Ha Long Bay Cruise For Families. Hearing the story of the legend of Ha long Bay was enough to tempt our kids into leaving the comfort of Hanoi and agree to spend Christmas on a boat, with no Wi-Fi.
The Ha Long Bay legend goes something like this; whilst Vietnam was at war with foreign invaders, their gods sent down a family of dragons to protect them. The dragons spat down jewels and jades, which upon hitting the bay were turned into the islands. Ha Long means descending dragons…
Finding A Ha Long Bay Cruise For Families
In Hanoi there are literally hundreds of travel agents selling all types of Ha Long Bay cruises. You don’t need to book before you travel to Vietnam, unless you want to of course. If so there are lots to choose from on the web, just check out the reviews on Trip Advisor first.
We were quite overwhelmed with the choices on offer, party boats (not ideal for families), 1 day tours, 2-3 day tours and tours with a stop over on other islands.
We were really happy with the service provided at our hotel in Hanoi so we decided to enlist their help in finding the right Ha Long Bay cruise for us. After much discussion around budgets, what we wanted to see and types of tours on offer we opted to go for a recently launched 4 star boat, with Oasis Bay Cruise.
At around $350/£230 (for 2 adults and 2 children) for a 2 day/1 night tour, it certainly wasn’t the cheapest cruise on offer. But it was Christmas, we were after a bit of luxury and cruising Ha Long Bay is a special experience.
Hanoi to Ha Long Bay
Transfers between Hanoi and Ha Long Bay were included in the cost of the cruise. We were collected from our hotel by our tour guide at around 8.30am and quickly transferred to a bus. The bus was comfortable, had air con and the journey was broken up with introductions and chat from our guide. It took around 4 hours to get to Ha Long Bay, with a short rest room stop included. On the way back to Hanoi we were upgraded to the VIP mini bus (no one ever told us why?!) and were treated to reclining leather seats and a movie.
Ha Long Bay Cruise for Families Itinerary
Most companies sell virtually the same itinerary, there may be slightly different routes but in essence if you are not commissioning a boat privately then you are on the same package tour as everyone else. Our tour looked something like this (full itinerary in link):
Day 1: Hanoi – Halong Bay
- Transfer to cruise.
- Special lunch will be served on board while cruising passing by Dog islet, Fighting Cock islet (symbol of Halong Bay), Hoa Cuong fishing village, Swan islet. After having lunch, the Oasis Bay will continue exploring the wonders of Halong Bay, passing by countless islands including Soi Sim Beach, Coconut Tree Island. Anchoring the vessels at Frog Pond area.
- Explore this beautiful area by kayaking through the majestic scenery and swimming in emerald colored water.
- Enjoy a specially prepared 11-course gourmet dinner
- Evening Activities, relax at leisure: squid fishing or beauty Spa services, hot Jacuzzi.
Day 2: Oasis Bay Cruise
- Tai chi class among the peaceful surroundings of Halong.
- Relax or Visit Sung Sot Cave, hiking up and down 600 steps to the magnificent limestone formations of the most beautiful and biggest cave in Halong bay.
- Brunch will be served while the Oasis Bay cruise back to Halong harbour
- Shuttle bus pick guest up at Oasis Bay Lounge and return to Hanoi.
Our verdict on taking a Ha Long Bay Cruise for families
The boat, facilities and accommodations were good, it wasn’t 4 star but we were happy. Our family room was the only room on the top deck, we had spectacular views, a balcony and didn’t have to worry about noise from the kids disturbing the rooms next door. The beds were very hard, but that’s quite normal for Vietnam and we were only sleeping there for 1 night.
The food on the boat was excellent, plenty of choice and we were impressed with the 11 course Christmas dinner. Drinks were reasonably priced.
There were some hiccups with our tour; we set off late which meant the sea level was too low for our boat to sail out. The first part of our tour was spent on another boat of a lower standard, we were allocated a room to use if needed, but it was sparse and uncomfortable. Whilst this didn’t spoil our trip in anyway, it was a little annoying. Travel doesn’t always go to plan, you just learn to make the most of it and laugh about it later.
The itinerary looked great on paper, in reality it felt quite rushed and we were all exhausted by the end of it. We missed the squid fishing as we were all so tired and asleep before it even started! Cruising around the bay and visiting the cave were the highlights of the tour. Our kids loved the kayaking, me not so much as I nearly fell in…(my husband and kids were highly amused by this).
Would we recommend a Ha Long Bay Cruise for families?
Absolutely. With or without kids, Ha Long Bay is a must do in Vietnam. It was one of our favourite experiences. The scenery is unforgettable. There might not be any dragons there now (sorry kids) but it truly is a magical place.
Are you planning a trip to Ha Long Bay? Do you need any more information, let us know in the comments below. We would love to help you plan your trip to Vietnam.
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