Booked a Halong Bay cruise (Swan Cruise), loved everything but... via Halong Bay Tours.
Positive: Our private transfer to Hai phong airport was smooth, we requested to leave two hours after the cruise ended, so we would not have to wait 4 hours in the airport. There wasn't much to see in walking distance from the port and we had just eaten another good dinner, so did not use the restaurants, but had a walk and a drink in the port (very quiet after the cruises had left).
Negative: The communication with the booking agency was not amazing. Every time it was a different person who replied, they did not reply to my questions and did not give me the information I asked for. I plan our trips myself, therefore I am a very demanding customer (I want details!), and the information regarding transfer on the HP, did not match the information I was received after booking. We had to leave 8.00 in the morning for the cruise, which embarked 13.30, a trip which takes about 2-2½ hours. They did not tell me why, but it is because they schedule a shopping stop after reaching Halong. It did not figure on the itinerary given (I think we wouldn't be the only ones to questions this stop), it was sold by the guide as a restroom/refreshments stop, we never got ANY kind of refreshments, but was ushered into a very depressing building with very boring assembly rooms with bad chairs. We guess, to receive as spiel about the products they sold in the shop, locally produced. We didn't want to hear a spiel in that dreary room, found nothing of interest in the shop and waited standing outside for the rest of the group. It was sold as a 30 min. stop, but took 95 min. And then it took 5 min. to reach the port. If we could have waited in the port, it would at least have been more pleasant.
Oh yeah, and the schedule said pickup from our hotel 8.15-8.45, which was changed to 8.00 the evening before (I did not see the change until morning). And the guide was waiting for us at 7.45. So we really loved that we had to rush check-out, without time for coffee, just to sit 95 min. waiting outside a shop (again NO COFFEE!).