Could have been better, halong bay tours, halong bay cruises

Could have been better

I’ve already posted this review but it has been deleted.
The reason given was that my review was concerning the overnight tour and not the day one. Even though you can find some good reviews concerning the overnight tour it appears that an average rating is not as well appreciated. Let’s give it another try…

My girlfriend and I went for 3 days 2 nights cruise. 

The overall experience was pretty good but a few things could have definitely been better. 

Plus side : 
Our bedroom was nice and the bathroom was of a fairly decent size. 
The room was pretty clean and had a some character. 
The food was excelent. The fish we had on the boat during the second day trip was a killer! 
The staff was really helpfull and friendly. 

Down side : 
We discovered that one of our window was covered by a vulgar plank of wood hiding the fact that the window was completely destroyed. Our guide told us that the window had been damaged during the previous trip and that they didn’t have the time to fix it! 

It directly gave me a cheap feeling about the cruise. A room with a window missing shouldn’t be occupied until it is fixed. I would also have prefered to be told that something was wrong with the room prior the check in rather than discover it by myself. During the booking process, I had specifically asked for a room away from the machine room . The only solution I was given by the guide after everybody had checked in was to go in a room closer to the engine and generator. 

When we checked in we had 2 small bottles of water in our room, it’s all we had during our trip! Don’t expect to have free water during your lunch or dinner. You’ll have to buy everything. 

During our second day trip, the weather was pretty cold. 
We went kayaking and once back on the boat there was no heating. 
A complimentary hot drink would also have been much appreciated but once again we had to pay for the cup of coffee. 

It doesn’t cost a lot to provide a complimentary mug of water and a complimentary hot drink during the day. It’s the kind of small attention that you expect from a 3 stars cruise. 

We had a few soft drinks and cocktails during our meals. 
The prices of the drinks on the menu are pretty expensive considering what you would usually pay in Vietnam. But considering you’re on a cruise, let’s say it’s fair enough! But be aware that the prices on the menu don’t include the 15% taxes and service surchage. At the end of the day it makes a noticeable difference. 

On the way back to Hanoi, we were separated from the group we had travelled with. 
2 persons who were not part of our cruise were put in the van with our friends and we had to join the van of another group. The driver we had on our way to Halong Bay was pretty cautious and was driving reasonably. The driver we had to go back to Hanoi was once again a speeding and overtaking maniac. 

The last tiny downside was that our boat didn’t have sails! It’s not really important but when we think to junks on Halong Bay we think to boats with sails. We saw other Alova’s boat and they had sails but our didn’t. By the way the other boat we saw also looked more recent. 

Overall the experience was far from being terrible but when we add all the small downside together, it was pretty average!

Visited February 2013

Reviewed by SpeculoosATW