Tips on Halong Bay Cruises

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Before you arrive in Hanoi

Do your homework

Equip yourself with some basic understanding of how a Halong bay cruise will be like, ie lists of cruise operators, travel agents, tour operators, Hanoi hotels. Do some research online and you will get lots of useful information that will make you confident when booking a cruise.

Remember that there are hundreds of cruise operators and thousands of travel agents. So don’t get confused. It is likely that prices listed by cruise operators, hotels and travel agents are relatively the same. This is because cruise operators have requested that all agents sell the price published by cruise operators. At times you can enjoy promotional prices if you travel in a big group.

It is best to look at reviews of cruise operators than of travel agents or hotels, even on For a specific campaign, travel agents tend to take extra care of their customers in a return for positive reviews.

Select a type of cruise that is best for you.  

As inflation is rising, budget cruises are getting out of the offer list by cruise operators. You will see more luxurious cruises than budget cruises these days. Some years ago, it was possible to do a 2 days 1 night cruise for $50. It is almost impossible today.

Halong luxury cruises: you can spend as much as you want in this class. These cruise vessels provide unique itineraries, great outdoor activities, an array of extra spas and healthcare services onboard. These are also the top vessels in terms of amenities, safety equipment and disciplined/trained crew. The Au Co vessel is one of them, and the standard cabin can cost you $700 for 2 days 1 night including kayaking.

Halong deluxe cruises: most visitors tend to select this class as the quality of cruise is great while it is not too costly. There are a range of prices, from $150 to some $300 per double cabin for a 2 days 1 night including kayaking and shuttle bus from Hanoi. Dragon Pearl junk or cruise offers excellent off the beaten itinerary to both Halong bay and Bai Tu Long bay.

Halong superior cruises are a bit cheaper for similar itineraries. Yet the quality of boats is definitely lower, as most of these vessels are smaller, older and are not equipped with modern tools.

See the best cruises on Halong Bay:

- Victory Star Cruise

- Emeraude Classic

- Ginger Cruise

- Violet Cruise

Be specific on what you want and get a full quote in writing.

After you have done some homework, you will be confident of what you would like to have: type of cruises, 3 days or 2 days, type of cabins (standard, deluxe, suite, royal, etc), inclusions and exclusions, boarding policies, cancellations, payment and refund, etc. Remember that you should get at least 3 quotes for the same cruise and itinerary so you can make some comparisons. Never assume anything, and get promises and oral agreement in writing! This reads simple yet lots of visitors get scams due to unclear statements. Here are some tips:

-          Get a cabin far from the dining hall or the generator. You don’t want to have bad smells and sounds.

-          Get a cabin by the window to enjoy the sunset and sunrise even though it can be a bit more expensive

-          Get a commitment when your cruise is canceled or delayed due to force majeure. What the tour operator / travel agent

  must do, and what you should do. Where you will stay? How will cruise cost be refunded and on what conditions, etc?

While you are cruising on Halong Bay

Complain any problems immediately.

Of course you don’t want to make complaints very often as it can affect your mood while cruising this stunning bay. Yet it is a good strategy that you should use in order to get more attention and care from the crew. Cruise operators are also afraid of receiving negative reviews and comments which can affect their business in the future. Do not sit back and wait. Go and get the captain and explain what the problem is and how you want it to be fixed. There are various types of problems you may face. One of them may be the about mattress and beddings, air cons, noise or smells



Get to know safety measures

Spend some time to get to know safety measures on the vessel. Talk to your guide and the captain if possible and understand the dos and don’ts during an emergency. Here are some scenarios:

Most critical: vessel sinking at night is most critical, as you may be sleeping at that time. Remember to get a sense of exit while you are in your cabin. In 2011, the boat sank within only 10 seconds. If you see a member crew drinking, report to the captain immediately.

Boat collision: boat rarely collides with others while cruising on the Bay. Even when fog is thick and visibility is zero, there have been no collisions reported so far. However in 2012, a vessel hit a tender while finding its way out of the pier near Sung Sot Cave. This is due to chaotic order at the pier, not the safety measures and tools onboard any vessels.

Kayaking: remember to wear your life vest even though it can be dirty or wet. Kayaking is fun, yet you should play safe, as some time you get lost while kayaking on the Bay and lose sight of your leader. You will find that most rock formations look the same, and find a way out seems difficult. Better to wear one vest

Just relax and enjoy it

On occasions, you end up in a bad Halong cruise despite your best effort. It can be due to the vessel, food, crew, cabin or even other travelers on the same cruise. You should forget them all and try to enjoy the bay, as you have paid so much for it. Do not let scams and disappointment ruin your holiday.  


See other travel updates of this destination:

- Reasons to Consider a Halong Bay Cruise

- Halong Bay Cruise FAQs

- Quang Ninh – My hometown

- Halong Bay insight cruise

- Moon Night on Halong Bay

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