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“Amazing experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Columbus Cruise Company

Columbus Cruise Company
3 Hang Voi | Hoan Kiem Dist, Hanoi, Vietnam
043926 2579
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Fenwick, ON
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Amazing experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

We cruised with Columbus on the Santa Maria in April 2012, expectations were exceeded in all respects. All fellow cruisers from around the world agreed. We recommend the 3 day 2 night, as the full day fishing & lunch on the beach is a very unique experience. Staff was great with our 12 year old. I do recommend taking your own life jacket for the children for a good & safe fit. They truly do travel in an area off the beaten path...so avoid the Ha Long Bay highway, and go with Columbus!

Visited May 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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17 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Fantasic cruise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

This was by far one of the most enjoyable and luxurious trips i have ever been on. I think people have lost their ability to trust their gut feeling and rely too heavily on the internet and know when something might turn out good, i did this and did not regret it one bit. I was consistently replied to through email by Pham from Columbus, who informed me of what needed to be done every step of the way.

All i have read on here is negative reviews of an experience that never happened, trust me you missed out. We were greeted on the dot 8am by our guide for the trip and taken on a very fancy mini bus, shared with another company, which raised our eyebrows, until the guide announced there would only be four guests on the boat and this company had spare seats in their bus. Which turned our brows immediately into delight and surprise as we now had a 10 bedroom boat to share with another couple!!

We arrived into Halong Bay and dropped off the other customers, we then jumped into a taxi and left the hordes (not an exaggeration, see the picture). We arrived to the port for Bai Tu Long bay which was empty apart from a few Vietnamese people boarding a ferry boat, it was a very welcome change from the HUGE crowds of Halong. We boarded our boat to classical music and were immediately informed that due to it only being us onboard we were upgraded to the suite rooms!! The boat is white and as are all the boats in the bays, which is a shame as the interior is absolutely beautiful and very elegant. We had about 20mins to sort our stuff before we were called for lunch, which trust me, every meal is a feast!!

During our 3 days we visited a great family in the fishing village, went to various caves, kayaked, squid fished off the boat and fished at the village. We did spend a lot of time off the boat, but i didn't see this for one second a negative as a boat that size cannot explore the bay/coves as well as smaller boats. I had also arranged the dining in a cave experience for me and my girlfriend and thanks to the perfect trip we had so far up to that point, the moment felt perfect to propose, which we are now engaged.

If the trip was everything the reviews say, that this would not have been possible, so all i can say is trust your gut feeling and remember this is asia, things are done very differently, you will be pleasantly surprised.

If you want a sardine cruise that has no personal touch then please book through the 100+ companies in Hanoi, if you want a personal service tailored for you and in a secluded part of the province, that makes it feel like a unique trip, then book through columbus and the santa maria cruise

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
Top Contributor
145 reviews 145 reviews
46 attraction reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
“Concerns led us to Abandon Cruise”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

Booked a cruise based on advice from friends who had taken a cruise a few years ago. When we went to the office to make the final cash payment (should have set off an alarm bell that they would not take a credit card like other cruise companies) it had moved to a residential alleyway where the residents seemed genuinely surprised to see western tourists (most cruise company offices are highly visible to attract customer, this one seemed will hidden from view). The cruise was explained and on the map it was clear that we were taking something other than the marked route. We were the only customers in the office during our visit and it seem distinctly uncomfortable. We initially simply marked it down to an Asian way of doing business which is often confusing to westerners, but nagging doubts continued. We checked tripadvisor and found no ratings for any of their ships for over two years, which heightened our concerns. We asked our hotel about the business and they indicated that, so far as they knew, the company had gone out of business several months ago. All of this, combined with some of the reviews on Agoda made us decide to abandon our reservation and rebook elsewhere. While this may seem an overreaction to some, we are seasoned international travels and have learned to trust our instincts when something seems sketchy. we would suggest that anyone considering a booking with this company be dilligent in seeking current reviews of their service (which we were unable to find)

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“I don't know what the tour was like because we never went...”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2012

We booked a cruise on the Santa Maria cruiser after meticulous research and a recommendation from a friend. Unfortunately this still was not enough to prevent being scammed. After having booked well in advance and paid a deposit, we arrived at the Columbus Cruise office the day before our cruise to pay the balance as instructed. When we arrived we were told the tour would not depart because they had found out, that morning, they were required to paint the boat white due to government regulation. They attempted to change us to a different cruise, which turned out to be on a larger boat, and in Halong Bay, not the quieter Bai Tu Long Bay. We were skeptical, since we knew that the government regulation to paint the junks had been in place for some time. We asked for a refund, and then were told they didn't have the money and would bring it to our hotel in a few days. Unlikely. We had an unpleasant hour arguing until they finally gave us our money. Not how we wanted to spend our holiday. Upon returning to our hotel they confirmed that the Santa Maria had been painted white some months ago, so the story we were told was untrue. I would definitely not recommend booking with Columbus cruise.

Visited May 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
redriver2010, General Manager at Columbus Cruise Company, responded to this review, May 30, 2012
Dear Guest,

We would like to thank you for your feedback following your tour with Columbus Cruise. We are very sorry for your unfortunate experience.

First of all, it was really unfortunate for you and our company that your cruise with Santa Maria was forced to be cancelled due to the unexpected decision from the local authority which suddenly required the Santa Maria to be painted right on your departure date without any prior warning. It was a sad news that your trip was reluctant to be cancelled due to such an objective reason and such a poor decision from the area’s management board. This is what we never want, and in response, our company did try our best to find another high class junk to maintain your tour and we got you acceptance. In fact, you were transferred to the five-star Victory Star Cruise, an even better cruiser with higher standard and requiring higher price. We booked this junk without requiring any more amount from you, and accepted to burden the loss. All of our attempt was just in the pursuit of your satisfaction. We were also very sorry when knowing that the trip with Victory Star did not meet your expectation, but it was really hard for us to return you half of the amount as you requested. As a part of our responsibility, we just can accept to refund you a part of the sum, but sadly we could not get your agreement at the end.

As a matter of fact, Columbus Cruise felt very sorry when you had to undergo such an unpleasant experience. Yet, we did not get any benefit from this situation. Our company also did all the best we could under our control, even accepted the loss amount, plus the partial refund. We appreciate your sharing your concerns, but we also hope that you could sympathize with our efforts.

Sincerely,

Dao Ngoc Anh
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Macau, China
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“wonderful crew”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2012

we went with columbus cruise on the santa maria boat as recommended by our hotel. We had an amazing time, it was one of the highlights of our trip in vietnam. The boat crews were wonderful and polite, although there was some communication barrier. nevertheless, they were helpful and assisted us in any way they can. The food was ok, nothing special. but the way they were presented were interesting and there were loads of food.the drinks werent expensive, they were around 2-3 usd. you are on a boat, so dont expect 1 usd drink.The only thing that would have been better, was the guide's english. we can barely understood him, he was trying, but he needs to try harder. the rooms and toilet were clean. overall, i'd say its a really great cruise to go with, not cheap, but worth the pay.

Visited December 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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