Vinashin Lines to launch more Hoa Sen cruise ships


Vinashin Lines, a member of Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin), plans to have more Lotus cruise ships in the next few years to serve demand for travel by cruise expected to increase strongly in Vietnam, following the launch last month of the first north-south cruise ship.

Vinashin Lines told the Daily that the first Hoa Sen ship, designed to be a three-star floating hotel following European Union standards, was the first of seven to eight Hoa Sen cruise ships to be built between now and 2015.

The cruise ship was launched last month to ply the waters from north to south and purchased from Italy for VND1,320bil (60mil euro). It is 187 meters long and 25 meters wide, and can transport 1,000 passengers and 500 cars and reach a maximum speed of 25 nautical miles per hour.

Some changes to the design and details can be made for the next ships so that they are more suitable for the needs of customers, the company said.

Vinashin Lines has signed with travel agents to bring tourists to destinations along the Hoa Sen ship’s route in Quang Ninh, Hue and HCMC.

Since its launch last month, the Hoa Sen has run just two trips departing from the northern port province of Quang Ninh and docked 48 hours later at Nha Rong Wharf in HCMC with a stopover at Chan May Port in the central city of Hue.

The ship transported 200 tourists and 100 automobiles in each trip, a small number compared to its capacity. But the company expects business to improve in the forth coming Tet holiday.

Given the current low occupancy, the company is offering a 50% discount on its Hoa Sen high-speed cruise ship during the upcoming Lunar New Year, or Tet.

Around 500 passengers have registered to travel aboard Hoa Sen on February 4 (three days before Tet) while the numbers on other days are also increasing.

Vinashin has ordered another ship from Italy that is expected to begin operating in the middle of next year on the same north-south route.

Tickets for the inaugural trip were VND5mil per person for VIP class and VND4mil for coach class.