It’s one of the fastest growing rivers in Asia and the boom on the Irrawaddy isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon.
According to Myanmar Tourism Statistics, the number of river cruise passengers in Myanmar increased by 1,124 percent in four years from 2008 to 2012.
Growth was a direct response to cruise lines introducing new ships on the Irrawaddy.
Currently, there are at least 12 cruise companies sailing the Irrawaddy, including Pandaw Cruises, Orient-Express, Viking River and also APT Touring, Scenic Tours, AmaWaterways and Travelmarvel.
In 2015 and 2016, the Irrawaddy River will welcome at least four new ships from APT, Avalon Waterways, and Travelmarvel.
APT will start the fleet of new ships when 124-passenger AmaDara launches in August
Avalon Waterways will start the new fleet of ships with Avalon Myanmar launching in September next year.
The 18-suite vessel will feature a Panorama Lounge with the best views onboard, a shaded open-air observation lounge and a timber-floored dining room serving a mix of western and Asian dishes.
Other features include a bar, spa, treatment room, library and fitness center.
Her main itinerary will be a 14-day cruise starting and ending in Yangon, with stops in Bagan, Shwe Pyi Thar, Sagaing, Kyauk Myaungo, Tigyango, Katha, Kyun Daw and Bhamo.
Both APT’s new Asian river ship RV Samatha and Travelmarvel’s RV Princess Panhwar will launch on the Irrawaddy from January next year.
Samatha will have 30 suites onboard ranging from 27-sqaure-meters to 48.7 square-meters.
Onboard there will also be a swimming pool, observation deck, two restaurants and a spa/massage facility.
Travelmarvel’s 36-suite RV Princess Panhwar will also launch in January 2015 with the majority of its cabins featuring outside balconies.
Suites will range from 26 square meters to 42.5 square meters.
Onboard there will be a restaurant, spa and massage facility and an air-conditioned lounge area on the sun deck.
Both lines will announce itineraries for both ships closer to the launch.