If you are planning a Vietnam vacation, you may be wondering about booking Halong Bay cruises. This type of excursion is the best way to visit the bay. However, when it comes to the prices, they can vary really fast. This article will help you to choose the cruise that suits you the best for your upcoming Halong Bay trip.
How to choose your Halong Bay cruise?
In order to know which cruise to choose, you need to know your values. What do you favor? Price? Comfort? Customer service? Those criteria will naturally push you to one cruise or another. So, first here is the list of criteria you need to order:
- cruise route
Halong Bay cruises prices
The price of a cruise in Halong Bay can vary from $13 for a day cruise up to more than $1,000 for 3-day/2-night cruises. There are also 2-day overnight cruises from Hanoi. Of course, all those options have different prices. And you should pick your cruise according to your budget.
Day cruises and overnight cruises
The simplest and cheapest option is to choose a day cruise. You will enjoy the bay from the sea for a full day starting in the morning and ending in the evening. The meal is usually included and the tourers will take you to some of the best places.
If this is too short for you, you can choose to do an overnight cruise. It will cost a little more ($25 for an overnight cruise). But you will be able to enjoy the bay from the sea at night time. This is another type of experience. It is a great option if you are not staying for a long time in the area. It is also great to have a boat hotel: you literally sleep on the water, which is unique.
Another cheap option is to rent a kayak in Halong Bay. The kayak tours are available again! Kayaking in Halong Bay was banned for several years, but the ban has been lifted back in 2017. So, if you enjoy sport, you can replace your Halong Bay cruise with kayaking.
Finally, you can choose to travel on more authentic boats, such as junk boats. This will cost you a little more but you can find relatively cheap alternatives.
If your price range is larger, you can aim for better comfort. This is definitely what you will get on luxury cruises in Halong Bay. There are tons of all-inclusive resorts and accommodations in the area. There are also family cruises and even private cruises, on yachts in Halong Bay. As you can see, there are solutions for everyone. You can even charter a yacht for a day or couple of days.
The luxury cruise prices range from $100 to $1,500. In 2020, a list of the best cruises was created: 10 cruises were chosen among all of the possibilities and the result is the following.
The 10 best luxury cruises
The 10 best luxury cruises in Halong Bay in 2020 are:
- Orchid Cruise
- Stellar of the Seas Cruise
- President Cruise
- Heritage Cruise Binh Chuan
- Paradise Elegance Cruise
- Peony Cruise
- ERA Cruises
- Signature Cruise
- Paradise Sails
- Dragon Legend Cruise
Let’s take an example to show you the price range. A 2 days room for 2 adults on Signature Cruise costs $350. For a family cruise on Signature Cruise with 2 children, the price is $612. On the first day, you will get from Hanoi to Bai Tu Long Bay. On the second day, you will get from Bai Tu Long Bay back to Hanoi. The comfort is the one you can expect on a large cruise.
What Halong Bay cruise is the best?
To help you choose a cruise, I made a table to compare the different prices for a 2-day cruise for 2 adults.
|Cruise Company||Starting Price ($)|
|Stellar of the Seas Cruise||$460|
|Heritage Cruise Binh Chuan||$260|
|Paradise Elegance Cruise||$390|
|Dragon Legend Cruise||$410|
If you want to know exactly what an overnight Halong Bay cruise with Signature Cruise looks like, I recommend that you check the following video from Kara and Nate.
Plan your Cruise
The organizers will probably provide you all the details needed to plan your cruise. However, if this is not the case, I recommend that you check the video from Kara and Nate. This will show you how it works for almost every cruise.
Basically, you will most likely take a van or a bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay, then climb on a shuttle boat to the cruise ship. This means that you cannot do a day trip from Hanoi. Indeed, the bus ride takes around 4 hours, so you cannot do a round trip in a day.
This also means that you should land in Hanoi. And if you are wondering where to land exactly, I recommend that you read the article I wrote about what is the best airport for Halong Bay.
However, excursions from Hanoi are very famous and is definitely a great shot. The cruise organizers will take you to the best places in the bay, such as floating fishing villages, quiet beaches, and even castaways island.
There are not lots of cruises that include Castaways Islands in the tour, but it is a great place to visit if you are in the area.
Where do Halong Bay cruises depart from?
Now that you booked your cruise, you may be wondering where it departs from. Well, once again, the organizers will provide you all the information needed. But if you miss a piece of information, you can still call them. Where do Halong Bay cruises depart from?
Most Halong Bay cruises depart from Hanoi. Tourists will take a van or a bus to Halong Bay and then a shuttle to climb on the cruise ship.
Are Halong Bay cruises worth it?
Halong Bay cruises are really safe and worth the price. Tourists pay for an all-included service which rarely disappoints. For the price, you have the food, the room, the views, the activities, and the transportation included. This is why the prices can get high quickly.
Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, just like Yosemite Valley, Uluru, Grand Canyon, Iguazu Falls. UNESCO World Heritage Sites are protected by laws to keep tourism responsible. This helps Halong Bay to remain a quiet place where there are tons of things to do, such as yoga retreats, scuba diving, squid fishing.