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Vietnam's expanding port infrastructure reaping rewards

Vietnam’s port infrastructure is developing rapidly to cater for the growing interest in cruising.

Princess Cruises’ Sapphire Princess and Diamond Princess, Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Millennium, Swan Hellenic’s Minerva, Windstar’s Star Pride, Costa Cruises’ Costa Victoria and Silversea’s Silver Wind are all scheduled to call at popular port Da Nang from September to end December, 2014. In 2015, 85 ship are booked so far.

According to Phan Xuan Anh of shorex provider Viet Excursions, the development of new ports and access channels across the country augurs well for Vietnam's cruise business.

The local government in Da Nang, one of the major port cities in Vietnam and the biggest city on the south central coast of Vietnam on the South China Sea coast, plans to build a longer new pier for cruise ships, with work starting at the end of this year, Anh told Seatrade Insider.

His home region of Vung tau-Phu, which had only two ports a decade years ago, now boasts ten. The newest is Tan Cang Cai Mep port ‘offers a lot to cruise ships particularly for overnight stops’, says Anh. It handles large containerships and has three berths almost 900mtr long

At Saigon port, in Ho Chi Minh City, the Soai Rap river is undergoing dredging until the end of this year. Once completed, large cruise ships will be able to sail straight to the Hiep Phuoc area in Saigon, saving at least two hours’ navigation time, reports Anh.

Vung an port in Ha Tinh province is a new port in the northern central part of Vietnam, enabling access to tourist attractions in mid-north Vietnam, such as Phong Nha National Park and UNESCO World Heritage site which boasts the largest caves and grottos in the world.

‘From this port, guests can visit Ho Chi Minh’s homeland and General Giap’s tomb area,’ notes Anh.

Vietnam Airlines and Silkair have nearly daily flights from Da Nang to Siem Reap, allowing cruise passengers to fly to Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia from Da Nang port.

He also said that Cambodian Angkor Airways has started daily flights from Cambodia’s Sihanucville port to Siem Reap, allowing more cruise passengers to visit Angkor Wat by shortening the travel time, as an alternative to traveling by bus from Phnom Penh.