We went on a 3 days 2 nights cruise.
- Get the bus transfer from Hanoi, amazing service with luxurious bus.
- Very good service on cruise.
- Quality local food, excellent presentation.
- Crew helped celebrate special occasion.
- Happy hour on boat.
- Great room, bathroom and balcony.
- Amazing landscapes all along
- Very few people on the boat, quiet environment.
- Cruise follows less crowded itinerary on bay.
On the con side:
- The 3 days trip actually lasts a total of 48 hours and you spend the 2nd day (8 AM to 3 PM) on a smaller boat without access to a private room.
- You have to pay for your drinks during meals including water which shouldn't happen given the price you pay
- Very few activities out of the boat: 45 min of kayak the 1st day, 2 hours of kayak + small crowded beach on 2nd day, 45 min cave visit on 3rd day.
- Very small cruising time: ~2h a day and the boat spends the night at the same location every night, with several boats around you.
In summary, the experience is unique and worth it.
The biggest issue is that the cruise is a very profitable business and you truly feel it: there are more than 500 cruises every day in the Ha Long bay and 70 in the Bai Tu Long bay (2nd day). The boat goes back and forth every day to pick up new clients and drop the previous one. While the guide makes the effort to memorize your name, the trip doesn't really feel personal as you are just one more client. We were expecting more activities and history about the bay.