Vietnam Heritage, September-October 2011 Advertorial– About 500 cruises of all kinds are always waiting to take you around, touring the UNESCO World
_Heritage site Ha _Long Bay, in northeastern Vietnam. How to compare, to choose? In my case the boat chose me, as someone who could write an advertorial for them, an advertisement that looks like editorial.
â€˜The bay is only one, the scene is the same,â€™ Mr Nguyen Ngoc Quang said. â€˜The vessels canâ€™t be more modern.â€™ Than his, that is. Mr Quang is the manager of the â€˜five-starâ€™ Syrena (Syrena, according to Polish mythology, is a draconian snake goddess, also partly woman and fish, who protects the river WisÅ‚a and the Polish capital city, Warsaw). Mr Quang and the crew aim to excel, in any case, in â€˜soft servicesâ€™, a term more useful than it sounds, in the case of this boat.
But first of all, the cozy reception, with smiling staff waiting on board to hand you a glass of warm drink and steaming handkerchief.
The ship, with her dazzlingly bright red sails like a pair of sirens dancing over the descending dragon of Ha Long [háº¡ means â€˜descendâ€™, long dragon] Bay, has 17 well-appointed, deluxe cabins and suites on the lower and main decks. Handcrafted furniture and delicate upholstery add warmth and light to the comfort from amenities like queen-size beds, air-conditioners and en-suite bathrooms with powerful hot-and-cold showers. The picture windows provide light and spectacular views of the almost 2,000 karst isles of various sizes and shapes.
At the Lotus Restaurant, on the upper deck, the menu has choices Vietnamese to international, prepared by four-star Ha Long Plaza Hotelâ€™s culinary chief with first-class ingredients on first-class equipment. You also get to enjoy your meals on the breezy balconies where rattan chairs and tables are always available.
On the sundeck, the Sunset Bar offers unparalleled enjoyment when you, bikini clad, drink in hand, watch the vermilion sun receding behind the mountains before it completely disappears into the sea. Or when the night is falling, you, stretching on the rattan deckchair without a care in the world, stare into the starry nights or bask in the stream of silvery moonlight. The next morning, after the sea breeze wakes you up, the Syrenaâ€™s staff will introduce you to Tai Chi, on this very sundeck.
The most outstanding â€˜soft advantageâ€™ of the Syrena is, as the manager, Nguyen Ngoc Quang, told Vietnam Heritage, the safety equipment. The safety system, after a couple of tragic shipwrecks in Ha Long Bay earlier this year, has become extraordinarily important. Here on Syrena Cruise, the matter is not in question.
Each cabin is equipped with sufficient life jackets. A torch, a hammer, a fire-extinguisher hang in the most visible corner of the cabin [and are hard, in fact, just the way we like them]. An â€˜automatic generation dynamo emergency flashlightâ€™ ensures the whole room light if the central generator stops functioning.
Safety charts are available in Vietnamese, Chinese and English. You canâ€™t miss them because they are right on the door in your room.
GPS, VHF, radars, walkie-talkies, water-leakage alarms, smoke-detectors, heat-detectors are all in compliance with the local regulations. Two self-inflating floats, together able to support 50 passengers, are also provided â€“ going further than official requirements.
A document issued by Quang Ninh Fire Department certified all 26 personnel on the Syrena had done a fire-fighting course.
The Syrena crew take turns at watch, so you can feel safe heading for bed on that floating palace in the hissing sound of the waves and the eternal whispers of the oceanic breeze.
Close your eyes and dream of a world where boundaries donâ€™t exist.n
Contact Syrena Cruise:
SYRENA CRUISES & HALONG PLAZA HOTEL
No 8, Halong Road, Bai Chay, Halong, Quang Ninh, Vietnam
Tel: +84 33 3845810/19 Fax: +84 33 384 4594
Syrena Tower, 3rd Floor, 51B Xuan Dieu Str, Tay Ho Dist, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: +84 4 3719 7214 Fax: +84 4 3719 7215