Special occasions call for special locations. Here in Halong Bay, we’ve got all kinds of interest in the Emeraude as a venue for on-the-water weddings, corporate get-togethers, and milestone events.
Hardly a surprise, if you can imagine the planning parties weighing their options: “Hold our annual stockholder meetings in a boardroom downtown; or surrounded by limestone karsts on a floating replica of a 1920s paddlewheel steamer?” Tough call. “Say ‘I do’ in the same local cathedral as yesterday’s couple; or on the top deck of a luxury cruise with Halong’s stunning seascape in the background?” Hmm.
In the past, the Emeraude’s close friends and former passengers were the only ones who knew they had the option to book the entire boat. For example, Adam Sitkoff, general director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi, chartered the boat for a member networking weekend back in October 2006.
“I had previously been a guest on the Emeraude and thought it would be great for an offsite networking weekend,” says Adam, who later told us the privacy and high quality of the cruise were standout factors in his decision.
Well, the secret is out. Last month we officially lowered the gangplank to groups from around the world, announcing our chartered cruise in leading travel media worldwide.
Now, even though we are called the Emeraude Classic Cruises, our itineraries go way beyond gliding past picturesque islands for 24 hours at a stretch. We’ve organized themed cocktail parties, guided kayaking explorations, film screenings, sunrise Tai Chi classes, beachside seafood barbeques, live music performances and even wine-tasting dinners in a cave.
Tom Bowen from Tan My Design, who chartered the boat for his 50th birthday, decided he wanted to celebrate with a Pimms cocktail party in Hang Trong Cave, complete with music by the group 4Tenors.
He tells the story this way: “This was in the days before the floor, and (the cave) was very bare and natural; but we thought it was a perfect venue to hold a party, and what better than Pimms on a warm afternoon! The 4Tenors sang a capella in the cave – it was absolutely amazing to hear them singing there. Emeraude staff handed around canapés, and with the music we created a wonderful atmosphere.”
“My friends still talk about the party on the Emeraude on Halong Bay, many years after the event!” says Tom, who cruised with more than 50 friends from all corners of the globe.
Planning your own menu and itinerary is half the fun of chartering the Emeraude. The other half, of course, comes from knowing your fellow passengers and sharing memories made at sea that will always belong to a single group of friends, and no one else.