Ha Long Bay is notoriously famous to all travellers heading to Vietnam, with emerald green ocean waters, limestone islands topped by rainforests and its mystical feel.
It’s one of those places that you expect every visitor to make their way there and if you find the odd tourist that doesn’t, you have to ask yourself why?
With day trips and overnight Junk Boat tours on offer, the bay is heavily littered with boats all heading out to their magical locations, providing a little look into the area that draws thousands of tourists every year. After being on several Ha Long Bay tours, we can honestly say we found paradise third time round.
So which tour is worth your pretty penny?
With so many different tours to choose from, it’s hard to know which tour company to trust. Even for budget travellers, it’s the one part of your trip you want to splurge and treat yourself. ITS WORTH IT.
There are options for a day tour, 2 days 1 night or 3 days 2 nights.
The first two trips we did were the 2 days / 1 night tour that always left us wishing we were staying one more night. This trip we wanted to stay 3 days / 2 nights and get our Ha Long Bay fill to last us a while.
Our research kept leading us back to Signature Cruise Ha Long Bay.
After reading reviews, checking out their website, we had nothing but high expectations for the experience. Signature Cruises exceeding our expectations.
After being picked up from our hotel and departing Hanoi at 7.30 am we were transferred to Ha Long Bay and arrived 4 hours later. There is a stop roughly midway where you can buy souvenirs, food, drinks, etc and visit clean toilets.
Once we arrived, welcoming staff were waiting and escorted us into their air-conditioned welcoming area where they serviced refreshments and snacks while we waited for reception staff to process our documentation. Yes, you will need to provide a copy of your passport, but Signature Cruises don’t keep them while you cruise which is what many tour companies do. It was never a problem with previous tour companies that do hold your passport, but it was comforting to know that we got to keep ours with us.
Not long after our arrival we were transported out to our boat where cruising staff greeted us with singing and big Vietnamese smiles.
Once we were onboard, we were taken to the dining area where we got to meet our fellow cruising passengers and were given the keys to our rooms with instructions of what activities were on offer for the afternoon.
When we booked, Signature Cruises upgraded us to the family room located on the second level across the whole front of the boat that offered a spa and private balcony. We were thrilled.
After we had settled into our room, staff served lunch in the dining room. The food was simply fantastic and don’t worry if you have dietary requirements as they will cater for your needs.
At lunch we discovered that there was a typhoon arriving in the area within 24 hours, sadly our tour had to be cut short by 26 hours, and we were going to be taken back to Port by 8.30 am as per the marine regulations in the area.
The staff did all they could to help soften the disappointment amongst passengers by filling our afternoon with several activities.
Our first stop was a row boat tour of Ha Long Bay.
Locals live and trade on the water with fishing and oyster farming as their primary source of income along with tourism of course.
Once back at the boat, it was time for some Kayaking and swimming in the mystical emerald water.
Once our swim was over, it was the evening that captivated our hearts.
With a magical sunset and a bottle of bubbly with Miss 5 snuggled up in bed watching her favourite DVD’s (compliments of the cruise) we sat on our private deck and enjoyed a few shameless selfies and danced the night away wishing the night would never end.
During the evening we could feel the wind starting to pick up and rock the boat. By morning we could see the storm coming as we rushed back to port to disembark.
Despite the weather, the experience of being back in Ha Long Bay on a Signature Cruise Tour was second to none. We loved every minute and are not surprised that Ha Long Bay is yet again calling us back to visit her some day.
Spare yourself the disappointment of a substandard Ha Long Bay tour company and book these guys. Every minute of our cruise they bent over backwards to please us and spoil us rotten.
The family cabin was amazing at how spacious the room was, and if you have more than one child, there is plenty of room for more beds. Just ask 🙂
The food was fine dining and individual dietary requirements were catered for.
The cabin crew LOVED KIDS
If you want to see more of our Vietnam adventures, you can check them out HERE.
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(no we are not affiliated with Signature Cruises, we genuinely LOVED them)