Compagnie du Ponant Offers Cruise in the South China Sea


The Le Diamant will be sailing 13-day voyages in the South China Sea beginning December 4, 2011. // (c) 2011 Compagnie du Ponant

Compagnie du Ponant is offering a 13-day “Hong Kong-Ho Chi Minh City” cruise in the South China Sea, with limited time savings of up to 30 percent.

The three departures aboard the 226-passenger exploration vessel Le Diamant begin their route where “East meets West” in Hong Kong, comprised of the island of Hong Kong, the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories and a number of small islands, before navigating between eight ports in Vietnam. Highlights include traditional temples and pagodas in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hue in Chang May, the Duong Long towers of Quy Nhon and a cruise down the Saigon River.

Fares are currently being offered at a 30 percent savings under Ponant’s bonus program, with greater savings being offered for earlier bookings. Prices range from  $2,495 to $6,709 per person, based on double occupancy, for the Dec. 4, 2011, Feb. 15 and April 2, 2012 departures. Brochure prices are $3,564 to $8,945. In addition, $400 shipboard credit per stateroom, based on double occupancy, is being offered for new bookings on any cruise if booked by Sept. 31, 2011. 
The cruise begins with two days in Hong Kong, where ancient Chinese culture is flavored by British influence. Travelers can enjoy dim sum in one of the traditional markets, scour small shops for souvenirs or visit cultural institutions such as the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. The ship visits the coastal city of Haiphong before continuing to Hanoi, ranked among the world’s “Top Destinations 2010” by Frommer’s, where guests can purchase silk in the historic Old Quarter or explore the remnants of the Vietnamese dynasties. Other ports include the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay, consisting of more than 3,000 limestone monolithic islands; Da Nang, where paths up the rocky Marble Mountains afford panoramic views of the white sandy beaches; and Nha Trang, a seaside resort located near the centuries-old Cham temple of Po Nagar. The final port of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, has grown from a small commercial port to a thriving metropolis that is the hub of Vietnamese cinema and theater.
The 407-foot Le Diamant offers three restaurants, three lounges and bars, a library, swimming pool, theater, beauty and fitness area with message room and salon. Two full-circle observation and promenade decks provide space for relaxing in the sun and open air. The 112 outside staterooms and suites have come with king size or twin beds, a desk, minibar, dressing table, marble baths with showers and L’Occitane amenities. The staterooms have all the latest technology including flat screen satellite TVs, DVD/CD players, satellite direct-dial telephone, Wi-Fi and 110/220 outlets.   
Included in all sailings are all meals, accompanied by wine, beer and soda; captain’s welcome, cocktail parties and gala dinner; 24-hour room service; and all entertainment, events and shows as indicated within the itinerary. Port charges or taxes, gratuities, optional excursions and transfers are additional.
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