on the other hand is popular for its white sandy beaches and fresh seafood.

Diamond Princess is assigned to the company’s Japan destination, stopping at Tan Cang-Cai Mep ODA Terminal (TCOT) and scheduled for a 13-day journey to Southeast Asia and Japan as part of Princess Cruises’ Japan itineraries for 2014. The liner underwent a US$30 million drydock renovation in Singapore for the said trip.

Princess Cruises specifically designed its Southeast Asian destination to custom-fit the vast yet at the same time unique Asian vacation market. The itinerary includes stopping at seven countries and 16 ports such as Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and Brunei.

Princess Cruises Director for Southeast Asia Farriek Tawfik stated that although Vietnam’s cruise market is still young compared to other markets, the significant rise in middle class people and the increased awareness and demand for cruising signalled a positive outlook for the country’s cruise market. Based on last year’s figures, 193,200 visitors entered Vietnam by sea in 2013. This is equivalent to a 67% increase compared to 2012. By 2015, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) predicted one million tourists to visit Vietnam by sea. Based on certain factors such as passenger and crew spending; port and other local costs; and travel agent commissions and marketing costs, Tawfik further said that the cruise company’s new Southeast Asian itinerary is predicted to bring in a promising result to Vietnam’s overall economy.

According to Tawfik, several factors are still needed in order to improve the cruise market of Vietnam, such as a strong government support; and initiatives in regulatory procedures, destination development and port infrastrucutre, among others. Alongside with proper collaboration with other sectors such as travel agents, Vietnam Airlines and the state tourism agencies, Vietnam’s cruise market is foreseen to further develop and eventually strengthen in the future. Princess Cruises is a worldwide cruise line brand under Carnival Corporation & Plc.

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