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Best Halong Bay cruises


Are you looking for the best Halong Bay cruise, but with so many boats you are confused as to which is the best Halong Bay tour for your family?  In my view, the best Halong Bay cruises are the overnight one, if you have a little more time choose a Halong Bay 2 night cruise or if you are super short on time a Halong Bay day tour will suffice.  Whatever length Halong cruise you choose I recommend you do your research, read Halong Bay cruise TripAdvisor reviews and ensure the boat will meet your requirements.


Whilst it is possible to get a cheap Halong Bay cruise, I probably wouldn’t recommend it, you really want to be sure to book a cruise that has an excellent reputation and proven record for providing a safe and fantastic experience.  I also don’t think it is necessary to book a Halong Bay luxury cruise.  Halong tours somewhere from low to mid range will be perfect and provide you an experience of a lifetime!


When I took my family on a Halong Bay trip, I spend hours trying to work out which Halong Bay boat trip would be best for us.  I spend hours reading various Halong Bay Cruise recommendations, including every Halong Bay TripAdvisor review and asked various questions to people who had travelled on different boats. Even though I had been to Halong Bay before, its different when travelling with kids and I wanted to ensure we all had an amazing time.


Given all the cruises I have only done in the past is the Halong Bay overnight cruise, this post will focus on the 2 day, 1 night cruise options.



As for the things to do in Halong Bay, from the few cruises on Halong Bay I have done in the past and from the Halong Bay tours reviews I have read it appears that pretty much all boats more or less follow the same Halong Bay itinerary and do the same activities. All the top Halong Bay cruises offer the following:


  • Activities including swimming, kayaking Halong Bay, squid fishing, tai chi in the morning and karaoke at night. A stop to the Halong Bay caves and walks to some fantastic view points across the bay.
  • All cruises include all meals on board and the standard of meals are first class. Drinks are extra and all boats appear to overcharge on this front.
  • Generally a Halong Bay tour package will offer transportation from Hanoi to Halong Bay and then from Halong Bay to Hanoi (although some charge extra for this service).


Given what to do in Halong Bay is more or less the same among the Halong Bay tour packages, the main differences and things you should consider when choosing a Halong Bay junk cruise are as follows:


  • The star rating – do you want a Halong luxury cruise, budget Halong Bay cruise or is an average standard ok? We went on the Royal Palace and we found the standard to be quite luxurious for us even though this is a budget to mid range boat.
  • The size of your room. You don’t want to be squeezed in a room, but on the other hand you will be spending most of your time on the main deck so in my opinion it doesn’t need to be overly big either. On the Royal Palace, our room was 22 m2 and we found this quite big.
  • How many cabins are on the boat? For me this is pretty important. The more cabins on the boat, mean more people and more decks. More decks means there is more chance that your room will be on a deck different to the main deck, so you will spend a lot of time walking up and down stairs – not always convenient particularly if travelling with children. More people on the boat also means the more time it takes to get on and off the boat for activities and the more time it takes to be served your meals.
  • Transportation. Is transport from Hanoi to Halong Bay included in your package or does it cost extra?


To help you decipher through all the information out there on the internet- in this post I am going to share with you my research on the best cruise in Halong Bay in the mid range price bracket for families and give you my recommendations for the best Halong Bay cruise recommendation.


To make it my list for the best Halong Bay overnight cruise, it must meet the following criteria:


  • The Halong Bay boat cruise must have a family room able to cater for 2 adults and 2 children (ie 1 double bed and 2 single beds, or 2 double beds)- alternatively must have interconnecting rooms;
  • The Halong Bay cruise price must be under $850 AUD per cruise (yep these cruises are expensive!!) I have cruises well under $500 AUD on this list; and
  • At least 75% of people on TripAdvisor must have rated the Halong tour as excellent or very good – I am not interested in any “average” ratings, we are looking for the best Halong cruise after all!


Now I know some of you may not be families – but these are recommended Halong Bay tours for you too. When we went on our recent Vietnam Halong Bay cruise – there was only one other family on the boat – most people were in couples or groups of friends. Of course, there are plenty of other cruises not on this list that will fit your requirements if you are only 1 or 2 people. You can of course also do a Halong Bay 3 day cruise or a Halong Bay day trip from Hanoi – but for the purposes of this post I have just focused on the Halong Bay 1 night cruise.  For a full list, click here.


Before we get into it – rather than making your Halong Bay cruise booking direct with the cruise (which in most cases is more expensive anyway) I recommend you make your Halong Bay booking through either Booking.com or Agoda.  The reason being is that no deposit is required and if you change your mind or find a better deal you can cancel without any penalties.


I have listed Halong cruise tours from the most expensive to the least expensive. Please note that with the pricing I have provided – this is a guide only and really depends upon the time of year you go. The price listed is for 2 adults and 2 children and includes all meals on board.


Don’t just take my word for it, that the below cruises are well recommended.  For your convenience I have provided links to the TripAdvisor Halong Bay reviews, so check these out too.


OK so here it is – the best Halong Bay cruises for families:


Best Halong Bay Cruise 2019 Comparison Chart


Check the table below for a quick comparison of the cruises, then keep reading below for information.


CruiseImageStar RatingTripAdvisor Rating for ExcellentNo of CabinsFamily Room SizeSpecial Room FeaturesActivitiesTransportBook Now
Alisa*****82%2032m2Family suites contain a private balcony and Jacuzzi tubTaichi, swimming, cooking class, squid fishing, kayaking, visit fishing village & visit a caveProvided at additional costBook Now
Pelican Halong *****65%2836m2Family suites have a private sitting areaYoga, mediation, tai chi, fishing, cooking, visit a cave, kayaking, & cooking class.Provided at additional costBook Now
Aphrodite *****84%1722m2NAKayaking (at additional charge), tai chi, visit a cave, swimming, cooking class & squid fishing.Provided at additional costBook Now
Halong Athena *****95%2158m2 (2 connecting rooms)Private balcony with connecting doorTai chi, visit a cave, kayaking, visit a floating village, squid fishing and cooking class.Provided at additional costBook Now
LaFairy Sails****82%1118m2NATai chi, cooking classes, kayaking, fishing, swimming, IncludedBook Now
V'Spirit Classic***81%1228m2 (2 connecting rooms)NAVisit a cave, swimming, fishing, tai chi, kayaking, visit fishing village & cooking classIncludedBook Now
Halong Apricot ***87%2825m2NAKayaking, swimming, hiking, squid fishing, tai chi, visit a cave & cooking classIncludedBook Now
Halong Glory Legend****62%2832m2NACooking class, fishing, kayaking, swimming, tai chi & visit a cave,. IncludedBook Now
Image Halong***65%1328m2NAVisit a cave, swimming, cooking class, fishing & tai chiProvided at additional costBook Now
Rosa***84%936m2 (2 connecting rooms)NAVisit fishing village, swimming, hiking, fishing, kayaking & cooking classIncludedBook Now
Royal Palace****77%1423m2NACooking class, tai chi, fishing, kayaking, hiking, swimming & visit a cave.IncludedBook Now


Best Halong Bay Cruises Reviews


Alisa Cruise – 5 stars

Alisa Cruise - Halong Bay Cruise TripAdvisor



Click here for the best rates and availability for Alisa Cruise.


Pelican Halong Cruise – 5 stars

Pelican Halong Bay Cruise - Halong Bay overnight cruise



Click here for the best rates and availability for Pelican Halong Cruise.


Aphrodite Cruises – 5 stars


Aphrodite Cruises - Halong Bay Cruise Reviews



Click here for the best rates and availability for Aphrodite Cruises.



Halong Athena Cruise – 5 star


Click here for the best rates and availability for Halong Athena Cruise.



LaFairy Sails – 4.5 stars


LaFairy Sails - Best Halong Bay Cruise



Click here for the best rates and availability for LaFairy Sails.



V Spirit Classic Cruises – 3 stars


V Spirit Classic Cruises - Halong Bay Cruise Reviews



Click here for the best rates and availability for V’Spirir Cruises.


Ha Long Apricot Cruises – 3 stars


Ha Long Apricot Cruises - Best Halong Bay Cruise Recommendation



Click here for the best rates and availability for Ha Long Apricot Cruise.


Halong Glory Legend Cruise – 4 stars


Halong Glory Legend Cruise - Best Halong Bay Cruise



Click here for the best rates and availability for Halong Glory Legend Cruise.


Image Halong Cruise – 3 stars


Image Halong Cruise - Best Halong Bay Cruise Recommendation



Click here for the best rates and availability for Image Halong Cruise.


Rosa Cruise – 3 stars


Rosa Cruise - Halong Bay boat cruise



Click here for the best rates and availability for Rosa Cruise.


Royal Palace Cruise – 4 stars


Royal Palace Cruise - Best way to see Halong Bay



Click here for the best rates and availability for Royal Palace Cruise.


Not necessarily after a family cruise, or kids are older enough to have their own room?  Here are is an additional cruise to consider:



If you have any questions on the information above or anything else about Vietnam, please don’t hesitate to send me an email.


Please note that the above links are affiliate links, which means that if you book through these links I will be paid a small commissioner at no extra cost to you. In fact I believe these links will most likely save you money. The small commissions I make help me bring this information to you completely FREE – thanks for supporting our website.


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