I rarely do a cruise review but at the end of the day a cruise is arguably a hotel on water.
After our pick up from Hanoi, we travel with a group of people for almost 5 hours to the pier where our junk boat is waiting. And it is ‘junk’ indeed. Probably a 3-Star product unlike the name ‘Premium’ it has written on it. It is very old and in dire need of refurbishment.
Upon boarding our 1 night/2day cruise, we are assigned our cabins; ours is a small basic air conditioned cabin with bed and separate bathroom with shower.
Lunch is served shortly after and like all meals on board (dinner, breakfast, and another lunch) nothing special. Meat (especially beef) is hard, and overall all dishes are very bland. Which is a shame as Vietnamese food is generally very tasty.
There is a bit of a hard sell straight from the beginning – massages, drinks etc. to be expected I guess but the funny thing is at the final lunch in the second day starting at 10.45am (!!!) a tip box is placed on the table for passengers to add to.
There are a few activities planned such as trips to a beach, a lookout point, caves, and a small wine party in the evening as well as morning Tai Chi. The staff are friendly enough but smoke a bit too much on the deck which kind of ruins the ambiance of the tranquil setting that is Halong Bay.
With so many cruise and junk boat choices in Halong Bay, in hindsight I probably would have done a bit more research and booked myself on a better cruise product for the price I paid.