Orient-Express has announced the launch of Orcaella, which will offer visitors opportunities to experience the sights and culture of Myanmar starting this July 22. Orcaella (promounced as “Or-kay-la”) will embark on both an Ayeyarwady River schedule, as well as a Chindwin River schedule, allowing tourists to explore the popular cultural sites along the way. The craft’s size (at 200 feet) is expected to allow the tourists to sail along untouched waters and through remote destinations.
Among Orcaella’s 25 river-facing cabins, 17 are suites. These suites will feature floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors and ensuite bathrooms. There is also a lounge area, bar, and swimming pool. Orcaella will offer seven- and 11-night itineraries between Yangon and Bhamo and will operate from January to April and July to December.
Meanwhile, Road To Mandalay, Orcaella’s sister ship, has been cruising the Ayeyarwady for 17 years. The company also operates The Governor’s Residence, a colonial-style hotel in Yangon. Highlights of the Ayeyarwady River schedule will include: “Gorges of the far North”, an 11-night cruise departing from Mandalay and ending in Bagan, with visits near the Chinese border, at the foothills of Yunnan, and the temples in Bagan; “Jewels of the Ayeyarwady”, a seven-night cruise departing from Yangon and ending in Bagan, with guided excursions to Bagan and a visit to the Pyi Taw Pyan Pagoda; and the “Ayeyarwady Experience”, a seven-night cruise departing from Bagan and ending in Yangon, with a visit to a 20-foot Buddha made of straw lacquer.
Highlights of the Chindwin River schedule will include: “Discovering the Chindwin River” an 11-night cruise through rugged scenery, with the highlights including a visit to a monastery that houses the Shwe Sagar Buddha, one of 10 carved from a single trunk of wood 1,000 years ago.
The river cruiser can accommodate up to 82 passengers in 43 cabins. There is also the option to extend itineraries, with additional nights in Yangon, Ngapali, and Inle Lake, and Bhamo. Orcaella also joins Orient-Express’ colonial-style mansion, The Governor’s Residence, featuring 48 accommodations set in a garden dotted with lotus pools.
Orient-Express also operates Afloat in France, a collection of luxury river barges cruising throughout the French countryside. The five barges that make up Orient-Express’ Afloat in France can house between four and 12 guests and sail through the Franche-Comté, Languedoc-Roussillon, Rhône-Alpes, and Burgundy's Côte-d'Or regions. While the Fleur de Lys, Amaryllis and Alouette are reserved for charters only, the Napoléon and the Hirondelle can be booked on a per cabin basis or chartered from April through October.