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Cruising the Mekong on APT's Mekong Serenity

Grace Cullinan boards the maiden voyage, the first of APT’s new generation of river ships to set sail, the MS Mekong Serenity.

Cruising down the Mekong from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City, fellow APT guests and I discovered what makes this ship a five-star experience. Stepping aboard the new Mekong Serenity you would be forgiven for thinking you had mistakenly walked into a luxury hotel. The foyer is dominated by a gold circular staircase and futuristic glass lift, a fitting indication of the thoughtful design present throughout the ship. Not that there is much time to absorb the Mekong’s newest foyer, as guests are whisked to the opulent Lemongrass restaurant for a three-course champagne lunch (it is the first sailing after all!) and a briefing with our charming Cruise Director Jason. And so, the tone is set for a memorable seven nights aboard the Mekong Serenity.

Mekong Serenity Bedroom
The cabins themselves are more spacious than one would expect from a river ship, with ample storage, seating area, desk, balcony and ensuite. The extra touches are much appreciated too, soft slippers, champagne-coloured silk robes and APT-branded welcome packs all help to make your room for the week feel like a sanctuary. Not to mention a TV boasting a range of channels, should you be inclined to have a movie night, though with such an enviable itinerary, social guests, and onboard activities and spa, it will be impressive if you find the time.
Chef's waiting to serve at the buffet
Breakfast is usually served from 7am, though there are plenty who elect to rise earlier. Some make a tradition of heading to the top deck for a morning coffee and pastry to greet the sun, others go for a refreshing swim or take to the gym, which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows perfect for admiring the sunrise. Like every meal aboard the Serenity, breakfast is an enviable display of authentic Asian flavours and western cuisine, and as with lunch, there is a buffet as well as an a la carte menu to order from. Service is always flawless, expect the team to quickly learn your drink order and have some valuable insight into the menu. Top Tip: try the live chef station for a perfectly fluffy omelette.
Private dining at Indochine onboard the Mekong Serenity
A special mention must be made for the Indochine restaurant, an intimate degustation dining experience available to all guests once on their tour, this is the perfect place to celebrate an anniversary or birthday with friends new and old over a delectable six-course meal. Our evening menu included a sumptuous Vietnamese steak and herb salad, perfectly paired with a French red we spoke about for days after. Exploring the ship, it is clear there has been a great deal of time dedicated to creating a contemporary, luxurious space, while retaining a distinctly Asian influence. As Alex Agathocleous, General Manager of Ship Building explains, many of the artefacts on display were handpicked at local Vietnamese and Cambodian markets, with some of the striking stone statues being well over 200 years old. The beautiful end result speaks to APT’s ethos perfectly, going the extra mile really does make the difference.

Discover the joy of cruising the Mekong River on APT's Mekong Serenity for yourself in 2025. Experience a journey through vibrant cultures and captivating landscape in Vietnam and Cambodia with APT where every moment is designed for your discovery and delight.

Words: Grace Cullinan
Images Courtesy of Mark Farwell