Halong Bay never disappoints with its natural beauty and nature. The caves. The Islands. I would complain about how over-run it is with tourists - I think the government should limit the number of tourists visiting everyday. Otherwise the Surprise Cave and the region will be completely destroyed soon.
But this review is about sharing about the Genesis team. They were great! Responsive. Honest (they delivered whatever was promised!). And Respectful.
I’m glad we didn’t join the mass tours that squeezed hundreds into a boat or bus. I’m glad we paid a little more for the time saved on the road, and the comfort of the ride! Our bus only at 12 people. And our big vessel with restaurant and deck only 24 people! The food was served while we took in the breathtaking views of halong bay!
Special shoutout to Ben our guide! For making a great effort to make our trip an enjoyable one!
We are so happy with our choice for Genesis Regal Cruise! This cruise feels so comfortable and staff service was top notch. Room was much better than expectations, spacious and comes with a bathtub where you can take a nice bath and enjoy the scenic bay view.
The itinerary was well developed, it fills the timeslots and kept us busy. We went to a floating house where we get to see how the locals live their everyday lives.. and followed by kayaking. We went to Cat Ba national park but alas there wasn’t a Lingur monkey in sight.
Many appreciation to the crew team for making our Halong Bay trip a memorable one, thanks Alex, Nancy, Mai, Phi Phi and team!
The Genesis Day Tour to Ha Long Bay exceeded my expectations. My husband and I are week three into our Asia honeymoon and we definitely wanted to check Ha Long Bay on our list however wanted to make sure we did it right by having a tour guide. We didn't want to be part of a huge tour group but also did not want to be 1:1 solo. We were so fortunate to have done research and read thorough reviews on Genesis and decided this was the one.
To even beat our expectations further, our tour guide Danny was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. He handled our private group of 12 with the utmost professionalism. He was informative, humorous, courteous, and such a great host overall (offering to take photos for all of us throughout the day). Not only did he educate us about the city of Hanoi as we left the city and headed towards Ha Long Bay, but he really gave us details and knowledge from a native's point of view.
Plus' to Genesis:
+ Curbside pick up and drop off
+ Vehicle was spotless. clean, comfortable, WIFI was speedy
+ Driver was very professional, smooth ride
+ Host (Danny!) we could not rave about him enough.
Feedback to Genesis:
+ We honestly could not think of anything. For a day long tour, everything from itinerary to pace to service and quality was you get what you pay for. As westerners, we really enjoyed it from start to finish. It was exactly what we wanted without being too less or too extra with frills.
We are HAPPY :)
For the price we payed, I'd say this cruise is relatively good value for money. The most important aspect when deciding upon a cruise for us however, was to book with a company that we knew would be reliable and would not have as worrying leading up to, or during the cruise; I can confirm Regal satisfied this.
We booked through Premier Travel Vietnam who sorted all the payment and information transfer, and were picked up from our hotel right on time from the Old Quarter. The 'luxury limo' is as described, offering good wifi and comfortable seats.
The first drawback of the trip did occur on the journey to the port however - firstly, in their itinerary there is supposed to be a tour guide that provides information on Vietnam, Halong Bay etc. One Vietnamese man did randomly get on the bus about 30 minutes into the journey but proceeded to sit on his phone, only announcing the stop at the Pearl Farm, for the entire trip, and then got off about 100m down the road from where we did at the port without saying another word? The aforementioned Pearl Farm was also, in my opinion, a slight waste of time as it isn't really that interesting and it's not what you're paying to see. Finally, when we arrived, there seemed to be a lot of confusion about where to go and who was who, alas we did make it onto the ferry across to the main cruise ship eventually.
From said point onwards it was a great experience, the crew welcome you very warmly and there are drinks as you step on board. The lunch, as with the dinner, is a large set course menu with plenty to fill you up, and all well prepared and tasty. We were given our room keys and upon exploring our cabin we weren't disappointed; the bed was large, there was a TV (though I couldn't manage to work it), safe, fridge, and the bathroom even had a bath per the cruise pictures. The balcony offered nice views and respite. Two negative aspects room/service-wise were that the bed, despite being large, was a bit uncomfortable, and they didn't offer free water anywhere on board which either forces you to buy it, or become dehydrated... We managed to purchase some off a local seller who docks up beside the ship and offers products by hoisting them in a net to you in exchange for money; our water was about 30k VND which was still cheaper than the cruise prices.
As people have mentioned, the itinerary does leave little time to chill, but I appreciated this as I find doing nothing a waste of time and money. Hence we were quickly onto kayaking which was awe inspiring, seeing the limestone karsts, and to top it off, we saw the extremely rare Cat Ba Langur monkey (I have film if you don't believe me haha). When we returned there was welcome drinks again, and then time for swimming which we utilised, the water is somewhat dirty unfortunately, but not deadly.
A pre-dinner show was arranged on the top deck which was thoroughly entertaining, and dinner again was a feast of delicious dishes. After dinner I did some squid fishing, and despite no one landing one, I did manage to hook a squid but it escaped... I do wonder how many people have actually caught one however, as even the supervisor left half way through, probably expecting that no one would ever catch one!
In the morning I attended Tai Chi which was fantastic coupled with the view of the sunrise. The breakfast was self serve and plentiful, and we visited a floating house which was interesting but also sketchy for those wary travellers; there were a few animals on board the floating house, not least a big and loud dog, and the house itself wasn't in the greatest condition with loose planks etc. After this we checked out and had brunch. Again another issue was that they claimed we had a drinks charge of two beers from the mini fridge which we certainly didn't, and after 'checking' again they scrapped the charge (not really sure how they missed the beers in the first place seeing as there were only a few items in there all together...). The boat back and minivan were quick and efficient and capped off a rather brilliant experience at Ha Long Bay!
I spent a long time researching which cruise company to use for Halong Bay as there are so many available and chose Genesis on the basis of a friend's recommendation - and it was fab!
Everything was very easy to organise and I was able to directly message Ms Chee with and questions, which made things stress-free.
The boat itself is lovely and we were very happy with the facilities. The trips were good and the scenery obviously beautiful. However what really makes Genesis a great choice is the staff and crew, who were so welcoming, friendly and helpful, I had let them know in advance about my mother's birthday and they organised a cake for her. They also remembered I was vegetarian and went out of their way to ensure this was accounted for. I left my sunglasses on the bus on the return journey and the staff went above and beyond to ensure I got them back, dropping them at my hotel in Hanoi the next day - I must particularly thank Ms Chee for her help with this.
If you are wondering which Halong Bay cruise company to choose, baffled by the choice and reading reviews for loads I would say look no further: Genesis is fab!
Note: my brother and I (both in our 30s) took our mother on this trip for her birthday. The closest 'what sort of visit?' button I could select on Tripadvisor was 'family (teens)' - which is obviously inaccurate!