One of the hottest river cruise destinations outside of Europe right now is Asia. Many North American-based lines have been slowly but steadily expanding in China, Vietnam and Cambodia for several years now, but even some European-based lines are beginning to take notice.
Beginning in September 2014, Austrian-based Lüftner Cruises will offer river cruises that explore the Ganges, Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers. To do so, the line will construct brand-new ships capable of carrying between 50 and 70 guests.
“The extension of our programs to India, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia marks a very important step for us and our customers,” says Dr. Wolfgang Lüftner, founder and managing director of Lüftner Cruises, “Until now there has really been no operator on these rivers capable of meeting the demands of the sophisticated luxury sector. And that’s why we’re now so happy to be able to offer exciting river cruises to the world’s exotic places with the best ships on the market. The programs on the Asian waterways conform in every way to what our customers and passengers are used to on our AMADEUS ships in Europe: River cruises of the very highest standard.”
Along the Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia, Lüftner will start its journeys in Ho Chi Minh City before embarking the Mekong Navigator for a journey up-river to Chau Doc, Phnom Penh, and concluding in Siem Reap with an excursion to the moving UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Wat.
In Myanmar, the Irrawaddy Explorer will take guests from Yangon on a 10-day journey to Mandalay. Along the way, stops will be made in Bagan, with its 2,000 preserved buildings made entirely of brick; the city of Monywa, and the village of Mingun, which houses the ruins of unfinished pagodas.
One of Lüftner’s more unique itineraries is their forthcoming voyages up India’s Ganges River. Sailing aboard the 56-guest Ganges Voyager, these eight-day journeys depart roundtrip from Calcutta. A comprehensive series of shore excursions will be offered on these itineraries that feature visits to Hindu temples in Kalna and Mayapur, among numerous other sites.
The Ganges is one region that has remained relatively unexplored by the large North American based river cruise lines, and it will be interesting to see how these itineraries perform for Lüftner.
More information on Lüftner’s new Fall 2014 itineraries throughout Asia as it becomes available.