Bhaya Cruises have a long history of running amazing cruises on Halong Bay. Over the years they have been able to refine, tailor and perfect their Halong Bay 3 days 2-night cruise into the great product you experience today. And we here at Wyld Family Travel got to experience it first hand.
We were picked up at our Hanoi accommodation by a luxury minivan for our Halong Bay 3 day 2-night cruise. This mini-van was so comfortable. We had 4 big and comfortable individual leather chairs to sit it, with a bottle of water waiting for us in the cup holders. The 2.5-hour ride flew past in comfort as we relaxed in our chairs with free WiFi and charging points.
As we cruised the freeway we did wonder about a toilet stop on the way especially going to Halong Bay with kids. There was nothing to worry about as we pulled into a small car park. On-site were a coffee shop and an oyster farm where you could purchase pearls.
Once we arrived at the Bhaya Cruise Centre in Halong Bay our luggage was taken from the mini-van for us and checked in while we confirmed our booking. We were then directed to the second floor for a welcome drink and some free canapes to wait in air-conditioned comfort for our boarding time.
The upstairs terminal has comfy chairs to relax on and more charging stations for you to use while you wait to be called for your boarding time for one of the best Halong Luxury Cruises available
While we were waiting we met our cruise director Sam who gave us our room key and chatted to us about what we should expect while cruising Halong Bay with Bhaya Cruises.
This was where we also got to pick the scent for our room! Yes, you have a choice of three amazing fragrances to have in your room. We chose Jasmine while the girls decided on Peppermint. The one left out was Lemongrass.
Sam would become a familiar face and constant source of information over the next 3 days to us all while we cruised Halong Bay in Vietnam.
At 12.30 we walked to the jetty where The Au Co was waiting for us and boarded to the waves of the crew and the beating of drums! It was a great way to be greeted while walking to our home for the next few days. We had an adjoining family room so we were able to be close to the girls at all times. The girls had their room with 2 singles beds and we had ours with a generous and extremely comfy Queen size bed.
The rooms featured air-conditioning, private balcony, bar fridge, safe, private bathroom, robes and slip on’s. The airconditioning would become invaluable in the heat of Vietnam and with the scent, it was absolutely perfect.
Highlights of our Halong Luxury Cruise with Bhaya
The dining was first class with every meal absolutely special. We had a variety of foods served to us and all dietary requirements are taken into consideration if you have any. Your cruise consists of 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and two dinners
Among the standouts for us were:
The Grilled Prawn Thermidor served with wasabi mash and salad
Wild Mushroom soup with tempura
Dragonfruit and scallops salad
Beef with 5 spices
Sea Bass with salad and noodles
BBQ buffet dinner with, beef, seafood and chicken.
The breakfast buffet featured fruits, cold meats, cheese, cereal, yoghurt, fried noodles, baked beans, bread, pastries and more. In the morning the fresh and well-brewed coffee was always appreciated. There is enough variety at breakfast to satisfy even the fussiest child onboard.
The Activities with Bhaya Cruises
Kayaking in Halong Bay was available on both day 1 and day 2. Around 45 minutes to an hour was available on day one and then you could kayak Halong bay fishing villages on the day 2 excursion of the Halong luxury cruise.
Swimming on day one was at a private beach for Bhaya Cruise guests only. You reached this sheltered cove by climbing through an amazing cave. It was a great way to start our Halong Luxury cruise and beat the crowds as well. While swimming we were also able to meet some of the other people on our Halong Bay Cruise.
You also get to visit a floating fishing village on day 2 in the morning. See how life on the bay is for locals farming fish. These floating villages are amazing and form their own little communities. Their life is lived and money made on Halong Bay.
There is also an engine and wheelhouse tour on day 2 in the afternoon showing some of the mechanical and navigation aspects of The Au Co
In the afternoon of day 2 we took a boat to Cat Ba Bay. Bhaya Cruises sponsors a sustainable village project. You could either ride a bike ride or take a buggy the 5km to the village. We did a tour of their vegetable and herb gardens. We also watched a video in a local homestay about the endangered Langur which Bhaya is also trying to bring more attention to.
Back on the boat our cruise director Sam suggested a quick spot of swimming off the side of the boat. It was so hot on day 2 the cooling waters Cat Ba bay was amazing. It was that hot some of the staff were allowed to join us including Sam. Our daughter is a real water baby and she loved the opportunity for a chance to get back in the waters
You really need to do the Halong bay 3-day cruise to give yourself a chance to see and do everything on offer. A Halong Bay 1 day cruise would just not be enough to enjoy this magical piece of earth.
The drinks onboard
There is a bar on level 3 of the Au Co that is open all day and late into the evening. Happy hour is from 5.30-7.00 with buy one get one free and it is the most popular time. The bar serves beer, cocktails, mocktails, fruit smoothies, neat shots and mixers, as well as the usual red and white wine varieties. This area was a social affair most evenings as all aboard would meet up here for a drink and a chat prior to dinner being served.
On our first night onboard just before dinner, there was a Masterchef contest held on the deck. The contestants (my family included) had to make a Vietnamese spring roll and have it judged by the other guests onboard.
After dinner both nights when the sun went down, there was squid fishing and movie watching on the deck. Our oldest daughter was able to watch the new version of the jungle book one evening. On the second night, we had a fruit carving exhibit, more fishing and movies available. Tai Chi was available at 6.15am every morning on the upper deck as well.
The boat Au Co Gulf of Tolkin is both comfortable and luxurious. The staff are amazing with attention to detail and their constant delivery of impeccable customer service. The cruise was certainly family-friendly with other families also on board.
I would highly recommend the 2 night 3-day option as anything less on Halong Bay would be cheating yourself of one of the great places on this earth to experience.
Bhaya Cruise should be your first choice for your time on Halong Bay. Bhaya is the best luxury cruise on Halong Bay Vietnam going around today.
Where to stay in Hanoi
We choose to stay at the brand new Wyndham Garden Hanoi hotel. This hotel has well-appointed and comfortable adjoining rooms for families, doubles and singles. Pool, day spa, bars, cafes and restaurants onsite to make your visit amazing.
Hanoi has many accommodation options ranging from 5 Star to budget from hotel to hostel from apartment to homestay. There is literally something for everyone and every budget in Hanoi. Search here for accommodation options
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About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, husband and traveller. Having been to over 30 countries worldwide I think I know a thing or 2 about travelling with kids. I have been writing about travel on our website for the last 4 years and have featured on numerous other websites. When I am not talking, dreaming and planning travel I can be found working in disability support .