I think one of the most interesting parts of visiting Vietnam is the occasional realization that we are traveling in a communist country. Along with China, Cuba, Laos and North Korea, Vietnam’s form of government brings some very official looking officials to greet ships coming to visit. The iconic Vietnam red flag with a gold star is seen on buildings and vessels, including one that was in port at the same time we were.
Used by communists around the world, the red symbolizes revolution and blood, as it has since 1871. The star represents the five main classes in Vietnamese society: intellectuals, farmers, workers, businessmen and military personnel, lots of military personnel. Interestingly, at the same time we were in Da Nang for the Seabourn Food And Wine Cruise, three Russian naval ships (the destroyer Bystry, the oil tanker Boris Butoma, and the rescue vessel Altai) also docked at Da Nang’s Tien Sa Port to begin a 4-day ‘courtesy visit’ to the city.
A reception held for Rear Admiral Yurevich and municipal People’s Committee Vice Chairman Ho Ky Minh, both delighted at the fruitful results from continued work between Russia and Da Nang over recent years.
The Sovremenny-class destroyer Bystry (715) was just outside of my suite’s balcony on Seabourn Sojourn and is the workhorse of the Russian Navy. The 156m-long and 17.3m-wide destroyer has a total displacement of 7,940 tons and can sail at a top speed of 32.7 nautical miles per hour.
It is equipped with 8 Moskit SSM P-270 anti-ship missile launch tubes, 48 Shtil SAM air defence missile launch tubes, 4 139mm AK-130-MR-184 double-barreled guns, and 4 30mm AK-630 multi-barreled machine guns.
It also carries 8 torpedoes, 2 RBU-1000 anti-submarine rocket launchers and a Ka-27 Helix helicopter. See Russian Navy Ships Arrive In City from Da Nang Today for more.
Taking the provided shuttle bus to town (something Seabourn does when there is nothing really to see within walking distance of a given port) I toured the vibrant, thriving city which, like previously visited Halong Bay, is making real efforts to attract tourism.
Back on board, we enjoyed a really unique event titled Pairing Food And Wine. A no-brainer sort of thing one would think we might have had on the first or second Seabourn Food And Wine Cruise. A brilliant idea, it is actually the only event that has both food and wine content at the same time. I never think much of that until I come back home and look for a food and wine photo and find either one but not both.
The evening also brought another signature Seabourn event Officers On Deck. Basically a cocktail party with ship’s officers roaming around to chat with passengers, it serves very nicely as a pre-dinner event. That the evening was pleasant and it would be held outside on deck (get it? officers on deck ?) rather than be moved inside as they do from time to time when weather threatens to spoil the moment.