Picking the right Ha Long Bay Cruise in North Vietnam can be pure ‘drama’; I’m not kidding because honestly there are so many cruises to pick from and hordes of reviews that further confuse you. This was my first cruise experience and I wanted nothing but the best to experience the magnificent Ha Long Bay. Truth be told, I was most definitely divided by what I found online but when I finally narrowed down on Aphrodite Cruise; right from the first interactions I knew I was making the right choice.
Cruising the Ha Long Bay Route
If you (like me) are a sucker for picturesque views then this should definitely get on your bucket list. Ha Long Bay offers stunning towering limestone pillars and tiny islets, scatter of island that are topped by an incredible forest that rise from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Taking this cruise will allow you the opportunity to feast your eyes to a spectacular vision of ethereal beauty. In 1994, Ha Long Bay was designated a World Heritage site; no surprise that it now is a popular travel hub in Asia.
Luxury Boutique Home over the Waters
Luxury– well, this is precisely what you’d feel when you choose to cruise Ha Long Bay with Aphrodite Cruises. This name is apt for an experience like no other; Aphrodite cruises is like a goddess of beauty that emerge from the crystal waters, travelling in style into distant shores. It is a 5 star ship, said to be a first in the region and is every bit opulence in an almost effortless manner. So if you are looking at indulging your senses then pick Aphrodite cruise and let me tell you why.
Aphrodite Cruises is a Complete Package
Going into this, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised and how! Yes, there is no denying that the Ha Long Bay site itself is magnificent but I would love to list some of the elements that I found to be extremely key while picking the right cruise. I do admit that choosing the right ship contributed largely to my overall experience at Ha Long Bay.
- Incredible Ship: The ship features a total of 17 cabins; with 5 cabin types to choose from. The rooms are fully equipped with all amenities and furnishings that ensure you want for nothing. The ship is designed in elegant woodwork and represent local traditional décor with much ease. You have a posh fine dining area where you can take your meals, a wonderful sundeck to lounge in as you sip your beverage and also the option to indulge in their onboard-spa.
- Safety and Technology: Before getting ahead of myself, I must talk about safety on the ship. If you’re like me, you will want to know how safety is treated onboard the Cruise. As a part of the introductory meet, we are given a safety brief that is extensively appropriate. Aphrodite Cruises uses the latest in navigational technology, diligently stays up-to-date on safety drills, crew training, and equipment inspection, so you can let those nagging worries to rest.
- Food: This is one of my favorite things about the cruise with Aphrodite. In the days onboard the ship, your palate will be delighted with the incredible flavors of Vietnamese cuisine. Their in-house chef is nothing short of brilliance and every plate that we were presented with would outdo the previous. Just when you think you have tasted it all, you will be surprised with the variety, the quality and the sheer love that exudes out of each plate of food.
- The bar and Sun Deck: I usually write about food and beverages together but this deserves a space on its own and let me tell you why. When you complete participating in the all day activities chartered out in your itinerary, all you will want to do is relax, unwind and watch the sunset as you sip your choice of drink. The bar offers a range of delicious drinks and the sun deck with its comfortable seating and beautiful views is truly a great marriage.
- The Activity: The cruise is designed to have two types of itineraries. I’d suggest choosing the 3 days itinerary as it ideal; giving you ample time to participate in the activities but also leaving you with time to just soak in the bliss that is Ha Long Bay. From visiting the Caves and Fishing Villages to Kayaking, Hiking, Swimming, Squid fishing, Cooking demonstrations, learning Tai Chi basics and more. Yes there is much to do but it is spaced out so you never feel too rushed.
- Quality of Service: Aphrodite Cruises ticks all the right boxes for me; from the vessel itself, the visual and gastronomical experiences it offers but also largely because of its amazing crew. Everything onboard the ship screams class. It was evident that the crew take quality seriously and this reflects at every point of interaction. The crew and their service was impeccable to say the least; with a smile on their face and a desire to serve you right- you cannot go wrong here.
My 3 days with Aphrodite Cruise, was everything I hoped it to be and so much more. I loved that while there was an aura of luxury to the ship, it also felt so warm with the service extended. Ensuring you are pampered, treated like royalty and balancing that with the social banter that followed through the day made the experience magical. Would I do this again? Most certainly because it is totally worth every penny you will spend. We not only created memories but made some amazing friends for life, I couldn’t suggest this more- it’s the best gift you’ll give yourself.