4th September, 2012 – Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. owners or part-owners and managers of 45 hotel, restaurant, 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 unparalleled 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 Novitiation 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.
Highlights of the schedule will include:
Ayeyarwady River Cruises - The Ayeyarwady River is Myanmar's lifeline, the people and economy ever dependent on its vital natural source. Ferries, bamboo rafts, barges and fishing boats, all ply their trade along these waters and over the centuries Myanmar has developed around the banks of this mighty river making it the ideal vantage point from which to view life on the riverbank.
Gorges of the far North: An 11 night cruise which covers 682 miles departing from the storied city of Mandalay up to Bhamo, near the Chinese border and at the foothills of Yunnan, finishing at the spellbinding plain of temples at Bagan.
The Jewels of the Ayeyarwady: A seven night cruise covering 506 miles commencing in Yangon and ending in Bagan with highlights including guided excursions to Bagan and a visit to the Pyi Taw Pyan Pagoda, known as the ‘Returning Home Pagoda’ which houses the famous bronze Buddha once stolen by the British Army and later returned by order of Queen Victoria.
The Ayeyarwady Experience: A seven night cruise covering 506 miles starting in Bagan and ending in Yangon with highlights including a visit to Syriam, a sleepy village outside Yangon and a visit to an impressive 20ft Buddha made of straw lacquer.
Chindwin River Cruises - The windy and narrow Chindwin River snakes through North West Myanmar through the most spectacular scenery which is ensconced by sheer cliffs, verdant jungles, and bustling towns and villages and much of it remains unspoilt due to difficulty of access overland.
Discovering the Chindwin River: An 11 night cruise of 854 miles along the Chindwin River through rugged and dramatic scenery with highlights including a visit to a candlelit street market and a monastery which houses the Shwe Sagar Buddha, one of 10 carved from a single trunk of wood about 1000 years ago.
All itineraries can be combined with stays in Yangon, Inle Lake or Ngapali on the Indian Ocean. Prices start from £3270 per person for a seven night cruise and includes all meals onboard, excursions, transfers and domestic flights. Road To Mandalay and Orcaella are both available for private charter and can be chartered in tandem, making a total occupancy of 132 guests.
Orcaella is a further testament to Orient-Express as curators of authentic travel experiences and demonstrates its further commitment to Myanmar.
For reservations, please call Orient-Express on 0845 077 22 22 or visit www.orcaella.net
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Notes to editors:
Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. is a luxury hotel company and sophisticated adventure travel operator which seeks to deliver memorable experiences that are the ultimate expression of each destination's authentic culture. The Company has offered exceptional luxury travel experiences since 1976, when it purchased Hotel Cipriani in Venice and then shortly thereafter recreated the celebrated Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, linking London, Paris and Venice, along with other European cities. Today the Orient-Express brand embraces 45 hotel, restaurant, cruise and luxury rail businesses in 22 countries, including distinctive properties such as Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg, Hotel Ritz Madrid, Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro and Maroma Resort and Spa on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The Company also operates six luxury tourist trains, two river cruise operations and the ‘21’ Club, one of New York’s most iconic restaurants and watering holes. www.orient-express.com
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