Royal Caribbean refutes claims of cruise ship being chartered to Vietnamese tourists

16-May-2019 Intellasia | The Saigon Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has refuted a source saying that the ship operator had agreed to lease a cruise ship to a travel agency or individual to organise a cruise, departing from Halong to Hong Kong, for a group of some 3,000 Vietnamese tourists.

Nikolaos Antalis, associate vice president at Royal Caribbean International’s Marine and Safety in China, confirmed to the Saigon Times that the ship operator had yet to offer a chartered cruise service to any travel firms or people in Vietnam to date. Chartering a Royal Caribbean cruise ship is not as easy as chartering a flight, stated the ship line’s representative.

Also, Hong Kong does not offer visa exemptions for cruise passengers, the representative said, in response to a source claiming that cruise passengers would be exempt from visas to this territory.

Earlier, a Facebook group invited some 3,000 people to jointly charter a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, at a cost of some $500 per head, to travel to Hong Kong from Halong in Quang Ninh Province.

The group said they had planned the voyage and had found 3,000 people who willingly paid deposits for the five-day-and-four-night trip. Also, the cruise passengers did not have to apply for a visa to Hong Kong, they claimed.

The group, which was founded in late March on Facebook, is home to almost 11,000 members, with new mothers accounting for the majority.

A travel firm with experience in organising chartered cruises for large groups, collecting deposits from the members and making payments to the ship operator was needed, according to one administrator of the group.

Moreover, the group claimed that the cruise line had agreed to grant the chartered cruise service for the trip. Passengers did not have to fly to Singapore to get on the ship, and reasonable prices were available for tourist groups of some 2,500-3,300 people, they said.

According to the Facebook group, the cruise was slated for departure early this summer. However, in a recent post in the group, the administrator announced that the trip had been rescheduled and called for more members to join it.


Category: Business, Vietnam

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