If there is a beauty contest amongst the best destinations in Vietnam, Halong Bay must surely be at least on the top 3. And for those who have visited this heritage site, it comes as no surprise. Being listed twice as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994 and 2000, this is home to over 1,600 islands and islets covered with greeneries and limestone pinnacles. The bay is gracefully sitting upon emerald water which completed a perfect background for this paradise on earth. The question is no longer “is it worth a visit?” but rather “how to do it right?” With its recently thriving reputation, it can be so overwhelming for travelers to choose a proper cruise. Especially with so many variables to consider: cruise length, amenities, food, itineraries and of course the safety. After the 3 bays article, you probably know which bay is your soulmate. Now we would love to suggest the 3 cruises for each route which were carefully handpicked by our experts.
Violet Cruise – Halong Bay
Departure port: Tuan Chau Island, Halong City
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” will do this cruise justice. Out of the 3, Violet Cruise represents the traditional Vietnamese beauty at its best. Being named after a delicate flower that thrives on the rocky slopes of Halong Bay, this wood-clad vessel truly shines in her modest and exquisite beauty. The fact that it features only 6 cabins guarantees more privacy for your luxurious vacation.
Each cabin perfectly exudes the French-Indochina touch by wooden floors, lavish silks and velvet. The giant windows won’t let you miss a single glimpse of this gorgeous bay. The bathroom is Italian marble tiled with a walk-in shower and a Jacuzzi.
The life on board
The on-board eatery completed its French colonial ambiance. And it’s worth every moment here to cherish the fine-dining cuisine in a charming setting over red wine. Their seafood claimed the wonderful reputation for itself. Give it a go and see for yourself. The subtle bar corner makes it an ideal spot for a nice drink while admiring artworks. The rooftop sundeck can’t be missed to relish one of the most surreal seascapes on earth whether you’re doing Taichi in an early morning or having a romantic dinner under the stars.
Don’t judge Violet cruise by its humble look, you can find all the amenities you would expect in a larger vessel, including a gym and sauna, a spa with high-class facilities and services. Other than that, the lounge and the library might take some of your on-board time off to learn more about Vietnam.
The trail and itineraries
Set sail on the main part of the Halong Bay complex, this cruise will fill your off-board time with adventures out in this wonderful bay. Needless to mention about the uniqueness of this area landscape, you’ll be spending plenty of time here for kayaking, swimming, cave exploring and sightseeing…
For culture lovers, take this opportunity to get a closer look at Vietnamese people as the staff earned their good reputation for their outstanding hospitality. Due to the small scale, it doesn’t take long for you to realize that they’re not the staff on a foreign cruise but your friends.
Emperor Cruises – Bai Tu Long Bay
Departure port: Hon Gai Pier, Halong City
Being inspired by Bao Dai- the last King of Vietnam, the Emperor Cruises carries a mission to recreate the royal glamour for guests who fall in love with this unique world heritage site. And it is not an overstatement. This all-inclusive luxury vessel is designed for embodying all Vietnam’s heritages in term of culture, history and gourmet cuisine.
Don’t be too overwhelmed by its alluring appearance and bypass the interior design. The ship is tastefully decorated with handcrafted objects d’art made from gold, silver, bronze and jade. The warm colors were chosen as the themed tone to radiate the Royalty yet homey aura.
Emperor Cruises boasts 8 suites which all are spacious and bright with private balconies. The heritage theme is strongly reflected here by the original designs dating from the 1930s. You’ll find leather headboards, plush sofas, stylish bed cushions, throw pillows, lavish carpeting and of course plenty works of art. The good news is that you can enjoy stunning views of the splendor Bay from absolutely everywhere in the room due to the panorama windows.
The life on board
Privilege is what you can expect to receive when becoming their guests. Fancy a royal meal? They have a range of finest restaurants and bars which all crafted a royal feast for even the most discerning of palettes. A selection of distinctive wines, spirits chosen by the acclaimed sommeliers will accompany as free of charge. For some people, paying the bill for extra services at the end of a wonderful journey might be burdensome. Well, here they ease that worry off your mind. One of many privileges is the dining-by-design which makes any options possible. Whether it’s barbecue on the beach or romantic dinner at secluded caves, it is possible here.
Other facilities completed its title as a floating resort including a spa, a fitness center and a kid club. The butler service is around the clock as another nice touch of their ultra-personalized service. For all aesthetes, you’re in a good hands. A big part of your on-board stay might be spending to admire the artworks on the wall as they made it a floating exhibit of one of the greatest Vietnamese painters- Pham Luc. Taichi in the morning, cooking demonstration during the day, wine tastings and live music or outside cinema in the evening are optional in addition to your private time.
The trail and itineraries
Your outside time will be exploring local wildlife in Bai Tu Long Bay including snorkeling, bamboo boating, kayaking, visiting fishing villages…
At the very first steps of your voyage, they make everything is all about your feeling. Living up to the inspiration of this cruise, don’t be so surprised for the staff will treat you like Royalty.
Ginger Cruises – Lan Ha Bay
Departure port: Got Pier, Hai Phong city
Like its namesake, Ginger Cruises’s uniqueness is expressed with Asian culinary theme as well as a revitalizing lifestyle atmosphere. It’s easy to be charmed by the gracious beauty however be prepared for what this has to offer on board.
Ginger Cruises’s elegance spreads through its 12 suites, all designed to create the sense of nature by optimizing daylight and open spaces. Each cabin will immerse you in a warm earthy ambience of timber floors with antique gold flower theme and marble bathrooms featuring both a walk-in shower and an exquisite bathtub. The long-lasting traditions of Northern Vietnam interlace with contemporary accents well displayed in dark wooden furniture and luxurious fabrics.
The life on board
The 360-degree light-flooded restaurant easily won our heart. It features a live cooking zone surrounded by glass and a decorative ceiling at the epicenter. This extremely adds more excitement to the culinary experience whether it’s dining or cooking demonstrations. Foodies will find Ginger cruises like coming to the right place as here they take cuisine to hearts. The stylishly illuminated backdrop of the adjacent bar is a place to hang around all day and the bay is always on your sight. It’d be a miss to not mention the deck which is lovely designed with a blue mosaic tiled pool as one of the nice brush to the amazing sunset bay picture. Other high-end facilities are worth checking out include a modern spa including a steam bath and a library full of antiques and artifacts displayed. After the “me” time, if you feel like making some friends on board, come join a range of activities such as Taichi, cooking workshop, squid fishing…
The trail and itineraries
This elegant boat will take you to cruise down the serene Lan Ha Bay. Your off-board time will be exploring the unspoiled bay by sightseeing, kayaking, swimming, cycling on Cat Ba island (or hop on an electric car) to explore the hidden Viet Hai village…
There is no doubt that the staff is one crucial piece to complete the whole perfect cruising experience. And Ginger’s crew is surely the best anyone could ask for during the ocean time besides the marine creatures, of course.
Although they choose 3 different routes to sail, their itineraries all offer a sense of place which showcase the beauty of destinations and fun activities at the same time. The length can be customized to your preference from day trip to 3 days 2 nights, however who wouldn’t want to spend as long as possible in this world heritage site? It’s really just the matter of your preferred bay. If you’re still indecisive, our experts are always more than happy to discuss further, maybe do some more researches for you.