Travelling to an exotic destination such as Southeast Asia can raise many questions, from visa requirements to getting around to cuisine. Please find answers to our most frequently asked questions below.
Are transfers to and from the ship included?
For all cruises, airport or hotel transfers to/from the ship after embarkation/disembarkation are not included. For details of all cruises/itineraries, please see our Embarkation Guide.
Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay: Guests will need to arrange transportation to our welcome lounge at the Tuan Chau Marina. One-way or return transfers (private) can be booked with us from Hanoi or nearby other locations. Transfer time from Hanoi to Halong Bay is approximately 2.5 hours or about 1 hour from Haiphong. Our reservation will be able to assist you upon request.
Lower Mekong (Vietnam & Cambodia): All transfers to and from the ship are included when you start or end your cruise in Saigon or Siem Reap. There are meeting lounges in those two cities for pre-departure meetings or post-departure drop-offs. Please carefully read our embarkation guide about timings, especially about high and low water timings in Siem Reap.
Phnom Penh: Guest are requested to arrive at the ship location (pier) and arrange their transfer to/from the ship on their own. Heritage Line can arrange a private city transfer as supplement cost.
Upper Mekong (Laos). Please carefully read our embarkation guide for timings and meeting locations for the different itineraries. In Luang Prabang and Vientiane the ships moors close to city. Transfer to/from the ship are not included in any itinerary. Heritage Line can arrange private transfers on request.
Ayeyarwady & Chindwin (Myanmar): Ship embarkation/disembarkation points are located in the center of Mandalay and Bagan. Transfer to and from the ship are not included and can be arranged by Heritage Line upon request.
Are there extra fees for solo travelers?
Rates listed in our Rates & Departures based on double sharing occupancy. For solo travelers, there is a surcharge of 45% to 70% on the adult rate, subject to room category. Please check out our offer section for any special for solo travellers.
What is the difference between high water and low water cruises on the lower Mekong? (Vietnam & Cambodia)
Water levels on the Tonle Sap Lake and River as well as on the Mekong River vary greatly depending on time of year – ranging from a depth of 1 meter to an astounding 10 meters!
Therefore, our lower Mekong ships, are only able to make a lake crossing during the height of the rainy season and dock directly at the pier in Siem Reap for passenger embarkation and disembarkation. High water season is from mid-August to mid-November (dates vary each year, depending on rainfall). During low water season (mid-November to late August), the ship moors at a pier at Kampong Cham on the Mekong River, and we provide shuttle bus transportation (4.5 hours) to/from Siem Reap for our guests.
Please note that only the Cambodian portion of our lower Mekong cruise itinerary (Siem Reap to Phnom Penh and vice versa) is affected by water levels. On-shore excursions remain the same on both low- and high-water itineraries (albeit in a different order). The Vietnam portion (Phnom Penh to Saigon and vice versa) of our lower Mekong cruises is unaffected by water levels.
Are the ships safe?
The answer is a clear and definite ‘yes’. All our ships are maintained within strict governmental and maritime requirements annually and must be certified by such agencies to operate. We have equipped all vessels with modern navigational equipment, fully integrated fire prevention and control systems – including smoke and fire detection in cabins and public areas, ship to shore and emergency communications systems as well as emergency public address systems.
We offer a comprehensive safety briefing to all passengers right upon boarding. Beyond that, all crews do regularly trainings of emergency situations and procedures and our ships are outfitted with life-saving equipment to aid in emergencies, including man overboard and abandoning ship.
Will I encounter sea sickness?
Generally speaking, the rivers we are cruising on in Southeast Asia are very calm and there is hardly any motion on any of our ships. A bit of motion can occur during monsoon rains with stormy winds, but the amount of motion is much less than one would feel during bad weather on the open ocean.
Sea cruises as we offer in Halong Bay or Lan Ha Bay can sometimes encounter heavier waters and ship motion, although this happens very rarely and port authorities will most likely not allow sailing under any such circumstances anyway.
If you are new to cruising or prone to motion sickness, it does not hurt to bring along some motion sickness medication. Drinking a nice hot fresh ginger tea is a natural remedy and tasty alternative our staff is always happy to make for you.
What about my valuable items on board?
All our cabins have a built in personal safe in which you should store valuable items. Please read our Terms and Conditions carefully regarding this topic.
Is it safe on the ship when mooring or docking?
It is very safe to be on board at any time, day or night. Our ships have always standing guards on duty whenever the ship is docked or moored, especially overnight. Of course, as you would also do at home, you should always keep your cabin and balcony doors locked when you leave the room or at night as well as keep your valuable items locked within your cabin’s safe.
What should I wear during on-shore excursions?
We recommend wearing loose and comfortable clothing made of cotton or modern material that can readily cool off sweat and body hear. The type of shoes will depend on the excursion types so best to have both light, open toed shoes as well as good walking/hiking shoes with you. A sun hat is always a good idea to bring along.
Southern Vietnam and Cambodia are warm all year-round, but our other cruise destinations can get chilly during the winter months (Laos, Myanmar or northern Vietnam). Therefore, it is always recommended to bring a pullover or a warm jacket with you during this period.
Many of our cruises include visits to local temples or pagodas. When visiting these holy sites, make sure to wear appropriate clothing which covers your shoulders and knees.
In case of emergency – what first aid is available onboard?
All crew are trained and certified in life saving techniques (CPR) and first aid procedures. All crews also have regular training in emergency medical procedures. Each of our ships have first aid kits and the most essential medications on board. All ships cruising in remote areas (lower Mekong, Ayeyarwady, Chindwin, Upper Mekong) have an automated external defibrillator on board.
Are there any foods that I should avoid during my cruise (on- & off-shore)?
All food and beverage on board is completely safe to eat and enjoy, including the ice cubes you enjoy in your chilled drinks. We do not recommend drinking water straight from the tap anywhere, including onboard. We provide you with complimentary clean drinking water throughout your cruise.
You may want to be bit careful with local dishes as they can be spicier than you are used to from home. Approach new dishes slowly and carefully. If you have a sensitive stomach, then you may like to double check with our chef or onboard managers about specific dishes or meals.
On excursions, it may be a good idea to avoid local foods and snacks unless offered by our tour guides. Besides the above, in general we recommend the following motto for your pre- and post-cruise travelling in the Southeast Asian tropics: boil it, peel it, cook it, wash it or forget it!
Are there any health risks that I should be aware of?
The most effective protection from personal contamination is ensuring strict attention to personal hygiene and in particular, frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water and refraining from hand-to-mouth contact. Colds and other viruses can spread quickly in an enclosed area such as a ship. Continue to practice common-sense hygiene and respiratory courtesy. Wash your hands often and cover your coughs and sneeze. It is recommended that passengers carry anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, which does not require rinsing with water. Use sanitizer frequently and throughout the day, particularly after shore excursions and prior to meals. If you have any questions regarding your health or safety, please do not hesitate to ask your cruise director.
Motion sickness can be a problem for some people when cruising, flying or travelling on coaches and trains and it is a good idea to take precautionary measures. Over-the-counter drugs for treating motion sickness can be purchased at pharmacies in most countries, though a side effect can by drowsiness. Alternatives such as ginger tablets and acupressure wristbands are also available and work well for some people.
What are the visa requirements for our cruise destinations?
Laos & Thailand - Upper Mekong Cruises
Travelers from most countries can apply online for a Laos eVisa (https://laoevisa.gov.la), which is valid for border crossings between Thailand and Laos on land and river. Please obtain your visa prior to your cruise departure. Visa Exemption apply for several countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam).
Thailand: please find more information here https://thaievisa.go.th
Vietnam (Lower Mekong Cruises & Halong Bay / Lan Ha Bay Cruises)
Visa Exemption is available for travelers with passports from 25 countries (ASEAN, Japan, South Korea and some European countries) do not require visas to enter Vietnam, and depending on country of origin can stay between 14 and 30 days. Check here for eligibility https://www.vietnam-visa.com/vietnam-visa-exemption/
E-Visa is available for citizens from 80 different countries. Visitors may arrive by land, air or seaports of entry. To check eligibility, ports of entry and apply https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/trang-chu-ttdt. NOTE: We strongly recommend to arrange your visa ahead of time.
If applying for E-Visa for cruising with Heritage Line on the lower Mekong from Cambodia to Vietnam the port of entry into Vietnam is “Sông Tiền” or “Sông Tiền Landport”. Be sure to list the correct entry date (river border crossing). Please check with our reservation team if you not certain about the exact date. Guests with pre-arranged visa that indicated a wrongly entry date will not be allowed to board.
You may also apply for a visa directly from the Vietnam Embassy or Consulate in your home country. This method may take weeks to process. Please check with your embassy or consulate for more information.
Cambodia - Lower Mekong Cruises
Visa Exemption is available for travelers with passports from member ASEAN countries do not require a visa to enter the country (Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam).
E-Visa is available for travelers from any country (other than Afghanistan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Sudan) may apply for a visa online. https://go-cambodia-online.com/. E-Visas are valid for 30 days and are only eligible for individuals arriving at Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville International airports and select land crossings. E-Visas are NOT accepted on the river border crossing between Vietnam to Cambodia (upstream).
For guest who are cruising with Heritage Line on the lower Mekong River from Vietnam to Cambodia, Heritage Line can arrange a Cambodian Visa (30 days, single entry) onboard. (please check current fee with Heritage Line reservation team).
You may also apply for a visa directly from the Cambodian Embassy or Consulate in your home country (your local travel agent may also assist you with this). This method may take weeks to process. Please check with your embassy or consulate for more information.
Heritage Line does not guarantee that all information is up to date or fully accurate. Please check with your national embassy or consulate for details. Please arrange your visa ahead of time.
Do I need to get any vaccines prior to my trip to Southeast Asia?
According to both the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when travelling to Southeast Asia the most essential vaccinations include:
- Hepatitis A (at least two weeks before date of travel)
- Hepatitis B (three injections over the course of six months prior to travel)
- Typhoid (one month before)
Other recommended routine vaccinations are Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) and Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (TDaP).
What is the time difference with Southeast Asia?
To give an idea of the times in Southeast Asia versus regions across the world, let’s say it is 12:00 PM noon in our cruising destinations of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos (Myanmar is half an hour behind).
Please note that most Asian countries do not observe Daylight Saving, thus there is no time change between winter and summer. Times listed below are for summer in the northern hemisphere.
Location Time Offset Time Vietnam
UTC +7 12:00
Myanmar UTC +6:30 11:30 Sydney, Australia
(Australian Eastern Standard Time)
UTC +10 15:00 New Zealand UTC +12 17:00 British Summer Time
Central European Time
UTC +1 06:00 New York, USA
(Eastern Daylight Time)
UTC -4 1:00 Los Angeles, USA
(Pacific Daylight Time)
UTC -7 22:00
Is there a luggage restriction on your cruises?
Passengers are encouraged to bring minimal necessary luggage as cabin storage is limited. We are able to store extra luggage onboard and outside your cabin on a limited basis only. Therefore, we kindly ask passengers travelling with excessive or oversized baggage to inform us prior to your cruise departure to get an official clearance. Otherwise, Heritage Line may refuse to store excessive baggage. You shall be responsible for supervising any luggage you do not deposit with us for carriage. Please read our Terms and Conditions hereto.
Do I need insurance? If so, which ones are recommended?
We recommend at least purchasing travel health insurance which covers both in- & outpatient visits and medical repatriation. Buying additional trip cancellation and interruption coverage may also be beneficial in case you have to cancel your travel plans due to unforeseen circumstances.
Do I need to bring electrical adapters?
We always recommend bringing a travel adapter as a standard item in your travel kit. You can borrow an adapter on board, but these may be limited.
What documents do I need to bring onboard?
Please bring aboard your valid passport and booking confirmation which you have received from us or from your travel agent. If you are a person at risk for travelling, please bring a certificate from your doctor ensuring that you are fit for travel.
Is there onboard entertainment?
During our cruises, especially the longer itineraries of 3 or more nights, entertainment and various activities are offered onboard and included in the price of the cruise (excluding premium services such as spa treatments).
You can find information hereto on the website in the detailed itineraries or on the “Life Aboard” section of each ship.
Are cabins and suites pre-assigned or can I chose a specific cabin (number and location)?
Cabins are currently assigned by our reservation staff if the booker has not indicated any special requirements with the booking. For top-suite booking, we recommend checking the location of the room (see Deck Plan & Room Layouts in our Brochures section) and inform us with any specific requests (such as room number or room name) when making your booking.
Please note that on some ships, we apply a mandatory supplement for premium top suite locations (e.g. Ylang in Lan Ha Bay or Violet in Halong Bay).