How APT and Travelmarvel are meeting demand for Asia cruises

Brad Bennetts discusses the brands’ popular Mekong River itineraries for the 2024 season

How APT and Travelmarvel are meeting demand for Asia cruises

Unsplash/Anne Nicole

Guests on Mekong River cruises can explore Unesco World Heritage sites such as Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

By Rebecca Gibson |

Flowing from the Tibetan Plateau to the South China Sea, the Mekong River is the longest river in Southeast Asia and traverses six countries, including China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is also one of the most in-demand river cruise destinations in Asia.

Brad Bennetts, head of sales and business development at APT and Travelmarvel, attributes this popularity to the fact Mekong River cruises offer a “multi-destination experience that only requires one round of unpacking”.

“From fiery flavours and vibrant markets to colourful cultural traditions and serene temples, Asia is an unmissable delight for the senses and the soul – and in this part of the world, they all collide on the water,” he says. “Gliding between destinations on our luxurious ships while watching the changing landscapes from the comfort of your cabin or on deck with a cocktail, combined with the support of an experienced cruise director throughout the journey, is both an exciting adventure and a relaxing holiday. A river cruise in Asia allows guests to be intrepid but also to unwind.”

Both the APT Luxury and Travelmarvel brands will sail Mekong River cruises to destinations in Cambodia and Vietnam in the 2023-2024 season.

“APT Luxury’s spacious new ship, Mekong Serenity, has been custom-built to deliver comfort like no other,” says Bennetts. “It has a maximum capacity of 88 guests and some of the largest entry-level suites on the Mekong River.”

One of Mekong Serenity’s most notable cruises is a 15-day itinerary that will depart Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam on 12 January and offer guests “unique cultural experiences” in up to 11 destinations before concluding in Siem Reap, Cambodia. “Highlights will include dining at Vietnam House in Ho Chi Minh City, a sunrise experience at Angkor Wat and a traditional Buddhist blessing ceremony at a monastery in Oudong,” says Bennetts.

Travelmarvel, which is targeted at value-centric guests, has taken over operations of the all-balcony, 54-suite Apsara from APT. “Apsara will now deliver a five-star ship at a four-star price, heralding a new level of luxury for Travelmarvel’s guests on the Mekong River, and offering the best possible value in the region,” says Bennetts.

Bookings for the 2023-2024 Asia programme have exceeded all expectations, and Bennetts expects this growth to continue accelerating in future.

“Mekong River cruising performed strongly for us during wave season and enquires have since continued at pace as customer confidence has been building,” he explains. “We can’t wait to welcome our guests onboard and showcase the very best of Asia.” 

This article was first published in the 2024 issue of Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.

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