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Tour Guide Mr Tu very friendly and helpful, speaks fluent English. Quite a long journey drive from our Hotel to Halong Bay. Meals provided on cruise. Our cabin room is spacious and clean. A beautiful natural wonder with islands and islets a must visit place and this cruise trip totally relaxing as I can spent a night on board. Price is reasonable as it covers the 2 days meals and activities. Choose to stay overnight on board instead of 1 day trip.
This trip was a total downer as we were not provided what was promised to us. Here is the deception:
1. The actual boat on our trip was not the same as on the picture. When we asked why?, we were told that there are different categories of vessels and ours was a lower class. As a sidenote, THAT would've been important to know ahead of time!
2. The confirmation that we printed out said that we'd be returned back to our hotel by mid day I think it specifically said 2pm We came back at 6. This impacted our next street tour!
3. The room was rank with the smell of sewage. Horrible. They were aware of it as they had little containers of scents by the bathroom door.
4. We were promised free wifi. This was extremely important as we were dealing with a death back home. No wifi. Then the tour manager explained that we only would get wifi when we anchored overnight. Well still zero wifi in our room! The only area to get wifi was in the dining hall. I stayed in the dining hall as the crew rolled out their bed rolls all around the dining table, closed the lights and started to sleep. Unreal. Surreal! When I left to go to the bathroom in my room they locked me out of the dining hall. Not nice!
5. Free on board culinary class was a joke! The class was how to roll up a spring roll. Wow and the chef was rolling his eyes in annoyance! Waste. Of. Time.
6. The main cruise dinner was something of a joke. The meal was served --communal style on one long dining room table. As the last dish that the server delivered was put on the table there were hollowed out pineapples placed on the table and then ALL the lights were turned off. The -- in a horribly loud volume, we were all subjected to one of Karen Carpenter's hits from the 70's. OOooooh. That was stupid.
7. Before leaving, we were given envelopes to tip the staff. Also as part of the 'Sit-here-and-give-us-your-money plan, we were given a review of the ship and it's services. Most people gave the ship an okay score...well, those who did not have to endure sleeping in sewage smelling rooms and had wifi. When we got off the ship, that's when the complaints started to arise. I was present when the tour guide got hammered with complaints by the guests for making us sit and wait for our bus for shy of 2 hours while all the other tour companies promptly got their folks on busses!!!
8. And if that doesn't make you rethink the entire trip, then enjoy.
Great value!! The cruise was very nice. The food is fantastic and there is a lot of it. The accommodations are also very nice. I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the ship. Tom our tour guide was probably the highlight of the trip. He was very informative and did a great job at making sure the group knew what was going on. I would recommend this cruise very highly.
The name of this tour perfectly describes the quality. JUNK. The boat was old and sad. The crew seemed tired, unenthusiastic, and not very helpful. I would not recommend this tour to anyone. I am not sure how the reviews are so good. A few things that stood out: We were provided with one small water bottle each as we arrived. Anything more than that needed to be purchased. Since the water from the sink was undrinkable and there were no beverages served with any of the meals except for the small glass of juice upon arrival, we were forced to pay for the water to drink with our included meals. The shower completely shutdown after 2 minutes after entering which was very inconvenient. When I spoke with the tour guide Kent about the situation that same morning, he was more defensive than apologetic, insisting that it works. The food was bad, and the whole experience left A LOT to be desired. Great scenery and nice kayaking, but all the cons seem to overshadow anything positive.
Finally got to cross this visit to Halong Bay off my bucket list, but I might be back!
This was the highlight of my time spent in Vietnam, with door-to-door service from my hotel in the Old Quarter, delicious meals on board the boat, friendly staff everywhere, informative tour guides, and a comfortable bed on a vessel on the water where I was rocked gently to sleep at night.
We were paddled around a fishing village as part of our visit to the Bay, and were able to climb up to a cave on one of the islands. The village tour was interesting, and we saw how the folks living there not only fish, but also raise oysters, seeding them and then retrieving the cultured pearls produced. The cave experience was a bit of a letdown -- a small hole in the side of an island, reached by a challenging set of steps, which was more of a curiosity than an impressive discovery.
One slight change of plans happened when the cooling system for the boat's engine failed, and some of our tour was done tethered to one of our boat's big sisters. The staff coped without a hitch.
A hearty Thank you to our guides -- Tommy on the bus trips to and from the bay, and Kent on board the Oriental Sails, who also gave us our on-board cooking lesson, how to assemble and cook rice paper shrimp rolls.
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