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HCMC welcomes first int’l cruise ship after two-year Covid hiatus

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – HCMC on October 2 welcomed its first group of cruise passengers boarding the luxury cruise ship Le Lapérouse, operated by French cruise ship company Ponant, after a two-year suspension induced by Covid-19.

Saigon Port JSC coordinated with the HCMC Department of Tourism and some travel firms to hold a ceremony to welcome the ship, which docked at the Saigon Port in the city’s District 4.

The ship brought around 100 international tourists from various countries such as the U.S., France, Germany, Canada, Belgium and Switzerland.

During their three-day stay in HCMC, the tourists will visit some tourist attractions in the city, including the Reunification Palace, the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, the Saigon Central Post Office, and enjoy local food.

Ludovic Provost, the ship’s captain, said this was his first time visiting Vietnam. He said the country has stunning natural beauty and its people are friendly. He also thanked HCMC for its warm welcome, the local media reported.

After leaving HCMC, the ship would visit other popular destinations in the country such as Nha Trang, Danang, Quy Nhon, Hue, Quang Binh, and Halong.

Speaking at the ceremony, Le Truong Hien Hoa, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Tourism, said this was the first group of cruise passengers to come to the city after the country opened its doors to international visitors in March this year. The city and travel firms had prepared for a long time to welcome this group of tourists.

During the rest of the year, the city’s tourism industry is expected to welcome further larger groups of cruise passengers, he added.

The Le Lapérouse cruise ship only serves fewer than 200 passengers each trip. Earlier, the ship had visited HCMC in November 2019. The ship is set to bring tourists to Vietnam for four more times, said Phan Xuan Anh from Tan Hong Company, a unit in charge of serving international cruise ships.

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