With just eight months before its maiden voyage, Heritage Line Anouvong has just reached another significant milestone in the ship construction process. On 12 January 2020, the captain and construction crew celebrated Anouvong’s ship christening prior to placing the vessel into the water for the very first time (known as the ship launch, and not to be confused with when the ship formally enters service with its inaugural voyage).
Only witnessed by the shipyard crew and a few local spectators in Laos’s far northwestern Bokeo Province, the upper Mekong’s first ever luxury vessel glided smoothly and steadily across a bed of air-filled balloons and gently into the river. This kind of “ship-birthing process” took nearly an entire day before Heritage Line Anouvong, at last, floated freely on the Mekong.
Engineers, shipyard crew, and Heritage Line’s management team (who were watching this fascinating procedure live on video) all rejoiced when seeing and hearing the final result everyone was hoping for – a very low draft, which is required to navigate this perplexing river and its shallow stretches, rapids, and narrow passages.
“A mere 0.775 meters of water above the keel is an extraordinary result, and we are extremely pleased about the vessel’s draft,” states Mr. Bao Nguyen, Heritage Line’s Chief Engineer.
Over the coming weeks, as the on-site shipyard team finishes with the mechanical and electrical infrastructure, Heritage Line will be flying in a team of experts to fit out the ship’s interiors (the same team who outfitted Heritage Line Ylang, which recently launched in August 2019).
It is marvellous to see the entire process come together, and we look forward to welcoming another member to Heritage Line’s renowned ship collection.
Heritage Line Anouvong is scheduled to embark on its 3-night maiden voyage in September 2022 from the Thai-Lao border town of Huay Xai and downstream to the cultural heart of Laos, Luang Prabang (this cruise is also available upstream).