The Alova Gold cruises came highly recommended by Ms Anna of my Hotel in hanoi, where we'd stayed. Based on her recommendation, we decided to take a chance to book with Go Asia Travel and go for the 3d/2n cruise and boy, it was the right decision! Any anxieties we had at the start (due to all the negative reviews of Halong bay cruises in general) were soon dispelled.
The entire journey (bus and boat) was handled professionally, and it was also good to know that the Dutch manager, Sidney, was onboard to supervise the cruise operations. That the boat was brand new also boosted our confidence in having chosen the right cruise. We were certainly well looked after by the friendly and polite boat staff, and Sidney ensured that everything worked smoothly. When I felt unwell, he even offered me a complimentary cup of ginger tea! As for the food, OMG, dish after dish just kept on coming. The meat dishes were tastier than their veggie dishes (average but they were fresh), but what stood out were the cocktails created specially for the cruise, inluding the passionfruit cocktail and beer cocktail (can't remember the names but you can't miss them on the menu as they're the speciality drinks)! Absolutely must-try. Did I also mention there's happy hour where you get 2 drinks for the price of 1??
As for our cabin, it was small but clean and cozy, with a comfy double bed and most importantly, a big window. Unfortunately our view was obscured by the Vietnamese flag just outside, but we ended up spending more time on the deck or the bar and restaurant, so it was fine. The only problem I really had was with the hot shower on our second day, which was barely lukewarm (not what you want during winter in Halong bay). But for the rest of the time, it worked well, so it's probably just an isolated incident. Certainly, the highlight of the cruise was not just the boat itself but also the stunning scenery surrounding us.
It's true that too many junks/boats were moored in the same area at night, and we found it incredibly crowded where we were, with junks and kayaks all over the place. That's also why we're glad we took the 3day cruise; on the second day, we boarded a smaller boat which sailed to the more remote areas of Halong bay, where we could finally soak in the amazing scenery and relax in the tranquil atmosphere. However, if I could choose the climate, I'd wish it was summer so we could enjoy swimming and kayakking too (it was simply too cold!).
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
- Sayang11 -