Sanctuary Ananda is due to sail her inaugural cruise in Myanmar on 15th November 2014, after her launch date was brought forward one month, due to the speed of the building phase.
Designed by two Burmese brothers who are overseeing the building work in a local shipyard, the vessel is named after the Ananda Temple in Bagan, while her name translates as ‘extreme happiness’ in Sanskrit. The vessel has been built using traditional materials combined with modern technology to ensure she can navigate Myanmar’s rivers.
The Burmese theme is reflected throughout the ship, which features local Myanmar fabrics and artefacts and specially commissioned art in its restaurants, sundeck, and air-conditioned Kansi panorama lounge and Burma Bar. Ananda’s 21 air-conditioned suites will also be influenced by Burmese design, as well as offering a private balcony and will accommodate a total of 48 guests
“We are delighted to announce that our first venture in Myanmar is progressing ahead of its original timescale enabling us to offer a choice of cruises in this truly stunning country from November,” said Marco Rosa, senior vice president, worldwide sales and marketing for Sanctuary Retreats in the UK. “One of the best ways to explore this beautiful and relatively undiscovered destination is by ship.”
Ananda will sail six itineraries, including three- and four-night trips, which can be booked as part of a wider Myanmar tour for longer cruises. Passengers will be able to enjoy site-seeing opportunities, as well as visits to small villages with local Burmese guides.
Additionally Sanctuary has partnered with US chef and restaurant owner Michelle Bernstein, who will create a selection of signature Burmese Fusion dishes onboard the 21-suite Sanctuary Ananda.
Classically French-trained chef Bernstein has earned an international reputation for her work at Restaurant Azul in the Mandarin Oriental, owns two restaurants in Miami, presents TV food programmes and has won a James Beard Best Chef Award.
“I love to play with a fusion of Asian ingredients and given that the cuisine in Myanmar draws from so many ethnic groups as well as Thailand and China, there is plenty of inspiration,” said Bernstein. “One of the real highlights of this project will be working with the team of culinary men and women within Myanmar who will cook on the vessel, who I’m sure will be able to add some invaluable local expertise and knowledge.”
In addition to the Asian-Fusion dishes, Bernstein will create a choice of ‘World Travel Comfort Food Plates’ for those moments that many long haul travellers experience, when they crave a taste of home whilst on their adventures overseas. Bernstein’s cuisine will be offered alongside other traditional Buremese meals, which will be offered in the Talifoo restaurant, the Bagan deck, or in the al fresco Mindoon restaurant.
“We are delighted to welcome a chef of Michelle’s calibre and creativity onboard to assist with the development of cuisine on Sanctuary Ananda,” said Simon Laxton, executive vice president of Sanctuary Retreats. “Our ethos at Sanctuary Retreats is to provide our guests with a luxurious, yet authentic, experience and food is an important element of this. Michelle will be working closely with our team of chefs to ensure that authentic, local flavours are integrated into our menus, which will offer a tempting range of these signature dishes along with international cuisine.”
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