As one of the leading providers of luxury hospitality services in Vietnam, Paradise Group Vietnam introduced the first of two Paradise Elegance cruise ships recently. This new 200-ton steel craft measuring 200 feet long and 42 feet wide not only sets a new standard for luxury accommodations in Vietnam’s most famous natural attraction, but also breaks records as the largest overnight option in the UNESCO World Heritage site–ever.
“Halong Bay has never had anything like this,” said Nguyen Cao Son, Chief Operating Officer of Paradise Group Vietnam, which now owns and operates more luxury cruise ships than any other company on the bay. “We’ve always strived to be the best, and this move speaks to that.”
Paradise Elegance features an array of upscale amenities, including an artfully sectioned dining room with piano bar and a spa with four treatment rooms. And in keeping with their unparalleled amenities, Paradise Elegance is also the only boat on the bay to offer a la carte menus for both lunch and dinner. Guests have not only the freedom to dine whenever between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., but also, wherever — be it the sundeck, dining room or private balcony.
But what figures to be the main attraction of Paradise Elegance is the top deck, equipped with a circular bar that sits under a large shade sail and accommodates up to 70 people. Because of the amount of protection the canopy provides as well as the spectacular views, General Manager Edgar Cayanan believes the space will beckon guests no matter the weather conditions.
“The sundeck, as we call it, is roomy, elegant and sheltered in a really smart and sophisticated way,” said Cayanan. “I think it has the potential to be the premier spot for small- to medium-sized gatherings and events on Halong Bay.”
The cabins themselves are divided into two room categories, with 27 Deluxe Balcony Cabins comprising one grade and four Terrace Suites forming the other. The total of 31 high-design cabins range from 80-115 square feet and include private balconies, walk-in closets, rain showers and floor-to-ceiling glass doors.
Paradise Elegance offers continuous cruising, enabling passengers to see more of Vietnam’s most famous natural attraction over a 24-hour period than they could with any other overnight operation. To that end, excursions to various caves, islands and fishing villages are serviced by tenders that zip between Paradise Elegance and the on-shore marvels. The cruising also takes place during off-peak times, giving guests the opportunity to experience the bay’s most popular sites on an intimate level.
Every experience with Paradise Cruises includes ground transportation between Hanoi and Halong Bay in a converted Ford Transit Van, outfitted with six seats (instead of the customary 16) flat-screen TVs in the headrests and high-speed wireless Internet access. The transfer takes approximately three-and-a-half hours, although highway improvements scheduled to be finished by the end of the year are expected to cut an hour off that time.