Sanctuary Retreats Announces New River Cruiser in Myanmar: Sanctuary Ananda



June 25, 2013 – Luxury cruise and safari specialist Sanctuary Retreats announces that its newest ship, Sanctuary Ananda, is due to set sail in late 2014 in Myanmar. In a country long veiled from Westerner eyes, Sanctuary Ananda is designed to take guests into less-traveled parts of the country to explore the rich traditions of Burmese culture. Named after the beautiful Ananda temple in Bagan, the name means ‘extreme happiness' in Sanskrit.

Custom built for Myanmar's rivers by two renowned Burmese brothers in a Yangon shipyard, the all-suite 48-guest ship will sail between the popular Mandalay-Bagan stretch of the Upper Ayeyarwady River, as well as more unusual itineraries on both the Chindwin and Ayeyarwady Rivers. Sanctuary Ananda will offer eight unique itineraries on 3, 4 and 7-night 'Discovery Cruises' between Bagan and Mandalay and 7, 10 and 11-night 'Exploration Cruises.' The longer cruises will allow guests time to explore the Upper and Lower Ayeyarwady Rivers as well as the Chindwin River, while visiting many astounding sights on route, including the Minbu mud volcanoes, the stunning gorges below Bhamo and many local tribes and Burmese people going about their everyday life. These itineraries are particularly suited to guests who want a more relaxed cruise with a chance to explore off-the-beaten path.

Sanctuary Ananda will sail every day on each itinerary, offering more time to experience the ‘must see sights’ as well as smaller villages where guests will meet the indigenous peoples and see local crafts being made first-hand. From spectacular temples, beautiful monasteries and ancient archaeological sites to astonishingly varied landscapes, Myanmar is a country waiting to be discovered.

The Sanctuary Retreats Difference: Luxury, Naturally

Sanctuary Retreats is renowned for its philanthropy and bringing guests closer to local cultures and experiences with an approach that is authentic and natural. Sanctuary is investing in and supporting local community projects in Myanmar, including helping orphaned children get a secondary education. Amenities on board will be sourced locally, including the hand-woven fabrics and handmade soap in the suites, providing support for small ‘cottage’ industries in Myanmar.

Sanctuary Ananda's local guides will enhance the guest experience with their first-hand knowledge of Burmese culture and history. In most locations, guests will experience the fun of local transport, such as horse-drawn carts, trishaws and small boats.

Sanctuary Ananda Suites

Accommodations on board are spread over three decks – the Bhamo, Mandalay and Bagan decks. The fourth deck, the Yangon deck, will house the Thambayadine Spa and Gym (where local treatments and massages will be available).

There are 20 spacious suites and the exclusive Aloungpayah Suite, offering large private balconies with room to sit and enjoy uninterrupted views of the surrounding countryside, towns, villages and riverside life. Accommodating a maximum of 48 guests, Sanctuary Ananda will offer a high level of personal service. The Aloungpayah Suite, along with the 4 Luxury Suites, will also have a private butler service.

Ananda's suites are named after the original Irrawady Flotilla ships and each will feature vintage photography of their namesakes. Suites will combine authentic Burmese touches such as local fabrics, wood and lacquerware, with contemporary luxuries including an iPod docking station, iPad TV connectivity and air conditioning. The premium Aloungpayah Suite features a king-size bed and dressing area in the master bedroom, a free-standing bathtub, and monsoon shower, as well as private living and dining areas and superb panoramic views of the river.

Restaurants and Lounges with Sanctuary Ananda

Menus will highlight Burmese flavors, with a choice of international cuisine and a range of delicious local dishes selected to reflect the diversity of Myanmar’s cuisine, from its more than 135 ethnic groups. The Talifoo Restaurant will offer an early breakfast, including the traditional Burmese breakfast of mohinga (fish noodle soup), as well as a full breakfast menu. Lunch and dinner can be enjoyed in the Talifoo, on the Bagan deck, or lunch can be taken al fresco in the Mindoon Restaurant on the Mandalay deck.

Guests will find plenty of areas to relax: from the stylish Talifoo Restaurant and spacious Sundeck, to the air conditioned Kansi panorama lounge where guests can enjoy stunning river views through floor-to-ceiling windows while enjoying afternoon tea or a sundowner cocktail from the Burma Bar. Burmese design echoes throughout the ship, with local fabrics and artefacts as well as specially commissioned art.

Activities and Amenities of Sanctuary Ananda

Mornings on board will start with complimentary early meditation and sunrise yoga on the Sundeck. During the day, this is the ideal spot for relaxing on a sun lounger under the shade of a canopy and watching riverside life or taking a dip in the outdoor plunge pool.

In the afternoons and evenings, there will be lectures and demonstrations of local customs in the Kansi panorama lounge, where guests can learn more about the culture, history and wonders of Myanmar.