Taking advantage of its ships’ smaller size, Azamara Cruises has modified its 2008-09 itineraries to take guests closer to several cities in Thailand and Vietnam. The smaller size of the deluxe, 694-guest Azamara Quest, which will begin sailing in the region in December of this year, allows the vessel to access ports inaccessible to larger cruise ships.
Azamara recently announced these changes would begin with its 2009-10 Asia season, but has worked hard to implement them sooner in order to create the ideal guest experience. Azamara Quest will sail to new dock locations in Bangkok (Klong Toey), Thailand, and Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam.
Bangkok (Klong Toey), Thailand
Azamara Quest will dock at the Klong Toey Port, located on the Chao Phraya River, typically less than 30 minutes from the city center. (This will occur on all pertinent sailings except the January 17, 2009 sailing, which will still call at the Laem Chabang port for scheduling reasons.)
Azamara Quest will be one of the largest ships to dock at Klong Toey, as other larger ships dock two-and-a-half to three hours away at the Laem Chabang Port.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Azamara Quest will dock at the Saigon Port, approximately five kilometers from the city center.
Azamara Quest will transit up the Song River, offering scenic views along the way. To ensure daylight passage along the river, Azamara Quest will arrive at the Saigon Port at 9 a.m. and will depart at 4 p.m. Other larger ships must dock or tender two-and-a-half hours away at the Vung Tau anchorage, or dock at the Phu My Port.
Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam
Due to depth issues in the channel, Azamara Quest no longer will dock in Haiphong, Vietnam, but instead dock at the Cai Lan Port in Ha Long Bay. Hanoi is approximately three hours from the port at Ha Long Bay, the same distance as it was from the previously scheduled port of Haiphong. While arriving at its dockside berth, Azamara Quest will sail through Ha Long Bay, well-known for the thousands of limestone islands that dot its landscape. For guests not wishing to travel to Hanoi, Ha Long Bay will offer a multitude of activities; the area was designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2000.
In Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City, the port time will be shortened to allow for the additional transit time up the rivers into the cities; however, the amount of time guests have in each city will be the same, since their ground-transportation time into each city will be reduced.
Azamara also is adding additional time for guests to explore Hue (Danang) Vietnam, and Sihanoukville, Cambodia. In Cambodia, Azamara will offer an overnight shore excursion to Siem Reap, the location of the famous temples of Angkor Wat. In Northeast Asia, Azamara is replacing its calls to Fukuoka, Japan, with overnight, in-port stays in Shanghai, China.