Cruise line chiefs reveal their favourite ports of call in Asia, and dish out tips on what corporate groups can do there for an unforgettable travel experience
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
â€śHo Chi Minh City is a pulsing city that retains an old-world charm despite its rapid growth. Beautiful pagodas sit next to vibrant markets, while food vendors serve steaming bowls of pho in the shade of historical colonial buildings. The best way to soak it all in, is to ride a local pedicab through the bustling streets. For guests who would prefer to escape the bustling city, I will recommend a Mekong River cruise.â€ť
Vice president, sales Asia
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
North Bali, Indonesia and Macleod Island, Myanmar
â€śMy top picks include North Bali and Macleod Island in Myanmar, both of which are accessible right to their door step with Dream Cruises.
In North Bali, be sure to check out the wonders of Singaraja City, the enchanting Pura Ulun Danu Bratan which is a major Shaivite water temple located on the shores of Lake Bratan, and the traditional Candi Kuning market.
MacLeod Island, which is exclusive to us, provides a uniquely diverse island adventure. It is a hidden and private island with untouched natural beauty and pristine beaches. Guests will get a sense of exclusivity and freedom to go scuba diving or jungle trekking. There is also a wide range of water sports to choose from. Guests can also simply relax on the beach.â€ť
Senior vice president,Â international sales
Genting Cruise Lines
â€śArriving into Vietnam is an experience on its own. With the intimate size of Silverseaâ€™s ships, we can navigate freely through Ha Long bay during misty, foggy conditions. Once we arrive, you will tender ashore and take a transfer to the Giac Tam Buddhist Zen Monastery.
As you drive through the scenic country side of Ha Long Bay, you begin to absorb the culture. Upon reaching the spectacular monastery, your cultural experience peaks. Here you can experience a fascinating lesson on Zen meditation from one of the monks â€“ an experience that stays with you for life.â€ť
Vice president,Â corporate & incentive sales
Phuket, Thailand and Penang, Malaysia
â€śI have two favourites. In Phuket, you will reach Patong Beach where our ship tenders. This is within walking distance to nearby attractions where there is plenty of shopping, food and beverage and relaxation options. I suggest that teambuilding groups go island hopping and snorkelling at Phi Phi island or sea cave canoeing at Phang Nga Bay National Park.
Over in Penang, the pier is situated at close proximity to George Town. There is a wide array of cultural sites, gastronomic and shopping attractions in Penang, which are easily accessible via our shore excursions. I recommend that groups join the Heritage Cycling Tour to Clan Jetty to view traditional settlements created by Chinese fisherman or the Habitat Nature Discovery at Penang Hill where they can enjoy sweeping views of Penang from a tree-top walk.â€ť
Managing director,Â Singapore and South-east Asia
Royal Caribbean Cruises
â€śYokohama is my pick, as the pier has a pleasant waterfront promenade which is a great spot for a stroll and for spectacular views of the Minato Mirai skyline. The port is also situated in the heart of Yokohama, so shopping and tourist attractions are easily accessible. In Yokohama, Sankeien Garden is a beautiful Japanese-style garden where you can view cherry blossoms and autumn foliage, depending on when you visit.â€ť
Director, South-east Asia
This article is part of – Events of the high seas, first published in TTGmice October 2018