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The Newest Cruiser from Orient-Express Takes the River Less Traveled

Christina Garofalo

Oracella, the latest river cruiser from Orient-Express, was built to capture the pioneering spirit. At just 200 feet long, the ship’s small size allows it to sail through remote destinations in Burma, including the Chindwin River, that are typically too narrow for ships to enter. Reservations are open for seven- and 11-night cruises that begin in July and cover the country’s diverse terrain.

On a single cruise, travelers can tour an ancient site near Monywa where nearly 500 Buddha chambers are carved into a hillside, or they can opt to play golf at a historic course in Kalay. A highlight along the Chindwin River tour will be the Bodhi Tataung site of 1,000 Buddha statues, including one that is 424 feet tall. Additionally, the Mahar Minkyaung Monastery in Mingin provides an interesting look at European influence on Southeast Asian architecture: The monastery is lined with Italian stained-glass windows; but inside, it houses one of 10 remaining examples of a 1,000-year-old Buddha carved from a single trunk of wood.

Aside from the Chindwin tour, the Oracella will also tour the Ayeyarwady River, beginning at the foothills of Yunnan near the Chinese border. Passing green-capped mountain peaks, the ship will stop off and passengers venture in groups into the thick Kachin jungle and teak forest. Travelers will also have the opportunity to explore the ancient city of Bagan in a horse-drawn cart or by bicycle. After long days of touring, guests can return to the boat for cocktail parties on the deck or relaxation in the lounge, bar, or onboard swimming pool before retiring to river-facing cabins and suites for the night. Prices start from $5,040 per person for a seven-night cruise, including all onboard meals, excursions, and domestic flights. (www.orient-express.com)

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