Best Halong Bay Cruises 2019: Including Kayaking, Relaxation, Swimming, Cave Exploration, and Full Meals

Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Vietnam, is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped with rainforests. In 2019, travelers seeking to explore this natural wonder had a plethora of cruise options that offered comprehensive packages including kayaking, relaxation, swimming, cave exploration, and full meals. Here, we explore the top cruises that provided the best experiences for an unforgettable journey through Halong Bay.

Top Halong Bay Cruises of 2019

1. Paradise Luxury Cruise


Paradise Luxury Cruise stands out for its opulent accommodations and exceptional service. The vessel is designed with a blend of traditional Vietnamese decor and modern luxury.

Key Features

  • Kayaking: Paddle through serene waters, discovering hidden coves and isolated beaches.
  • Relaxation: Spacious sun deck, spa services, and private balconies for ultimate relaxation.
  • Swimming: Designated swimming spots in clear, calm waters.
  • Cave Exploration: Guided tours to the mesmerizing Sung Sot (Surprise) Cave.
  • Meals: Gourmet meals featuring Vietnamese and international cuisine, prepared by top chefs.

Customer Reviews

Guests consistently praised the attentive staff, luxurious cabins, and the well-organized itinerary that balanced adventure and relaxation.

2. Bhaya Classic Cruise


Bhaya Classic Cruise combines traditional aesthetics with contemporary amenities, offering a comfortable and culturally rich experience.

Key Features

  • Kayaking: Explore the bay’s emerald waters and limestone karsts up close.
  • Relaxation: Onboard spa and tai chi sessions at sunrise.
  • Swimming: Opportunity to swim in designated areas of Halong Bay.
  • Cave Exploration: Visits to the fascinating Thien Canh Son Cave.
  • Meals: Full-board meals featuring fresh seafood and Vietnamese specialties.

Customer Reviews

Travelers appreciated the blend of adventure and cultural immersion, highlighting the quality of the guided tours and the delicious, varied menu.

3. Dragon Legend Cruise


Dragon Legend Cruise offers a more intimate and luxurious experience with fewer passengers and spacious, well-appointed cabins.

Key Features

  • Kayaking: Paddle through tranquil lagoons and around towering islets.
  • Relaxation: Large sundeck, jacuzzi, and comfortable lounge areas.
  • Swimming: Safe swimming spots with stunning views.
  • Cave Exploration: Exploration of Vung Vieng fishing village and hidden caves.
  • Meals: Exquisite dining with an emphasis on local ingredients and traditional recipes.

Customer Reviews

Passengers loved the small group size, luxurious accommodations, and the focus on local culture and cuisine.

4. Aphrodite Cruise


Aphrodite Cruise combines elegance with adventure, providing top-notch amenities and a rich itinerary.

Key Features

  • Kayaking: Guided kayaking tours through quiet areas of the bay.
  • Relaxation: Comfortable cabins, spa services, and a spacious deck.
  • Swimming: Swimming in pristine, secluded spots.
  • Cave Exploration: Visit to the impressive Me Cung Cave.
  • Meals: Full meals featuring fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, including seafood specialties.

Customer Reviews

Guests praised the knowledgeable guides, luxurious settings, and the diverse activities offered.

5. Indochina Sails


Indochina Sails is known for its attention to detail and excellent service, offering a classic Halong Bay experience with modern comforts.

Key Features

  • Kayaking: Explore the bay’s intricate network of islands and grottoes.
  • Relaxation: Enjoy tai chi on deck, spa treatments, and comfortable lounges.
  • Swimming: Designated swimming areas with beautiful scenery.
  • Cave Exploration: Tours of Tien Ong Cave and other notable sites.
  • Meals: Delicious, multi-course meals prepared with fresh ingredients.

Customer Reviews

Travelers commended the professional service, the quality of the excursions, and the gourmet dining experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is the best time to visit Halong Bay?

The best time to visit Halong Bay is from October to April. During these months, the weather is cooler and more pleasant, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as kayaking, swimming, and cave exploration.

2. What should I pack for a Halong Bay cruise?

Pack light, breathable clothing for daytime activities, a swimsuit, comfortable shoes for exploring caves, and a hat and sunscreen for sun protection. Don’t forget a light jacket for cooler evenings and a good camera to capture the stunning scenery.

3. Are there any safety concerns while kayaking or swimming in Halong Bay?

Most cruises provide life jackets and have trained staff to ensure your safety during kayaking and swimming. It’s important to follow the crew’s instructions and stay within designated areas.

4. Can dietary restrictions be accommodated on these cruises?

Yes, most cruises can accommodate dietary restrictions. It’s recommended to inform the cruise operator of any dietary needs in advance to ensure proper arrangements are made.

5. How long are the typical Halong Bay cruises?

Typical Halong Bay cruises range from 1 to 3 days. A 2-day, 1-night cruise is the most popular, offering a balance of activities and relaxation.

6. Are Halong Bay cruises suitable for families with children?

Yes, many Halong Bay cruises are family-friendly and offer activities suitable for children. It’s best to check with the cruise operator to ensure the itinerary includes child-friendly options.

7. What types of cabins are available on these cruises?

Cabins range from standard to luxury suites, with options for single, double, and family occupancy. Most cabins come with private bathrooms and scenic views.

8. How do I book a Halong Bay cruise?

You can book a Halong Bay cruise through travel agencies, online booking platforms, or directly through the cruise company’s website. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak seasons.

9. What activities are typically included in a Halong Bay cruise package?

Most cruise packages include kayaking, swimming, cave exploration, cooking classes, tai chi sessions, and full-board meals. Some luxury cruises may offer additional services like spa treatments and private excursions.

10. Are there any hidden costs on these cruises?

While most cruises offer all-inclusive packages, there might be additional costs for beverages, spa services, and optional activities. It’s best to clarify what’s included in your package before booking.


Choosing the right Halong Bay cruise can significantly enhance your experience, allowing you to fully appreciate the natural beauty and cultural richness of this incredible destination. Whether you prioritize luxury, adventure, or family-friendly activities, the cruises highlighted above offer diverse options to suit every traveler’s needs. From kayaking through tranquil waters to exploring ancient caves and enjoying gourmet meals, these cruises provide a comprehensive and unforgettable Halong Bay experience.

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