“Picking the right cruise in Halong Bay was a largely overwhelming process,” says Geeky Explorer -- “more than 200 different boats available, each with their own route, facilities, activities and prices made me go nuts!” You can get really cheap cruises “beginning at a rock-bottom jaw-dropping $30 per person to do an afternoon cruise around the bay,” and going upwards to $400 per person/day for a luxury overnight cruise, explains Independent Travel Cats. You don’t need to book with a luxury operator to have a nice cruise, “but if you book at the budget level it is hard to know what to expect in terms of service, food, safety, and accommodations.” And here’s the Rusty Compass Halong Bay cruise options guide.
The number of Halong Bay cruise and junk ship websites is “overwhelming,” says Little Grey Box. And the reviews of mid-price companies are mixed -- “some people rave about them and say they are great, others totally pan them, telling horror stories like finding rats in their cupboards!” The best way to choose a cruise is “get recommendations from people you know. … get in touch with any of your friends or friends-of-friends who have visited Halong Bay and ask them which company they used.” Even if they had a terrible time, “it’ll help you narrow down the list of companies you look at.” And keep in mind that when it comes to cruises you get what you pay for. “There are budget cruises for as little as $55US for a two-day cruise,” says Little Grey Box, “but if you’re paying little and expecting a lot, you may be disappointed .”