I took the Royal Heritage Cruise in November. I would highly recommend this cruise. The boat was comfortable, food was good, and the crew and guide were very friendly and accommodating. The excellent guide who was with us the entire time, from pickup at the hotel, overnight on the boat, and until dropoff back at the hotel was regularly checking to see if anyone had any problems, complaints, or questions. They also check with everyone about any food allergies or preferences and made other food available if there were any foods people wanted to avoid.
The bus ride from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay is an experience in itself. Very scenic through the countryside and through some small towns, but the road is very bumpy in some places. There is work going on to reconstruct the road, but it looked as if it will be quite a while before the construction is completed. The drivers on the road are very scary, with many vehicles passing when they shouldn't and vehicles travelling very close to each other. The Royal Heritage bus driver did a good job of driving.
There were many activities available once you get to Ha Long Bay and transfer to the ship. They took us to explore the cave, did some kayaking, night fishing, Thai Chi with the captain, excursion to Cat Island for a hike to the observation point or swimming, and a cooking class - all included.
The boat is very comfortable,with air-conditioined wood-paneled staterooms and in-room washrooms with toilet, sink and separate shower stall. The single supplement was only about $30US. There was an eating deck with bar, and a top deck with lounge chairs to see the wonderful scenery.
The food was very good but alcohol and wine prices were quite high ($30 US for a bottle of wine). The food was served on platters on the table so you could help yourself to whatever you wanted.
Overall, an excellent package at a reasonable price. Friendly crew and great sightseeing. Well worth booking with Royal Heritage Cruises.
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