The APT Group has released the first images from onboard two brand new river cruise ships on the Irrawaddy river in Myanmar, the latest expansion of its operations in Asia. One new vessel has been built for both its five-star APT brand and value-centric sister Travelmarvel.

Both the RV Samatha (APT) and RV Princess Panhwar (Travelmarvel) formally began sailing in early January on 14-night voyages along the Irrawaddy River between Mandalay and Yangon, with capacity for their maiden seasons all but sold out. Bookings are now on sale for cruises departing in 2017.

Due to the navigability of the Irrawaddy River, river ships in Asia are generally significantly smaller than their European counterparts. On the RV Samatha, 30 guest suites ranging in size from 27-48 square metres in size feature onboard, all of which are positioned on the outer edges of the ship to maximise views from either a panoramic or twin balcony. Public facilities onboard include a sundeck with pool, main lounge, bar and observation deck.

Dining on the ship has been personally crafted by APT’s Asia Ambassador and celebrity chef Luke Nguyen, overseeing menu design, training chefs and sourcing pipelines for the produce prepared and served in both the main restaurant and a private fine dining degustation establishment which caters to eight guests per seating and require booking in advance.

Over the 15-day voyage, the ship sails for part of each day and ties up in ports including Sagaing, Yandabo, Bagan, Tantkyi Hill, Magwe, Minhla, Pyay, Myanaung, Zalon, Danuphyu and Maubin before the voyage concludes in Yangon. Off the ship, guests will have the ability to enjoy excursions including horse-drawn cart rides, exploring archaeological zones, wandering local markets and bazaars, visiting historic townships & viewing natural wonders.

The RV Princess Panhwar sailing for the premium Travelmarvel brand offers a similarly comfortable cruise experience along the Irrawaddy at a more value-focused price. A total of 36 staterooms feature on the ship ranging in size from 26-42.5 square metres, each featuring either a French-style balcony or full-size balcony. Onboard is a main restaurant, spa and massage treatment facility and main lounge, with all meals and tours included in fares, along with alcoholic drinks during meal service times.

APT Group director Robert McGeary praised the efforts of the group for the achievement of launching two new ships in one destination in the space of one week.

“These two vessels represent a significant investment by the APT Group. In particular they illustrate the long standing commitment of the APT Group to river cruising in Asia,” he said.