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CAMBODIA – Siem Reap river cruising set to return after Covid pause

Peter Olszewski Khmer Times Thu, April 28, 2022

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Tour operators have readied new ships to ply on the Vietnam-Cambodia route. Supplied

Siem Reap is set to benefit from a new wave of river cruises despite predictions by pundits that cruise ships would disappear in the wake of the pandemic.

Globally, cruising is on the rebound according to a February report in Travel Weekly, where Michelle Fee, the CEO of Cruise Planners, said that in the first three weeks of February, her company’s cruise bookings resembled those of a pre-pandemic 2019.

Another company, Oceania Cruises, notched up a new single-day booking record on March 2, with reservations for its 2024 Around the World voyage selling out within 30 minutes after bookings opened. River cruises are also rebounding: In February2020 the Washington Post reported that global river cruise demand was “enormous.” Siem Reap was set to benefit enormously – almost a hundred different cruises were to sail to Siem Reap in 2020-2021, before being scuttled by Covid.

Now the river cruise companies are returning for 2022-2023. Tour operator APT has new ships ready to ply its Vietnam Cambodia-Siem Reap route for both its APT and budget Travelmarvel brands.

APT’s new ultra-luxe butler-serviced boutique boat ‘Mekong Serenity’, designed to carry up to 88 passengers, was  originally scheduled to debut in July last year, and will now  sail two itineraries from Vietnam culminating in Siem Reap between July 2022 and March 2023, as will its offshoot Travelmarvels’ newly-acquired  ship, ‘RCV Apsara.’

Another river cruise operator, Uniworld, has unveiled a new 43-day itinerary for January and February 2023, travelling through Egypt, India and Southeast Asia.

Guests will actually sail on three vessels – one plying the Ganges in India another sailing the Nile in Egypt and the third travelling the Mekong River and also culminating in Siem Reap.

Viking’s 80-passenger Viking Saigon also launches on the Mekong in August, and will sail between Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City.

SOURCE: Khmer Times, Cambodia Thu, April 28, 2022

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