Ha Long Bay with Galaxy Cruise LinesMay 26, 2018
The grand finale of our tour of Vietnam was a three day cruise on Ha Long Bay with Galaxy Cruise Lines. Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam’s most famous sights…thousands of small limestone mountains filling the bay, not far from the South China Sea. This is a popular tourist sight and another UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting thousands of visitors every year for day trips or multi day cruises around the bay like us. This was something that Tim and I were really looking forward to.
On Board the Cruise Ship
Once on board, we were given a few minutes to explore the ship before being served lunch. In the dining area, a room surrounded by windows so we would not miss those spectacular views of the Ha Long Bay islands, we ate a Vietnamese lunch of meat dishes, seafood, and vegetables, with fruit for dessert.
After lunch everyone got settled into their rooms. Tim and I splurged here, reserving the Honeymoon Suite for the two of us and a twin room for Tyler and Kara just across the hall. Normally we do not book such fancy accommodations but we wanted this experience to be as nice as possible.
This would also be the first time that Tyler and Kara would sleep alone in their own room since starting this trip. All four of us were thrilled with our rooms. With the Honeymoon Suite we had a slightly larger room with larger windows. Most rooms are on the bottom deck with small windows and less visibility. Our room was one of four on the upper level, the advantage here being better views out of our windows.
Kayaking in Ha Long Bay
After cruising a short ways through Ha Long Bay we arrived at our first excursion, kayaking in the bay. We all paired off into bright yellow kayaks for a one and a half hour journey through the bay and nearby wet caves.
The skies were overcast, as they had been all day which was a bit of a downer, but this type of weather is to be expected in February. The winter months are Northern Vietnam’s rainy season, almost permanently covering the area in a blanket of clouds and mist. We still had two days to go so we had plenty of time to be hopeful that we might actually get to see the sun.
About the Ha Long Bay Cruise
The cruise on Ha Long Bay was wonderful and is probably the highlight of Vietnam for our family, although Hoi An is a close second. It started off dreary and awakening to fog on our first morning was a bit of a let down, but it was still a beautiful, enjoyable experience. The tour itinerary kept us busy, with activities like kayaking, tai chi, cooking, squid fishing, and karaoke. It is impossible to get bored. The staff on board made sure that everyone was always comfortable and having a good time, and the accommodations were very clean and comfortable.