The holidays are interesting for us at Wagoners Abroad. Not only do we have our own ways to celebrate, we get to see how the locals celebrate. This year, we find ourselves in Hoi An Vietnam. Our Christmas celebration started with a river cruise. Officially, it was a Christmas Eve Sunset Dinner Cruise with Cinnamon Cruises.
One of the biggest things to do while in Hoi An is to go into the Old Town area and shop. Invariably, you’ll find yourself walking along the Thu Bon river, and you’ll get bombarded by requests by the locals to take a ride on one of the small boats that line the river. We didn’t do that however. We definitely went upscale on our river tour. All of us dressed up in our tailor-made Hoi An clothing (as dressed up as we can get), and made our way to the pier. It’s tough to miss the boat as she is the largest boat that provides tours in this area. She really stands out!
Christmas in Hoi An Vietnam
Once we were at the ship, we met our very gracious host, Mr. Le Ho Phuoc Vinh and Santa. He spared no expense to ensure the Christmas theme was covered. Not only did he have Santa greet us and be available for pictures, Santa also drove the boat! That’s how cool this was. Traditional Christmas songs were playing and there was a special energy in the air. Our table was beautifully laid out, topped with white table cloths, Christmas linens and flowers. The staff was right there to cater to our every need and also helpful in taking pictures of all of us.
As the sun was setting, we were under way along the river. The water was calm, there was a slight breeze in the air. The candles were lit on the table and we were presented with hot towels to wipe our hands and an extensive wine list. What could be better than being with family and opening up an excellent bottle of wine for the adults? We don’t drink wine frequently while traveling, but since this was a special occasion, Vinh chose a very nice Cabernet from his well-stocked collection of international wines. This was a fantastic way to start our Christmas Eve celebration.
On the cruise with us were 3 other tables of two and a family of 4. The night was peaceful, relaxing and colorful. It was nice passing many of the bigger river front resorts in the area and seeing their Christmas Eve celebrations along the banks. Christmas lights were everywhere and this was an unexpected surprise for us in Vietnam. We didn’t think we’d find that traditional Christmas feeling, but Cinnamon Cruises went all out to make our night special, especially the final activity of the evening. You have to keep reading to find out what that was.
As we slowly moved past the lantern lit shops and restaurants, in the village of Hoi An, we got settled at our table. Within minutes, various courses of food were presented to us. Each dish was named and described for us. As you know, I’m not a foodie, but I tried everything, and it was all very good. Even Gma Bev gave most everything a try, she is a very particular eater.
Our menu consisted of:
- Spring Rolls
- Banana Salad with Rice Crackers
- Duck with pepper sauce. Duck breast pieces, chopped onion, garlic and pepper sauce.
- Charcoal grilled beef. This was delicious.
- Aubergine in clay pot. Eggplant cut into strips of ½ inch pieces and served with crushed lemongrass. Heidi couldn’t get enough of this, she just loved it.
- Cinnamon Cake. Green bean mash, coconut & cinnamon rolled in pancake
- Vietnamese Tropical Fruit Platter
I think the spring rolls were my favorite, and I’ll admit that I probably had more than my fair share. They were just so good! All told, we had 7 courses over the evening, and it was a lot of fun enjoying the great food and listening to the festive music. The service the staff provided was fantastic, and Vinh was a superb host. The cruise length was just right, and Hoi An at night is very beautiful at night, but especially from the boat.
Once we completed our meals we had a little fun walking around the boat and taking pictures. Lars had a moment with Heidi, when he walked up to her and gave her a big hug. He whispered in her ear “Thanks Mom, I am loving this cruise”. You know it is good when the kids are having a good time and even say so.
Oh yes, I need to tell you about the big grand finale of the evening. After the last of our dishes were cleared off the table, the waiter brought out a tray of the floating candles for us. Yep, we each received our own floating candle to place in the river and hope for our good wishes to come true. The kids were very excited about it and I have to admit it was pretty cool for me too.
If you’re looking for an upscale family dining experience, a romantic dinner cruise for two, or anything in between, Cinnamon Cruises can help you create an unforgettable event.
On our walk back through the village to our accommodation in town, there was so much Christmas cheer in the air. Everyone was buzzing about and the streets were alive with celebration, lanterns, fireworks and loads of little mini Santas running about. This was a fantastic location for us to spend Christmas.
Cinnamon Cruises http://www.cinnamoncruises.com
Head office: 72 Hai Thuong Lan Ong, Hoi An City
Booking office: 124 Tran Phu, Hoi An City
Boarding Pier: Opposite 82 Bach Dang, Hoi An City
Tel: (0510) 3623777 – 8505605, Mob: 0913438302
Disclosure: This cruise was sponsored by Cinnamon Cruises in exchange for our honest review. All opinions are our own.
Read more about our
Adventure333 (3 Generations, 3 Months, 3 Countries)
Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia
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