: Patrick Saurel
We travelled in a family group of 9 (one person with limited mobility), and cruised Ha Long Bay on the Paradise 3. The vessel was very well maintained, from the exterior paint work to the cabin, to the dining room's crockery. The staff of the Paradise 3 was exceptional, and made our 3day/2night cruise such a memorable experience. Our experience in Ha Long Bay on this occassion was an incredible improvement from our previous experience in 2003. Much has changed since then. There are an array of cruise operators in HLB, but what sets the Paradise Cruises apart from the rest is the crew and the level of comfort rendered by the surroundings of the Paradise Vessels.
-The excursions were really enjoyable.
-Food throughout the cruise was great
-Cabin rooms were great
-Staff on P3 were absolute professionals - friendly, helpful, knowledgeable
-Staff of the Paradise explorer day boat was also exceptional.
-We were also on our honeymoon, and at short notice (literally 2 hrs before we boarded the vessel), the crew surprised us with a small cake as part of their turn down service.
-The shuttle transfer vehicle aircon was weak and needed maintainance
: Roland Lieb
Paradise Luxury boats are very comfortable. The meals were good with the highlight being the lunch on the day boat on day two, truly excellent. Our balcony room was small but adequate. The bathroom and shower were fine. My wife fell of her bike whilst on a cycling excursion and scraped her knee. The personal attention given her by the Cruise Director was exceptional. Overall the experience was positive but suggest you pay the extra for private car transfer. The minibus ride is awful.
: Antier Huges
There are so many options for cruising in Halong Bay and the prices vary so much that I was extremely apprehensive about making a bad choice. Having completed the trip, I feel satisfied that I truly did make the best choice.
The cabins are fantastic - go for one with a balcony. We considered upgrading to a suite while on-board, but the view was actually better from our balcony, so we stayed with the deluxe cabin. I was impressed with the bathroom, too. How fun to watch the limestone peaks float by while having a shower!
Paradise's staffs are wonderful, though most don't speak English very well, making communication complicated. They did go so far out of their way to accommodate us and our difficult diets. They were always ready to do absolutely anything to satisfy us. Our guide to the caves even gave up his laser pointer to our four-year-old to make him happy! And our cruise manager arranged for him to sit with the Captain as the ship made its way back to the harbor.
The excursion to the caves was great, but Tetov Island was overrun by tourists and left us feeling like we were at a backpackers' paradise in Bali. The lagoon was nice, just very, very . . . peaceful (boring, according to my husband).
Meals were so-so, though they did try very hard. Of course, we weren't there just to eat!
: Martine Miart
Apparently there are about 300 companies operating in Halong Bay although i'm not sure how many cruise ships there are doing these excursions. As anyone who has researched this trip knows, you can do day cruises or overnight ones to experience the Bay and some of its attractions. The Paradise operation is extremely professional and efficient (my only other cruise is transatlantic on the QM2 so not easy to compare the two!). Seeing as Paradise's ships are moored closest to the main embarkation point I guess they are probably the top cruise operator here. Food on board was good - no, very very good. Activities on board - aside the various stops and excursions - included cookery demonstration, cocktails, night squid fishing, spa/massage services (not included in price of cruise), movie and early morning Tai Chi class. Well, like in any cruise, you don't have to do any of this - or go to the various caves if you don't want to. Just go for the photo opportunity and the food. But all of it was extremely well organised and enjoyable. if I want to "do" Halong Bay in style, this is the way to do it.
: Dominique Andreys
We took a 3 day/2 night cruise on one of the Paradise Luxury cruise ships. We had booked a balcony double room but were informed upon boarding that due to a mix-up, our room was unavailable for the first night and we has been upgraded to a lower deck suite. Whilst the suite was larger, it has small windows and was quite dark. We requested an alternative cabin & took a balcony twin, with two single beds and were given two bottles of wine as compensation. The cabin was small, but very well fitted-out with a good shower. The balcony was what made the room, just about big enough for a table and two chairs, but a great place to end the night with a bottle of wine, looking out at the lights of other ships in Halong Bay.
Service on board was excellent, particularly the cruise director Peter Nakura. Food was varied, plentiful & of a very high quality. Alcohol was expensive by the generally very cheap Vietnamese standards, particularly wine, but probably of a similar price to Western cruises. The benefit of the 2 night cruise over the standard 1 night was being able to get away from the flotilla of cruise ships on the day boat during the second day when all the overnight ships return to port to disembark passengers and restock. Particularly memorable was the visit to the floating fishing village.
: Kurdi Julien
We had high expectations in this part of our trip and we were not disappointed. It started by a pickup service from our hotel in Hanoi to the Paradise Club where you are boarding the cruises. Half way to of the van ride there is a toilet stop in a tourist shopping mall. You can use the quite clean toilets and you can buy lots of things but u don't need to.
When you get to the cruise terminal you are welcomed and your luggage is completely taken care for. After you wait in the nice lounge until boarding, which was not long for us. The lounge is very nice and high standard. After boarding you are welcomed by the ship manager and the full crew. We booked a three days two nights stay and it was fantastic. The food is great and the crew is amazingly friendly with whatever you need. The ship manager Edgar is very professional host but also a friendly entertainer. We had a balcony deluxe room with a nice comfy bed and a big walk in shower, tastefully decorated and super clean, though small, as it still is a ship.
There are always activities organised that you can join or not and yes, you go to places where lots of other tourists are because for sure all have the same idea and want to see these amazing places. But also we went kayaking, only some people from our boat, to incredibly nice nature places that we enjoyed completely lonely. The drinks are to be payed extra, quite expensive for Vietnam but still supercharged compared to European cruises. The cherry on the pie for us was that we met some amazing people from New Zealand and a couple from Barcelona that made this trip even better. We will keep this three days in Halong Bay in very special memory.
My husband and I couldn’t really fault this trip, but we did pay for what we got....
We booked for the the two night three days trip which i think was definitely worth it, so you can see more of the bay etc.
The boat and accommodation were both excellent and the food was fantastic too. We were upgraded to the best room on the boat and had out own deck with loungers.
There isn’t a great deal of time to chill as you are busy both days...but its quite nice and you do get to meet alot of other travellers....
If you can take some of your own alcohol with you do it, esp if you are trying to save a few penny’s, but you can buy it from the locals off the floating boats....
The water is a little cloudy compared to that of the Adriatic (which is amazing) and it spoils the scenery a little. Its not dirty just cloudy...
All in all it was a great way to see ha Long Bay and we would recommend it to anyone!