Orient-Express’ new boat adds to Myanmar’s luxury cruise options

ORIENT-Express’ new river cruiser, Orcaella, will begin sailing along Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River in July 2013, adding to the selection of luxury MICE experiences in a country that is fast opening up.

Currently under construction in Yangon, the four-deck, 50-guest boat is christened after the dolphins inhabiting the Irrawaddy River. Sailing between Yangon and Bhamo, the boat will operate from January to April and July to December.

According to Eddie Teh, Orient-Express’ newly appointed general manager of Myanmar cruises, the new boat is suitable for both leisure and MICE travellers with its extensive facilities and intimate experiences.

He said: “The deck is large enough for 70-80 people, with enough space for themed activities and local entertainment on board such as movie nights, traditional dances and musicians. The F&B facilities are large enough to cater to MICE groups, and we are in the process of recruiting a chef to introduce guests to local cuisines particular to each region (the boat) sails through.”

Furthermore, both Orcaella and its sister boat, The Road to Mandalay, can be chartered in tandem to offer a total occupancy of 132 guests, opening up “a lot of flexibility” for bigger groups, Teh added.

Each of Orcaella’s 25 air-conditioned cabins feature floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open up to river-facing balconies. Besides the observation deck, there is an all-day lounge and bar, a swimming pool, a fitness centre, a spa, as well as a resident doctor.

With its shallow one-metre draft, the Orcaella will be able to sail the Chindwin River in western Myanmar to as far north as Homalin near the Indian border, making it the first luxury cruise to access this remote region.

Bookings for the new river cruiser will start in January next year.

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