The Athena cruise ship of Portugal’s Classic International Cruises will visit Vietnam next month for its only visit of the year in preparation for a plan to visit the country every two weeks in 2011.
Saigontourist Travel Service Co., the local travel firm responsible for arranging all services for the cruise ship in the country, said the Athena will bring 800 cruise passengers and crew members for a two-day visit starting on March 1.
Tourists from the ship, mostly from Australia, will visit tourist sites in HCMC and the Mekong Delta city of My Tho.
Saigontourist and Classic International Cruises are negotiating for the Athena to make regular trips to Vietnam next year, mainly to major destinations like HCMC, Nha Trang, Danang and Halong Bay.
The Athena is one of three new international cruise ships to bring foreigners to the country this year along with the Spirit of Adventure and the Voyages of Discovery.
Saigontourist said that after a year of declining business in 2009, cruise passengers were increasing in the first months of 2010. The company has received around 10,000 foreign cruise passengers this year, up nearly 8% year-on-year.
Saigontourist on Tuesday welcomed around 1,250 passengers and crew of the five-star Costa Allegra cruise ship at HCMC’s NaviOil Port. The ship is bringing European tourists to visit attractions in HCMC, Danang, Hoi An, My Son and Hue and will leave the country on Thursday for China’s Sanya.