When the World Comes To Saigon


I think it is the Yangtze River of which it is said, “if you sit by the shores long enough the whole world will pass by”. Well come down to the shores of the Saigon River this weekend and you’ll see that the “World” has arrived.

Luxury coaches wait to take the residents around town

One of the most extraordinary cruise ships in the world is in Saigon for a couple of days. The World is like no other ship sailing the high seas. It is not a cruise ship in fact, but the home of some seriously rich people. They live on board and their enormous floating village constantly travels the globe. These people own the entire vessel, between them they represent some 19 nationalities.

The World looks more like a Skyscraper then a ship, viewed from the dock road

Making its way through Southeast Asia, The World arrived in Saigon from Sihanoukville, Cambodia. It will stay here for three days before making its way up to Nha Trang, Chan May, Sanya on Hainan Island, Halong Bay and then on to Hong Kong. This ship is enormous by any stretch of the imagination. It is 644 feet long, almost 100 feet wide and has 12 decks. Looking more like a skyscraper than a ship, it stands moored in Downtown Saigon.

It is registered in the Bahamas but is operated by a company from Florida. The residents live in 165 apartments that range from studios to three bedroomed affairs. Onboard they can enjoy the incredible facilities which include: shops, a deli, a fitness centre, a swimming pool and a tennis court. Six restaurants are onboard as well as a movie theatre and library. The maximum number of residents is around 200 and they are served by an amazing 250 crew.

Towering above the surrounding buildings

Built by Knut Kloster, a Norwegian Shipping Magnate, the Hull was built in Sweden, before being towed to Norway where it was completed. At 44,534 tons it is the largest vessel ever to navigate the Northwest Passage. It followed in the path of another famous Norwegian, Roald Amundsen, the first ever to make the journey.

It cuts a magnificent figure moored in Saigon.

An incredible view of ‘The World’ moored in Saigon. Photo by Francesco Zaramella