I went on a cruise in Halong Bay in 2011 with Opera Cruise so I wanted to take my girlfriend this time. I chose Syrena as they had good reviews and they included the hotel pickup as part of the charge. The pickup was on time with a nice minibus. The 4 hour drive (with a welcome break half way) is as bad as I remember but at least they are trying to improve the road (don't hold your breathe). As soon as we arrived we were taken onboard for a fantastic lunch as we sailed out into the Bay. The weather was poor (it was mid March) cloudy, cool but dry but our guide was very friendly and spoke good English as she outlined our itinerary for the 2 day 1 night cruise. Our first stop was the Vung Vien Floating Fishing Village where we transferred to a local sanpan boat (rowed by a 66 year old man who was stronger than me). It's amazing to see people living on the water this way. We stopped at the pearl farm to see how they culture pearls, then went back to the ship and cruised to Titov Island where we climbed for a spectacular view of the islands. We then returned to the ship and had a cooking lesson in making spring rolls before some squid fishing from the back of the ship. We then had a wonderful seafood dinner. The food really was first class on the ship. After dinner we had a film night then retired. Next day we had tea and pasties for breakfast as we sailed to the Surprise Cave nearby. After that we returned to the ship and had brunch as we sailed back to Halong City. This is a standard itinerary that most cruises follow but it works well even given the poor weather. As to the ship itself - it was in very good condition with well appointed cabins (we had a deluxe seaview cabin on the 2nd deck) that were well decorated and maintained. The ensuite was lovely with a good shower with lots of hot water. Everything worked in the cabin including the aircon unit. The rest of the ship was clean and elegant too with the staff very attentive and friendly. I can wholly recommend this cruising experience with Syrena. This is a mid-price range cruise package and you can pay quite a lot more but I doubt you'll have a much better experience than we did.
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