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15 of the Absolute Best Halong Bay Cruise Recommendations in 2018!

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Best Halong Bay Cruise Recommendation

Are you looking for the best Halong Bay cruise for your next holiday in Vietnam?

Join in with thousands of happy travelers on a trip of a lifetime to Halong Bay on the best Halong Bay tour in Vietnam! The best way to see Halong Bay is on an overnight cruise.

In order to make your planning that much easier, we have compiled a list of top 13 best Halong Bay cruises because I know that you probably have the following questions!

Which is the best Halong Bay cruise? 

Which are the top cruise lines in Halong Bay?

There are so many Halong Bay tours to choose from, that it can be daunting to figure out which Vietnam Halong Bay cruise will be the perfect fit for you.

Let me take you through the list of our top 13 of best Halong Bay cruise recommendation options, but before I do, for those in a hurry, here is our personal favorite cruise.

>>> Click Here to See the Best Selling Halong Bay Cruise 

Best Cruises in Halong Bay Guide & Top Halong Bay Cruise Reviews

In this Ha Long Bay cruise buying guide, we suggest you check out our comparison chart of Halong Bay's best cruises and then read our Halong Bay's best cruise review that best suit your requirements.  

Top 10 Halong Bay Cruise Comparison Chart

Below is a helpful list of the top 10 Halong Bay cruises, which are mentioned in this article.  You can then read my reviews below featuring Halong Bay's best cruise in 2018.

Please scroll right to see full table on mobile.

Cruise

Check Price

Length

Star Rating

Price Range

Pelican Halong Bay Cruise

1 Night

or

2 Night Option

5 Stars

From $210+ p/n 

1 Night

or

2 Night Option

5 Stars

From $275+ p/n

1 Night

or

2 Night Option

5 Stars

From $245+ p/n

Signature Royal Cruise

1 Night

or

2 Night Option

5 Stars

From $615 p/n

1 Night

or

2 Night Option

4 Stars

From $200+ p/n

1 Night

or

2 Night Option

4.5 Stars

From $180+ p/n

Alisa Cruise Halong Bay

1 Night

or

2 Night Option

5 Stars

From $500+ p/n

1 Night

or

2 Night Option

5 Stars

From $250+ p/n

1 Night

or

2 Night Option

5 Stars

From $320+ p/n

1 Night

or

2 Night

Option

3.5 Stars

From $150+

p/n

Tips to Help you Choose the Best Cruise for Halong Bay

Let's face it!  There are SO MANY Halong cruises to choose from that it can get totally overwhelming. To help you, I'm going to outline all the criteria that I was looking for when I chose my first Halong Bay Cruise and then I will share some recommended Halong Bay tours with you.

1. How Long Should the Cruise be?

Halong Bay Day Trip: If you are short on time, you might only be able to enjoy a day cruise on Halong Bay. Be prepared for a hectic day if you are planning to travel from Hanoi (around 3.5 hour journey one-way). You can find transfer info here.

Halong Bay Overnight Cruises: You can choose from either a 1 night or 2 night cruise. The Halong Bay 2 night cruise option is the most popular as it allows you time to enjoy some activities, travel deeper into the quieter areas of the bay, as well as enjoy some down-time.

2. Traditional Halong Bay Junk Boat or Newer Boat?

Next question is whether you prefer to enjoy the older traditional junk boats or if you love newer and more lux boats. The Junk Boats are gorgeous, but you need to be prepared for older style boats and smaller rooms.  Our favorite Halong Bay Junk Boat Overnight Cruise is the Indochina Sails Cruise.

If you prefer newer boats with more luxurious spacious rooms that offer terraces and balconies, you might prefer researching a company such as Signature Royal Cruises.

3. Size of Boat and Number of Rooms on Board

Your next consideration is to look at the number of rooms on board.  If you are young and love to party, you will most likely enjoy the larger boats with more people.  But for most of us after relaxation, it would be wise to book a room on a smaller boat. Our second best selling cruise, the Aphrodite Cruise is a nice sized boat with only 17 cabins.

For a much more intimate cruise experience, L Azalee has a 4 person boat available.

4. Included Activities

Look out for 'cheaper' boats that might come across as a bargain, but then charge an arm-and-leg for any activities.  We prefer cruises that offer free water activities such as kayaking. 

5. Itineraries

Most itineraries of the cruise companies are pretty much the same.  You will typically visit a Pearl Farm, a Fishing Village, a Cave, as well as get the opportunity to climb to the top of TiTov Island and enjoy a bit of swim (typical 2-night itinerary).  The difference in the itinerary is when a cruise company makes the effort to avoid the crowds from the other companies.

Indochina Sails might be an older style boat and rooms might be small, but we always arrived at our sights before and after the crowds.  We were the only group exploring the Cave, we were the only ones in sight kayaking and we enjoyed TiTov island with only a small group of other travellers.  I really appreciated the fact that they went out of their way to give us a more relaxed and peaceful experience.

6. Destinations Included

Everyone knows about Halong Bay, and it is no surprise that over the years this beautiful heritage site has become pretty polluted and littered with trash. Many travellers leave disappointed after experiencing dirty water and masses of crowds.

Look for a cruise that ventures into both Halong Bay as well as Bai Tu Long Bay.  There are only a few cruise companies that head towards Bai Tu Long Bay, which means that this part of the Heritage Site is still pristine and much less crowded. I know that both Indochina Sails as well as Bhaya Cruises include both Bays in their itineraries, but you better book way ahead of time as they sell out very quickly!

7.  Which Cruise Company do we Personally Prefer?

I'll be honest with you, our best selling cruises by our readers are both the Pelican Cruises and the Aphrodite Cruises. They are both great cruises, but we personally love Indochina Sails.  The trick is to find availability on the Indochina Sails Cruise as they are typically booked out way ahead of time.

Watch our video of our time on our Indochina Sails Cruise.


Reviews of the 15 Best Overnight Halong Bay Cruises 

In order to make your Halong Bay cruise planning a little easier, I’m going to give you all the information I’ve collected on the top Halong Bay cruises.  Please find below both the positives and the negatives of these popular Ha Long Bay cruises.

* BEST SELLER *

From $210+ p/n 

This Pelican Halong Bay Cruise is by far our best selling cruise.  The combination of a 5 star luxury boat, together with the affordable price tag makes this cruise hard to resist!

The boat is an older style boat (which is why the price is so fabulous!), but the rooms are lovely, the food is yummy and the itinerary is full of included excursions and activities.

The boat is also brilliant for families, as it is one of the few boats that caters for families with their gorgeous 2 bedroom deluxe room. Many travelers argue that Pelican Cruises is the best cruise on Halong Bay!

Length: 1 or 2 Night Cruises Available

Transfer from Hanoi Included: No

Activities Included:

  • Sunrise Tai Chi Class
  • Cooking Class
  • Local rowing boat
  • Kayaking

Rooms Available: They have standard deluxe rooms, some truly beautiful suites, as well as a stunning 2 bedroom family deluxe room.

Star Rating: 5

Click the link to > Check rates and availability


From $275+ p/n 

Aphrodite Cruise Halong Bay is our second most popular cruise. This cruise also sells like hotcakes! It is more expensive than the Pelican Cruise, but you can often find this cruise marked down to much more affordable prices.

Aphrodite Cruises provides you with a 5 star experience and all the bells and whistles that you would expect from a luxury junk boat. It has an exceptional review rating from past travellers.

This cruise is one of the best Ha Long Bay cruise options if you are after a relaxed and laid-back itinerary (but probably not the best pick if you prefer to stay active with loads of activities due to the extra charges)!

Length: 1 or 2 Night Options

Transfer from Hanoi Included: No

Activities Included:

  • Sampan boat trip
  • Tai Chi session
  • Kayaking (at extra cost)

Rooms Available: Standard rooms, luxury rooms with balconies. triple rooms for small families and a family suite for families of 4. 

Star Rating: 5

Click the link to > Check rates and availability


From $245+ p/n 

Bhaya Cruise Halong Bay offers 2-day Halong Bay tours for travellers who wish to experience the natural wonder of this World Heritage site. What we love about this company is that it ventures out into both Halong Bay as well as Bai Tu Long Bay (less touristy but equally beautiful - and much cleaner).

You can read more about why we recommend you choose a cruise that includes Bai Tu Long Bay here.

Not only is this cruise cheaper than Aphrodite Cruises, but the activities are all included with your room fee.

Bhaya Cruise Vietnam offers a variety of Halong Bhaya cruise options. These include Bhaya Classic Cruise Halong Bay, Bhaya Premium Cruise (Bhaya Classic Premium) as well as a private Bhaya Legend Cruise. 

Length: 1 or 2 Nights

Transfer from Hanoi Included: No

Activities Included:

  • Morning Tai Chi
  • MasterChef Competition
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Visit to a Fishing Village by Rowing Boat

Rooms Available: Standard deluxe rooms, rooms with balconies or terrace suite.  Rooms can accommodate 2 pax max.

Star Rating: 5 Stars

Click the link to > Check rates and availability


From $615+ p/n 

The Signature Royal Cruise is the perfect cruise for those of you after something extra special.  It might just be the most luxurious Halong Bay cruise in 2018! True 5 star quality with rooms that offer a touch of royalty, together with ample space. These suites are to die for!!

This Halong luxury cruise is absolutely brilliant for honeymooners or couples celebrating a special occasion.  It is also the best Halong Bay cruise for family travellers due to their spacious family rooms together with their baby sitting services!

The only negative?  Not only are these beautiful rooms pretty highly priced, but you will also need to pay extra if you wish to enjoy water activities such as kayaking.

Length: 1 or 2 Nights

Transfer from Hanoi Included: No

Activities Included:

  • Kayaking, Swimming and Snorkeling Equipment (at extra cost)
  • Cooking Demonstration (bad weather only)
  • Tai Chi Session
  • Entertainment Activities and Happy Hour
  • Movie Nights, Board Games and Squid Fishing

Rooms Available: Executive rooms, beautiful suites, family connecting rooms or a family suite, rooms with terraces & jacuzzi suite.

Star Rating: 5 Stars

Click the link to > Check rates and availability


From $200+ p/n 

If you are after a really affordable option to explore Halong Bay, then the Royal Palace Cruise is for you!  This boat is an older style boat and some aspects of it might be in need for a bit of a refurbishment. But we often find that traditional architecture often adds to the atmosphere of a cultural experience.

The boat is great for those after an affordable option. It also has a large room that can fit families of 4.

We only wish that there were a few more activities and excursions included with this cruise.

Length: 1 or 2 Nights

Transfer from Hanoi Included: No

Activities Included:

  • Kayaking
  • Karoake
  • Swimming

Rooms Available: Deluxe rooms, suites, family rooms

Star Rating: 4 Stars

Click the link to > Check rates and availability


From $180+ p/n 

Halong Silversea Cruises are a great super affordable option for your cruises on Halong Bay. Not only are the rooms really affordable but your activities are free and included with your room price.  

You will love the spacious rooms, the delicious food and the sunset drinks. The boat is great for couples as well as families.

Length: 1 or 2 Nights

Transfer from Hanoi Included: No

Activities Included:

  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • A cooking class
  • A sunset party
  • Leisure time (karaoke, dancing, card games)
  • Squid fishing

Rooms Available: Deluxe rooms, premium rooms, suites & family rooms

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

Click the link to > Check rates and availability


From $500+ p/n 

The Alisa Halong Bay Cruise Boat is a really popular cruise.  The boat is newer than the traditional junk boats, so the rooms are lux and spacious.  The price is a bit steep, but if you are after rooms with their own balcony and really large windows, then this is the cruise for you.

The cruise includes a lot of activities and sightseeing destinations.  Be prepared though for crowds as the boat tends to arrive with all the other masses of tourists.

The boat is great for couples as well as for families.

Length: 1 or 2 Nights

Transfer from Hanoi Included: No

Activities Included:

  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • A cooking class
  • Te Top Island Visit
  • Visit to a Pearl Farm
  • Visit to Suprise Cave

Rooms Available: Suites, Suites with Balconies, Family Suites & Family Connecting Rooms

Star Rating: 5 Stars

Click the link to > Check rates and availability


From $250+ p/n 

From the classic wooden interiors down to the touch of modern conveniences, the Paradise Cruise Halong Bay collection is already a destination in itself waiting to be discovered. A premium experience that’s incomparable to any other.

With a fleet of 7 vessels, Paradise luxury cruise Halong Bay offers 3 different cruises to explore Halong Bay. These include Paradise Luxury Halong Bay Cruise, Paradise Halong Bay Elegance Cruise and Peak Paradise Halong Bay Cruise.  Whilst they are all fabulous cruises Paradise Luxury cruise is the one most loved by our readers here at Wanderlust storytellers.

Length: 2 Days - 3 Days

Transfer from Hanoi Included: No

Activities Included:

  • Morning Tai Chi
  • Kayaking (at extra cost)
  • Swimming

Rooms Available: Depending on the Ship, whether you choose to go on a Paradise Luxury Cruise, Paradise Elegance Cruise or Paradise Peak Cruise, the accommodation slightly varies. Majority of the rooms can accommodate 2 adults and 1 child on additional bed, when requested. If you are travelling with a large family, you can book two rooms next to each other.

Star Rating: 5

Click the link to > Check rates and availability


9. Indochina Sails Halong Bay Review

-EDITOR’S CHOICE!  This is my pick for the best cruise in Halong Bay! -

From $320+ p/n 

Indochina Sails Cruise to Bai Tu Long Bay takes you to a less visited and very beautiful part of Halong Bay. The fleet of ships includes Dragon Legend Cruise, Red Dragon Junk, Dragon's Pearl Junk, Princess Junk as well as Prince Junk.

Indochina Junk Cruise is our top pick and the best way to see Halong Bay. This is the cruise that we have experienced first hand and we absolutely loved every minute of it! You can read more about our Halong Bay trip with Indochina Sails here!

If you are after the best Halong Bay overnight cruise, best luxury cruise Halong Bay has to offer or even the best one day Halong Bay tour, then Indochina junk cruise has got you covered!

Length: 2 Day - 3 Day

Transfer from Hanoi Included: Yes

Activities Included:

  • Visit to Pearl Farm
  • Visit to a Cave
  • Visit to a Fishing Village
  • Visit to Ti Top Island
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Squid Fishing

Rooms Available: Indochina Halong Bay ships are predominantly designed for couples. However some of the ships accommodate 2 adults and one child in one room. Alternativel, it is best to book two rooms next to each other, for when travelling with large families.

When we were on our Indochina Cruise Halong Bay, we were on a parent only getaway and we chose to stay with Indochina Sails. Our room was very much luxurious and included all the bells and whistles! Loved it! This was the best Halong Bay Cruise ever!

Star Rating: 5

Click the link to check Indochina Junk prices > Check rates and availability


From $150+ p/n 

The Rosa Cruise Halong Bay proudly offers the new premier cruise experiences in Halong Bay which combines the most modern and greatest comfort. Wishing to provide customers the best culinary and premium cruise experiences.

Rosa Cruise are proud to bring visitors the most exciting experiences in Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay with many unique destination attractions such as: Pearl Farm Village, Amazing Cave, Dark Cave and Bright Cave.

Length: 1 or 2 Nights

Transfer from Hanoi Included: No

Activities Included:

  • Shopping
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • On Board Activities

Rooms Available: Perfect for couples and romantic getaways. If you are travelling as a family you can choose to book two rooms with connecting doors.

Star Rating: 3.5

Click the link to > Check rates and availability


11. Oasis Cruise Halong Bay Review

The Oasis Cruise Halong Bay offers you a selection of One Day Tour or Two Day Tour options. This is a great cruise to discover Halong Bay, one of the World Heritage sites.

Oasis Halong Bay Tour also offers a wonderful day cruise. If your time is limited, then the Oasis Bay Cruise Halong Bay is the best choice for you. That way you can venture out a get a feel for the famous bay, relax with a cocktail or two and spend a great couple of hours with your significant other.

This cruise is also known for its Oasis party cruise Halong Bay and the Oasis Bay Classic Cruise Halong Bay.

Length: 1 or 2 Nights

Transfer from Hanoi Included: No

Activities Included:

  • Cooking Demonstration
  • Kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Spa

Rooms Available: Varies

Star Rating: 4

Click the link to > Check rates and availability


12. Indochina Junk Dragon Legend Cruise Review 

Venture out on a Dragon Legend Cruise Halong Bay into the beauty of Bai Tu Long Bay. Thi is the less crowded of areas of Halong Bay. Here you can check out the stunning World Natural Heritage site and experience relaxation like never before.

Dragon Legend Halong Bay is regarded as one of the best Halong Bay luxury cruise options. This is an experience of the highest standard and comes with tones of satisfied and happy Halong Bay cruise reviews. Dragon cruise Halong Bay is one of the best value Halong Bay cruise and best Halong Bay cruise for couples.

Length: 1 or 2 Nights

Transfer from Hanoi Included: No

Activities Included:

  • Night Tour
  • Fishing
  • Cave Exploring
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Fishing

Rooms Available: Dragon Cruise Halong Bay accommodation includes 24 luxurious and very spacious cabins. Only two of the cabins have connecting rooms for families with kids. We would strongly advise to make sure and reserve those rooms well in advance.

Star Rating: 5

Click the link to check out Dragon Legend price > Check rates and availability


13. V Spirit Cruise Halong Bay Review

A day cruise with V Spirit Cruise Halong Bay is the best choice for you to experience the magnificent Halong Bay with our ‘all-in-one’ itinerary for those with a limited time schedule.

You will not only explore one of the most beautiful caves in Halong Bay, but will also have the chance to go kayaking or bamboo boat rowing, as well as visiting and interacting with people at a local fishing village. Holiday with V Spirit Halong Bay is a great option for travelling with a family.

Length: 1 or 2 Nights

Transfer from Hanoi Included: No

Activities Included: The V Spirit Classic Cruise Halong Bay has plenty activities on offer for all young and mature kids.

  • Tour
  • Kayaking
  • Meal

Rooms Available: V Spirit Cruise ships are perfect for all travelers, singles, couples and families.

Star Rating: 5

Click the link to > Check rates and availability


14. L Azalee Cruise Halong Bay Review

L Azalee Cruise Halong Bay is a smaller and a more boutique Halong Bay cruise company. You can choose from 3 different types of cruises, including L Azalee Classic Cruise (day tour boat, no private rooms), L Azalee Deluxe Cruise (larger couples rooms available) and the L Azalee Premium Cruise (a more private 4-person boat for a more luxurious experience).

Length: 1 - 3 Nights

Transfer from Hanoi Included: Yes

Activities Included:

  • Kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Spa

Rooms Available: L’Azalee Deluxe Cruise has rooms suitable for couples. If you are travelling as a family or a group, you can book two or more rooms next to each other.

Star Rating: 5

Click the link to > Check rates and availability


15. The Au Co Cruise Halong Bay Review

The Au Co Cruise Halong Bay is the first and only luxury cruise operator offering unique day cruises and overnight voyages through world-renowned Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island and the Gulf of Tonkin.

The Au Co Halong Bay ship features the very latest safety standards and represents Vietnamese and Oriental culture at its best. Each of her 32 spaciously-designed private cabins boasts luxurious bathrooms and panoramic balconies.

Length: The Au Co Day Cruises or Overnight

Transfer from Hanoi Included: No

Activities Included:

  • Tour
  • On Board Activities
  • Meal

Rooms Available: One of 32 private cabins with balconies and luxurious bathrooms. Best for couples. Alternatively book two rooms to accommodate larger families.

Star Rating: 5

Click the link to > Check rates and availability


The Best Halong Bay Day Tour 

Short on time and trying to find the best day cruise on Halong Bay? Find below the best company to make the most out of your short time at Halong Bay.

Alova Cruises Halong Bay Review

If you are looking for a perfect one day cruise on the Halong Bay, then Alova Cruise Halong Bay are your specialists in the area. These guys are here to indulge you with all the yummy drinks, whilst you enjoy the unforgettable cruising around the beautiful Heritage Site.

This cruise is ranking on many review websites as the best way to visit Halong Bay and the best Halong Bay 1 day tour.

Length: 1 Day (Best Halong Bay Day Tour and one of the Best Halong Bay Tours for Backpackers!)

Transfer from Hanoi Included: No

Activities included:

  • Shopping
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • On Board Activities

Rooms Available: Halong Alova Cruise is a day tour and there are no rooms available.

Star Rating: 5

Click the link to > Check rates and availability


FAQ about Halong Bay Cruises

What are the best prices for Halong Bay cruise?

Prices for Halong Bay cruises vary greatly, and although you can get some for very cheap, more often than not you’ll get what you pay for. This is why you will want to make sure that you take a cruise that has a great reputation, and has been proven to be safe while also providing an enjoyable experience for the whole family.

What to know before going for a Halong Bay cruise?

Best way to prepare yourself for the trip to Halong Bay is to check out what available Halong Bay cruises there are, how to get there and when is the best time to go. In this post you will find all the necessary information and more!

How to choose the best cruise in Halong Bay?

Since most of the Halong Bay cruises have the same kind of events and activities, you will want to choose the cruise that is right for you and your family on other criteria besides the events. The best way to find the most suitable cruise for you is to look into the Star Rating, Price Point and Size of the Rooms. In our reviews, you will find all the necessary information. To check out the prices and the cruises in more detail, please click the links in the Halong Bay Cruise the you like the most.

What is the best time to go to Halong Bay?

The best time to go to Halong Bay is in Spring ( February to April) and in autumn ( August to October). We ventured out to Vietnam and the amazing Halong Bay in September and the weather was sunny and beautiful. The temperatures are pleasant and there is not much rain. However, if you would like to ensure that you visit Halong Bay in the lowest rain season, then you should book your adventure between March and April.

Which airport is closest to Halong Bay?

The closest airport to Halong Bay is the Hai Phong Airport.

What is the best way to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi?

One of the best ways of how to get to Halong Bay is by bus. You can take a Mini Bus from Gia Lam (Hanoi) to Bai Chay (Ha Long) which will coast about $6USD and it will take around 4-5hours.

Is it safe to go to Vietnam?

Vietnam is a very safe country to travel in. Although, it is an extremely safe country for holiday makers, you can expect some degree of hustling by shop or street vendors. This is a usual way of sales in the area and it is especially noticeable in the large cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh and Nha Trang.  We have travelled throughout the country with ease and we have never felt in danger or otherwise uncomfortable.

Wondering which Halong Bay cruise to choose for your Vietnam holiday? The decision can be slightly overwhelming, so we wanted to help you choose the right cruise for you! Visit our guide to make it easy peasy!  #vietnam #cruise #asia

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Saurabh
    December 25, 2017 at 5:35 am

    Hi. Nice article. Just one correction. The closest airport to Halong Bay is Hai Phong.

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