In a year that could see Ha Long Bay designated one of the New7Wonders of Nature, the Emeraude will mark the 105th anniversary of its original launch with new customized programs that allow guests to spend one more day on the bay’s jade-green waters and embark on cultural excursions and outdoor adventures.
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 Ha Long 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 Ha Long Bay in late 2003.
This summer, the 105th-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, Emeraude Classic Cruises has introduced three-day / two-night excursions with one full day dedicated to cultural immersion in nearby Lien Minh Village or kayaking and rock climbing at Moody Island.
“As a destination, Ha Long Bay is one of the most amazing backdrops to an adventure, and always has been,” said Kurt Walter, group general manager of Apple Tree Group Hospitality. “But we’ve always thought it’s more than a backdrop. These new programs allow visitors to meet the people who call Ha Long home and answer the call of the karsts, which just beg to be climbed.”
Like its predecessor, the new 55-meter Emeraude offers passengers an extraordinarily posh vantage on the magnificent karst seascape of Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1994. Planked decking. A canopied sun deck with potted plants. Fine dining and, in addition to the three suites, 36 classically appointed, air-conditioned cabins replete with beadboard wainscoting and brass fittings that evoke the romance of a bygone nautical age.