Paradise Cruises tours Halong Bay, Vietnam. Its fleet of three ships travel year-round on cruises ranging from two to three days. The cruise line attracts affluent travelers, mainly couples. The company also operates its very own boutique style hotel and provides packages for guests.
- Great amenities
- Unique activities
- No dress code
Cabins feature full-length windows, air-conditioning/heaters, spacious wardrobes, butler service, DVD players, and flat-screen televisions. The en-suite marble bathroom located in each cabin is fully stocked with complimentary toiletries, luxurious bathrobe, and slippers. Safety features placed in each room include a personal safe, life jackets, fire extinguisher, and an emergency hammer. Baby cots and chairs are also available upon request. Cabin amenities include:
- Butler Service
- Full-length windows
- Flat-Screen TV
- DVD Player
- Spacious Wardrobe
- En-Suite Marble Bathroom
- Luxurious Bathrobe and Linens
- Complimentary Toiletries
- Baby Cots and Chairs Available Upon Request
- Personal Safe
- Life Jackets
- Fire Extinguisher
- Emergency Hammer
Activities available for passengers include swimming, kayaking, fishing, and snorkeling. On-board movies are provided as well. Guests may also enjoy the library, fitness room, and spa and massage services the company offers. The Paradise Luxury vessels feature stylish restaurants and bars on the third decks that provide 5-star dining service with local fresh cuisine.
No Dress Code
There is no dress code aboard the ship. During the summer months, light garments are advised. During the winter, guests will want to bring sweaters and/or a jacket. Raincoats are highly recommended any time of year. Passengers will do plenty of walking so be sure to bring comfortable shoes. Bathing suits and clothing you do not mind getting wet are also highly advised. October through December are the best months to visit Halong Bay.
The cruise visits various exotic locations in Vietnam. One stop is Cat Ba Island that consists of 350 limestone outcrops near Halong Bay. This oasis is perfect for swimming, eating fresh seafood, and visiting spectacular karst. The cruise line also visits numerous beaches with deep blue waters and white sand that does not stick to you.
The Virgin Cave at Bo Hon Island is one of the most famous caves located in Halong Bay. Ba Ham Cave is situated on Calf Head Island in Lan Ha Bay. this island is enclosed on all four sides by vertical cliffs. Me Cung Grotto was formed on Lom Bo Island. When looked at from afar, the entrance gives the appearance of the roof of a house denting the side of the island.
- Limited food options
- Extra expenses
Couples who wish to share a room must provide proof of marriage. Reservations must be made in advance for individuals wishing to use the massage and spa services. These reservations may be made by contacting the company using the information provided on the booking confirmation. Pets are not allowed.
Limited Food Options
Food options are limited for lunch and dinner. The food offered is mainly Vietnamese cuisine and geared toward tourists. Drinks are expensive on the ship. Expect to pay around $6 for a beer and $12 for a glass of wine. Water is charged at a higher rate than the cost of a beer. Drinks available on shore are much cheaper.
The weather in the region can get extremely hot and humid. Guests will want to wear plenty of sunscreen and bring along an umbrella to shield them for the sun. Also plan on wearing light clothing. Also, taxes, fees & port expenses extra depending on the voyage selected. Extra expenses include:
- Airfares, Car Transfers and Hotel Accommodation
- Visa Arrangements
- Beauty Spa Services and Massage
- Beverages and Tobacco
Internet connections are unreliable and virtually nonexistent in Halong Bay. Sometimes at night guests can connect when the boat is anchored close to town, but it is slow at best even then. Guests may want to leave electronic devices that connect to the Web at home. If you plan on conducting business while there, you'll have a very difficult time and may want to consider visiting another destination.
Guests take a shuttle bus from Hanoi to the ship on Halong Bay. The trip takes four hours and guests report it is an uncomfortable ride. The bus does not have air conditioning and sweaty skin tends to stick to the seats. It can also be a two hour wait to get onto the shuttle once the cruise ends. Guests may want to consider hiring a private car instead to get them to their destination.
While the landscape itself is beautiful in the region, the area is overcrowded with tourists and boats. The cruise schedule runs on a strict itinerary that does not give guests leisurely time to explore the area. Swimmers have reported that the dirty water leaves oil from the boats on skin and is littered with garbage left behind by tourists. A government regulation requires the boats to stay near the ports at all times so visitors only see a small part of Halong Bay. Previous guests state that the one night cruise is more than enough for seeing the area.
The Bottom Line
Paradise Cruises provides two to three day cruise tours perfect for affluent couples of Halong Bay, Vietnam. The cruise line operates its own boutique hotel as well and offers inclusive packages for guests. The company not only stops at various exotic locations in Vietnam on a strict itinerary, but also provides superb local cuisine, excellent customer service, and numerous entertainment options. Safety equipment is provided in each cabin and the company does not have a dress code. Drinks are expensive aboard the ship and Internet service is unreliable. The area can be overcrowded with tourists, and the water is unsuitable for swimming. A one-night cruise is sufficient to see the area, and booking extra nights can be a waste of money according to previous guests. The weather can be unpredictable, shifting from hot and humid to rain-drenched. Passengers are advised to pack accordingly and a list of suggested packing items is available on the company website. Overall, we would recommend using another cruise line for your travel needs. Visit our recommended cruise lines.