Orient-Express Hotels is introducing a 50-passenger river vessel in Myanmar in July 2013.

The Orcaella is under construction in Yangon and will join the company’s existing river ship in Myanmar, the 82-passenger Road to Mandalay, which has been cruising the Irrawaddy for 17 years.

The launch of the new ship comes as Myanmar's new government appears to be paving the way toward greater democracy and demonstrates the company's further commitment to the Southeast Asian nation, Orient-Express stated.

The new ship will have 25 cabins, all of which will have floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass doors and French balconies with river views. The ship will have four decks and will feature two balcony suites on the main deck.

Irrawaddy River, MyanmarThe remaining cabins are located on the main and upper decks. All cabins will have air conditioning and en-suite facilities and four cabins will be interconnecting.

On the observation deck, there will be a retractable awning and reclining chairs; a lounge and bar that will be open all day for refreshments and alfresco dining; and a swimming pool.

There will also be a fitness center and spa treatment room.

On the main deck there will be a restaurant and two boutiques. Like the Road To Mandalay, Orcaella will have a medical room and a resident doctor onboard.

There will be local entertainment onboard, lectures, and yoga and meditation services on the sun deck.

The Orcaella will operate from January to April and July to December. Cruises will include small-group land excursions such as a local tea shop experience, trekking though the jungle, the chance to play nine holes at an old colonial golf course, exploring caves that house 492 Buddha chambers carved into the hillside just outside of Monywa, a visit to the only bespectacled Buddha close to Pyay, a train journey into Kachin jungle and an encounter with working elephants in the Burmese teak forest.

There will be a seven-night, 506-mile cruise from Yangon to Bagan (and the reverse) and an 11-night, 682-mile cruise from Mandalay up to Bhamo, near the Chinese border, and ending in Bagan.

There will also be an 11-night, 854-mile cruise that includes the Chindwin River.

All itineraries can be combined with stays in Yangon, Inle Lake or Ngapali on the Indian Ocean. Prices start from $5,040 per person for a seven-night cruise and include all meals onboard, excursions, transfers and domestic flights.

Road To Mandalay and Orcaella are both available for private charters and can be chartered in tandem.

Follow Michelle Baran on Twitter @mbtravelweekly.

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