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We spent a long time trying to decide which of the 100’s of Halong Bay cruise providers to choose. We eventually decided on Viola Cruise for our 2 day 1 night trip as it was a new boat and small enough to feel cosy rather than too many people.
We chose well! From the minute we were picked up everything ran smoothly. As soon as we were on our boat, we knew we had picked the right one. All of the staff were great, but a huge shout out should go to Hoi, ‘Lucky’. He made the experience for us, from giving us great insight into the Vietnamese people, to being a great fun character with good sense of humour, he made everyone feel at ease straight away.
After arriving on board we had lunch – trust me you will never go hungry on this boat! We then explored the surprise cave and went to a secluded beach to climb up to the viewpoint for incredible views over the bay as the sun set. Back to the boat for dinner and free time to chat with your new friends. Sitting up on deck before bed was a real highlight. In the morning you can go kayaking before having a lesson in spring roll making followed by another huge lunch!
You won’t go wrong booking Viola – everything is done to make your stay the best.
Top tip – make sure you get a room with a balcony. Its not much more and sitting out on there first thing in the morning gave us a memory that will stay for a long time!
The Viola Cruise was excellent! We enjoyed it immensely. We went for three days and two nights. There were not many people on our cruise since we went during the low season, but I think in the end that made it more intimate and relaxing. Our guide, Le, took very good care of our family and the other members of our tour. The ride out was relaxing and he was with us the whole time. Le was very attentive and took care of us whenever we needed anything. He stuck to the timetable well. And I mean that in a very good way. He had wonderful activities and he guided us through them in a wonderful fatherly way. I especially enjoyed kayaking through a cave. I had never had that chance before. My five year old loved it! Ha Long Bay has such calm waters; it’s even great for beginners. And the food! It was wonderful! We ate so well for our three days. My opinion on the length of travel: Do not take the one night trip. Do the trip for the two nights. The second day activities are great. I would only recommend packing a bit for the second day since they take you to another boat for the day’s activities. It was no matter. The cook on that boat was just as good (but more of a home-cooking style) as the one on the large boat. People who only spent once night seemed disappointed they didn’t spend two nights. Ha Long Bay’s peaks are gorgeous! It has to be seen and it is best seen on a cruise. As you ride out on the Viola you will notice that a few boats might be a bit better (maybe just newer), but the majority of the boats are not nearly as nice. The cabins on the Viola are beautiful, and the beds are so comfortable. We took our 15 year old and our 5 year old, and they both liked it as well. The five year old especially. Do expect to pay for drinks separately. It seems to be the custom; even Cokes. The ships provide and supply the drinks so they are outside the cost of the cruise. Tea and coffee are the exception. Nonetheless, that bill was not too high for the four of us. I will recommend Viola cruise to all of my friends who spend a few days in Ha Long Bay.
“We loved the cruise especially when we got away from the commercial tourist traps. Halong Bay and it’s surrounds are stunning but you need to budget for the extra night so that you can enjoy the tranquility and beauty. Day 2 was a highlight on the smaller boat, kayaking and jumping from the roof. Food was fantastic. Our kids were 16, 14, 12 and 9. They all loved it. Unfortunately the 1 night cruise will not get you away from the crowds.”
“I think that this is one of the best cruises in Halong Bay. The beds are the best I have ever slept in and the food and entertainment was great. The best thing was our guide ‘Phong’. He is so friendly and funny and because of him the whole group connected very well. This cruise is a bit more expensive but worth the extra money. Enjoy!”
Совершив круиз по островам бухты Халонг, получил незабываемое впечатление. Сказочные острова с гротами, чистейшие песчаные пляжи.
We took this excursion through our ship. We toured the bay, went to the Thein Cung Cove and toured the caverns. The bay was very crowded with tour boats but managed to get some pictures without boats in them. There is a village on the water where the fishermen have large fish tanks next to their floating modern houses to keep fish alive for market. Some had satellite dish’s.
My partner and I booked the 2 day one night trip to Ha Long Bay with Viola Cruises. Ha Long Bay itself is beautiful and this was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Vietnam. The cruise ship itself is brand new and therefore very clean and modern. Rooms were a decent size and the bed was one of the comfiest bed’s we have had in a while since we have been traveling around SE Asia for 6 weeks now. Food was good and the service was also excellent. We enjoyed the kayaking around Ha Long Bay and also the visit to the Surprising Caves. Our tour guide was Tho and she was very knowledgeable. The bus that takes you to and from Ha Long Bay is also very comfortable and has good air con. The only minor letdown was the so-called squid fishing which was a stick with a hook on the end and no bate therefore unlikely that anybody would catch anything. All in all we had a good time and would recommend Viola Cruises to anyone looking to do a trip around Ha Long Bay.
We did a 3 days 2 nights boat tour with Viola Cruises in Halong Bay in October 2014. And we have to say it was a great experience: fantastic landscape nice and well equipped boat friendly staff great food (only exception see below) and last but not least professional, knowleadgeable, friendly, open and funny guide.
As a result we can really recommend to do a Halong Bay tour with Viola Cruises. And we recommend to do the 3 days 2 nights tour, giving you more time to enjoy the trip. For us, the second day was the best one. On a small, however old boat we were taken to a pearl farm, had the chance to kayak in great surroundings, and could dive from the boat and swim in the sea repeatedly. All these activities are missed by those only staying one night.
As already mentioned we had the luck to be guided by Hoi (Lucky), a very nice and professional person with very good command of English.
Two downsides have to be mentioned:
– the very good dinner of day 2 is virtually identical to the very good dinner of day 1. For sure, one would prefer to have more variety. (Drinks, also water, have to be paid extra.)
– on day 3 there is nothing to do except “relaxing on the boat”. While the passengers of the 2 day trip go to a cave (like we did yesterday as well), there is no alternative activity for the other passengers. however, around noon everyone is back in the harbour and shuttled back to Hanoi, so the time for relaxing is not to long. And free Wifi is usually available on the boat.
We asked to our hotel in Hanoi to book for us a cruise in Halong bay. They told us about this cruise and showed us the program and cost and it looked fine, so we went for it. It was a good choice: the ship was cool, even if there was a lot of people on board, it was really crowded, rooms were really comfortable and food was also good. We saw the typical spots that tourists go to see in Halong bay, and it was cool. Really really a lot of tourists around, but well, that’s not fault of those who organized the cruise. We also could go kayaking, which was cool. In 2 days and 1 night we saw a god number of nice places, even if personally I would have preferred to spend less time on the ship and see a little more. Anyway, even staying on the ship and enjoying the stunning view of Halong bay and taking pictures was good.
“Me and my wife had a delightful weekend on Viola Cruise, this is a real brand new cruise with luxury facilities. Good food and the staff were so friendly and attentive. Highly Recommended”