Lueftner Cruises has joined the eastern wave of expansion in the river cruise market with the launch of Mekong Navigator to sail in Vietnam and Cambodia.
This luxurious 56-passenger vessel is one of two river ships launched in Asia by Austrian-owned Lueftner. Designed in French colonial style, it will operate seven-night itineraries between Kampong-Cham and My Tho, with the option of land-based stays in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Ha Long Bay.
Mekong Navigator's 28 cabins, divided between three decks, are all suites that offer between 255 and 545 square feet of living space, and the majority have French balconies. The four Superior Suites, which measure 258 square feet, are on the Jasmine deck and have portholes. The middle Lotus Deck is the location of the 10 Vista Suites, all measuring 255 square feet and offering French balconies. The upper Orchid Deck is where you'll find the 16 Signature Suites, measuring 269 square feet, as well as two 297-square-foot Prestige Suites. The pair of Grand Suites, located forward, measure 545 square feet each and have private verandahs.
Standard cabin amenities include queen-sized beds that can be converted to twins, premium mattresses and fine bed linens, slippers and bathrobes, quality toiletries, flat-screen TVs with on-demand movies, in-room safes, air-conditioning and complimentary water that's replenished daily. In addition, the Prestige and Grand Suites have king-sized beds, and passengers staying in them have butler service, a complimentary one-hour spa treatment, evening canapes and free laundry service. There is Wi-Fi in all public areas.
The dining room, situated on the Lotus Deck, serves Southeast Asian and Western dishes, and there's a nightly slow-food entree on the menu. Complimentary drinks -- including tea, coffee, soft drinks, local beer and spirits -- are served throughout the cruise, and there is free house wine at dinner.
On the Sun Deck is a lounge, outdoor seating area, gym, two spa treatment rooms and library.
Fares include transfers and shore excursions. International air travel is not included.
By Jeannine Williamson, Cruise Critic contributor