Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. owners or part-owners and managers of 45 hotel, cruise and luxury rail businesses in 22 countries, has announced that it will launch a new river cruiser in Myanmar, to commence cruising in July 2013.
Currently under construction in Yangon, the 50-guest ship will complement Orient-Express’ two other businesses in Myanmar, namely The Governor’s Residence which is a 48-key colonial-style hotel in Yangon and the Road To Mandalay river cruiser which has been cruising the Ayeyarwady River for 17 years.
Named Orcaella after the dolphins known to inhabit the Ayeyarwady River, the Irrawaddy Flotilla style ship will offer a collection of cruises giving passengers access to the very heart of this beguiling country. Operating between January to April and July to December, Orcaella will offer seven and 11 night cruise itineraries with plenty of leisurely cruising time.
Orcaella will meander the Ayeyarwady River between Yangon and Bhamo stopping at the key cultural sites and towns as well as dropping anchor at interesting sites off the beaten track. The nimble ship will also cruise the Chindwin River, passing extensive mountain ranges, winding its way through western Myanmar as far north as Homalin, just 30 miles from the Indian border.
With 40 staff onboard and a maximum of 50 guests, the elegant four-deck river cruiser will maintain Orient-Express’ reputation for offering unparalled service and great attention to detail. The ship’s small size and shallow draft will enable it to ply remote areas of both rivers, providing passengers a rare opportunity to explore this magical country’s rich heritage, natural beauty and friendly people, further adding to Orient-Express’ portfolio offering enriching journeys of discovery.
Each of the 25 spacious river-facing cabins will feature floor to ceiling sliding glass doors and Juliette balconies providing the perfect frame to the river and its banks. Among them will be two Balcony Suites at the bow on the Main Deck, 15 State and eight Deluxe Cabins, across the Main Deck and Upper Deck. All cabins will have air conditioning and en-suite facilities and four cabins will be interconnecting.
On the Observation Deck, there will be a dedicated relaxing area with a retractable awning and reclining chairs providing the perfect vantage point to watch the dramatic scenery pass by. A lounge and bar, which will be open all day for refreshments and alfresco dining, will be the social hub of this ship, and will be complemented by a separate swimming pool.
There will also be a well equipped fitness centre and treatment room which will offer a range of relaxing locally-inspired treatments. On the Main Deck will be the restaurant with comfortable seating and large picture windows and two boutiques selling a variety of traditional and local crafts. Just like its sister ship, the Road To Mandalay, Orcaella will have a medical room and a fully qualified resident doctor situated on the Lower Deck.
When Orcaella commences operations, its guests will enjoy plenty of cruising time combined with a variety of interesting and informative offshore excursions, in small groups. Excursions include the chance to witness a traditional Noviciation Ceremony of local monks, a local ‘tea-shop’ experience, trekking though the jungle, the chance to play 9-holes at an old colonial golf course, exploring caves housing 492 Buddha chambers carved into the hillside just outside of Monywa, a visit to the only bespectacled Buddha (thought to have healing powers) close to Pyay, a train journey into thick Kachin jungle and a chance to meet working elephants in the Burmese teak forest.
All itineraries will include many elements of Orient-Express’ delightful touches, including local entertainment onboard, informative and interactive lectures, cocktail parties and yoga and meditation on the Observation Deck.