Halong Bay cruises are a perfect way to explore one of the most beautiful areas in the world. It is plenty enjoyable to behold the natural beauty of Halong Bay (sometimes spelled “Ha Long Bay”) from the mainland of Vietnam, where the bay is located, but nothing will acquaint you with the compact body of water and its thousands of small islets, which together constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site, like a Halong Bay cruise. This much we have covered in our overview of Halong Bay cruises. What we did not cover in this previous article is how to book a Halong Bay cruise, and hence the article before you. While there is nothing particularly complicated about booking a Halong Bay cruise, it’s a little different than booking a standard cruise vacation for reasons that will soon become clear.
In fact, they will become clear immediately. Halong Bay, being a relatively small nook in the northeastern coast of Vietnam, is not a global cruise destination like Alaska and the Caribbean (at least for North American vacationers). Rather, it is a regional cruise, one that you will likely only take if you are already in Vietnam (or at least Southeast Asia). For this reason, you can’t book a Halong Bay cruise in perhaps the two most standard ways of booking a cruise: through one of the big cruise deal sites (e.g., Travelocity) or through one of the major cruise lines (e.g., Carnival). It’s too specific of an area. In this sense, a Halong Bay cruise is a lot like some of the river cruises we have written about, such as Yangtze River cruises and Nile River cruises. You can’t really find these types of cruises using any of the standard tools because they are below their radar, as it were. Occasionally, one of these specific regions of the world will be included in a larger cruise itinerary, putting it within the reach of a major cruise deal site, but this isn’t even helpful if you are looking to cruise one (and only one) specific area.
So, all that said, how can you go about booking a Halong Bay cruise? Again, the specific cruises we’ve written about before (like the just-mentioned river cruises) are instructive. Generally, there is a small industry – technically, we suppose, a part of the entire cruise industry, but largely out of sight – that covers these types of cruises, and this is the case with Halong Bay cruises. A number of smaller cruise lines, such as Bhaya Cruises, Indochina Sails, and Luxury Halong Cruises, offer Halong Bay cruises, and these are the types of companies you should look to for setting up a cruise in this part of the world. All of these companies have websites that allow you to book cruises through them, and they also list telephone numbers to get in touch with a cruise representative. These and similar websites will allow you to book your cruise before arriving to the bay (which you should probably do, although presumably it is possible to book one once you arrive, at least for the shorter day cruises).
Booking a Halong Bay cruise is a little different than booking a cruise to a major cruise destination, but this fact alone doesn’t make it challenging. You simply have to deal with different companies, but these companies essentially operate in the same way as the major cruise lines.