Paradise Hotels & Cruises, the No. 1 cruise provider on Halong Bay, is dropping an anchor in the 4-star sector by assuming management of La Vela Cruises.
In operation since 2008, La Vela Cruises tours the bay with two steel boats of similar size but different style — the 28-cabin La Vela Classic and the 21-cabin La Vela Premium.
While the Art Deco-designed La Vela Classic evokes the sophistication and dynamism of the Roaring Twenties, the La Vela Premium embraces contemporary trends exemplified by sleek bedding and mod furnishings.
Under Paradise, the look of each vessel won’t change, but how they are run will.
“Our goal is to take La Vela to the next level,” said Edgar C. Cayanan, Paradise Hotels & Cruises’ general manager. “We plan to do that by bolstering quality across the board, and delivering on the kind of customer care that has become synonymous with the Paradise brand.”
As with all of Paradise’s cruises, La Vela will offer one- and two-night itineraries that begin at a private pontoon on Tuan Chau Harbor and celebrate Vietnam’s most famous natural attraction through a variety of compelling stops.
Destinations include massive Sung Sot Cave, scenic Cua Van Floating Village and storied Titov Island, named after former Russian astronaut Ghermann Titov.
From atop the island, travelers are presented with a sweeping view of the bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site four hours east of Hanoi that is home to more than 2,000 spectacular limestone karsts.
Between excursions, La Vela guests will be treated to Vietnamese cooking demonstrations, morning Tai Chi sessions and exquisite buffet lunches.
Cruise-goers may also choose from a range of rejuvenating spa treatments and a selection of fine wine and spirits served at the open-air bar located on each ship’s spacious sundeck.
“With La Vela, we’re offering 5-star services at 4-star prices,” said Cayanan.
Other distinguishing aspects of the fleet include Jacuzzis in the highest room categories and connectable rooms — “a rarity on cruise ships,” Cayanan said. “For that reason alone, we think La Vela will be a very attractive option for families.”
Cabin sizes range from La Vela Classic’s 18-square-meter Deluxe Cabin to La Vela Premium’s 25-square-meter Premium Balcony Cabin, of which there are eight.