HALONG BAY, Vietnam - Fresh out of dry dock and outfitted with a new family suite, the Emeraude is prepped and preened to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its original launch on the jade-green waters of Halong Bay.
Like something sailing at you out of a time warp, today's Emeraude is a near replica of the original Emeraude, a paddle-wheel steamer that sailed Halong Bay from 1906 to 1937, when it sank 7 km out of Cam Pha, leaving nothing but memories in its wake.
In 1999, after the discovery of a vintage tourist postcard in a Paris flea market, owner Eric Merlin began salvaging those memories. Using the postcard as a model, he ordered construction of a diesel-powered likeness, and then launched this new 38-cabin vessel on Halong Bay in late 2003.
This summer, the 100th-anniversary celebration of the Emeraude's original launch kicks into high gear with a series of special rates and packages that make the ship's vintage standard of luxury more affordable than ever. To mark the occasion, the ship has been outfitted with a new sun deck suite, known as the Suite Emeraude, that's been designed to accommodate families of four.