Just US - and the world.
To paddle on a kayak around Halong Bay is one of our bucket list.
It's the beauty of nature and the little things that stop me and reminds me that
God is a cheerful giver.
Halong Bay at dusk.
Unfortunately, the last day of our cruise was cancelled because of the incoming typhoon. All cruise ships have to go back to the port. We got lucky because the visibility was "better" unlike the days before we had our cruise. We were able to talk to some passengers before us and they said that they really had very low visibility of Halong Bay. We actually dreamt of having a picturesque picture - sun shining and clouds not hiding. Despite the weather mishap, I still consider ourselves lucky that we saw the bay, and get to experience it.
We ended our journey here and flew back to South Korea the next day from Hanoi.
To our next big Asian adventure! We can't wait.
Fernweh n. (genitive Fernwehes or Fernwehs, no plural). wanderlust, a desire to travel, a longing for far-off places.
Upon arrival at the welcome lounge, the clouds are covering the bay, and I uttered to Brock, "I hope this won't ruin Halong Bay for us." It’s a special experience having the opportunity to tour around Ha Long Bay. From exploring an island with sandy beach, the cave, the floating villages to paddling around the bay on a kayak. Definitely worthy to be added in everyones bucket list. The limestone formations seems to go on like forever and the landscape will definitely wow you. Who wouldn't want to see this place with sun shining bright with blue skies, right?
A boat took us to our main ship and as it slowly approaches, the cloudy haze was slowly going away and yes, it wasn't ruined for me like I initially thought. Instead, the sky created a dramatic entrance, as if this place is waiting to surprise us even more. Certainly, the dramatic haze didn't ruin anything for us. It enveloped the bay, with ghostly shadows like a scene from a haunted pirate ship movie.
This was our junk ship - Signature Cruise.
And there it was, waiting for our arrival. Our dream of cruising Halong Bay with a junk ship is slowly coming true. And it was everything that we thought it would be.
If you are looking for a luxury cruise with the biggest value for your money, we highly recommend Signature Cruises as part of your Indochina travel experience. Nothing beats the experience of cruising Halong Bay without the complete package of a luxurious junk ship.
We booked a luxury cruise through Signature Cruises for 3 days 2 nights. When we researched for this trip, the best way to see and appreciate Halong Bay at the same time feel relaxed is booking a 3 day 2 nights cruise. The amenities of the ship was impeccable for a junk cruise and at par to 5 star cruise ship amenities. This cruise only caters to small amount of people, that is the main reason why we loved it. As we are cruising, we saw a lot of other boats and you can easily compare the type of junk ships that are out there. Signature Cruises rises above this comparison.
The smaller boat that brought us to our junk ship and on different tours.
THE WELCOME LOUNGE
Hanoi is the gateway for Halong Bay. Halong Bay Port is 4 hours drive from Hanoi. When you book a cruise thru Signature Cruises, they will pick you up from your hotel in Hanoi. An 8-seater van picked us up on-time. The ride was comfortable, although, the roads leading to Halong Bay is quite bumpy. Signature Cruise has an exclusive welcome lounge near the port, where they give you information and your keys to the room. They offered welcome drinks and cold towels to every guest.
The staff on board the ship gave us an excellent customer service and catered to whatever we need. They were friendly and attentive, at the same time not intrusive. Sadly, our last night was cancelled because of an impending storm and the government commanded all of the cruise ships to go back to the port and dock. Signature Cruises handled the situation very well and they refunded our money that wasn't incurred on our last night. When they cancelled our tour, they immediately ask us on what we want to do and arranged it for us. They where there for the customers every step of the way.
Our Junior Suite
The cabin rooms exhibited French colonial style. The rooms are perfect for the whole Indochina experience since the windows offer the view of the bay from dusk to dawn. The rooms are comfortable and clean and has all the amenities that you need.
The cruise price includes on-board meals and the excursions to the Floating Village, kayaking around the bay and the cave (sadly we didn't see due to the storm). Signature Cruises served us fusion inspired dishes, of course, authentic Vietnamese dishes, as well as international dishes that caters to everybody's taste. The ingredients are caught from the sea and the food was such a delight. The taste of the meals can be compared to meals served at good restaurants.
P.S. If you are allergic to any kind of food, let them know, they would gladly assist you.
ON-BOARD ACTIVITIES AND EXCURSIONS
There's a lot of activities that this cruise provide for you. The excursions are all-inclusive to the rate that you pay. They gave us exciting cooking demonstrations, we get to do Vietnamese style spring rolls by ourselves and you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. They offered tai chi lessons during sunrise and spa services if you want to feel more relaxed. The excursions around the Floating Village was a great experience. The sun deck offers a 360 degrees view of the bay, it will surely take your breath away.
Vung Vieng Floating and Fishing Village
They have pets too!
The school at the Floating Village.
The pearl farm.
How to harvest pearl and make pearl jewelries.
Overall, this cruise gave us the experience that we are looking for. It is a great experience from start to finish. We highly recommend this to anyone. Truth be told, there are a lot of companies that will provide you with the same activities but sometimes the adventure is on how you travel. This was a great experience that will stay with you forever and worth indulging for. We researched the prices of other ships that provides the same service, and we felt at that time, they gave us the highest value for our money. For a company that is new in this business, they have given us the total travel experience that is Halong Bay.
P.S. If Halong Bay has been part of your travel must-do's, visit it now. We are quite disappointed how the Vietnamese government is taking care of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some parts of the bay where we kayaked around are full of trash. We sincerely hope that it won't get spoiled for future generations to come and they will do a better job preserving this magnificent natural wonder.
Disclaimer: This is not a paid review. The content on this post is our personal opinions and views. These are mentioned for the sole purpose of giving information of products and services that we like to recommend.
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We are husband + wife, adventurers + visual storytellers, who love to see the world together. Our goal is to see 100 countries in our lifetime and we are halfway there.