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Halong Bay is one of the ‘must see’ locations in the world. Amazing collection of islands scattered through the bay – rock and jungle covered. The weather was very hot and humid (as expected) and there was a lot of haze during the day (easing in the evening) which limited long range visibility. Lots of other boats on the bay. A long drive from Hanoi – about 3.5 hours each way (with a refreshment and shopping stop half way). But interesting rice fields and small towns along the route. The boat crew were friendly helpful and very service oriented. The boat itself was comfortable and nicely decorated. Bedrooms were compact, but with own ensuite. (Some minor plumbing leaks in the bathroom.) Food on the boat was very good. All up it was good value for money. Not the cheapest overnight tour, but a long way from the most expensive! Met people from all over the world – Nth & Sth America, UK and Europe (two couples on honeymoon) Our teenage son was the only young person in the group, but he mixes well with adults and coped fine. Definitely recommend this trip.
We did a 2d 1n tour of halong bay with alova gold cruises and were satisfied with their service. hotel pickup and drop off are included in their tour and meals are all provided. standard of the food and selection was good. our tour guide victor was also very friendly and helpful. he also spoke very good english and chinese (mandarin) as well and we had a great time chatting with him throughout the tour as he was very friendly and approachable. the only issue i had with the tour was that the music at the bar was turned on at full blast and it disrupted my sleep as i wanted an early night due to a tiring few days in hanoi. the music was only turned down about 11pm and i felt that it could be turned off earlier or at least turned down to a much lower volume. but overall, i would strongly recommend this cruise.
First, we met our guide, Mr. Sunny Nguyen who speaks good English that make communications much easier. He is a responsible and down to earth young man. We enjoyed his company.
The cruise is clean and comfortable. Food provided were also delicious and suit our taste.
All aspects of safety were well done by our guide and cruise members including the chef.
We found that our trip to Ha Long Bay was most worthwhile and memorable.
My salute to Alova Cruise and do keep it up.
It as our first time to hanoi and halong bay was something interesting for us…the ride towards halong bay was about 4 hours and a bit bumpy but we had a great time on board..we got to meet other guests were from all over the world with very interesting characters…
the tour guide (Huy or some called him Johnny) was exceptionally nice and friendly..we even met their cruise manager, Sydney who was very helpful and friendly too…
the most we love was the food, really have to compliment the chef..we thought it was the nicest culinary in whole of hanoi even tho we tried the best local restaurant in old quarter and yet we still feel that the food on board was much better somehow…
the places we went were also very nice especially the “kayaking” as it was first for me and the “suprising cave”…
only thing was the room/ bed was not as nice but then again, its not really a five star cruise..but it’s definitely highly “make up” by the people and service…
totally recommned to go for this if you nvr been to halong bay…
Halong Bay, with 2,000 limestone outcrops emerging dramatically from the water, is a breathtaking must-see for any visitor to Hanoi. The UNESCO world Heritage Site is featured in the James Bond film, “Tomorrow Never Dies”, with Michelle Yeoh. An overnight cruise is much preferable to a day trip if you have time, because it takes 3 hours to travel the 65 km of narrow roads from Hanoi, plus a short boat ride to the cruiser.
The Alova Gold (overnight) Cruise deserves its excellent reviews here. The boat turned out to be charming, spotlessly clean with dark wooden interiors and 11 comfortable cabins that each sleep 2-3 people, and ensuite bathrooms with a shower and hot running water.
It came as part of our Calypso Legend Hotel’s 6 day-7 night package. I’m so glad I had decided against a travel agent’s recommendation to upgrade to a luxury cruise, because that was quite unnecessary.
We were blessed with unseasonably warm (perfect!) weather in winter on Feb. 3, 2013 and water so calm that it didn’t bother my seasick-prone cousin at all. The views from Titop Island and Surprising Cave were spectacular. We had fun kayaking as promised, and the water didn’t seem polluted, as some reviewers had complained about. Our guide, Vuong a.k.a. Lucky, helped to enhance the experience with his care, humor and stories delivered in an unexpectedly Australian accent acquired from working 11 months in Sydney.
The food quality was moderate but reasonable for a package tour, and beautifully presented with flowers carved from carrots and cucumbers. One of the crew members (with a big Viet-fro hairdo) showed us how to make those veggie flowers on the ride back to the shore. The prawns on the cruise tasted surprisingly bland — a sign that they are farm-raised rather than from the sea. (FOODNOTE: Throughout our 6-day Vietnam trip, sauteed chicken was consistently tough, perhaps because the poultry is free-range rather than cooped up in cages.)
SUGGESTION: To fill time more productively on the mostly boring 3-hour drive from Hanoi, the buses could be fitted with TV screens to show video travelogues, dance or puppet shows — or even just audio recordings — to help tourists learn more about Vietnam.
We booked the day trip to Ha Long Bay with alova gold cruises. Its a very long drive (just over three hours each way) from Hanoi but our guide, Lucky, kept us entertained. We stopped off at handicraft emporiums both ways, which gave us a chance to stretch our legs, grabs some tea and use the rest rooms.
At Ha Long Bay we transferred to the boat and while lunch was nothing to write home about, the food was plentiful and the drinks reasonably priced. Although it was an overcast day, Ha Long Bay was spectacular and Lucky did a great job engaging with his group and pointing out the sights. We opted for the bamboo boat tour and got to see a couple of grottoes and caves up close, which was well worth it.
My only complaint would be the bus: there simply wasn’t enough legroom and Alova would do well to either get a bigger bus or something with a bit more room for their customers to stretch their legs.
The Alova Gold one night cruise was booked for us by Vietnam Impressive before we left the UK so we were really pleased with the whole experience, we were collected from our hotel and taken through the harbour – which was really busy, so it was great to have everything sorted for us. Our guide Lucky was very welcoming and we were also hosted by Nick a member of the management team at meal times.
The cabins are clean and very atmospheric with en suite facilities – waking up in the harbour and looking at the scenery was really memorable. Fellow guests were very multi national and the beach volleyball afternoon was fun for all ages.
The food was really good – varied and fresh.
The weather was overcast, but warm with occasional bursts of sunlight.
Activities included kayaking, cooking, visiting caves and climbing the steps of Ti Top Island. For a 2 day experience this was well thought out and really enjoyable. The transfer time is several hours and not scenic, but there are stops for comfort breaks and refreshments.
My family and I really enjoyed our trip to Halong Bay for 2 days and 1 night. Ms. Lee from Go Asia Travels met us at the hotel since I booked it online. Then off we went for a very long drive. Luckily our guide Mr. Kim kept us entertained. The driver was quite careful and we stopped for a break in between. At the pier we were taken to the junk by a smaller boat. The rooms were very clean and comfortable and the food was good throughout our journey. Even though you have to pay for drinks (even water), they provided two complimentary bottles per person. We were taken to Sung Sot cave and kayaking on the first day. We even had spring rolls making session during the night. The next day we were taken to Titop island to either swim or enjoy the view. Halong Bay is simply breathtakingly beautiful. The view especially from Titop is marvelous. Since I traveled with two young children, safety was an important issue for me. Mr. Kim our tour guide made sure he found a smaller life jacket for our younger son and ensured my children wore the life jacket whenever it was necessary. He was also making sure all the guests were comfortable. He was very patient and was constantly engaging with the group. My children grew very fond of ‘uncle’ Kim. The trip was made extra special by having Mr. Kim as our tour guide. The only downside of our trip was our transport back to the hotel was delayed by an hour and a half. Nevertheless, on the whole I would highly recommend Alova.