All photography by Christian Berg
Morning in the Mekong Delta is the best time to be on the water. In the early hours of the day, the only sounds you’ll hear are the calls of birds and the soft chug-chug-chug of motorboats. As the sun rises and reflects off gently rolling waves, a moving panorama of clouds, green banks, and river barges floats by.
All 35 staterooms on the Victoria Mekong have spacious balconies where you can sit and soak in the passing views and river breezes. When you’re ready, head to the Sky Deck for a session of hatha yoga, or run a few kilometres on the treadmills in the health centre. Afterwards, a beautiful breakfast awaits at Claypot Restaurant.
The Mekong Delta famously grows Vietnam’s most colourful and exotic fruits in farms and orchards all along the river: juicy dragon fruit, pineapples, baby bananas, rambutans, and other tempting options. Try an array of them at the buffet breakfast aboard Victoria Mekong. You can also take your pick of local noodle soups, buttery pastries, Western-style favourites, salads, cheeses, and eggs cooked your way.
Come lunch and dinner, the menu highlights the traditional fishing and farming culture of the Delta. Fill your plate with local specialties such as gỏi xoài (green mango salad) with rice crackers, and cá kho tộ (caramelised fish in claypot.) For dessert, how about a slice of sticky banana cake with coconut cream sauce? Every table at Claypot Restaurant is placed near panoramic windows so you can watch the changing skies and shoreline as you dine.
TIP: Don’t miss the chance to order a Vietnamese-style coffee such as cà phê sữa đá or bạc xỉu, prepared extra sweet and milky in the southern Vietnamese style.
One of the best parts of joining a cruise is checking out each deck and sampling the activities on offer. Victoria Mekong has four decks for you to explore. Between them, you’ll find a quiet library nook, a plush cinema stocked with 3,000 movies, two serene spa rooms, and a bubbling jacuzzi swimming pool serving up 180-degree views of the river. Celebrating a special occasion? The cruise also has two VIP suites with spacious balconies, deep bathtubs, and floor-to-ceiling picture windows.
The most memorable part of your time on board may be spent on the Sky Deck, where a mini-golf course is set up between daybeds and sun loungers. Kick up your feet under the shade of an umbrella, grab a cold coconut, and watch the world go by.
Of course, a key part of any trip is connecting to the destination. The itinerary on the Victoria Mekong is tailored to showcase the beauty of the Delta region and its culture. The ship drops anchor for guided excursions at the region’s top attractions, such as the Tra Su Bird Sanctuary, Cai Rang Floating Market, and Son Eco-tourism Island.
Apart from the well-known hotspots, lesser-known gems are also woven into the itinerary. Follow your guides to learn about plum wine distillation, see age-old methods of net weaving and wood carving, and visit ancestral houses to glimpse the cultural fusion of the Delta in its architecture.
TIP: On board, guests are treated to a show of đờn ca tài tử, a type of folk song theatre, performed live with traditional music and play acting. This art form originated in the daily life of the Delta, and is listed by UNESCO as an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’.
When you choose the Victoria Mekong, you know you’re getting warm service, four-star amenities, and authentic local culture. But you might not know that you’re also getting the most sustainable cruise in the Delta. Thien Minh Group invested heavily in state-of-the-art engines, solar panels, water treatment generators, and waste treatment plants to make the cruise as low-impact and environmentally sensitive as possible.
The entire guest experience has been considered from the viewpoint of sustainability — from below the River Deck where wet mufflers filter emissions and reduce noise pollution, to the staterooms where refillable water bottles and plastic-free bins are placed. The ship’s main engines use the latest innovations for maximum fuel efficiency; and the leisurely six knots-per-hour speed creates less impact on the shore and reduces energy consumption.
All this means that you can stand at the front of the ship as it plows through a sparkling sunrise or balmy evening, and know you’ve found the best of the marvelous Mekong Delta.