How to Choose a Cruise in Halong Bay?

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A Brief History

Nowadays, choosing a boat to sail to Halong Bay is a difficult task! There are dozens of companies offering tours, which together have 200 vessels. Of course, not all of these ships are always outstanding, but even in the low season, when less than 50 ships travel, it is difficult to choose the best option!

To help you with this difficult task of choosing a cruise in Halong Bay, we have written this text.

Digging Deeper

How long

The first choice you will make is to decide how many days your cruise will be. This is the easiest choice! There is a 1 day cruise; 2 days / 1 night; 3 days / 2 nights and 4 days / 3 nights. The most common are 2-day and 1-night cruises, a favorite of tourists and one with the biggest boat deals. 3-day and 2-night cruises are also quite common, but have a smaller supply of ships and are about 70% more expensive than 2-day cruises, less popular.

3 night cruises are rarer and more expensive. They do not come out every day, so you need to plan better.

On the other hand, a day cruise is also easy to find and is the cheapest option. The problem is that a lot of time is spent on the road, it is around 3h30 from Hanoi to Halong Bay, which is a total of seven hours (round trip). It turns out there is little time on the boat, about four hours and you can’t know much.

The place to close the cruise ship

When I visited Halong Bay a few years ago, the best choice was to close the tour in Hanoi which was the starting point of the tour. However, at this time, I believe that closing via the internet might be a better choice in many cases. Let us start by talking about what it’s like to close the cruise in person in Hanoi.

Book a cruise on the internet

Currently, the best option for most cases is to close internet shipping. You can even choose other cruise packages, for example Lan Ha Bay cruises. Because most tourists arrive in Hanoi a few days before boarding a cruise ship, it will be easier and safer to travel on the booked cruise. Some companies load ships weeks in advance for certain dates, especially in the peak season, October to January.

Today you can find a lot of business information on the internet, which helps you make the best decisions. In addition, by booking in advance there is no risk of vacancy if you want to take a tour with certain companies. There are several cruise sites that sell to Halong Bay, some are reliable and some are not.

The downside is that it comes out more expensive than booking in Hanoi. Through the internet you can find offers for early bookings, but overall, prices are between 10 and 25% more expensive than in Hanoi.

Book a cruise in Hanoi

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is the starting point for Halong Bay tours, so visitors to this amazing bay will of course pass through Hanoi. Apart from being the capital of the country, the city has several tourist attractions, so the city has several tourism agents, especially in tourist areas.

It should be noted that there is no point in closing cruise ships at the airport. As soon as you land at Hanoi Airport, you will see several travel agents, some of them imitating official travel information. These agents aim to sell the tour and the price is much higher than the tourism agency Hanoi.

Even if you arrive in Hanoi the day before the date you want to tour Halong Bay, you can choose from the city; however, only companies that still have vacancies. Therefore, for those who arrive a few days in advance, it is safer to order online in advance, especially if you are traveling in the high season, October to January.

The advantage of the agent is that many people who work there can talk about some of the features of the cruise stop and some better places to stay overnight. However, they do not know all the ships they sell. They speak to measure from photographs, which do not always reflect the reality of the current boat.

Also, they continue to try to sell several cruise ships, which are not always more expensive, but their commissions are higher. I who went through several tour agencies in Hanoi before closing, saw it well.

Question for students (and subscribers): Have you ever been on a cruise?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Beautiful World Escapes.  A Complete Guide to Ha Long Bay.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by Taewangkorea of Titov Island of Ha Long Bay in July 2019, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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About Author

Abdul Alhazred

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland