Elizabeth Koehler | December 26th, 2018
Vietnam is stunning. The landscapes, the people, and the rich history shapes it into a phenomenal country. Part of these insane landscapes includes Ha Long Bay, about three hours outside of Hanoi in the northern part of Vietnam. In December of 2018, the Travelogue was fortunate enough to join Aphrodite Cruises for a wonderful, three day, two night, luxury cruise. Have you ever heard of these Ha Long Bay cruises? If not, we're here to help you plan your next vacation!
*Disclaimer: While The Travelogue did receive a discount on our stay and a room upgrade, all opinions are our own. We only write how we feel in order to only recommend you the best.
When looking up cruises in Ha Long Bay, you’ll probably be overwhelmed with the amount of options. Cruises to Ha Long Bay can range from a day trip to up to 3 days, and have a wide variety of prices. You can stay on a ‘junk boat’ with a more party centric theme for less than 50 USD, or choose to go on the more luxurious side, where prices can range up to from 300 to over 600 USD a person.
Ha Long Bay is a gorgeous part of Vietnam, located on the coast, with over 1,600 island dramatically jutting out of the water. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, many of these islands are untouched and uninhabited - pristine, jaw dropping wilderness. Halong literally means 'descending dragon', and legend has it, when the country was newly formed and was protecting itself from northern invaders, the Mother Dragon came to help fight and protect. It is a special place, and you will feel the magic the entire time you are visiting!
Aphrodite Cruises are definitely on the luxurious side, and they’re worth it. Southeast Asia is typically loved by backpackers and young people for being cheap, but we totally recommend splurging on your cruise line, and we absolutely recommend Aphrodite Cruises.
From the moment you’re picked up from your hotel, you are treated with kindness and A+ service. You’ll take a luxury vehicle with plush, leather seats, Air Conditioning, and WIFI to make your three hour trip comfortable.
Once we arrived for check in, we were greeted with tea and cookies while we waited for others to arrive. After a quick safety briefing, we were able to open up the door to our room and pop a bottle of champagne. From that point on, it was relaxation central.
Now, let’s talk about this boat. It was insanely beautiful. With sitting areas, a beautifully set up dining room, multiple bars, a gym, chandeliers, an insane lounging deck up top, and more, we were in awe.
The Travelogue was fortunate enough to stay in one of two terrace suite rooms. These rooms are at the front of the boat, and are extraordinary. A lush bed, a tub with a viewing window so you never stop staring at the scenery, multiple sitting areas, and a terrific terrace to overlook the front of the boat and Ha Long Bay greeted us. Honestly, we’re still dreaming about that bed and wondering what mattress it was so we can get it stateside.
The boat was equipped with two bars, an amazing sunbathing deck up top, and extravagant dining room. Woodwork details, plush seats all around, chandeliers, and the finest details made every part of this boat extraordinary. Out of all the boats on Ha Long Bay, we were convinced it was one of the nicest.
Now, let’s talk excursions – because you can’t stay on the boat forever...actually, you probably could if you wanted to. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sipping a cocktail and relaxing your entire trip if that’s what you wanted to do.
Ha Long Bay cruises typically run on pretty tight schedules. You’ve got things to do, places to be, all in a timely manner. On our first day, our captain and cruise director actually decided to change our schedule events – which worked out in our favor! We were always seeming to beat the crowds and start excursions earlier than other groups, which is very nice especially when competing against the day cruises. Though this schedule can sometime feel rigid, you have to remember, you are on a boat, and offerings are limited.
However, we loved our excursions! We explored caves, kayaked, spent time on TiTov island where you can hike to a tremendous view and spend time on a beach, and coasted around a village. Out of all the excursions, we definitely enjoyed the kayaking and opportunity to hike the most.
Beyond out of boat excursions, Aphrodite also had different demonstrations and options for things to do on the boat. Each night, we were shown classic Vietnamese cooking demonstrations, and the able to try our own hand at cooking different types of spring rolls. At night, squid fishing is also available – if it’s big enough, you might even get to eat your catch the next day!
A good cruise isn’t complete without food – and wow, Aphrodite nailed it. We’re so stuffed thinking about all of our delicious meals and cocktails (in a good way). Every meal had multiple courses, and we were often given the option to select what we wanted. Starting off with an appetizer, a light salad, a main course, then a desert, food varieties ranged from soups, seafoods, perfectly done red meat, fresh fruit, and chocolate mousse. The chef on our boat was absolutely amazing, and if you didn’t finish your whole plate, the staff was always sure to make everything was perfect (and it was).
The cocktails and juices on board were also amazing. Fresh squeezed daily, options from mango, watermelon, pineapple, orange, and more greeted you. Special concoctions (the Aphrodite Special) as well as classics like a Mai Tai or daiquiri were sure to quench your thirst.
All in all, we would recommend Aphrodite Cruises. If you’re looking to splurge, it’s the perfect place to do so on vacation. The service, the excursions, the food, and the comfort made this trip a memorable one, one that we are happy to share with others, and hope to do again!