A new luxury cruise ship that offers tourists a chance to see the beauty of the Tonle Sap and the Mekong River was inaugurated late last month, heralding a new era of luxury tourism in Cambodia, company officials said.
The ship, a partnership between the Fluviale du Mekong and the Paris-based Terre Voyages, will travel on the Tonle Sap lake from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, then further down the Mekong to Ho Chi Minh City, said Christophe Sentuc, director-general for Terre Voyages.
“This [cruise ship] is for a certain tourist and clientele,” he said. “It’s for people who want to see the real life in the country—it’s not for people who want to sightsee through the windows of a bus.“
The 38-meter boat has been designed in a style similar to many smaller cruise ships, with two decks, 10 rooms and a restaurant, and can accommodate 20 people.
The cruiser’s main journey, from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, has multiple stops along the Tonle Sap river and lake, such as Odong district and Koh Chin island in Kompong Speu province, the fish market in Chhnok Trou town in Kompong Chhnang and Prek Toal in Siem Reap. The official rate is $132 per day per person.
The cruise ship will also sail from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City every two months. The seven-day trip will cost $165 per day per person.
Thong Khon, secretary of state for the Ministry of Tourism, said he supported it. “The cruise will provide good services, good food, good accommodations with traditional Cambodian music and classical dancing,” Thong Khon said.
“So far, people have enjoyed the cruise,” said Dimitri Bouvet, general manager for Terre Voyages. “We took the passengers to the places few tourists have gone before and have seen the lifestyles of Cambodians who live along the Tonle Sap lake.”
Terre Voyages and Fluviale du Mekong invested $200,000 in the cruise ship. The project, launched in January 2001, took almost two years to complete, company officials said.