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Halong Bay is located in the Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam, 160 kilometers from Hanoi. With the total area of over 1500 km2, Halong Bay consists of nearly 2000 limestone islands which are supposed to form more than 500 million years ago. Halong Bay is divided into two zones including the core zone and the buffer zone. Halong Bay is well-known for its amazing scenery with gorgeous limestone islands and unique cave system. Halong Bay has twice been recognized as one of the World Heritage Sites. This is a hot destination not only in Vietnam but also in Asia which attracts over 6 million travelers yearly.

Mostly, people travel to Halong Bay on a cruise following an organized tour provided by one of Halong Cruise Companies. It is common that we don’t like going on fixed tours like that because they make us feel like we are losing our independence, we can’t take control of our plan. With that thought, some travelers choose to take a bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay or ride a motorbike from Hanoi to Halong Bay so that they can themselves decide their time, destinations, and itinerary. However, those ways are more recommended in other spots than in Halong Bay. Halong Bay, Vietnam is one of the most well-known and therefore most crowded tourist spots in Vietnam. As a result, on the other side of providing a variety of services including entertainment, accommodations, restaurants, and shopping malls, Halong Bay is to some extent becoming touristy. Importantly, you will have to consider a lot to figure out how to get there, where to stay, where to eat, what to eat, where to go, and so on and have to know how to negotiate the prices in order not to be overcharged. Moreover, if you travel without a Halong Cruise, you may probably face touts and scams which frequently happen in tourism spots, and badly get tricked as there is nobody to guide you. However, by taking a Vietnam Halong Bay Cruise, you don’t need to worry about these problems as the Halong Cruise Company will take care of you, and most of the time, everything for your Halong Bay trip is included in the Halong Bay Cruise price namely tour guides, transportations, meals, places, and activities.

Using a Halong Cruise brings tourists many advantages to have a wonderful journey to Halong Bay, Vietnam. However, figuring out the best Halong Bay Cruise is not easy as there are totally about 200 Halong Cruises with different duration (Halong Bay day cruise, Halong Bay 2-night cruise, Halong Bay 3-night cruise), different destinations (Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay, …), different activities, and different prices. Therefore, in this article, we would like to guide you through 7 steps to figure out the best Halong Bay Cruise provided with Halong bay cruise recommendations and Halong Bay cruise booking tips.

Read more articles about Halong Bay Cruises:
Best 6 Halong Bay Tours You Should Know In 2018
10 Steps To Plan Hanoi To Halong Bay Tour

I. FIGURE OUT YOUR FAVORED DESTINATIONS YOU WANT TO VISIT WITH THE HALONG BAY CRUISE

Halong bay cruise
Source: scottdun.com

Halong Bay is located in the Gulf of Tonkin which is about 160 kilometers from Hanoi. Literally, there are many different bays and islands in the whole complex of Halong Bay including Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay, Tuan Chau Island, and Cat Ba Island. As Halong Bay which has twice been recognized as one of the World’s Heritage Sites is the most well-known one, they usually call this whole area as “Halong Bay”. Therefore some so-called Halong Bay Cruises don’t really take you to Halong Bay exactly. That is the reason why you should pay special attention to the exact destinations that you want to visit when choosing a Halong Cruise. Below are the most attractive spots in Halong Bay. Take a look and decide what you will include in your Halong Cruise trip.

1. Cruise in Halong Bay – One of the world’s heritage sites

The name Halong literally means “The Descending Dragon” originating from a legend that Vietnamese people witnessed a dragon landing on this bay. Halong Bay is among top 3 worth-visiting destinations in Southeast Asia, one of the most popular tourist spots in Vietnam that all tourists definitely don’t want to miss when traveling to Vietnam. Halong Bay is favored an unspoiled, truly natural, and majestic beauty which makes tourists feel like being in the middle of a paradise. In the whole bay, there are nearly 2000 limestone islands and mountains rising from the water such as Fighting Cocks, Man’s Head, and Wading Ox and Wallowing Buffalo which were named after their unique natural shapes as well as a system of caves and grottoes. Halong Bay processes so many caves and grottoes that people not yet can discover all of them. Halong Bay not only creates the tourism and economic values but also preserves geographical, historical, and Archeological evidence. Importantly, to preserve such important values, only some of these caves and grottoes are open for tourism purposes. They are Trinh Nu Cave (Virgin Cave), Sung Sot Cave (Surprising Cave), Luon Cave, Thien Cung Cave (Paradise Cave), and Bo Nau Cave (Pelican Cave). The most popular activities for tourists on Halong Bay are:

  • Visiting charming caves and grottoes in Halong Bay include Sung Sot Cave (Surprising Cave), Thien Cung Cave (Heavenly Palace Cave), Trinh Nu Grottoes (Virgin Grottoes), and Dau Go Grottoes (Wood Tip Grottoes)
  • Visiting the Pearl farm where local people produce pearls
  • Visiting local floating villages and fisherman villages such as Cua Van Village
  • Swimming and kayaking on the beach
  • Going squid fishing
  • Doing Tai Chi morning exercises on the cruise Joining Vietnamese cooking class on the cruise

2. Halong Bay Cruise to Bai Tu Long Bay – The off-the-beaten-track destination

Halong bay cruise
Source: uniquehalongbay.com

Bai Tu Long Bay lies to the Northeast of Halong Bay. It accounts for nearly 75% of the whole Halong Bay Complex’s area. Bai Tu Long Bay processes pristine rocky islets, gorgeous and romantic limestone mountains as well as lengthy white sand beaches. In compare to Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay is somehow more stunning and attractive as thanks to its more natural and primitive beauty. Bai Tu Long Bay, as well as its surrounding islands, is thinly populated. Local people concentrating in local villages earn their living by fishing rather than tourism services.

There are two seasons in Bai Tu Long Bay including summer and winter. Summer seems to be the ideal time to visit beaches as there are many interesting activities to take part in. However, winter is not a bad choice as Bai Tu Long Bay is almost deserted, which makes you feel as if you were owning the whole place.  Therefore, Bai Tu Long Bay is a great place to visit in either summer or winter.

Bai Tu Long Bay is getting more and more attention from international visitors as its pristine and charming beauty is a perfect choice for those who need to get relaxed and away from touristy hustles. Therefore, many Halong Bay Cruise Company are now providing cruise tours to Bai Tu Long Bay.

These are popular activities in Bai Tu Long Bay:

  • Swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, surfing, and trekking Titop islands
  • Climbing up Titop Peak, the romantic peak of Bai Tu Long Bay Visiting Thien Canh Son Cave
  • Visiting Tra Gioi Beach Visiting Bai Tu Long National Park
  • Visiting local fisherman villages such as Vung Vieng Village and Cong Dam Village
  • Visiting the local pearl farm Doing Tai Chi morning exercises on the cruise
  • Joining Vietnamese cooking class on the cruise

Below are some recommended cruises to Bai Tu Long Bay for you to take into consideration.

Bhaya cruise
Address: No. 47 Phan Chu Trinh Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Tel: (+84) 243 944 6777
Hotline: (+84) 933 446 542
Email:sales@bhayacruises.com
Website: bhayacruises.com/

V’Spirit Cruise
Address: No. 115/ Hong Ha Street
Tel: (+84) 243 247 4488
Email: sales@vspiritcruises.com
Website: vspiritcruises.com

Indochina Junk
Address: No. 58 Au Trieu Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 243 926 4085
Hotline: (+84) 964 343 322
Website: indochina-junk.com

3. Halong Bay Cruise to Lan Ha Bay – A worth-visiting spot

Halong bay cruise
Source: vietnamsunshinetravel.com

Lan Ha Bay is bordering Halong Bay geographically. Literally, Lan Ha Bay processes exactly what Halong Bay does including karst mountains, islands, and caves but with the bonus of sandy beaches, a wide range of wild species including fish, mollusk, arthropod, seals, dolphins, and ranges of colorful coral deep in the water, and importantly fewer tourists. Lan Ha Bay is not a worse place in compare to Halong Bay. However, Lan Ha Bay is still lying in the shape of Halong Bay as Halong Bay is so well-known worldwide after having twice been recognized as one of the world’s heritage sites.

Visiting Lan Ha Bay takes more time as it must be accessed via Ben Beo Harbour in Cat Ba Island, but it is still worth a try. There are not as many Halong Bay Cruise to Lan Ha Bay as to Bai Tu Long Bay or Halong Bay. Therefore, you have to consider whether you will go there or not before you can choose a suitable Halong Bay Cruise.

These are the most popular activities on Lan Ha Bay:

  • Visiting Cat Ba Island and Monkey Island, the two most well-known islands belonging to Lan Ha Bay
  • Swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and trekking
  • Visiting fishing villages Doing Tai Chi morning exercises on the cruise
  • Joining Vietnamese cooking class on the cruise

Below are some recommended cruises to Lan Ha Bay for you to take into consideration.

Bhaya cruise
Address: No. 47 Phan Chu Trinh Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Tel: (+84) 243 944 6777
Hotline: (+84) 933 446 542
Email:sales@bhayacruises.com
Website: bhayacruises.com

V’Spirit Cruise
Address: No. 115/ Hong Ha Street
Tel: (+84) 243 247 4488
Email: sales@vspiritcruises.com
Website: vspiritcruises.com

Emerald cruise
Address: No. 5 Hang Chieu Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 243 929 0606
Hotline: (+84) 912 642 517
Email: cruise@apttravel.com.vn
Website: emeraldcruise

Lan Ha Legend cruise
Address: No. 44/75 Hong Ha Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 987 988 219
Email: legendcruiseshalong@gmail.com
Website: lanhalegendcruises

4. Halong Bay Cruise to Cat Ba Island – The largest island of Halong Bay Complex

Halong bay cruise
Source: vietnamtriptips.com

Cat Ba Island is the largest and most popular island of Halong Bay. It is located about 25 kilometers to the South of Halong Bay, in the middle of Lan Ha Bay. This is a popular spot for both domestic and international tourists. Cat Ba Island is well-known for the Cat Ba National Park, a thick forest that preserves various species of plants and animals, especially the species of monkey that only exists in Cat Ba Island, Vietnam. The forest is no doubt an ideal place for trekking and discovering especially for those who love nature. Besides, there are also pure beaches and gorgeous mountains on this island.

Tourism is quite developed in Cat Ba Island with a lot of restaurants, hotels, resorts, and bungalows, so there are many Halong Cruise doing the trip to Cat Ba Island. Take Cat Ba Island into consideration, and if you don’t want to miss it, remember to tell the Halong Cruise Company when you proceed your Halong Bay Cruise booking.

These are the most popular activities on Cat Ba Island:

  • Cycling or trekking around Cat Ba Island
  • Swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling
  • Visiting Monkey Island where monkeys go freely around the whole island
  • Visiting fisherman villages such as Viet Hai Village, Cai Beo Village, and Vung Vieng Village
  • Going squid fishing Doing Tai Chi morning exercises on the cruise
  • Joining Vietnamese cooking class on the cruise

Below are the recommended cruises to Cat Ba Island for you to take into consideration.

Bhaya cruise
Address: No. 47 Phan Chu Trinh Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Tel: (+84) 243 944 6777
Hotline: (+84) 933 446 542
Email:sales@bhayacruises.com
Website: bhayacruises.com

Catba Sailing Junk
Tel: (+84)243 974 0273
Email: sales@catbajonques.com
Website: catbajonques.com

Cat Ba Sisters cruise
Address: No. 13 Hang Duong Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Hotline/Whatsapp: (+84) 914 607 571
Email: info@catbasisterscruise.com
Website: catbasisterscruise.com

II. DECIDE YOUR TRAVEL DURATION ON YOUR HALONG BAY CRUISE

Halong bay cruise
Source: youtube

Halong Bay totally is a huge area with a lot of things to discover, charming sceneries, and a variety of outdoor activities. Therefore, the longer you stay there, the more time and chances you have to discover this World’s Heritage site without feeling bored or sad. However, the travel duration always depends on your own budget, time, and personal plan. Therefore, it is of great importance that you have to plan your time before choosing your Halong Cruise.

1. Halong Bay Day Cruise – The short journey for an overall view of Halong Bay  

If you choose a Halong Bay day cruise, you will depart to Halong Bay and get back within one day without staying overnight on the cruise. These cruises are often smaller than Halong Bay overnight cruise and don’t have private cabins as there are no tourists staying overnight in there. If you are in a rush, but you don’t want Halong Bay to be missed, you can certainly do this Halong Bay day cruise trip to get a little taste of Halong Bay. For these Halong Bay Cruise tours, tourists are often taken to two or three highlight spots of Halong Bay, have lunch on the cruise, do kayaking, and maybe join in cooking class on the way from Halong Bay back to Hanoi. There must be a lot of fun and memorable experience there. However, if you can afford more time, this option is not so highly recommended as it is a bit hasty. A Halong Bay cruise from Hanoi starts at about 7:00 and ends at about 20:00. It takes you about 4 hours to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi and another 4 hours back. Therefore, you have got only 4 to 6 hours on the cruise really. Not to mention that moving a lot within one day may drive you tired. It is recommended that if you have to do a Halong Bay day cruise, figure out which cruise allows you to stay longest in Halong Bay, offers nice services, and takes good care of you during the tour. That is probably the best Halong Bay Cruise for you.

2. Halong Bay 2 days-1 night cruise tour – The common choice of tourists

Halong bay cruise
Source: paradisecruise.com

As one day is too short and hasty to discover the whole Halong Bay, tourists often stay at least one night on Halong Bay to get the fulfilling experience. For this kind of Halong Bay Cruise tour, they often put together some close spots beyond Halong Bay only. You can visit Lan Ha Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, or Cat Ba Island as well. You have time to get further into the forests and islands of Halong Bay visiting local fishing villages and national park. That is an exceptional way to approach nature. You can sleep on the cruise, admire the gorgeous sunrise the next morning, and do Vietnamese traditional morning exercise. Importantly, a Halong Bay overnight cruise allows you to get relaxed and enjoy the pure and peaceful atmosphere of Halong Bay instead of rushing from one place to another again and again during the whole day.

When you decide to stay long on the cruise, it is of great importance that you should choose a good Halong Bay overnight cruise. It is not necessarily a luxury cruise at an expensive price, but it must be a good one with professional crew and services. Remember to check the weather before deciding when to go as nice weather condition is an important factor to determine whether you have a wonderful journey or not, especially on the bay.

3. Halong Bay 3 days-2 nights cruise – More time to experience Halong Bay

As mentioned in the previous part, a longer duration allows you to go further, visit more destinations, and discover more about Halong Bay. If you book a Halong Bay 2-night cruise, you will be transferred to a smaller cruise in the morning to go further into Halong Bay’s islands and islets for daytime activities and return the big cruise for evening activities and sleeping overnight.

For the two nights on Halong Bay, you can stay either both two nights on the Halong Cruise or one night on the cruise and one night on one island of Halong Bay like Cat Ba Island, Monkey Island, and Nam Cat Island to color your experience while you often stay on the cruise only if you go for 2 days and 1 night

4. Halong Bay 4 days – 3 nights Cruise – Ideal to enjoy a long vacation

Halong bay cruise
Source: agoda.com

Halong Bay is too broad for any tourists to go to every corner of it, and they literally don’t need to do it. Normally, 2 to 3 days is enough for tourists to visit the best spots in Halong Bay, experience the most popular activities like swimming, kayaking, and trekking, and enjoy the pure beauty and atmosphere of Halong Bay, Vietnam. Then, they get headed to other spots. However, if 3 days doesn’t satisfy you yet, and you want to discover more about this place, a Halong Bay 3-night cruise is for you. People choosing Halong Bay 3-night cruises or even staying longer than 4 days and 3 nights in Halong Bay are those who have a long holiday, need to get relaxed and enjoy themselves at one place rather than moving so quickly between places. Any choice is good as it fits your plan and expectation, so consider and make your own decision about the duration of your Halong Bay Cruise journey!

Below are 4 days-3 nights Halong Bay cruises recommended for you.

Maya cruise
Address: No. 841-843 Hong Ha Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 243 829 4888
Hotline: (+84) 936 282 388
Email: sales@mayacruises.com
Website: mayacruises.com

Halong Bay Junk Boat
Address: No. 103 Bui Thi Xuan Street, Hanoi
Tel: (+84) 243 976 6181
Hotline: (+84) 912 264 631
Email: infor@galatoursit.com
Website: halongbay-junk-boat.com

Halong Bay Princess cruise
Address: Suites 514 & 1312. 4F Building, Trung Hoa Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 243 783 4288
Hotline: (+84) 956 500 733
Email: sales@halongbaycruises.vn
Website: halongbaycruise.vn

III. CONSIDER WHO YOU GO WITH ON THE HALONG BAY CRUISE

Halong bay cruise
Source: trulyvietnamtour.com

1. To choose an appropriate cabin on your Halong Bay overnight cruise

How many people will go on the cruise with you? Who are they? Are you going to stay in one cabin or in separated cabins? You should ask yourself these questions to choose your suitable Halong Bay cruise as not all cruise can fit your requirements.

a. Halong Bay overnight cruise with double cabins for couples and friends

A double cabin can contain maximum 2 people. There is one double bed for two people or two single beds each of which is for one person. It depends on who you are going on the Halong Bay cruise with to choose the suitable one. If you are a couple or close friends and want to sleep on a mutual bed, choose the cabin with double bed. If you prefer privacy, choose the cabin with two single beds. Don’t forget to mention your requirements clearly to the Halong Cruise Company when you proceed your booking.

b. Halong Bay overnight cruise with triple cabins for family and group of friends

A triple cabin can contain maximum 3 people. This kind of cabin is ideal for family and groups of three friends as you can stay in the same cabin. There may be 3 single beds or one double bed and 2 singles beds. It depends on your own requirements to choose the most suitable one. Whatever you choose, you have to check with the Halong Cruise Company or tour agent where you book the Halong Bay Cruise tour to make sure the cabin you expect is available.

c. Halong Bay overnight cruise with family connecting cabins

A family connecting cabin can contain maximum 4 people. There are often one king-sized bed and 1-2 single beds. There are separated areas for parents and kids in the same cabin, so parents can keep an eye on their children but still have their own privacy. This is the ideal cabin for family together. However, not all cruises in Halong Bay offer this kind of room. Only Halong Bay luxury cruises and mid-range cruises do. Therefore, you should check the availability carefully before booking the cabin.

2. To choose the Halong Cruise with appropriate activities

halong bay cruise
Source: sapatrekkingtour.com

There are a variety of activities happening during the Halong Bay Cruise tour happening either on the cruise and off the cruise. Some of Halong cruises operate general tours for people at many different ranges of age. However, people of different age are keen on different styles of traveling and activities. Therefore, some others focus on more specific target customers, so they organize their activities and itinerary to satisfy their target customers.  Once you have got on the cruise, you will have to follow the cruise’s plan, and you can not decide what to do or where to go. That is the reason why choosing a Halong cruise with your favorite activities is important.

a. Activities for young travelers on Halong Bay Cruise

Young travelers often value the activities they will experience over the cruise’s reputation. They are keen on strong and noisy activities. They may prefer a budget cruise to have their money saved as long as the quality of the cruise is acceptable. Therefore, many Halong Bay cruise company provide tours for young people with adventurous activities at a budget price focusing on these young customers. They often organize sunset party in the evening with music, free beer or wine, and karaoke until night. In the daytime, besides kayaking as normal, there are strong sports and activities for young adventurous people like jumping from the cruise into the water, swimming, surfing, and hard trekking into islands. These Halong cruises are limited to a certain range of age (may be from 18 to 35 years old) so that the cruise company can take better care of their customers. If you are a young traveler looking for a tour to Halong Bay, you may have read many Halong Bay cruise recommendations that you should choose the cruise for young people. At least, other tourists on the cruise are at the same age as you, and it is much easier to talk and make friends with people of the same age and of the same interest.

b. Activities for middle-aged travelers on Halong Bay Cruise

Middle-aged travelers are supposed to care pretty much about the reputation of the cruise, the quality of services, and you may certainly accept to pay more money for a nice Halong Cruise to ensure your comfortable experience. You are likely to prefer quietness to get relaxed and fond of natural beauty. Some middle-aged travelers are interested in activities related to Vietnamese customs and culture like Vietnamese cooking class and Tai Chi morning exercises on the cruise. Still, there are popular activities such as kayaking and sightseeing. There are not many cruises for middle-aged people. A common Halong Bay cruise tour will be suitable for you probably. Just don’t choose the ones for young travelers.

c. Activities for relaxed travelers on Halong Bay cruise

halong bay cruise
Source: classytravelvietnam.com

If you go to Halong Bay just for relaxing and enjoying the charming beauty of Halong Bay, don’t worry. You can just lie on the sundeck enjoying the natural beauty and the pure and fresh atmosphere of Halong Bay. Ideal activities for you are sunbathing, Tai Chi morning exercises, Vietnamese cooking class on the cruise, watching a water puppet show and tasting seafood in local villages, and visiting nearby caves. Being on a cruise in the middle of such a poetry beauty can be definitely the ideal way to get relaxed and recharged.

d. Activities for adventure travelers on Halong Bay cruise

If you are an adventure traveler who is keen on strong activities and discovering the nature, Halong Bay is an ideal place for you. Among the majestic mountains, caves, and beaches of Halong Bay, there are so many outdoor activities for you to experience. Firstly, there are many watersports like jumping from the boat down to the water as well as swimming, kayaking, scuba diving, and snorkeling. You can also trek or cycle around isolated islands or climb up majestic rocky mountains. Going this further into the heart of Halong Bay will be an amazing experience in your life and will not let you down definitely.

3. To consider chartering a Halong Bay private cruise

halong bay cruise
Source: bhayacruises.com

Chartering a Halong Bay private cruise is an ideal way to enjoy a holiday, especially for couples, families, and groups of friends to celebrate their personal privacy and familiarity. The tour will be tailored for your requirements and expectation. You can plan your own itinerary to get away from touristy noisy spots and will have your private cruise team and tour guide. There are no other people to disturb you enjoying yourself.

The capacity of a Halong private cruise varies from 2 to 100 passengers. It depends on your travel group size to choose the suitable Halong private cruise.

a. Halong private cruise from 1-2 cabins for couples

Such small Halong private cruises are suitable for couples to either spend their holiday or celebrate their honeymoon vacation. A honeymoon is a once-in-a-lifetime event, why don’t you make it special. It would be the most romantic and memorable experience in your life to stay together on a private cruise on Halong Bay, one of the Heritage sites of the whole world. You will not stay all the time on the cruise but hope off gorgeous spots in Halong Bay. You will together enjoy honey lunch on the beach, honey dinner with candlelight in the cave, or simply hang out on the private sundeck admiring the charming beauty of Halong Bay. A Halong private cruise tour can be either a nice start of your marriage life or a special way to warm up your relationship.

b. Halong Bay private cruise 3-10 cabins for small groups

This kind of cruise has 3-10 cabins and can contain from 6 to 10 passengers. This is an ideal choice for a family or a small group of friends. You can decide the time and itinerary to fit all members’ expectation. A Halong private cruise allows you to stay and enjoy together. There are no strangers to disturb your privacy so that the atmosphere is warm and familiar. Importantly, the price of chartering a private cruise for the whole group can sometimes be cheaper than booking a group tour for each member. Therefore, if you are traveling in a group of up to 10 people, consider chartering a private cruise to have the best Halong Bay cruise trip ever.

c. Halong Bay private cruise 10 cabins up for large groups

These large cruises are suitable for company trip or so. The company can decide its own itinerary and plan. They are free to organize internal games, parties, and other programs on the cruise as the cruise is all their. Such a company trip will certainly help company members get to know each other resulting in the better cooperation and the better productivity in the future.

IV. CONSIDER WHERE YOU WANT TO STAY OVERNIGHT WHEN TRAVELING WITH THE HALONG BAY CRUISE

1. Only on the Halong Bay overnight cruise

halong bay cruise
Source: halongbaytours.com

You need a Halong Bay overnight cruise when you stay in Halong Bay more than one day. Especially, tourists who join in a Halong Bay cruise 2 days-1 night tour most of the time spend their only one night on the cruise. Halong Bay overnight cruises provide a variety of overnight cabins on the cruises furnished with ensuite bathroom. Every cruise has a bar and restaurant. Everything you need for an overnight on Halong Bay is available. There is one important notice that if you decide to stay overnight on the cruise, you should choose a good cruise. Don’t choose a low-quality cruise even if they offer you a very low price. Otherwise, you may get poor quality food, poor accommodation conditions like no air-condition or no ensuite bathroom, and there are even animals crawling around your cabin like your roommates. Remember to check everything clearly in advance. You can research some Halong Bay cruise recommendations and tips on the internet before booking.

2. On the Halong Bay overnight cruise and in the bungalows or hotels

Hotels and bungalows are located on isolated islands like Cat Ba Island, Monkey Island where monkeys are running freely around and Nam Cat Island. These islands are at least about 20 kilometers from Halong Bay. Therefore, it takes time to access these places. So, normally, you can stay in bungalows and hotels if you stay at least two nights in Halong Bay including one night on the cruise and one night in the bungalow or hotel. The Halong Bay cruise tour company combines your trip to Halong Bay with one of the islands, and you stay overnight on that island at the end of the day. A bungalow is a small separated house for two people located on the charming and pristine island viewing to the sea. Staying in the bungalow is like living in the middle of jungles and animals. A bungalow often costs about VND200,000 to VND 500,000 more than a hotel per night but is definitely an amazing experience for any tourists.

Most cruises offer you to choose between staying two nights on the cruise and 1 night on the cruise together with one night on an island. There are only a few cruises that only offers you to stay both nights on their cruises. If you are interested in enjoying 2 nights on your Halong Bay cruise, those cruises listed below are for you.

Dragon Legend cruise
Address: No. 58 Au Trieu Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 243 926 4085
Hotline: (+84) 964 343 322
Website: dragonlegendcruise.com

Royal Wings Cruise
Address: No. 73 Ly Nam De Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 243 927 5526
Hotline: (+84) 936 468 638
Email: sales@royalwingscruise.com

V. CONSIDER THE HALONG BAY CRUISE PRICES

halong bay cruise
Source: fantasea.vn

1. Five-star Halong Bay Cruise – A luxury journey

Five-star Halong Bay cruises are the top luxury cruises in Halong Bay, Vietnam. They are new or even brand-new cruises, large, clean, and operated by professional and experienced cruise team. Each cruise has the capacity of up to 30 passengers. Each cabin is very spacious with the area of up to 25 m2. All the cabins, bar, and restaurant of the cruise are designed in a modern and luxury way. Private cabins with private balcony and chairs look directly to the ocean creating the feeling of owning the whole place. Family connecting rooms are available. Each cabin has a wardrobe, safe box, life vest, sofa, TV, ironing board, kettle, telephone, hairdryer, bathtub and senior suite, free wifi, and working air-condition to ensure the most comfortable experience of tourists. The sky bar and luxury restaurant always bring tourists joyful and entertaining moments. Besides normal services, five-star Halong Bay cruises offer spa and massage services for tourists to get relaxed. With those modern facilities and professional staffs, a five-star Halong Bay Cruise definitely go beyond your expectation about a wonderful Halong Bay Cruise tour. The price of a five-star Halong Bay cruise is from VND 5,000,000 for a 2 days-1 night tour and VND 9,000,000 for a 3 days-2 nights tour per person.

Below are five-star Halong Bay Cruise recommended for you.

Paradise Peak Cruise
Tel: (+84) 246 663 6862
Email: info@paradisepeakcruises.com
Website: paradisepeakcruises.com

Emperor Cruise
Address: No. 3 Alley 65, Van Bao Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 243 927 3475
Hotline: (+84) 123 666 88 79
Email: sales@emperorcruises.com
Website: emperorcruises.com

Hera Cruise
Address: Cua Dong Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 936 401 819
Email: halongheracruise@gmail.com
Website: heracruises.com / halongheracruises.com

2. Four-star Halong Bay Cruise – High-quality cruise in Halong Bay

halong bay cruise
Source: bhayagroup.com

In comparison to a five-star Halong Bay cruise, a four-star one is a bit smaller and older with the capacity of about 20 passengers. Each cabin is about 20 to 22 m2. They provide sufficient modern and good facilities to satisfy all customers’ need although they are not as luxury as those on the four-star cruise. They are also run by professional and experienced cruise team. Besides, the balcony cabins and family connecting rooms are not always available. In return, the price of a four-star cruise is much cheaper than that of a five-star one. It costs from VND 3000,000 for a 2 days-1 night tour and from VND 8,000,000 for a 3 days-2 nights tour per person. With that price, you still have an amazing quality and experience. That is a good choice for sure.

Below are some four-star Halong Bay cruises you may take into consideration.

Dragon Pearl Junk
Address: No. 3B Thi Sach Street, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 243 747 5876
Hotline: (+84) 917 620 980
Email: sales@fareasttour.com.vn
Website: dragonpearlhalong.com

La Vela Cruise
Address: No. 49 Hai Ba Trung Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 243 939 2929
Website: lavelacruisehalong.com

Paloma Cruise
Address: No. 24/33B Pham Ngu Lao Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 243 933 2255
Email: palomacruise@impresstravel.com
Website: palomacruise.com

3. Three-star Halong Bay cruise – Good cruise at an affordable price

A three-star Halong Bay cruise can contain from 14 to 18 passengers normally. Each cabin is about 16 m2 which is not very spacious but enough for a comfortable journey. Each cabin is furnished with efficient facilities including beds, chairs, ensuite bathroom, air-condition, and wifi. There are bar and restaurant serving food and drink on the cruise. Staffs and cruise team are well-trained and professional so can take good care of customers. If you either are not willing to pay so much for a Halong Bay cruise tour or prefer a small cruise to have more quietness and privacy, a three-star Halong Bay cruise seems to fit your expectation. This kind of cruise costs from VND 2,500,000 for a 2 days-1 night tour and from VND 6,000,000 for a 3 days-2 nights tour. It is a budget and affordable price while you still have good service, so seems to be the most common choice of tourists to Halong Bay.

Below are some three-star Halong Bay cruises recommended for you.

Golden Star Cruise
Address: No. 9A Tong Duy Tan Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 243 935 1805
Email: info@goldenstarcruise.com
Website: goldenstarcruise.com

Swan Halong Bay Cruise
Address: No. 67-69 Ly Nam De Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 4 668 33277
Email: info@halong-bay-tours.com
Website: swan-cruise

4. Budget Halong Bay cruise – The choice of budget travelers

halong bay cruise
Source: impresstravel.com

As mentioned above, the price of Halong Bay cruises is various, so you will definitely find out a cruise that fit your pocket. There are Halong Bay cruise tours at the very low price which is from VND 700,000 for a Halong Bay cruise 1 day tour, VND 1,900,000 for a Halong 1-night cruise tour, and from VND 2,400,000 for a 3 days-2 nights tour. Those are definitely affordable price. However, you should be careful with these cruises. Remember to check carefully the information and feedbacks about the cruise to make sure it is in good condition. Otherwise, don’t book it as it is not likely to ensure you a nice Halong cruise trip.

VI. RESEARCH THE HALONG BAY CRUISE REVIEW BEFORE BOOKING

Once you have been to the above 5 steps, you have probably got shortlisted cruises for your Halong Bay Cruise trip. Now, you have to figure out your best Halong Bay cruise to book your tour as soon as possible to ensure the availability. In this step, you are going to research reviews and feedbacks about the cruises to double check if these cruises are as good as they are advertised by cruise companies. Some Halong cruise companies intend to provide wrong information to exaggerate the quality of their cruise. The pictures posted on their website may be taken years ago, and their cruises can’t remain the same at the time you see it. However, personal sharing and feedbacks are more reliable. This source of information will reveal any bad things about the cruises including about food, service quality, itinerary, price, staffs’ attitude, and so on. Therefore, you should spend time reading any sharing or recommendations about the Halong Bay cruises on the internet especially on Tripadvisor and traveling blogs to get the real information. Here, after all, you must have known which is the best Halong Bay cruise. Now, it’s time to direct to the final step to reserve the Halong Bay cruise.

VII. PROCEED YOUR HALONG BAY CRUISE BOOKING

1. Booking directly with the Halong Bay Cruise Company

Once you have decided what Halong cruise to go with, you can directly contact the cruise company to check the availability, state your any requirements, and reserve a tour. Normally, you can book via either website, email or reach at the office number. If you need any contact information, just google the name of the cruise.

Booking directly with the Halong Bay cruise company is the most reliable way as there is no intermediate involved. However, the company office is usually far from you, which makes your booking process a bit more complicated. Besides, the company always sells its service at the public price which is often higher than the price offered by travel agents.

2. Booking a Halong Bay cruise through a travel agent

halong bay cruise
Source: vietnampackagetravel.com

The second way to book a Halong Bay cruise tour is through a travel agent. While the Halong Bay cruise company, travel agents are available anywhere in the area of Hanoi Old Quarter where you can book a Halong Bay cruise tour from Hanoi easily at an even cheaper price. Some tourists think that it is cheaper to book directly with the company as agents are intermediate trying to exaggerate the price, but it is not true. Because there are a lot of travel agents in the same area, the competitiveness is pretty high, so they can’t sell anything at a high price, which tourists can benefit from. If you negotiate the price well, you will definitely get a great deal. However, of all travel agents in your area, there might be unreliable ones who are willing to play tricks on you and use you to earn their money. Therefore, you should research carefully and choose a reputable one with good reviews from previous customers.

Either ways you choose, you should clearly and carefully state all your requirements that you have been listing through above 6 steps. Remember to mention if you are a vegetarian, or you have an allergy to something. Don’t forget to double check what is included in the price of your Halong Bay cruise. Lastly, you should have all the information and requirements written in the receipt. Take someone’s phone number so that you can contact if something wrong happens during the tour.

3. Booking a Halong Bay cruise through intermediate online booking service

Thanks to the popularity of the Internet, you can now book a Halong Bay cruise tour easily through many online reservation systems. Some common systems like that are listed below.

Booking online through one of these online booking websites is a convenient, fast, and cheap way to get your Halong Bay cruise tour. Firstly, the price these websites offer you is from 10% to 50% percent cheaper than the public price you have to pay when booking directly at the Halong Bay cruise company. These websites work as agents. They are offered the wholesale price by the company so can give you, customers, a lower price. Secondly, the booking, payment, cancellation, and refund process is simple and easy with detailed and obvious guidelines on the websites. Besides, whenever there is anything wrong happening with the online booking system that you can not handle, you can contact the customer care service and are assisted immediately. One advantage of booking online is that you can compare the information of many cruises at the same time and consider what is the best Halong cruise for your budget and expectation. Because of its advantages over traditional ways, booking online is become more popular and favored by tourists.

VIII. TIPS AND NOTICES WHEN TRAVELING ON A HALONG CRUISE

halong bay cruise
Source: halonghotels.info

There are four separated seasons in Halong Bay including spring, summer, autumn, and winter as the usual in Vietnam. Literally, it is fine to travel to Halong in any of the four seasons, but from April to October seems to be the ideal time when the weather is sunny, a bit hot, and dry. That is the ideal condition for trekking and watersport. However, during that period of time, Halong Bay is nearly full of domestic and international tourists. If you are planning to go to Halong Bay during this time, try to avoid the weekends, or you should consider not to go there in that peak season.

Halong Bay is a pride of Vietnamese people, a heritage site of the whole world. It not only creates economic and tourism values but also preserves historical and geographical myths that scientists have been researching. This is a present from the Mother Nature to the human being, and we are responsible for protecting it. Throw trash into the trash bins to keep Halong Bay clean and beautiful as always.

Above are 7 crucial steps to choose a Halong Cruise. Hopefully, these steps will help you a lot to figure out your best cruise in Halong Bay. Wish you a wonderful journey on Halong Bay, Vietnam.


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Peter Kastain is a travel blogger and an explorer based in Hanoi. After spending 2 years traveling around Southeast Asia, he found his love in the culture, landscapes, and people of Vietnam. His goal is to introduce the beauty of Vietnam to people around the world - the beauty which is so special through his eyes

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