Press & Media

Bagan watercolour
 

 

25 June 2013


Sanctuary Retreats Announces New River Cruiser, Sanctuary Ananda

 

 

 

 

Luxury cruise and safari specialists Sanctuary Retreats' newest ship -  Sanctuary Ananda-  is due to set sail in late 2014, and bookings are now being taken for this all-suite ship, which will offer guests an authentically Burmese, yet exclusive experience, in line with Sanctuary Retreat's 'Luxury Naturally' philosophy.  Named after the beautiful Ananda Temple in Bagan, Ananda also translates in Sanskrit as 'extreme happiness' - one of the highest states of being.

Sanctuary Ananda will offer eight exciting itineraries in Myanmar including 3, 4 and 7 night 'Discovery Cruises' between Bagan and Mandalay.  As well as 7, 10 and 11 night 'Exploration Cruises' which allow guests more time to explore the Upper Ayeyarwady river towards the gorges and Bhamo; the Chindwin river towards Homalin and sailing down the Lower Ayeyarwady river to Pyay (formerly Prome) and twice a year down to Yangon.

Sanctuary Ananda will sail every day on each itinerary, offering plenty of time to combine the 'must see sights' with smaller villages to meet the indigenous peoples and see local crafts being made first hand.   From spectacular temples, beautiful monasteries and ancient archaeological sites to the varied landscapes,Myanmar is a country just waiting to be discovered.

All Sanctuary Ananda's guides will be local, Burmese experts, enhancing the experience still further, and where possible, guests will experience the fun of local transport, such as horse-drawn carts, trishaws and small boats, rather than always seeing sites from behind the windows of an air-conditioned bus.    Sanctuary Retreats is renowned for bringing its guests closer to local cultures and experiences, and Myanmar will be no exception, with guests returning home with unique and special memories.

Accommodation on board is spread over three decks - the Bhamo, Mandalay and Bagan decks with a fourth deck, the Yangon deck, housing the Thambayadine Spa and Gym (where local treatments and massages will be available) and additional accommodation for private guides (for guests wanting to bring their own guide on-board).  

 

There are 20 spacious suites and the exclusive Aloungpayah Suite, offering large private balconies with room to sit and enjoy wonderful, uninterrupted views of the surrounding countryside, towns and villages and riverside life.   Sanctuary Ananda will accommodate a maximum of 48 guests, and offer a high level of personal service to all.  The Aloungpayah Suite, along with the 4 Luxury suites will also have private butler service.

Ananda's suites are named after the original Irrawady Flotilla ships and will feature vintage photography of their namesakes.  All are air-conditioned, and will combine authentic Myanmar touches, such as local fabrics, wood and lacquerware, with contemporary luxuries including an iPod docking station and iPad TV connectivity.  Deluxe suites will have either a double or twin beds and en suite bathroom with a monsoon shower, whilst Luxury suites will have an additional indoor seating area and can accommodate a third guest.  The ultra-luxurious Aloungpayah Suite has a king sized bed, dressing area in its master bedroom, a free standing bathtub, and monsoon shower as well as private living and dining areas and superb panoramic views of the river.

Burmese design echoes throughout the cruise ship, with local Myanmar fabrics and artefacts as well as specially commissioned art.  There are plenty of public areas to relax in, from the stylish Talifoo restaurant, to the spacious Sundeck, and air conditioned Kansi panorama lounge, where guests can enjoy stunning views through the floor to ceiling windows, whilst enjoying afternoon tea, or perhaps a sundowner cocktail from the Burma Bar. 

Food on board will also have a Burmese focus, with guests being able to choose between international cuisine and a range of delicious local dishes selected to reflect the diversity of Myanmar's cuisine from one of its 135 ethnicities. The Talifoo restaurant will offer an early breakfast, including Myanmar's traditional breakfast mohinga (fish noodle soup) as well as cooked and continental breakfasts.  Lunch and dinner can be enjoyed in the Talifoo, on the Bagan deck, or al fresco in the Mindoon restaurant, on the Mandalay deck. 

Days will start with complimentary early morning meditation and sunrise yoga on the Sundeck. During the day the Sundeck is the ideal spot for relaxing on a sun lounger under the shade of a canopy and watching Myanmar life drift by, or taking a dip in the outdoor plunge pool.

In the afternoons and evenings, there will be lectures and demonstrations of local customs held in the Kansi panorama lounge, where guests can learn more about the culture, history and wonders of Myanmar.

Philanthropy is at the heart of Sanctuary Retreats' ethos.  Hence, the cruise ship itself is being custom-made for the Myanmar rivers, is being built by two Burmese brothers in a local shipyard, supporting local employment. Sanctuary Retreats will be investing in and supporting local community projects, including helping orphaned children and investing in their secondary education.  Local 'cottage' industries will also be supported through using handwoven fabrics and handmade soap in the suites which have been made by women in local villages.

Prices start at £1,669 per person, based on two people sharing a Deluxe Suite including all meals, soft drinks and local beer.  Price valid for December 3, 10 & 17 2014 sailings on a 3 night itinerary.

 

Sanctuary Retreats operates boutique expedition cruises on some of the world's most beautiful rivers. For more details visit www.sanctuaryretreats.com or call 0207 190 7726