1 day trip from Hanoi
Linda and all of the staff were incredible! The food was delicious and fresh. Linda was very informative and happy to answer every question we had. We had been recommend to do an overnight trip from other people but the staff at Swan Cruises made this one day very incredible so I feel very satisfied with just the one day! They give you the option to either ride on a bamboo boat being rowed by a local or kayaking yourself which was a breathtaking experience.
I cannot express how great this company is! From the very beginning the guides were friendly, helpful, funny and informative. We had a really entertaining way to the ferry terminal, which is like around 4 hrs from Hanoi. They gave us water and some sweets on the bus as well. The cruise itself was amazing, it's just something that you must see in your lifetime. They offer a lot of activities-swimming, kayaking, cooking lessons, tai chi etc. Food was absolutely outstanding! I don't like sea food at all, but I have to say it was so fresh and well prepared I just couldn't stop eating ;) They also serve pork, chicken and have many salads & fruit, so you will not die from hunger if you don't eat sea food or are a vegan\vegetarian.
My cabin looked so nice, the bed was big and comfy, great shower
The ship has a sun deck on top but it has some roofing as well, so if you do not want to expose yourself to sun too much you can spend some time over there.
I highly recommend spening at least 2 night/3 days on the ship, otherwise you will have too many things to do/to try and instead of enjoying it you will be rushing from one to another without any leisure time (unless you want to skip some activities, but that would be a pity!). If I could decide again I would choose to stay 3 night/4 days to have 1 full day for relaxation on the ship or on one of the beaches.
At the end I have to mention that this company organizes cruises on route no. 4 which is the least crowded, but definitely not less beautiful. The only disadvantage would be the caves that are smaller and not so outstanding, but you trade it for the peace and avoiding massive crowds. To give you the idea-the most popular routes (no. 1 & 2) that are done by most companies have 450 ships in the bay(!!!), while route no. 4 has around 80 (rou8te no. 3 is currently closed due to legal issues).
Well run tour
Tom, our tour guide was excellent, also Jenny who was on the bus with us. Food was really good- especially the breakfast and last lunch, and the accommodation was good - although in hindsight I probably should have paid more and got a bigger room (as no real room for luggage). Very well organized itinerary. Only downside to the trip was that the group of French tourists ignored the tour guide on the way back from the kayaking trip and took off on their own - potentially a very risky thing to do as they could have got lost, and so the trip back took longer as different route back, and waves started to come up. Paddling there took about 30 mins, and about 45mins on the way back. We were relieved to get back to happy hour and a fun night onboard!
An enjoyable whistle-stop tour of Halong Bay
The boat was comfortable, clean with attentive crew and a restaurant/bar manager who was friendly, energetic and professional. The room was compact but comfortable. We were impressed by how clean it was and the bathroom facilities were excellent.
There was so much food! You will not go hungry! The meals were delicious and provided good variety. However, if you are not a keen fish eater (shellfish, squid etc) then perhaps ask for meat only or the veggie option as many dishes contained fish. Delicious but a lot of you like fish occasionally.
Our host, Marcus enthusiastic, attentive and informative. I enjoyed hearing his stories of the local culture and history which added to the experience. He was good at managing the group, ensuring everyone knew what was happening and felt safe during the activities.
We enjoyed the kayaking, the games on board and making the spring rolls. Swimming on the beach was lovely especially getting to see the sunset.
I would thoroughly recommend this cruise for people who are looking for an alternative to a party boat with a friendly crowd. It is a mixture of activities and embracing the natural land space of Halong Bay. Thank you Marcus for a lovely two days.
My boyfriend and I went on a 2D1N cruise of bai tu long bay. Our tour guide was Tom and from the moment we set off he was friendly and informative, making us feel at ease and explaining everything clearly. Our cabin was good- although there was half an old pineapple (?) under the bed and a pile of coffee (?) under the bathroom cabinet. Also, we had a cockroach in our room and we saw a few around the boat. Despite this, we loved the trip. The food was plentiful and tasty- our favourite was the steak and the fish. Our favourite activity was squid fishing and kayaking but we didn’t like the cave tour so much as it was very crowded inside. Our only gripe was that we were offered coffee after our lunch time meal as if it was included- it was not and we had to pay extra for it. Also, at the end of our cruise, the bar staff did not have any change to give us when we paid our bill which gave us no choice but to over pay. All in all, however, we enjoyed our trip but believe it was slightly overpriced at $129 and believe it should be charged more reasonably for what you get at $105.