ROYAL CITY AND PERFUME RIVER
Experience the staggering diversity of Vietnam through iconic attractions such as the Royal Citadel and a Perfume River cruise in Hue, a heritage tour of traditional Hoi An, and an exploration of the famed Cham Museum in Da Nang.
DAY ONE - March 25th, 2014
Leave the ship for Hue, or Thuan Hoa - the Imperial City of the Nguyen Emperors. Surrounded by the rice fields of Central Vietnam between the fertile Red River and Mekong Deltas, this prosperous city was selected as the headquarters of the Nguyen Lord in the 16th century. In 1802, Hue was named Vietnam's capital city following Nguyen Anh's defeat of the Tay Son, and ascension to the throne as Gia Long. During his reign, King Gia Long (1762-1819) was credited with building and fortifying Hue, thus laying the groundwork for successive kings and future generations.
Upon arrival in Hue, you will proceed for an inside visit to the Royal Citadel. Originally constructed by Emperor Gia Long in 1801 and later enhanced by other emperors, the Royal Citadel is an imposing square-shaped complex with a circumference of more than six miles, surrounded by a defensive moat.
Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the citadel is comprised of three circles of access, which function as citadels within citadels. Your tour begins at the Noon Gate, where important announcements were once made, such as the names of new Doctors of Philosophy and the beginning of the new calendar. Then, you will proceed to the Palace of Supreme, whose regal columns and lavish furnishings have been restored to their original grandeur. Finally, you will enter the citadel's Imperial Enclosure where the emperor's official functions were carried out.
No attraction is more symbolic of Hue than the Perfume River, which you will experience up close while cruising on a dragon boat following lunch at a local restaurant. These ubiquitous boats are named for the brightly colored, fire-breathing dragons painted along their sides.
Continuing on, you will soon arrive at the Heavenly Lady Pagoda, also known as the Thien Mu Pagoda. Constructed in 1601 by Lord Nguyen Hoang, governor of the Thuan Hoa Province, the serene pagoda is one of the most sacred in Vietnam. Its striking tower, which was added in 1884, has become a symbol of the city. While here, you may see Buddhist monks tending to the bonsai garden and delivering incantations in the main temple.
Next you will visit the grandiose tomb of Tu Duc, Emperor of Vietnam from 1848-1883. Although he was a dedicated Confucian, his unusually indulgent lifestyle included lavish feasts, more than 100 wives and girlfriends, and tea made with water collected as dew from lotus leaves. In an attempt to foil grave robbers, his body was never interred inside the tomb, and all those involved in his burial were beheaded. The location of his body and his personal treasures remains a mystery.
Your tour concludes at the Conical Hat Village, or Phu Cam Village, where many of the villagers practice the craft of making conical hats from rattan, palm leaves and bamboo. These colorful hats often depict city scenes of bridges, pagodas and dragon boats on the Perfume River. In addition to offering protection from the sun and rain, the hats are fashionable and have served as a source of inspiration for generations of poets and writers.
Check in Hue Riverside resort where you will enjoy dinner and spend the remainder of the evening at leisure.
DAY TWO - March 26th, 2014
After breakfast at the hotel, you will depart for Hoi An, a World Cultural Heritage town. Along the way, you will drive through the longest tunnel in Vietnam and visit the Marble Mountains, where you will observe artists carving beautiful sculptures and other art objects out of marble and sandstone. It can be a slow, painstaking process often taking months to complete one piece. A stop is also made in Da Nang at the esteemed French-built Cham Museum, which contains the world's largest collection of sculpture created by the Cham people in the 4th to the 14 centuries.
Upon reaching Hoi An, Vietnam's principal trading center in the 17th and 18th centuries, you will find a town with a fascinating mix of architectural influences, including Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese. Following lunch at a local restaurant, a guided walk takes you through a wealth of attractions that include a traditional local market, the Hoi An museum, a merchant's house, and the Phuoc Kien Temple, which was devoted to a sea goddess.
After you visit of Hoi An, you will be transferred to the Furama Resort in Da Nang. Here you will have an evening at leisure and dinner will be on your own.
DAY THREE - March 27th, 2014
After breakfast, transfer to Da Nang Airport for your flight to Saigon where you will be met and transferred back to the ship.
Overland Program Step by Step:
Please note: The order of sites visited may vary to avoid congestion. The timings and flight indicated are only approximate, and are given here for general reference purposes and are subject to change.
10:15am Meet your tour guide & driver at the pier side. Transfer to Hue
12:00pm Visit the citadel
1:15pm Lunch at local restaurant. Choice of one soft drink or one local beer
or one bottle of water
2:00pm Visit Thien Mu pagoda
2:30pm Dragon boat ride
3:15pm Visit the tomb
4:30pm Check-in to your hotel, free time before dinner
7:00pm Dinner at the resort with one soft drink or a local beer.
Overnight at Hue Riverside Resort or similar hotel
7:00am Buffet Breakfast at the hotel
8:00am Leave the hotel for Da nang
10:30am Arrive in Da nang. Visit the Cham museum
11:00am Drive to Marble Mountain for a visit. Visit a marble workshop
11:45am Drive to Hoi An
12:15pm Lunch at a local restaurant. Choice of one soft drink or one local
beer or one bottle of water
1:15pm Visit Hoi An town including museum, market, pagoda, Japanese covered
bridge and old homes. Also free time to shop around the town.
4:00pm Transfer to the resort for check-in and relaxation. Dinner on own
Overnight at the Furama Resort or similar hotel
7:30am Breakfast at hotel and check out. Transfer to the airport for your
departure for Ho Chi Minh City Flight VN 1313 (subject to change)
11:15am Departure of your flight
12:25pm Arrival in Saigon
12:45pm Pick up at the airport and transfer directly to the ship down town.
2:45pm Approximate arrival back to the ship
Temperatures at this time of the year typically range from 22° Celsius (71° Fahrenheit) to 30° Celsius (86° Fahrenheit).
The U.S. Dollar and Vietnamese Dong are widely accepted.
Carry-on bag allowance - One carry-on per person in Economy Class with a maximum weight of 7kg (15 lbs.) and the sum of the three dimensions not to exceed 115 centimeters (56 x 36 x 23 centimeters) or 45 inches (22 x 14 x 9 inches). If your carry-on baggage exceeds the quantity, weight and dimensions as specified above, Vietnam Airlines reserves the right to transport it as checked baggage.
Checked baggage allowance - One suitcase per person with a maximum of 20 kg (44 lbs.)
Documents and Visa Requirements:
Passports are required.
Hue Riverside Resort or similar in Hue
Furama Resort or similar in Da Nang
Should similar hotels be required due to unforeseen circumstances, they will be of equal ratings and standards.
" Pack one small overnight bag with light clothing for your overland
trip. No dress code restrictions.
" U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere. One U.S. dollar = 20,000
" Bring sun protection, insect repellant, a hat and comfortable walking
" Shorts are accepted at all complexes
" Do not check in your valuables, documents, portable computers,
cameras, and other electronics. They should always be kept in your
" One night accommodation in Hue and one night in Da Nang
" Two breakfasts, two lunches, and one dinner with one local beer or
one mineral water or one soft drink
" Sightseeing entrance fees indicated in the itinerary
" Air-conditioned buses
" English-speaking guides
" Bottled water on the buses
" Dragon boat cruise on the Perfume River
" Economy-class flight from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
" Meals and drinks not listed above
" Hotel incidentals and personal expenses
" Gratuities to drivers and guide
Please note: Land programs that encompass multiple days ashore customarily include extensive and prolonged activity, while those of shorter durations typically have more moderate activity levels. However, each program varies and participants should be prepared to negotiate a mixture of surfaces, which may include inclines, cobblestones, sand, and gravel or natural paths. There may also be a need to climb steps or stairs on occasion. Guests who utilize a wheelchair and those with mobility concerns are advised to check with the cruise line in advance to see if any portion of the tour program may not be considered suitable for their individual situation. Weather-appropriate clothing such as hats, sunglasses, and flat comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
$1,299 Per Guest