Heritage Cruises derives inspiration from the heritage ships of the inspirational patriotic entrepreneur Bach Thai Buoi, who transformed transportation on the waterways of Tonkin in the north of Vietnam in the early 20th century. By Pham Ha, CEO of Heritage Cruises brand.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the launch of the Vietnamese Binh Chuan cruise, which in 1919 became the first ship to cruise along the coastline of Vietnam from Haiphong to Saigon.When I was 12, a few years after the reunification of North and South Vietnam, my father and I sailed from Haiphong to Saigon on a cruise ship donated by the Norwegian government.
My childhood memories of industrial Haiphong are of extensive damage following the war and workers cycling home from factories.
I savoured the incessant beauty of my country while sailing all the way down the coast. It was like a dream come true and it was then that I planned to build my own fleet of cruise ships.
I fell in love with Halong bay in 1995 and came to know every single island, camping on the isolated beaches and exploring by kayak. At that time, travelling the 175km to Halong bay took almost 10 hours. In 1997, I took a film crew to the bay to film ‘Vertical Ray of the Sun’, directed by Tran Anh Hung and filmed in Cua Van floating village between Halong Bay and the Cat Ba archipelago.
The scenes that I treasure most from the movie are those with local people and the images of the frangipani trees with their creamy flowers. The film is shown on board Heritage Cruises.
PASSION FOR CRUISING
I initially launched a fleet of cruises under the brand Emperor Cruises in Nha Trang bay, Bai Tu Long bay and in the Cat Ba archipelago and have now established Heritage Cruises on the Red river. I plan to develop longer trips from north to south Vietnam to fulfill my childhood dream.
My first project, Emperor Cruises, explored some of the world’s loveliest bays and beaches. The concept was inspired by the luxurious lifestyle of Emperor Bao Dai, the last monarch of the Nguyen Dynasty. He had six beautiful villas and palaces in the most exquisite destinations in Vietnam.
I was fortunate to meet the Hue Researcher, Nguyen Dac Xuan, and following an in-depth study of his life, I wrote a book about Emperor Bao Dai. On the Emperor Cruises boats, Vietnam’s first five-star all-inclusive cruise with butler and limousine services, our guests can enjoy the luxurious lifestyle of an emperor.
The soul of Tonkin inspired the design and décor of the Heritage Cruise boats, Vietnam’s first boutique cruise on the Red river and in the Gulf of Tonkin, that sails through the Cat Ba archipelago and Halong bay before connecting with the capital, Hanoi, and the Highlands via the Red river and its tributaries.
As a heritage-inspired designer cruise ship with a boutique concept, Heritage Cruises prioritises guest experience, offering upscale service with an artistic twist and a focus on local culture and arts.
For this personal project, I explored from Hoa Binh on the Black River, along the Clear River and the Red River, right down to the delta regions in Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh and Ha Nam. Along the way I met artisans, craftsmen, historians, researchers, artists, painters and overseas Vietnamese and learned their stories.
One evening during the fall of 2017, I was chatting with three friends in the vintage Maxim’s Cafe on Dien Bien Phu street in Haiphong, when a French-speaking couple around 60-65 years of age and another Vietnamese couple of around 70-75 years entered the coffee shop.
The Viet Kieu gentleman approached me to seek help in a heavy accent. I knew he spoke French, so we started a conversation and I ended up becoming their interpreter. The man, Henri de Bollivier, shared his moving story with me.
Henri’s Vietnamese mother had married a French doctor working in Haiphong during the Indochina War. They both left Vietnam in 1954 after the defeat of France at Dien Bien Phu when the Geneva Peace Accord was signed.
Henri grew up on the island of French Reunion but his parents divorced and his mother moved to Paris. As she grew older she wanted to return to Vietnam but was too weak to travel so far. She wanted Henri to go back home on her behalf, find his roots and pay respect to his ancestors and homeland.
Henri had visited Haiphong on two occasions to find his family, but without success. The third time, with the help of a letter from Vietnam, he travelled to Haiphong with his French wife and was overjoyed to find his family.
Henri was delighted to show his wife colonial Haiphong and other sights. They tried famous local dishes, learned how to make the best nuoc nam (fish sauce) and discovered the quintessence of Tonkin. I was touched by their story and realised how important it is to trace your roots.
Through the cruises I have met inspirational people, enriched my life with new experiences and started an ever-growing collection of old stamps, postcards, photos, paintings, and antiques. Heritage Cruises passengers can see this collection on board in the l’Art de l’Annam exhibition.
Heritage tourism is a niche market where guests personally encounter traditions, history, the arts and culture and visit communities whose residents tell their own story.
I admire the nationalist entrepreneur Bach Thai Buoi, his ethical business and start-up spirit; we have shared values as we both come from a poor background and started our working lives with French people. French is the first foreign language that I learned and my first trip abroad was to France at the age of 20.
It was my burning ambition to cruise from Haiphong to Saigon, emulating the first Vietnamese ship to do so on its maiden voyage in the early 20th century.THINK BIG AND DREAM BIG
A century later you can embark on a voyage through time on a Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan ship – a vessel designed and recreated from heritage designs and with impeccable service fit for the 1920-30s bourgeoisie.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci’s quote captures Heritage Cruises’ vision and philosophy perfectly: the key principle behind every project is a devotion to simplicity, heritage, boutique and product authenticity.
It is the total experience − the unique impression derived from the quality, quintessence and ambiance in a spectacular location − that makes a Heritage Cruise unforgettable.
A proud Vietnamese expedition on the heritage-inspired designer cruise ship to celebrate 100 years since the legendary voyage of the Binh Chuan.
Heritage Binh Chuan expeditions offer the highest quality comfort onboard our brand-new exclusive boutique ship, featuring air-conditioned en-suite rooms. Cruising at its finest. Your on-board Vietnamese cruise manager and crew ensure a personalized experience for every guest with exceptional service delivered at all times. Enjoy sophisticated haute cuisine as all meals are prepared using local ingredients cooked and served in traditional style, but with a modern twist.
We pride ourselves on our local partnerships and are dedicated to delivering outstanding customer service. Maintaining our local knowledge and positive relationships within the Vietnamese community is essential to providing each guest with a memorable cruising experience,
Travelers usually travel by road, rail, and air and we are pioneering a cruise along the coastline following the heritage route the King of Cruise Ships, Bach Thai Buoi took 100 years ago. Vietnamese are proud of the legacy of this first ship made in Vietnam, the Binh Chuan, and our expedition, inspired by that ship, allows foreigners to immerse themselves in Vietnamese arts, culture, heritage, and history on this history-inspired voyage.
Be the first on this iconic voyage along the legendary cruise route and unlock the most beautiful bays, beaches, and islands of Vietnam in various day trips from the ports of call such as Saigon, Nha Trang, Danang (for Hue and Hoian), Halong Bay, Cat Ba Archipelago.
Highlights of Heritage Binh Chuan Expeditions:
- Expedition on the very first luxury boutique ship cruising along the stunning secluded Vietnamese coastline.
- 9 nights onboard our very best ship on an iconic voyage following the coastline of Vietnam for the very first time since the first 1920 voyage of discovery by the King of Cruise Ships, the Vietnamese nobleman Bach Thai Buoi.
- Experience the natural wonders of Halong Bay and the Cat Ba Archipelago, explore the stunning islands, bays, beaches, lagoons by kayak, and so much more.
- Discover historic seaside towns and iconic Vietnamese destinations with heritage walk in Hoi An and the former capital, Hue.
- Sunset cruise in Nha Trang Bay with live entertainment, cocktails, and dinner.
- Moonlight cruise on the Saigon River.
- Enjoy a Captain’s Dinner including traditional entertainment.
- Swim off the ship in secluded, pristine bays just perfect for swimming.
- Dream, explore, immerse and relax on the iconic voyage of discovery on our proud Vietnamese journey on a heritage-inspired designer cruise ship.
- Arrival time at destination ports is in the late afternoon or early in the morning for excursions.
- Embarcation 9am and disembarcation 4:00 pm.
- Exact timings may change according to the weather and port conditions.
Luxury Lifestyle Awards: Sophisticated and Luxurious — a Voyage With Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan Cat Ba Archipelago
Vietnam is undoubtedly a magnificent and diverse country, that is why experiencing it by land or air may not be enough. Water opens up new perspectives and reveals unseen treasures, creating lasting exotic impressions. The esteemed experts of Luxury Lifestyle Awards already know that the Red River and the Gulf of Tonkin are great routes for an unforgettable voyage with Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan Cat Ba Archipelago — this year’s winner in the category of The Best Luxury Private Cruises in Vietnam.
Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan Cat Ba Archipelago is Vietnam’s first boutique cruise operator and definitely the industry leader. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” said Leonardo da Vinci more than a few years ago — yet, for Heritage Cruises, this is the philosophy that is proving to be true every day today. Respect for heritage and authenticity, attention to detail, elegance and chic: this is what the team’s mantra is about, and what the valued clients discover on their lavish voyages down the river and the Gulf.
Sometimes, luxury and class manifest themselves in the smallest details — a refreshing scented towel upon arrival, slippers by the bed, or that special meal made exactly how a guest wanted it. Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan Cat Ba Archipelago boast only 20 lavish suites, which is why space will never feel too crowded, and every traveler will feel valued and special.
“The whole team of Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan Cat Ba Archipelago is beyond excited about our victory in Luxury Lifestyle Awards. We are happy that the Award’s experts were able to take a close look at our services and amenities and appreciate everything we have to offer. We firmly believe that, in addition to providing guests with attentive top-notch services, we can show them the true beauty and the fascinating authentic heritage of Vietnam,” Pham Ha says founder and CEO of Heritage Cruises.
With Heritage Cruises, guests can enjoy three categories of suites — Delta, Ocean, and Heritage, all ultimately luxurious. Inspired by Vietnam’s “King of Cruise Ships” and is devoted to the chic boutique concept, the company makes sure the experience is ultra-personal for every voyager: the cruises are pet-friendly, the dedicated team can make special accommodations — and throw a party or create romantic intimate atmosphere equally well. But most importantly, Heritage Cruises leave guests with a rich sense of local flavor and many great stories
On 8th January 2020, the grand opening party of Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan was held in a cozy and luxury space, with the attention of the distinguished guests from travel agents, hotels and media in Ho Chi Minh City. The warm opening event definitely left a great impression on the minds of the attendees as well.
Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan is officially launched in September 2019 and has been received lots of positive feedbacks and a high appreciation from domestic as well as international marketing. According to Mr. Pham Manh Ha, CEO of Lux Group which is the ownership of Heritage Cruises, he states that Heritage Cruises is not only a 5-star accommodation for relaxing and enjoying but also gives the guests a precious opportunity for experiencing Vietnam’s culture, art, gastronomy, and history in the early 20th century.
Between 14th and 16th December 2019, Heritage Cruises was officially opened in Northern Vietnam with the topic of “Touch the heritage”. The launching party which left a good impression on participants’minds featured in a wide range of Vietnamese art performances including Hat Xam, Ca Tru, Hue Royal Court Music, etc. Thanks to the successful launching event at Hanoi, Heritage Cruises continued organizing the launching party at Majestic Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City on 8th Jan 2020.
In addition to special performances, the guests would have a great chance to see with their own eyes on how to make egg coffee which is considered as one of the extraordinary points of the culinary space on Heritage Cruises and enjoyed it.
The party in Ho Chi Minh City aimed to introduce a new and unique brand in Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay like Heritage Cruises, along with that this special event somehow conveyed vividly the values related to art, cultures, history, and gastronomy of Vietnam, especially in Northern area to the attendants.
After one month of coming on stream, Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan has received a wide range of positive feedbacks from the guests due to a series of lavish amenities and services as well as authentic experiences that definitely bring the distinction to them.
The grand opening ceremony of Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan took place on board from 14th to 16th December 2019, with a distinctive concept called “Touching the heritage”. This special event caught the attention of many VIP guests, representatives from lots of travel agents both domestic and international markets and hotels as well as media agents.
At the launching ceremony, Mr. Pham Manh Ha, President of Lux Group and Founder of Heritage Cruises said that “both domestic and foreign tourists always care much about experiences on the cruise ship when discovering Halong Bay in general and Lan Ha Bay in particular. On Heritage Cruises, we promise to bring our guests not only 5-star luxury accommodation but also a chance to immerse in cultural, artistic and historic spaces of Vietnam in the early 20th century. Besides, Heritage Cruises, which is the first boutique cruise operating in Lan Ha Bay, equipped with a waste treatment system to avoid littering and disposing directly to the ocean and protect the natural environment during the journey with Heritage Cruises”.
Heritage Cruises combines classic elegance with comfort, focusing on our country’s history, art, and gastronomy. With 20 luxurious suites with picture windows offering ocean views, Heritage Cruises also delights the guests in sumptuous amenities and services to serve the guests for relaxing and relishing which includes two restaurants featured in distinctive concepts and styles of Indochine and Tonkin, spa, a heated swimming pool, mini gym, outdoor & indoor lounge, pool bar, art gallery, and many facilities, activities, and excursions. It is true that Heritage Cruises is the first cruise ship to bring the 4 days 3 nights voyage, along with 1, 2 or 3 nights journey.
Furthermore, Heritage Cruises is famous for the art gallery, which consists of more than 100 paintings of a well-known artist, Pham Luc who is considered as the Picasso of Vietnam. Therefore, the cruise ship is expected to bring a unique and authentic experience for the guests.
According to Mr. Pham Ha, the launching ceremony is not only an introduction of new branding but also brings different experiences, named “A trip down memory lane” on Heritage Cruises. It can be said that this event made a great impression on attendees’ minds, especially the Show “Heritage By Night” performed by lots of artisans, which carries traditional cultures of Vietnam.
The Show “Heritage By Night” is the combination of different Vietnamese traditional performing arts and customary instruments, which allows the guest to go back onto and immerse in the cultural and artful values of Vietnam. The show presents the spirits “Touching the heritage” that Heritage Cruises’ team would like to convey during the event.
As scheduled, after the grand opening ceremony on Heritage Cruises, the Launching Party is going to organize in January 2020 in Ho Chi Minh City.
Heritage Cruises, a member of Lux Group as well as other attendants are looking forward to the largest event of the tourism and hospitality industry to be held on 4th – 6th November 2019 in London. Our Lux Cruises are obviously seen that World Trade Market (WTM) London is a not just a trade fair that introduces tourism products and services in the global market but is a precious business opportunity for enhancing the relationships and partnerships and staying connections amongst tourism organizers and partners.
Heritage Cruises – Vietnam’s first boutique cruise in the Gulf of Tonkin and the Red River, a member of the Lux Group, will participate in WTM London 2019. The founder as well as the owner of Heritage Cruises, Mr. Pham Ha, Director of Sales and Marketing of Luxury Travel, a member of Lux Group Mr. Thang Phan and Director of Sales of Heritage Cruises Mrs. Giang Do will be participating in WTM London at Stand AS880 with the main focus towards “Experiencing our masterpiece in the natural wonders”. With the high expectation to present the cruising services and stay connections amongst business alliances, Mr. Pham Ha stated that WTM London was always the most essential business event for the global tourism industry to introduce new tourism products and services and enhance the business alliances and corporations with existing and new companies. He continued that this was a precious chance for enterprises to expand their brand awareness and high-end travel services to various audiences in more effective ways. So WTM 2019 will become a great opportunity to introduce luxury cruising services in Vietnam.
Mr. Pham Ha said that boutique cruises were similar to boutique hotels that offer intimate ambiance and elegance. It’s obvious that Heritage Cruises and Emperor Cruises are distinguished them from other cruise lines by the accommodation sets, customized services, and a real story or a historical person to narrate.
At WTM London 2019, Heritage Cruises will be introduced with the culture-related concepts and design aiming to bring the heritage alive. In fact, Heritage Cruises is the third cruise of Lux Group and the first 5-star boutique cruise ship featured in floating art gallery, 20 luxurious suites, two restaurants with distinctive concepts, four seasons swimming pool, wine cellar and other lavish facilities and amenities in the Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam. The cruise mainly focuses on Vietnam’s history, gastronomy, and culture, especially in Northern Vietnam.
The Lux Cruises will be present at WTM London from November 4th – 6th, 2019 to introduce lavish and luxurious cruising services in Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay, Cat Ba Archipelago and seek for strategic business partnerships with the UK as well as European markets.