(3 p.m. EDT) -- Emerald Waterways will be putting a brand-new river cruise ship, the 84-passenger Emerald Harmony, on the Mekong River in 2019.
Emerald Harmony will have many of the features of the line's European "star ships," including Panorama Balcony suites with drop-down windows. There will also be Asian design touches; Horizon Bar & Lounge will be Asian themed and the ship's main dining venue, Reflections Restaurant, will serve a locally-inspired menu.
One standout feature of the ship is that it will be built to allow access to the center of Ho Chi Minh City, so passengers can embark there as opposed to a dock outside of the city.
Emerald Waterways has been sailing on the Mekong since 2014, with a chartered vessel, Mekong Navigator. Emerald Harmony will be the first time that the company has put a "star ship" style ship outside Europe. Emerald Waterways also charters ships for Russia, the Nile and will debut a small yacht, the Adriatic Princess II, in Croatia in 2019.
Beginning August 2019, Emerald Harmony will sail three itineraries in Vietnam and Cambodia: a 13-night cruise tour sailing between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap, with time for Angkor Wat; a 17-night tour that adds stops at Hanoi and Halong Bay in the north; and a 21-night "grand tour" that encompasses all of the above, plus Hoi An and Hue.
Fares for Emerald Harmony will have the same inclusions as other Emerald Waterways ships: transfers, port charges, meals, unlimited wine and beer with lunch and dinner, bottled water in the cabins, complimentary Wi-Fi, at least one shore excursion in every port and all onboard and excursion gratuities. During the cruise tour portion of the trips, hotel, internal flights and transfers are also included.
Passengers who book Emerald Harmony by August 31, 2018 will receive a limited inaugural special of free round-trip airfare to Asia and $100 onboard credit per person, or $3,000 per couple off the sailing price. Those who book after August 31 may choose free air or $3,000 off per couple through October 31, 2018; if you pay in full by that date, you can save an additional $600 per couple. The inaugural offers are valid on all itineraries.
--By Chris Gray Faust, Managing Editor