Croisi Europe launched its newest river cruise ship, the RV Indochine II, on Saturday in a bid to attract more high-end tourists from Western countries to the Kingdom.
Naidah Yazdani, Asia director of Croisi Europe, said that the river cruise business has been growing steadily in Cambodia for the past 10 years and is a source of income for many Cambodian people while contributing to the country’s economy. The cruise line’s new vessel will travel between Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City with an itinerary that presents guests with a bevy of attractions along the Mekong River.
“Indochine II will depart from Siem Reap, passing Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh and then on to Siem Reap. The cruise takes about nine days and eight nights,” said Yazdani, adding that Croisi Europe was the first river cruise ship company that started operations in Cambodia and Vietnam.
Founded in 1976, the company is the largest river cruise line based in Europe and is now marketing itself to an English-speaking audience. “We are the registered company, so it is a very good thing for Cambodia as we bring business to the country,” said Yazdani. “I think we can certainly see that this industry has a positive impact on the economy especially the tourism sector.”
Yazdani noted that Croisi Europe’s target customers were foreigners and high-end tourists. “The starting price for the river cruise on the Indochine II is $2,750 per person. Most of our customers are from France, Australia, and the United States and also from other English-speaking countries. Most of them want to see exciting places along the Mekong River,” he added.
Yazdani said the Indochine II successfully combines colonial and modern styles. “It has been entirely renovated using the finest materials and start-of-the-art technology. This river cruise ship with 30 spacious cabins measures 66 by 14 metres and boasts of detailed wood finishing. Onboard passengers can enjoy movies, fine dining, conferences, and numerous cultural activities in Indochine’s air conditioned bar and lounge.”
Mak Vansitha, under-secretary of state of the Ministry of Tourism, said that the development and progress of the tourism sector, particularly the family-owned tourism boat and river cruise sectors, have contributed to boosting the living standards of Cambodians. She said there are 55 companies based in Phnom Penh that operate 77 boats for tourists and 39 Sihanoukville-based companies operating 45 boats for tourism purposes.
Vansitha said in the first seven months of the year, 96,245 tourists arrived in Cambodia either on tourist boats or on river cruises. This, she said, was an increase of 1 percent compared with the same period last year.