Spending half of the year sailing on oceans across continents sounds too good to be true - but Oceania Cruises is turning every traveler’s dream a reality: a 180-day cruise around the world’s most stunning and exotic destinations.
Sailing in January 2023, the voyage starts in San Francisco and takes passengers on a life-enriching journey to 96 locations in 33 countries, spanning across South America, Africa, North America and Asia.
“Travel connects us through shared experiences, creates lifelong bonds, and enriches us in ways we never would have imagined. That was the mindset that guided us in crafting this epic around the world voyage for our guests,” said Bob Binder, President and CEO of Oceania Cruises.
And taking a cruise, such as Oceania’s, gives a rare opportunity to go on paths less traveled, on places only accessible by boat. After all, seas and rivers flow where concrete roads can’t.
The trip, sold out in less than one day when booking opened on January 27, will allow passengers to see more than 60 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and enjoy exclusive shore excursions.
The cruise sails through international waters of the United States to Mexico, Brazil and UAE before it reaches Asia. It will enter Vietnam on Day 131, with Saigon as its first stop, after a quick trip from Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
Passengers are then taken to the up-and-coming resort town of Nha Trang, then to the former imperial capital city of Hue and then to the exquisite Halong Bay on Day 136.
As Vietnam’s business and financial hub, Saigon exudes the modern glamour (and chaos) of a megacity. With nearly nine million residents - a mix of locals and expatriates - the city breathes life and exuberant energy, like a never-ending disco music inviting everyone to dance to the rhythm. But what makes Saigon a tourist-favorite is how it carefully and seamlessly balances its commercial vibe and its unique history and culture.
While 21st-century skyscrapers and luxury properties stand tall across districts, incense-infused temples and colonial buildings that hold stories of Vietnam’s past are as appealing and worth coming to. The way locals from all walks of life gather at pagodas to pray or explore the bustling Ben Thanh Market to shop for spices will make every traveler understand why this city, with its tragic history, rich culture and unstoppable urbanization combined, always deserves a spot on travel itineraries - even on cruises.
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Nha Trang, a high-energy resort town in south-central Vietnam, features dramatic bays and golden-sand beaches separated by rocky headlands. Having one of the best beach climates, Nha Trang is Vietnam’s quintessential beach destination. Beyond the shores, there are the remnants of Champa Kingdom, natural hot springs, salt fields, waterfalls and verdant mountains perfect for a quick hike.
And in case you’re wondering, there’s no shortage of extravagant hotels, all-day dining outlets and exciting activities. With all its glory, Nha Trang’s most special attribute is its friendly locals - probably the friendliest people you’ll ever find.
Hue is charming, in every sense of the word. Located on the banks of the beautifully named Perfume River, the town holds a long and illustrious history as the former royal capital. From ancient architecture to museums, ancient tombs of former emperors and a riverfront that emanates calm and tranquility, Hue is where one discovers how Vietnam used to be.
The city’s also known as one of the nicest cities in Vietnam to cycle around. With far less traffic than any other city, cycling along the lush banks, into narrow alleys and to the countryside, the laid back lifestyle of the locals becomes more apparent, making travelers realize that there is, in fact, beauty in the mundane.
Giant limestone pillars rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin- Halong Bay perfectly encapsulates what ethereal beauty is. Arguably Vietnam’s most sought-after attraction, the Halong Bay was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 for its outstanding aesthetic value. It captures the heart of anyone who sails through the maze of passageways amidst the surreal seascape.
The bay is dotted with over 1,600 mostly uninhabited islands, with lush forests covering the jagged limestone formations. Called “evolved and unusual” by many geologists, the karst towers floating on the calm water are the perfect backdrop for a relaxing swim or kayaking. If you’re up for more adventures, you can explore mysterious caves, climb up a rocky cliff, hop on a bike on Cat Ba, the largest island within the bay, or visit floating villages.