Each year, three million international travelers visit the areas of Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay. More and more of them are trying the Bays overnight cruise phenomenon. What exactly is a cruise in the bays? Why does it attract so many different types of travelers? What makes it so popular? And most importantly, how can YOU experience this incredible way of traveling?
This is your guide to finding out why cruising Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay is the most convenient, enjoyable and enriching way to travel to one of the best World Heritage natural landscape destinations.
The guide is the ultimate resource for those seeking to cruise in Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay. It covers pre-cruise preparation, advice stemming from cruise experts’ experiences, dos and don’ts, tips for families with kids (or for solo travelers), safety information, advice about how to choose the right cruise and even information about how to WIN a free cruise.
As the day draws to a close, the very last sunbeams lull Halong Bay’s emerald waters with the softness of a mother cradling her child.
You have just chosen to visit one of the most exquisite natural wonders in the world. What a delicious decision! Buoyed by years of experience gained from daily operation and partnership with cruise suppliers, we are now about to lift the veil on the Vietnamese site’s rich heritage for your own pleasure.
A three-hour drive from Hanoi City or Noi Bai International, Halong Bay is waiting for you to explore its stunning secrets, enabling cruise embarkation in three different port locations. Arrange your transportation regarding boarding times, benefiting from the round-trip shuttle bus service which can pick you in Hanoi’s Old Quarter; you can also take public buses, seaplanes or, if comfort is your priority, private transportation.
Then, please yourself with discovering the Halong Bay’s surroundings: the astounding pagodas and temples of Ninh Binh, the incredibly verdurous rice terraces of Sapa. Let us suggest you the perfect itinerary in northern Vietnam! Will you rather take the bus, the private car or the train?
After flying a thousand miles to the World Heritage site of Halong Bay, you shouldn’t miss the once-in-a-lifetime experience of enjoying an overnight cruise amid the bay’s thousands of limestone karsts emerging from the emerald water.
For an unforgettable immediate, immersive and intimate travel experience, cruising in the bays is hard to beat.
The cruises don’t just take you deep in the bays, with many off-board excursions and activities, they let you touch the water, float between the sea and sky, and see its scenery up close.
As you sail at an easy pace, you’re cocooned in comfort, with attentive staff at your service and the convivial company of like-minded passengers.
This, too, is what an overnight cruise delivers: not just a convenient, hassle-free package that includes transportation to and from Hanoi City but also a ‘floating hotel’ with a lounge, a bar and restaurant, outdoor space and leisure facilities.
Whether you’re sitting in the restaurant or drinking champagne on the top-deck bar or relaxing on your own cabin balcony…or even lazily staying in bed, you can see the beautiful landscape passing by.
When we speak of Halong Bay, often we are referring to the entire region, which is actually composed of three bays: Halong Bay itself and the neighboring Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay. Each boasts its own distinct, remarkable landscape.
The entire bay area consists of 1,996 karst limestone islands rising out of the misty, jewel-colored waters. Some are topped with thick jungles, while others are strewn with caves and grottoes. All play a part in balancing Halong’s unique and impressively diverse ecosystem.
Accordingly, services including entertainment, restaurants and accommodation have also risen to satisfy the needs. Now Halong City and the bay have become busier than ever.
Geographically Bai Tu Long Bay is similar in every aspect to its more famous cousin. But, Bai Tu Long Bay is in its infancy, meaning way less tourists and tour boats than in Halong.
Located slightly to the south of its famous neighbor, Lan Ha Bay is part of the larger Halong Bay region. You can easily reach by kayak or sailboat, and there are plenty of tour operators there set up a trip for you.
The map is aimed at giving travelers an idea of separation among the three bays. It is not intended to convey the areas’ exact topographical or administrative features.
Many travelers are confused about where the bays and embarkation points are located, which cruises are operating, and which cruising loops and activities each bay offers.
For more information, please view our guides:
The region has undergone significant development in recent years, meaning it’s now easier than ever for visitors to reach the bay area.
It takes around 3 hours from Hanoi capital city or Noi Bai International to reach Halong Bay by road, and only 2 hours to reach the port at Hai Phong where a number of cruises choose to depart from.
Because of this, Halong Bay and Hai Phong have also become the major ports of call for many international cruise ships.
The Bays’ stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and warm, friendly people are the reason that globetrotters from around the world are putting the Bays on top of their travel bucket-list.
|From||Port Name||Cruising Area||Distance||Transport Type||Travel Time|
|Hanoi City Center||Tuan Chau Marina||Ha Long Bay||146 km||Shuttle bus/ Car||3 h 25 min|
|Got Ferry Port||Lan Ha Bay||153 km||2 h|
|Hon Gai Port||Bai Tu Long Bay||136 km||3 h 15 min|
|Noi Bai International Airport||Tuan Chau Marina||Ha Long Bay||148 km||Shuttle bus/ Car||3 h|
|Got Ferry Port||Lan Ha Bay||150 km||Shuttle bus/ Car||2 h 30 min|
|Hon Gai Port||Bai Tu Long Bay||157 km||Shuttle bus/ Car||3 h 20 min|
|Cat Bi International Airport||Tuan Chau Marina||Ha Long Bay||62 km||Private car/ Taxi||1 h 45 min|
|Got Ferry Port||Lan Ha Bay||28 km||40 min|
|Hon Gai Port||Bai Tu Long Bay||79 km||2 h|
The distance and travel times in the chart above are approximated. The actual travel times depend on traffic situations and types of transportation.
All times in this guide are Vietnam Time Zone: GMT + 7 l 24-hour clock
Boarding time differs among cruise lines, ranging from 11.45 to 12.30. Review this information carefully to arrange your transportation.
We suggest that you arrive at the port 15 to 30 minutes before the scheduled boarding time to ensure you are on time and to avoid any traffic issues.
At ports, most cruise lines have their own reception areas (waiting lounges) for check-in; there, you will be welcomed and able to relax before boarding.
The comfort level of these lounges varies among cruise categories, but not the comfort of on-board facilities, which are much better. Just make sure you have all your travel documents and the cruise voucher when you check in!
Waiting lounge area before boarding – Image is provided courtesy of Athena Cruises
The disembarkation time also varies among cruises: from 10.30 to 11.30. Normally, cruise companies’ policy is to require that guests check out of their cabins about 1 hour before disembarkation. After that, it’s time for brunch (a combination of breakfast and lunch) during the cruise back to the port.
Passengers cruising Halong Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay will be back in Hanoi City at around 15.00, while those cruising Lan Ha will be back earlier, around 14.00. Make sure you note this in your timetable in case you have another tour in the afternoon or are traveling to another destination.
We world travelers want everything to happen smoothly, as scheduled, but many unforeseen things may happen: car problems, traffic jams, late flights, changes in tour programs, health issues, etc. These may result in late arrival for boarding or require early disembarkation.
Cruises aren’t like hotels; they require exact timing for boarding or disembarkation so that they can provide all scheduled programs, itineraries and activities. What happens if you are late for boarding or need to disembark earlier than the cruise schedule?
If you know that you will be late or require early disembarkation, be sure to notify the cruise supplier or your travel agent.
The normal practice is to use the cruise’s tender (a speedboat that transfers guests from port to ship or to visit caves, fishing villages, etc. during the cruise) to send you from port to ship or vice versa.
Of course, this will require an additional charge. In this case, you will need to hire a private car to make sure your plans work out.
Cruise’s tender to transfer passengers – Image is provided with courtesy of Syrena Cruises
If you choose to use the cruise supplier’s shuttle bus service, or if there’s a traffic jam or bad road conditions that result in the late arrival of all other cruise passengers, there’s no charge for a late arrival.
Most cruise suppliers offer a round-trip shuttle bus service (at an additional charge – See shuttle bus service prices here) that picks up passengers from their hotels in Hanoi’s Old Quarter and takes them to the ports and vice versa.
If you are not staying in the Old Quarter area, you may need to arrange for a taxi to take you to the cruise supplier office or a designated pick-up place in the Old Quarter.
Shuttle bus prices differ among cruise suppliers and bus types. There are 3 main types of shuttle buses:
The pickup time for the shuttle bus in Hanoi’s Old Quarter to Halong Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay is from 7.30 to 8.10, and from 8.45 or 9.00 for Lan Ha Bay cruises.
The buses have a daily routine for picking up (or dropping off) passengers from hotel to hotel; you may feel a little uncomfortable sitting in the bus in a round loop before the actual departure.
It is more convenient and comfortable to book the so-called “limousine” luxury 8-seat D’car (converted from a 16-seat van), which has only a few pick-up points before departure.
If comfort is your priority, private transportation by car or van (for a family) is the best choice. In Vietnam, the 4-seater car of the average car brand is quite compact. It is suitable for just 2 adults.
We recommend a 7-seat car for a maximum of 3 adults (or 2 adults and a child) and a 16-seat van for families of 4 adults and up.
If you are on a budget, there are also choices of local buses from Hanoi to Halong City or Cat Ba island, ranging from “limousine” 9 seat van to 45 seat bus. Few tourist bus companies provide pick up at their offices or designated places in Hanoi City center while most of other local buses just only pick up passengers in local bus stations.
My Dinh public bus station
Main bus stations from Hanoi City to Halong City (for Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay cruises):
Main bus stations from Hanoi City Center to Cat Ba (for Lan Ha Bay cruises):
The bus fare is lower than that of the shuttle bus service provided by cruise companies. Bus fare is around US$5 – US$10 per person for Hanoi – Halong one way, and US$12 – US$17 per person for Hanoi – Cat Ba one way.
Instead of spending over 3 hours in a shuttle bus on traffic-clogged streets, you can hop on a seaplane from Hanoi to Halong Bay, which takes only 45 minutes. Fast, efficient and truly unforgettable, our scheduled flights help you make the most of your time in Halong Bay.
From the Hanoi city center, take a 30-minute transfer to Noi Bai International Airport to board the plane. It lands conveniently in Tuan Chau Marina, the port for Halong Bay cruises.
You can choose a one-way 45-minute flight experience between Hanoi and Halong Bay over the lush, green Red River Delta or enjoy a spectacular bird’s-eye view of the islands of Halong Bay on a 25-minute scenic flight.
While most cruise cabin space is enough for your bags and suitcases, the cruise shuttle bus and local bus luggage compartments are quite small.
If you plan to return to Hanoi City after the cruise trip, we suggest that you not take all your luggage with you. Bring only what you need for your 1 night or 2 nights on board, and remember suitable clothing for water activities (swimming, kayaking, etc.).
You can ask your hotel to store the rest of your luggage for you upon your return.
In Hanoi and North Vietnam, spell-binding natural beauty, a fascinating culture, mouth-watering food and warm, friendly people create a travel experience you’ll never forget.
The cascading rice terraces and challenging treks in Sapa; the karst mountains and serene pagodas in Ninh Binh; the jewel-coloured waters and seemingly infinite islands in Halong Bay; the fast-moving buzz of city life in Hanoi – these are only a few of the region’s main draws.
Made famous by its UNESCO World Heritage status, stunning temples and pagodas, dramatic natural landscape, and mysterious caves, Trang An is a must-visit location for travelers who appreciate the quiet of the countryside and who are fascinated with ancient cultures.
|Departure place||Area||Departure time||Arrival place||Arrival time||Price|
|Hon Gai Port||Bai Tu Long||11.30 – 12.30||Ninh Binh||17.30||US$16|
|Tuan Chau Marina||Halong Bay||12.00 – 12.40||Ninh Binh||17.50||US$10|
|Got Ferry Port||Lan Ha Bay||13.45 - 14.00||Ninh Binh||17.00||US$12|
All times in this guide are Vietnam Time Zone: GMT + 7 l 24-hour clock.Travel times and prices (US dollars per person) in the chart above are approximated in the joined tour bus. Actual fare and travel times depend on your booking date and traffic situation, bus lines or type of transportation.
From Halong Bay, a daily tour bus (at a price of US$13 per passenger) picks up passengers for Tuan Chau Marina at between 12.00 and 13.00 (after disembarkation from your Halong Bay cruise) and transfers directly to Tam Coc (the famous landscape where the movie Skull Island was filmed), with a rest stop halfway and an arrival in Tam Coc between 17.30 and 18.00.
From Cat Ba town, a daily tour bus (at a price of US$12 per passenger) crosses the ferry and picks up passengers at the Got Ferry Port at around 14.00 (after disembarkation from your Lan Ha bay cruise).
Because the driver doesn’t speak English, you should ask your cruise manager for help contacting the driver and confirming the pick-up place and time.
The bus will transfer directly to Ninh Binh city or Tam Coc (the famous landscape where the movie Skull Island was filmed) with a rest stop halfway and an arrival in Tam Coc at around 18.30.
The bus can drop you off at some hotels in Ninh Binh city or Tam Coc.
|Departure place||Departure time||Arrival place||Arrival time||Price|
|Ninh Binh||16.00 – 16.30||Ha Noi||19.00||US$7|
|13.20 – 14.50||Noi Bai Airport||3.5 hours||US$17|
|17.00||Sapa||01.00 next day||US$12|
|Train#||Departure time||Arrival place||Arrival time||Price and categories|
|SE6||16.51||Hanoi||19.12||US$6||AC, soft seat||US$9||Air con, 4 berth cabin||N/A||N/A|
|SE9||17.16||Hue||4.55||US$21||2nd class, AC seat||US$38||1st class sleeper||US$34||2nd class sleeper|
All times in this guide are Vietnam Time Zone: GMT + 7 l 24-hour clock.Travel times and prices (US dollars per person) in the chart above are approximated in the joined tour bus. Actual fare and travel times depend on your booking date and traffic situation, bus lines or type of transportation.
Tucked away in Vietnam’s most northwesterly corner, Sapa is bursting with rich ethnic culture and natural beauty. This former French hill station is home to more than 5 ethnic minority communities whose colorful clothing and positive attitudes fill the township with warmth and brightness, even on the bleakest of days.
From Hanoi, you can choose to experience a train journey to Lao Cai. There are various options in terms of train categories and accommodations (i.e., a deluxe 2-berth cabin or 4-berth cabin). The one-way price ranges from US$90 to US$160 per person on the luxury Victoria Train, US$30 on mid-range trains or just US$20 for budget carriage.
Trains arrive at Lao Cai station at around 6.00. Move 30 km to Sapa by taking a local shuttle bus (US$3 – US$4 per passenger, quite jammed and uncomfortable) or a taxi that costs US$30. (Make sure your bargaining skills are sharp and confirm the price with the driver before getting in.)
Trains also depart Lao Cai for Hanoi at 21.00 and arrive very early in the morning: 5.45 in Hanoi. The big plus is that you don’t lose a day in either Hanoi or Sapa by taking the overnight train.
Victoria Sapa Express
From Sapa, you can take a direct bus to Hanoi (at a cost of US$20 per passenger), which departs from Sapa at 15.30 and arrives in Hanoi at around 21.30. The bus is quite comfortable, with an English-speaking bus hostess, reclining chairs, a snack, bottled water, wet tissue and Wi-Fi.
Sapa – Hanoi bus
One of the most crucial step before sailing on the Halong Bay consists in searching for cruise information: reading reviews of expert travellers on reputable blogs and websites to choose the right cabin regarding your preferred dates, length, budget and conditions. Booking early or late? Let us advise you what is best for you.
Many cruise companies offer similar activities and facilities: you may need to spend time checking them with care and attention if you have a specific idea of the way that you would like to live the immersive experience. Once you have selected to book with the travel agent of your dreams or reserve on your own, choose the best cruise cabin which matches your requirements: twin or double room, with window, ocean view or private balcony… The possibilities are infinite and the cruise, more than promising.
All three bays Halong, Bai Tu Long, Lan Ha offer 3 main options:
|Cruise itinenary||Bay area||Depart time from Hanoi||Time on board|| Arrival time in|
Hanoi after cruise
|Day cruise||Ha long, Bai Tu Long||7.30||4 - 5 hours||19.00|
|Lan Ha||8.30||6 hours||18.00|
|2 day 1 night||Halong, Bai Tu Long||7.30 – 8.10||24 hours||15.00|
|3 day 2 night|
|2 day 1 night||Lan Ha||8.30 – 9.00||48 hours||14.00|
|3 day 2 night|
The information in the cart above provides travelers an overview of cruise itinerary
options. For each cruise’s specific information, check the Halong Hub website.
The “day boat” on the second day normally cruises to areas that the big overnight cruise can’t go. Its quality and facilities may different from the overnight cruise, as it is used only for the day excursion, and you may share the day boat with other passengers from other cruises. Just take it easy as you stay in a hotel and take a joined tour bus for a day excursion then back to your overnight cruise’s cabin around 15.00 the same day.
You will keep your belongings in your cabin on the overnight cruise when you are out for the second day excursion.
The overnight cruises operate in the same loop for 2 day 1 night cruises daily. In some cases, one member in your family (or group) doesn’t want to do the excursion on the second day with the day boat, she can stay in the overnight cruise, going back to port, where new fellow passengers will board then repeat the route to meet her family members at around 15.00 in the afternoon, when the overnight cruise meets the day boat enroute.
If you want to stay on the same cruise for the whole 3 day 2 night cruise, choose to charter (hire the whole cruise) a small overnight cruise with cabin quantity that fits your group size. There are options of small overnight cruises from just 1 cabin to 3 cabins for your family or bigger from 5 to 7 cabins for your extended family or friend group.
The three bays’ areas are attached to each other with a seamless borderline. Lan Ha bay belongs to Hai Phong province, while Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay belong to Quang Ninh.
A typical 4.5 hours day cruise map in Halong Bay – L’Azalee cruise
A typical 1 night and 2 night cruise map in Lan Ha Bay – Orchid Halong Cruise
A typical 1 night and 2 night cruise map in Bai
Tu Long Bay – Athena Cruise
The loops are currently as below:
For overnight cruises, they often charge double sightseeing fees to combine loops that make their cruising itineraries longer to cover more beautiful areas, while creating more activities for cruise passengers.
|Cruising loop||Cruise boat||Things to see|
|1 - Halong Bay||Day cruise|| |
Thien Cung cave
Dau Go cave
Fighting Cock islet
Ba Hang fishing village
Dinh Huong islet
Hoa Cuong fishing village
|2 - Halong Bay||Day cruise & Overnight cruise|| |
Titop or Soi Sim beach
Me Cung cave
Ho Dong Tien cave
Trinh Nu cave
Bo Nau cave
Luon water cave
Tung Sau pearl farm
Overnight anchor at Trong cave area
|3 - Halong Bay|| |
Cua Van fishing village
Tien Ong Cave
Ho Ba Ham water cave
Overnight anchor at Trong cave area
or Ho Ba Ham area
|4 - Bai Tu Long Bay|| |
Vong Vieng fishing village
Cap La cave
Thien Canh Son cave
Cong Dam fishing village
Tung Ang area
Cong Do Island
Overnight anchor at Cong Do Island
|5 - Lan Ha Bay||Day cruise|| |
Da Chong islet with French
Con Vit islet
Cat Ba island - Thoi Quyt Area
Bright & Dark water cave
|6 - Lan Ha Bay||Overnight cruise|| |
Da Chong islet with French
Con Vit islet
Cat Ba island - Thoi Quyt Area
Ba Trai Dao beach
Tra Bau area
Ho Ba Ham water lake
Viet Hai village
Things to see in the chart above are the main places to visit in each loop.
Normally, each cruise line chooses a few places in that list and adds other little hidden islets or tiny beaches to enrich their cruising itineraries that match with timing of on-board and off-board activities.
The visits to each place in each loop are purposely scheduled by each cruise company, trying to avoid crowded time as much as possible.
Map of main attractions and overnight anchoring places in the bays
It may bring you a special feeling, floating in the middle of the World Natural Heritage area dotted with thousands of limestone karst islets emerging from the emerald water.
Besides a few official tourist beaches in Halong Bay as: Soi Sim beach, Titop beach, there are many deserted tiny beaches scattered further in Bai Tu Long and Lan Ha Bay, giving you more privacy and tranquility.
Natural small beaches are hidden between rocky islets, and opportunities for swimming on those beaches are seasonal and depend on water tide.
To provide more activities for guests, some cruise companies even build their own floating platform that allows guests to swimming, kayak, and even try some local fishing techniques from that base.
Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay are the best kayaking paradise bays in the world. Really touching the water, paddling between multiple rocky islets, through water cave tunnels into fishing villages, where daily traditional life activities go on from dawn to dusk…
Kayaking is the must-do activity once you decide to book a cruise. Best places for kayaking in Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, and Lan Ha Bay are listed below:
Taking a chilled approach to kayaking in the bays is all about soaking up the natural beauty around you and just enjoying the ride. The bays’ water is pretty calm, thanks to thousands of islets protecting the areas from strong wind and waves from the open sea.
Most of time, throughout the year is ideal for a pleasant kayaking ride, except in July and August, September if there’s tropical low weather or storms.
Kayaking is normally included in the cruise package price of 2 day 1 night or 3 day 2 night itineraries. Few cruise companies do not include this activity, so you need to check the service inclusion carefully to make sure you don’t miss it.
Floating fishing villages in the bay areas are the most worthy visited places during the cruise itineraries. The villagers have been living in the bay for generations, and their daily activities are interesting to visitors.
Get on a bamboo row boat paddling through the village, seeing the houses floating on water, children rowing a boat by their feet or visiting a school…it is something unique that may bring you a great travel experience.
In Halong Bay, you have the opportunity to hike up to Titop viewpoint for the Bay’s panoramic beauty or walk up to see Surprise cave (Sung Sot cave) or Heavenly Cave (Thien Cung cave). The caves are the best in the area, with their stalactites and stalagmites.
In Bai Tu Long Bay, Thien Canh Son cave, or Thay cave there are options for cruise passengers to stretch their legs and do some off-board exercises.
There is only one place to bike in the three bays’ area, Viet Hai village. It is a small community with a population of over 300 people. The village is well-hidden away in a little valley, surrounded by jungle and mountains.
Few years ago, the village was totally separated from the rest of the world: without electricity, no modern transportation access.
The villagers are making a living on fishing and farming, the same way their ancestors had done for generations. You can experience this when you are there, with the opportunity to visit a local home and interact with villagers.
You can take a 5 km bike ride from the waterfront to the village through jungle and farm or simply take an electric car for a more pleasant ride.
Biking to Viet Hai village – Image provided with courtesy of Orchid Cruises
The Bays are not an ideal place for sea or ocean fishing, but you may have a unique experience to interact with a fishing family, learning about their daily life, way of making their living, and some basic fishing techniques.
Imagine how thrilling and emotional it can be to climb cliffs amid the limestone karsts and then jump into the cool, emerald water of the World Heritage Bay.
There are many wonderful climbing spots in the areas that satisfy your daring challenge.
You may have experience with large ocean cruises, like Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean International, or river cruises, like Uniworld, Ama Waterway or Avalon cruises. Life aboard is all different, depending on the cruise lines, ship capacity, local culture where the ships operate…
Cruising Halong Bay is similar to a short river cruise. The ships in the Bays are designed with smaller capacity, much shorter itineraries, but the comfort and facilities of luxury category cruises can compare with some European cruise counterparts.
It may be your first time cruising Halong Bay, and you are wondering how life aboard can be expected: What are food, drink menus, and price? Is smoking allowed, credit cards accepted, and how much you should tip? We try to cover most of your major questions here – Find out what you can expect from boarding to disembarking.
The most popular cruise packages are just 1 night and 2 nights with highlights of seeing the beautiful scenery of the World Heritage landscape, where the cruise passes through, or enjoying off-board activities and excursion.
You do not have much time onboard but do not miss some activities that are well-designed to balance your time and cruise pace.
Freshen up in your luxurious bathroom after off-board afternoon activities, like hiking, swimming, or kayaking. It can be the best time of day to indulge yourself at Sunset bar on the top deck of your cruise for sunset cocktails.
Most cruises in the bays offer this service, which starts around 17.00 and lasts for more than an hour with a few free drinks, snacks, and “Happy Hour – Buy One Get One free.” Some cruises also combine these activities with a cooking demonstration or fruit carving.
Squid fishing is the most common activity offered to guests after dinner time. At the anchor place, sailors prepare fishing line, fishing racket, and a big headlight to attract squids.
From ship front or rear board, your job is to throw the hook, wait for a hungry squid, and if you are lucky, you can catch many. More successful squid fishing is on days without moonlight!
Time for board games is normally after dinner or during the second day excursion at leisure time during the second day excursion of 3 day 2 night package. Board games differ from each cruise line and quite simple games are offered, such as: cards, Parcheesi, dominos, or scrabble. If you travel with kids, make sure to bring some of the family’s most favourite board games!
In the evening, many cruises offer “movie night” in their spacious restaurant on top deck. Some famous movies about Vietnam and Indochina are chosen: the 1992 Oscar Award movie – Indochine, showing colonial French Indochina during the 1930s to 1950s, or most the recent famous movie: King Kong: Skull Island.
Besides a movie on broad screen, some cruises offer live traditional music performance or even flat screen TV in the cabin with satellite TV channels and ready-loaded HD movies and Laughs Gags in an attached hard disk drive for entertainment.
Four or five cruises have spa or massage rooms on board that offer wide ranges of services from manicure and pedicure to traditional Vietnamese to Thai, Swedish massage, and spa styles.
Price for an hour treatment also varies from US$30 to US$60. Some cruises that house spacious guest cabins also offer these services in your cabin upon request.
Talking about gym, fitness, or outdoor pool on board small cruises for just 1 or 2 night sounds unreal, but 5 star cruises want to set their higher facility level to have those fancy things on board.
Imagine how you would feel doing gym, running on a treadmill, soaking in a heat sauna or outdoor pool while enjoying the great scenery of the Bay passing by?
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese “internal” or “soft” martial art often practised for its health-giving and spiritual benefits with gentle and slow movement.
Doing Tai Chi in the early morning is the perfect way to start your day on board, breathing the fresh ocean breeze among the bay’s tranquil beauty.
A half an hour exercise, normally starting around 6.30 on the cruise open sundeck (or cover with canopy), is worth trying. Learn breath and movement techniques and how to keep your balance!
Full board meals are included in the cruise packages by all cruise lines in three bays.
Halong Bay Cruise dining and cuisine experiences on board are changing and improving, with innovative cooking styles and menus, combining fresh, local ingredients with imported food, traditional cuisine with Western style, making innovative fusion food.
Halong Bay and coastal neighborhoods provide great Vietnamese fresh food, seafood, and vegetables, while imported beef, lamps, cheese, salmon, butter…from worldwide well-known brands also are present in cruise kitchens.
Restaurant and bar – Image is provided with courtesy of Era Cruises
Meals provided on cruises normally follow similar serving styles and schedule as below:
2 day 1 night cruise
Arrival lunch: Set menu, serve at 13.00
Dinner: Buffet and BBQ, serve at 19.30
Brunch (breakfast & lunch combination): Buffet, serve at 9.30
3 day 2 night cruise
Arrival lunch: Set menu, serve at 13.00
Dinner: Buffet and BBQ, serve at 19.30
American breakfast, serve at 7.00
Set menu lunch, serve at 12.30 on the “day boat”
Dinner: Buffet and BBQ, serve at 19.30
Brunch (breakfast & lunch): Buffet, serve at 9.30
More than ever, travelers have different diets due to food allergies, likes, dislikes, personal reasons, and healthy lifestyles. Those with dietary needs should contact their travel agents or cruise line, providing specific dining requests.
It’s best to have your diet notice to the cruise once your booking is confirmed, and you may need to remind the cruise manager upon boarding to avoid any miscommunication. Low or no sodium, gluten-free, vegetarian, and even vegan requests can be taken care of.
There are a few cruises in Halong Bay that offer Halal food.
Check out list of cruises that offer Halal food.
Budget and midrange cruises normally don’t provide room service or private dining, while luxury cruises even offer butler service, private dining on sundeck or balcony to make your cruise a special experience.
With high staff/guest ratio, some luxury cruises can give a more personal touch to guests on board; room service and private dining is free of charge.
List of cruises offer private dining service
There’s a large selection of drinks on board Halong Bay cruises, from bottled water, canned juice, local distilled liquor to expensive imported champagne. You can find a fully stocked mini-bar fridge in your cabin or plenty of drink choices: wine, beer, cocktails, and liquor at the restaurant bar.
Bar on cruise – Image is provided with courtesy of Hera Halong Cruises
Drinks price on board varies from different cruise lines. Find the price list below for your reference:
|Drinks||Unit||Price - Luxury Cruises|
|Fresh fruit juice||Glass||$3|
|Whisky, Gin, Vodka||Glass||$4|
|Housewine*||Glass||$5 - $7|
|Wine*||Bottle||$30 - $70|
|Champagne||Bottle||$100 - $120|
* For wine, there are multiple choices of imported brands and styles: classic red and white, rose, sparkling, champagne from France, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa…
The price above is average cost for drinks on luxury cruises ( 5* star rating cruises). It’s 10% – 15% lower on mid-range cruise and 15% – 30% lower on budget cruises.
Payment for all drinks and services on board Halong Bay cruises has been never easier! Just tell your cruise manager or bartender your cruise cabin number and sign the bill after using any service: spa, drinks… You will get an invoice of total bills before disembarkation, which can be paid by credit card (Visa, Master, Amex) or in cash.
Tipping on board Halong Bay cruises is not included in your payment for cruise package nor in your auto bills for services on board.
Tipping is not compulsory. It is the way to show your appreciation to the crew on board if you are happy with their services.
It is best to prepare tips in cash and ask your cruise manager where the “Tip box” is located (the tip box is normally easy to find at the main bar in the restaurant or at the cashier counter when you are checking out).
The tips will be divided among crew members, from restaurant and bar staffs to housekeeping and captain crew.
Smoking on board Halong Bay cruises is among the important topics that many travelers want to know before boarding, either they are for or against it.
It is a strict rule that there is no smoking allowed in cabins and indoor areas, even with e-cigarette. You can smoke in designated areas on the open decks, like sundeck or outdoor bars.
If you are a smoker and your cabin has a private balcony, ask your cruise manager if you are allowed to smoke in the balcony.
You can be fined if found smoking in the prohibited areas, but the higher risk is to confront other passengers, even if you are smoking in the designated areas or in your private balcony where smoking is allowed.
Fire is the most dangerous hazard on any ship, no matter how shallow the water or how few passengers it carries. If you do smoke, be considerate and be sure that the ashes are totally cool before you leave the area.
Cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco must be properly disposed of and never thrown overboard.
If you have a disability, then it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the experience of cruising Halong Bay. We understand that having a disability means you have to consider how you’ll perform day-to-day activities that most people take for granted — especially when going into an unfamiliar place like a cruise ship.
Halong Bay ports and cruises are not really designed or equipped properly for disability access, but dock walkways and bridges make easier for disability to board an overnight Halong Bay cruise when the cruise docks properly at port in a calm weather day.
In certain days, ships are docked a little away from walkways and bridges, and passengers are transferred to board by a tender (a small speed boat for boarding, excursion transfer), and the crew is a big help for your access to the cruise.
However, while the crew would like to assist a passenger with disability, embarkation and disembarkation is difficult to carry a passenger sitting in wheelchair up and down!
If you can manage a small distance and steps with handrails, it could be easier to board cruises in Halong Bay. Here is our advice for your booking, concerning disabilities:
Cruising with kids is a wonderful way for your family to discover the world together. You just need to spend more time to research and prepare for your trip!. Below are our tips for your cruise with kids in Halong Bay:
Search for Halong Bay cruises that are kid friendly with babysitting services, kid room, board games, and activities for kids on-board and off-board excursion, time to spend, and level of physical activities.
There’s no minimum age limit for children for Halong Bay cruise booking. During your booking process, you will be asked for your kids’ ages, which will vary the cost of your booking, and you need to check the cabin’s maximum capacity for number of passengers it can accommodate.
Normally, children under 5 years old are free of charge, while an extra cost of 75% of an adult cost for a child from 5 to 12 years old, sharing the same cabin with parents. Cost for a child from 12 year old is the same as the cost for an adult.
You should read the details of the children policy for each cruise and make clear if the paid child will have an extra bed or mattress or have to share the same bed with parents.
Halong Bay cruise is an ideal way for solo travelers to enjoy the wonderful, slow pace of floating natural beauty and have a chance to meet new fellow travelers and friendly staffs on board.
Traveling as a solo doesn’t have to be expensive but be aware that costs can be high due to the single supplement that cruise lines charge a solo person in a double-occupancy cabin.
Few cruises offer a single bedded cabin with low cost, and if you are flexible with your cruise date, spend time searching for cruise promotion dates and single cabin availability.
Solo cruisers in Halong Bay can never be bored. Here some tips for you:
All cruise ships in the Bay areas must be designed and operated in compliance with strict requirements of Vietnamese Marine law. Also, they must follow an extraordinary number of established rules and regulations of Bay Management Boards to protect all passengers and crew on board. Every aspect of the cruise experience is heavily regulated and monitored under both Vietnam and maritime law.
Recently, ship building technology in Vietnam, particularly in the Bay areas, is gaining great advancement.
Quang Ninh (Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay), Hai Phong (Lan Ha Bay) are two of the most important international ports with high-tech, internationally standard shipyards, where the bay cruises are built.
To satisfy the heavy State and Marine’s safety regulations, more investment is funded for safety-related technology, including ship shell building, improvements in navigation equipment, shipboard safety management systems, life-saving equipment, and training/certification standards.
General safety personnel, system and equipment required as listed below:
There’re only a few beaches that tourists are allowed to swim, while diving from cruise’s decks is not permitted. Some cruises build their own rafts or floating pontoons in the bay to give guests convenient access to go swimming in the open water. You should ask the Cruise Manager or on-board tour guide for a safe swimming area to avoid strong water current or sharp rocks or sharp shells at seabed and remember to warm up properly to avoid getting a cramp.
Kayaking is a fun way to discover the bay’s beauty and normal kayaking loops included in the 1 night or 2 night package are not too long and mostly within distance of supporting boat. The bays protected by layers of islets are noted by many travellers as a safe kayaking destination with calm water and low wind, except days with low tropical weather or storms. To do kayaking in the bay, make sure you know and strictly follow the rules:
Hiking in the bay areas is quite simple. There are only a few places to hike:
There is only one place to bike in the three bays’ area, Viet Hai village. It is only 5 km biking to the small community with a population of over 300 people. The village is well-hidden away in a little valley, surrounded by jungle and mountains with a single road leading from boat dock to the village. We highly suggest a few biking safety tips below:
The area of the three bays is protected by islands and thousands of small islets; therefore, the bays are pretty calm most of the year, except bad weather days during monsoon season.
The steady cruises in the bays are built with the high balance and stability required by Vietnam Marine Register Department, and they all pleasantly run at a slow speed between 5 to 10 knots per hour during excursions, so there is almost no motion seasick for passengers on board.
Anyway, you can bring along some motion sickness tablets, maybe just the placebo for peace of mind.
For a short overnight cruise of just 1 night or 2 nights in Halong Bay, cruise operators don’t have a doctor on board, but all crews are trained for SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea), First Aid skills, and dealing with emergencies.
Besides an essential first aid kit with simple medications on board, a doctor is on call if it’s necessary.
For all cruises in the bay areas, the farthest point in their cruising loops is only 25 km (over 16 nautical miles) from port. In case of emergency, the cruise’s tender (a small speed boat that always goes along with the cruise ship) will take from 30 minutes to maximum 1 hour (depending on cruise location at the time of emergency transfer required) to transfer guests to shore.
By law, all cruises in Halong Bay are required to cover passenger liability insurance. Passengers are covered with 2 different local insurances:
In order to facilitate your experiment, we are pleased to propose you an overview of the different cruise itinerary options. Two days one night, or three days two nights? Let us guide you to select the most appropriate cruise matching your wishes and deepest desires.
The experience may look like a short river cruise, however get prepared to marvellous off-board excursions: can you picture yourself swimming, kayaking or bamboo boat rowing in the celestial waters of Halong, Bai Tu Long or Lan Ha Bays? Unless you have an adventurous soul eager to face the magnificent heights of the site: trekking, biking, hiking or rock climbing?
The cruise itself isn’t near running out of onboard activities and entertainment: sunset cocktails, squid fishing, board games, movie nights, fitness sessions and outdoor bathing. Some companies will offer you room service and private dining with innovative cooking styles!
Finally, our guide will answer all your questions about means of payment and gratuities, ship smoking, limited mobility and handicapped situation, cruise safety system, equipment and insurance. Whether you are travelling with your adorable children or discovering the world on your own, let us provide you with our most carefully chosen tips.
Research and preparing your trip is crucial before making the final decision. Check out some branded travel forums like Tripadvisor, reputable travel blogs or booking & review Websites like Agoda and Booking.com.
Spending time reading reviews and the travel experiences of fellow travelers will be a great help for you to be well-prepared. There’s useful information available about cruising in Halong Bay as the destination is one of the top must-visit places in Southeast Asia.
We suggest below cruise resources that will help you research everything with reviews of fellow travelers and travel bloggers: all questions and answers from cruise lines, ships and cabins, life onboard, services, activities and overall cruise experience. More specifically: how to choose the cruise that’s right for you, and get the most out of your cruise vacation.
Check Tripadvisor’s travel forum for traveler community information regarding Halong Bay cruise and services.
If you already have a cruise name in mind, type the name in the search box and learn all pros and cons of the cruise before making a decision. You can also find very helpful information from travel bloggers’ websites. Simply open Google Search and type “halong travel blog” or “best halong bay cruises”.
Based on our experience and via internal reports, cruise owners meetings, and reviews from travel forums, there’s always a huge debate about the best time to book Halong Bay cruises.
Typically, Halong Bay’s travel season divides into 2 periods: high season is from October to April with the dry and cool weather, while the low season falls from May to September when the weather tends to be hot and humid with sporadic summer storms.
The best time to book a Halong Bay cruise is totally dependent on your personal travel plan and preference.
Many travelers spend more time in order to research early and know exactly when they want to cruise and the name of cruise line they want to take; some even book the cruise from 6 months to 12 months in advance and get the great added value of early bird booking offers from cruises and get the exact cruise cabin they want for the exact chosen date.
Of course, you can cancel or amend your booking details if needed, just carefully read the booking cancellation/amendment terms and conditions to make sure you know when to cancel or amend booking without being charged for it. Other travelers with more flexible time can book late and enjoy many promotions and last minute booking deals.
Halong Bay cruise is a top highlight travel experience, a must-do item that you do not want to miss on your Vietnam’s travel plan. Once you have your cruise confirmed, it is easy to add any other activities around it to complete your travel itinerary planning.
See the below chart for your booking time reference:
There are around 200 overnight cruises operating in three bays: Halong, Bai Tu Long and Lan Ha Bay, and each cruise has different cabin types, facilities, and qualities. How do you choose the right cruise and cabin for you?
Before choosing your first cruise, ask yourselves these questions:
If you have a specific cruise time in mind, it is much easier to decide your booking depending on the specific date’s cabin availability.
There are 3 options: Day cruise, 1-night cruise, and 2-night cruise.
The day cruise costs around $50 to $90 (USD) per person (inclusive of shuttle bus transportation) while the overnight cruise costs from $130 (for budget options) to $600 (for high-end cruises) per person, per night, depending on seasons, as well as cruise and cabin categories.
Your cruise cabin cost is normally based on a twin/double sharing basis and is inclusive of all meals and activities that are specifically stated in cruise itinerary inclusions. Transportation, drinks, and other services are at an additional cost.
If you decide to travel with children, look for a cruise with more onboard spaces and kid-friendly activities.
Also, choose a larger cabin space and bedding which is comfortable for putting in an extra bed or a baby cot. And of course, be aware of additional cost for an extra bed and the resulting limited occupancy of the cruise cabin.
Choosing a lower deck cabin with a normal window may save more money that can be spent for drinks on board, while enjoying a romantic cabin with a private balcony and panoramic ocean view is the main point to take into your consideration.
In many cruises, the cost of cabins only differs because of the cabin’s deck location or window size or a few added cabin amenities.
If you prefer more quiet space and privacy, choose small cruises! There are cruises from 1 cabin just for you and your spouse, up to 3 cabins for your family.
Charter a small cruise and have it to yourself or choose to share a bigger cruise with more facilities and more opportunities to meet new friends and fellow travelers.
Choosing the perfect ship is tricky. Even if cruise lines seem similar at first, they all have their own pros and cons. And even the same line can offer different experiences based on the age and size of a ship and time of year you’re sailing.
Your researching, comparing, and chatting with knowledgeable travel agents will be valuable for the final decision. Check out our list of important filter points below to further narrow down the choices:
Cruise categories include Budget, Mid-range, and Luxury. These reflect the cruise quality, facilities and price. The definition of Budget, Mid-range and Luxury categories also matches with the cruises’ star rating.
Star rating is to show the ship’s facility, amenities and comfort.
With over 200 overnight cruises operating in three bays, there are great options for travelers, from budget to luxury cruises.
Cruises operating in the three bays have similar cruise activities and onboard experiences but some activities can only be arranged in a specific bay area, such as biking to Viet Hai village in Lan Ha Bay, or hiking to the panoramic viewpoint in Halong Bay… See the list of cruise activities for your reference.
❏ Bamboo boat rowing
❏ Fishing village visit
❏ Pearl farm visit
❏ Beach visit
❏ Private dining service
❏ Cooking class
❏ Squid fishing
❏ Tai Chi exercise
❏ Bay viewpoint visit
❏ Onboard mini golf
❏ Onboard games
If you have a specific activity that you plan to do in the bay, check your cruise itinerary which includes the activity by asking your travel agent or cruise operators or fellow travelers in travel forums. Activities that are included in the cruise itineraries can be changed if they can’t be operated due to weather conditions.
In an increasingly digital world, online reviews have come to be the main source of information for potential travelers. Browse Tripadvisor to compare cruise review ratings before making your final decision.
Investment for cruise ships in Halong Bay is recently getting much higher with more attention to design taste and comfort level. A lot of cruises in Halong Bay have similar or even better facilities than European river cruise ships.
Facilities, amenities, and comfort depend on cruises categories. Budget cruises will provide necessary facilities for acceptable comfort while luxury ones will be much better equipped and designed for high-end travelers.
The checklist below may help you to have an idea when choosing a cruise that matches your comfort requirements:
Facilities that most of the cruises offer
❏ Cabin windows
❏ Air conditioner
❏ Standing shower
❏ Safety box
❏ Smoking area
❏ Shuttle bus service
❏ Credit card payment
❏ Bathroom amenities
Other facilities that high-end cruises offer
❏ Private balcony
❏ Full sea view windows
❏ Bathtub/ Jacuzzi
❏ Gym and fitness
❏ Satellite TV channels
❏ Outdoor pool
❏ Souvenir shop
❏ Live music
❏ Butler service
❏ Meeting facilities
In Halong Bay, the smallest standard cabin size is around 10 square meters (107 square feet) with an en-suite bathroom.
The largest suite cabin which can be up to 50 square meters (538 square feet) with a separate living area, sleeping area, balcony with lounge chairs, and an en-suite bathroom with bathtub (or jacuzzi) and standing shower.
Since most cruise ships are relatively new or have been refurbished, the cabins usually are tastefully decorated with twin beds that can be pushed together to make a queen-sized bed for couples.
Similarly to hotels, cruises in Halong Bay have three main cabin bedding types: Double/Twin, Triple, and Family.
Double/Twin cabin: the normal cabin type often features 1 double bed or 2 single beds (that can easily be pushed together to make a queen-sized or king-size bed)
Triple: 01 double Queen size bed and 01 single bed, or 03 single beds
Twin cabin on Syrena Cruise
La Fairy Cruise Premium triple cabin
Family cabins: Guests can choose to have:
It is a common unwritten practice for most of Halong Bay cruise operators to have the following policies:
For example: Cabin price for a family of 2 parents and a 10 year-old child = US$ 400 (double occupancy, per cabin, per night) + (US$400/2)* 75% = US$550
With just 1 night or 2 nights in Halong Bay, you may not spend a lot of your time in the cabin, and to choose a cabin with a window at lower cost or a deluxe cabin on the upper deck with private balcony is totally dependent on your personal taste for enjoying the bay’s beauty, as well as your budget.
Sometimes, cabins with a window may have more space than cabins with balconies, as the balcony is replacing the inside space. When booking your cruise, you should check with your travel agent to be sure if the balcony is more important to you than cabin size.
Most of the cabin’s balconies are just large enough for two chairs and a small coffee table.
Most luxury suite cabins provide lounge chairs and coffee tables on the balcony where you can enjoy sunbathing in your comfortable and private area. It’s worth the value of additional money that you invest.
All cruise cabins in Halong Bay have an ocean view. The older cruises with traditional design styles tend to have normal windows, which are half size of the ceiling-to-floor height. The new cruises with more contemporary designs adapt more trendy river cruise cabin designs with huge ceiling-to-floor glass windows and doors to maximize their cabin view.
For your reference, below we list 3 types of cabin view so that you will take into your consideration when booking your cabin:
Halong Bay cruises have been popularly booked and paid online by millions of travelers for ten years. You can easily book and pay for a Halong Bay cruise cabin within a few simple clicks. The most important thing is to pick an online travel agent. Tourist scams for booking Halong Bay cruise online are not rare, so take your time to research and read travel reviews, as cruise information is crucial.
When you Browse Google Search for the keywords: “book Halong Bay cruise”, you can easily find top appearances from Booking.com or Agoda, but you may not find specific details of the cruise, cabin, or itineraries, as these two big hotel booking brands specialize more in hotel booking than cruise booking.
+ Check the Booking Site’s URL:
When booking a cruise, check the booking site’s URL carefully. Legitimate booking sites generally will begin with the characters “https://” with the “s” denoting a secure site—rather than just “http://”.
HTTPS or Secure HTTP some may call it is a combination of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) with SSL/TLS protocol.
Everything you communicate over HTTPS will be sent and received in encrypted form, which adds the element of safety.
When a client makes a request to the server, the server responds by offering a list of encryption methods. When the client connects to a website via HTTPS, the website encrypts the session with a digital certificate.
Secure Sockets Layer or SSL uses a cryptographic system that encrypts data with two keys while the browser and server send each other unique codes which are used for encryption for the rest of the digital communication.
+ Https is used in many situations, such as log-in pages for banking, forms, corporate logins, and other applications in which data needs to be secured. It is strongly advised to never enter credit card details on websites that run on HTTP.
+ You should be aware of any non-refundable services or packages and be aware of any sites that charge full payment. It is best for you to pay a deposit to secure the cruise cabin and the balance you can pay upon arrival.
Figuring among the most exquisite natural wonders in the world, Halong Bay is definitely worth the trip. Are you ready to pack for the most beautiful cruise of your life?
In the same way as you, tropical storms love visiting Halong Bay. Could the weather possibly threaten your charming exploratory cruise? The answer is yes. Thus, if you don’t want your itinerary to be altered, neatly choose the month that you are likely to sail between the famous towering limestone pillars of the world heritage site. In the case of cancellation, rely on your travel agent to clarify the terms and conditions for a potential refund.
What should you pack before leaving terra firma? This is an easy question. From the clothes you may like to wear to the documents and devices you could require, let yourself be provided with our conscientious and detailed guidance. Browse the cabin information to consult the list of available amenities on your cruise, and equip yourself with the contract of your choice to call, surf and text on Halong Bay’s quiet swells.
Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay are sharing the same weather geography which is very typical of a tropical climate, with 2 main seasons dominating throughout the year.
From May to September the weather tends to be hot and humid with sporadic summer storms, and from October through until April it is mainly dry and cool.
To give you a more detailed insight into the Bays’ weather, this article will go through all four seasons.
Tours and cruises operate all year round in Halong Bay, so whichever time you prefer to visit will just depend on your own tastes. Let’s have a look in detail at the typical Halong Bay weather throughout the year or check weather information in each specific month:
Cruise companies try to avoid operating any vessel in the vicinity of a tropical storm and monitor the progress of these storms very closely. If there is any potential threat to any of passengers or ships, the itinerary may be altered to try to avoid any interaction with the storm or any affected areas.
The cancellation of the cruise is decided by the Bay Management Board. They closely monitor the weather conditions; they usually do not give official notice but instead, do not give permission for boats to go out.
Most often in case of storms or bad weather that may affect cruises, cruise companies inform passengers or their travel agents a day before the cruise. In case there is no knowledge beforehand of any storms, cruise companies may announce the cancellation on the morning of the cruise or as soon as it receives information from the local authority that no boats are allowed to sail.
You should provide your travel agent or cruise company with your contact details, such as your hotel in Hanoi or your mobile number in Vietnam, for an instant update in case of bad weather.
Based on our experience, the common practice that most cruise companies will apply to facilitate passengers is as follows:
❏ In case you are informed of the cruise cancellation before departing from Hanoi, 100% of the cabin and transfer fee will be refunded (refund bank fee applied). Your travel agent or cruise company will also try to help you re-book the cruise for the following day(s) depending on your preferred calendar, cruise availability, and weather conditions. You should also rebook the hotel in Hanoi and there are many day tours and activities you can choose to replace the cruise slot with.
❏ In case you are already in Halong Bay, the cruise company shall try to book you on the day cruise (if day cruise operation is permitted) with lunch on board at the agreed cost. The refund will be made with a deduction cost for the day cruise and lunch plus transfer from/to Hanoi (refund bank fee applied).
❏ In case of bad weather noticed during your cruise, the local authority might order your boat to get back to harbor earlier than stated in the itinerary. If the cruise is canceled on the second day:
● For 2 days 1 night package: No refund will be given
● For 3 days 2 nights package: Price of 2 days 1 night package is applied, plus any cost for used services that are not included in the 2 days 1 night package. The balance will be refunded with bank fees applied.
For specific terms and conditions, you should check with your travel agent or cruise company to clarify.
This is your first time cruising in Vietnam and packing may seem like a daunting task. Your cruise itineraries include several onboard and off-board activities: caving, swimming, kayaking, biking, hiking, morning Tai Chi, and dining on board. There is also tropical weather that differs by seasons: humid and hot weather in the summer while there is rainy and chilly weather in winter.
All of this makes you wonder: How can I pack properly for all of it? What should I bring and what should I not? What am I going to wear on a cruise to Halong Bay? Should it be formal dinner dressing or just casual and comfortable clothes?
Don’t worry! If you are just doing a 1 night or 2-night short cruise, then travelling light is the most practical way.
Here are our tips for your packing!
❏ Passport – you are required to send a cruise company your passport details (passport number, date of issue, date of expiration, full name, gender, date of birth, nationality) prior to the cruise date for cruising registration.
❏ Cruise documents – itineraries, booking receipts and cruise voucher
❏ Credit cards or debit card
❏ Travel insurance policies
❏ Vietnamese visa (if it is required)
The bay’s beauty and cruise activities may take most of your time, but onboard there are types of entertainment available like TV (without connecting live channels, just with DVDs), onboard traditional performances, and more…Make sure you are checking detailed cruise facilities that are specifically listed for each cruise on the Halong Hub website. Moreover, we suggest the below list to enrich your time.
❏ Reading books, iPod, iPad (and digital games for children, if any)
❏ Camera and selfie stick: make sure you have a good camera with you to catch any great scenery and nice moments happening during your cruise
❏ Standard voltage: cruises use onboard generators with a standard voltage of generally 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
❏ Standard plug sockets accommodate flat two-prong plugs.
Casual wear is acceptable for most of the days but we suggest nicer dress on festive cruise occasions like Valentine’s Day, Christmas, New Year, or Vietnamese Lunar New Year.
Here below the suggested list for the cruise wear:
❏ Shorts/ skirts
❏ Tank tops
❏ Casual dresses
❏ Evening wear
❏ Scarf/ Kimono
❏ Cardigan/jacket (winter)
❏ Long Sleeved Shirts
❏ Jeans/casual pants
❏ Semi-dressy tops
❏ Socks – 2 pairs should be fine, depending on your activities.
❏ The ship will provide pool towels you can use and you can take them with you when you swim.
❏ Flip flops (most of the cruises provide flip flops in cabins. You can use them for on board and beach activities)
❏ Hiking shoes: in some cruising itineraries that include hiking up to the bay’s viewpoint or jungle hiking
❏ Hat, sunglasses
❏ Beach bag/ day pack
❏ Waterproof bag for your camera in case you go kayaking or bamboo boat rowing
While Halong Bay cruises do not have a doctor onboard, most of them provide a first aid kit with essential items and trained staff that can help with simple treatment:
❏ Sterile gauze dressings
❏ Triangular bandages
❏ Disposable sterile gloves
❏ Cleansing wipes
❏ Sticky tape
❏ Painkillers such as paracetamol and aspirin (make sure you have your doctor’s prescription)
❏ Distilled water for cleaning wounds
For your own health/comfort, you may need to bring some more items to make the journey more comfortable and within your reach:
❏ Your doctor’s prescription and medications
❏ Thermometer (if you travel with kids)
❏ Skin rash creams, such as hydrocortisone or calendula
❏ Mosquito repellent
❏ Sunscreen or spray
❏ Cream or spray to relieve insect bites and stings
❏ Antiseptic cream
❏ Eyewash and eye bath
Most of the Halong Bay cruises provide many bathroom amenities, especially those of 4 and 5 stars.
❏ Bath towel
❏ Shaving razor
❏ Cotton swab
❏ Shower gel
This is one method of placing either domestic or international calls. Telephone cards are on sale at many shops, hotels, and post offices.
Calls can be placed at a telephone booth or from a standard landline/mobile phone. However, due to the relative cost and lack of convenience, this is not a very popular method.
In particular, when it comes to placing international calls, internet calling is the preferred option for many.
This is because it is extremely cheap (or even free, depending on the program/app you use) and convenient.
You can still place internet calls even if you don’t have a smartphone by visiting an internet cafe.
Being connected is important, and it makes navigating a new place infinitely easier. Thankfully, getting online in Vietnam is very simple.
The most efficient way to have constant internet access is to purchase a prepaid SIM card and insert it into your own mobile phone. Depending on your smartphone’s capabilities, you’ll either have 3G or 4G access with you wherever you go.
Additional data can also be bought very cheaply, around 50,000 VND/GB depending on your provider; yet, bear in mind that there is a negligible price difference between providers.
Most of the 4 and 5-star cruises offer free Wi-Fi at their port reception and onboard reception.
While signal at port reception is quite stable, the wifi on cruise normally can connect only when the cruise is near the port or at certain areas during the itinerary due to signal disconnections in the more mountainous areas. The same thing occurs with mobile phone signals too.
What if we were telling you that you could cruise on Halong Bay for free? Finding an employment on a luxury ship sailing on Vietnam’s marvellous waters? If you are a specialist in the hospitality sector, you are warmly welcome to submit your application; Halong Bay cruise operators pay a great attention to quality customers’ experience. Could your abilities match their expectations? Follow our detailed guidelines to apply. From now on, put your positive attitude in the visitors’ service!
Are you a seasoned travel writer, photographer or videographer working for a famous magazine or your own travel blog? Contact Halong Bay’s travel agents and operators to request a cheaper or a free cruise package.
We also have other options for you: sweepstakes and competitions are usually set up to enable you to share your interest for the world heritage Vietnamese wonder to receive a free cruise voucher, an award money transfer to your bank account or an Amazon gift! Along the same lines, don’t miss cruise flash sales and hot deals to drop the initial price significantly. Ready to leave?
Do you love the Vietnam and Halong Bay and want to stay on a luxury ship cruising in the World Heritage landscape for FREE?
Halong Bay cruises’ investment and quality requirements are getting to a much higher level compared to the past few years. Foreign experts who specialize in the hospitality segment are warmly welcome. Halong Bay Cruise Operators now pay greater attention to service quality and customers’ experience.
If you are an expert in the hospitality industry, customer-service minded, friendly and approachable, can offer knowledgeable information with unbiased diplomacy, and are a team worker and problem solver with a positive attitude, working on Halong Bay cruises is the perfect opportunity for you! Simply Google the keywords “careers on Halong Bay cruises”:
You can find jobs listing and you can contact cruise operators directly for the application.
Alternatively, search www.hoteljob.vn for Halong Bay jobs.
If you are a travel writer, photographer, or videographer for a travel magazine or for your own travel blog, you can contact Halong Bay travel agents or Halong Bay cruise operators to request a discount or even a free cruise package.
Just make sure to send them your portfolio and offer your service or support in return for their discount or free packages.
The simplest way to earn free cruises is by looking for Halong Bay cruise sweepstakes or competitions (writing or photo contests).
Look for it on Google Search and if you are lucky, you will win the trip for free.
The Halong Bay writing or photo contest from cruise operators or travel agents is not very frequent but it may be of your interest to share your great moment in Halong Bay in an Instagram photo contest or your cruise journal and win a free trip by receiving:
Don’t miss Halong Bay top cruise deals. It can save you a lot and drop your price significantly!
While early bird booking and last minute booking offer a 5% to 8% discount and are available all year round, there are many deals, offers in low season (from May to September) at great value of 20% to 30% discount or even flash sales with 50% price drops.
Make sure you carefully read and check the deal’s inclusions/exclusions, terms and conditions and, more importantly, the payment terms which very often require full payment and are non-refundable.
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Phone: (+84) 971 313 303
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