Located 170 km northeast of Hanoi, Halong bay is a well-known hub for tourists thanks to its breathtaking beauty.
Stretching over a massive area of nearly 1,500 sq km, Halong is something on your wildest dream with thousands of small limestone islets “sprouting” out of emerald green water.
There are so many different ways to experience the beauty and charm of Halong, but a cruise trip on one of Halong’s luxurious and comfortable cruise ships is never out anyone’s recommendation list.
Easy may it seem, choosing a suitable cruise is by no means a one-step simple task as you will need to consider a variety of factors, including your budget, cruise capacity and what you expect from the trip.
Choosing the right cruise can be quite irritating and time-consuming for many people. However, it shouldn’t be overwhelming – especially if you follow our advice.
There are many factors that should be taken into consideration, but you should start first with the length of your cruise time.
Typically, there are 3 sub-type of trips which are divided according to the cruise schedule:
When your time in halong is limited, going on a half-day cruise could help you to enjoy the fantastic view of Halong while still able to follow your schedule.
If you have more time in Halong and want to spend your leisure time to explore the bay, then you should go with the long trip option.
Finally, if active outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking is the thing for you, then a full day of eight-hour trip in the Lan Ha Bay is the best option.
After duration, the next thing you need to consider is your budget. Budget here also means the level of comfort you want.
Usually, cruise ships are divided into 3 ranges: Luxury, Deluxe and Economy.
Luxury: If money is no big matter for you, don’t hesitate to opt for a high-end cruise.
As money comes with quality, you can expect a beautiful well-maintained boat, with spacious well-equipped and luxuriously furnished sundeck.
Deluxe: In case you have a tighter budget but still want to experience good service, a deluxe cruise is the choice for you.
The boats would have fewer facilities and amenities and sundeck won’t be as spacious. However, in overall, it’s still a good choice.
The Deluxe cruise also travel to most well-know destination in Halong and also served the lunch that just as tasty and delicious as any luxury cruise.
Economy: If you’re on a budget, then a economy cruise may be the choice.
Keep in mind that to keep the cost low, the boats’ decorations, furniture and facilities are often simplified. The cabins can also be quite small and less comfortable.
However, if you care more about the activities on the cruise rather than you time on board, the economy would still offer you the experience of kayaking and bamboo boat rowing just like on any other cruise.
The number of travellers on board could highly effect the experience you have while cruising in Halong.
The reason is that if you like to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of Halong, then traveling on a smaller cruise which only serve a small group of customers would be a better option.
On the other hand, if you keen on making new friends and socialize with others, the bigger cruises is the one that you’re seeking for.
Usually, there will be two type of cruises, the big cruises that serve about 30 to 40 people on each trip and the smaller ones that carry about 20 to 30 people. Therefore, it would be useful to check the cruise capacity before booking one to avoid any unpleasant experiences.
Although it may not sound too important, checking if transfers are included or not is crucial, especially if you are traveling from Hanoi to Halong for a day.
For many cruise ships, transfer service is part of the package, so you just need to contact them and wait to be transferred to your ship.
It’s convenient and you don’t have to think about calling taxi or how to get back to your hotel in Hanoi.
If your cruise doesn’t include transfer, you will need to contact the taxi company and book a taxi or a car. You could try contact the online local travel agency.
They would willing to support you along your trip and watch the time for you so you don’t be late for your flight.
Usually, you can read on the advertisement the information about the cruise including its scheduled and activities.
Most cruise ships only offers trips around Halong. However, you can also find ones that travel to the less popular Lan Ha, which will be a rather different experience.
For activities, each cruise will have a different schedule that involves aquatic sports, trekking, mountain climbing or cave exploring to different islands.
As mentioned before, this is very important while you decide which cruise to reserve. First of all is the kayak rental service.
Some cruise would include this fee into their final price, while others would charge extra 5 USD to rent a kayak.
Secondly, if you’re a vegetarian, you need to check in advance to see if the cruise can prepare the food for you.
You can expect braised tofu, spicy curry, caramelized pineapple, fried bananas, sautéed potatoes and mushrooms, veggie spring rolls, creamy pumpkin soup, leafy green salads with sesame seeds and sweet radish dressings, and traditional rice and noodles…to name a few.
Lastly, if you’re traveling with kids, please read the children policy of each cruise and choose the one that has the best offers.
To sum up, these 6 tips are useful when you need to decide which day crusie you should take.
To help you get the picture, we have come up with a simple table to show you how these tips is applied on some highly rated cruise in Halong.
|Halong One Day Tour||Trip duration||Cruise Class||Cruise Capacity|
|1: Ha Binh Cruise||4-hour||Economy||30-40|
|2: Genesis Cruise||4-hour||Luxury||20-30|
|3: We go cruise||4-hour||Economy||30-40|
|4: Alova Cruise||4-hour||Deluxe||30-40|
|5: The Incredible Cruise||4-hour||Deluxe||30-40|
|6: Wonder Bay Cruise||6-hour||Luxury||20-30|
|7: Dragon King Cruise||6-hour||Economy||30-40|
|8: Arcady Cruise||8-hour||Deluxe||20-30|
|9: Jade Sails Cruise||8-hour||Luxury||20-30|
|10: La Regina Cruise||8-hour||Luxury||20-30|