I’ve always wanted to go on a cruise, but Titanic-like luxury cruise experiences (minus the sinking) tend to cost an arm and a leg. I’ve researched that popular cruises like Disney or Princess may cost you around Php250,000 per person. When I started solo travelling, I decided to look up cruises near the Philippines that have budget prices. When I saw the Halong Bay cruises, I was definitely intrigued.
From all of the Halong Bay cruise researches I have done – and mind you there are so many to choose from! – I chose to go on a Halong Bay party cruise.
Here are just some of the things you can expect from this kind of cruise:
5 Things to Expect from a P4,300+ Overnight Halong Bay Party Cruise
5. The Tour Inclusions
I booked my Halong Bay party cruise tour through my hostel, Hanoi Sports Hotel at a fixed rate of $85. Depending on the daily exchange rate, the cruise will cost you around Php4,300. You can pay on the day of your tour itself, but you need to reserve your slot 1-2 days before your preferred departure.
So what are you actually paying for?
- Roundtrip transportation from/to Hanoi accommodation. A one-way trip takes about 3 hours with one bathroom/souvenir stop per way.
- Deluxe Cabin with A/C and hot water. The room is well-maintained. The bathroom is very clean and has hot water. The boat does not rock at all. It is big (but not Titanic-big). Make sure to drink Bonamine beforehand if you have motion sickness problems, though.
- Meals (1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 1 dinner). The breakfast is buffet style while both lunch and dinner are plated meals. The food is okay – not extravagant, but not bad, either.
- Complimentary morning tea and coffee
- Complimentary mineral water
- One glass of wine and fruits (welcome snack). All other drinks aside from the ones included in the meals will have to be paid for. You can set up a tab at the bar and pay your amount due after the tour.
- Cooking demonstration
- Entrance and sightseeing fees
- Fishing equipment, music, exciting games
- English speaking guide. The tour guides are amazing. They all made sure that we had the best time during our cruise. They initiated fun games and activities. They also encouraged everyone to party hard.
The detailed itinerary is as follows:
|9AM–12NN||Hanoi to Halong Bay|
|12:30NN–3PM||Socials; Vietnamese Lunch; Pass by Stone Dog Islet, Floating Fishing Village, Incense Burner Islet, Fighting Cocks, and Swan Isle, Duck Islet|
|3PM–5PM||Explore the most beautiful Suprising cave/Heavenly Palace cave in Halong Bay. Joining the games and competitions for prizes, on the ever white nearby sandy beach. (Soi Sim or Titop Island)|
|5:30PM–7PM||Re-board the Party Cruise, take a shower and enjoy aperitif of Sunset Party with a free glass of best local wine and tropical fruit, soft music.|
|7PM onwards||Enjoy a specially prepared evening meal in a romantic atmosphere; Experience our multi-cultural music program, and join in the Fun; Party|
|11AM–1PM||Cooking Demonstration; Vietnamese Lunch|
|1PM–4PM||Halong Bay to Hanoi|
Reference: Hanoi Sports Hotel Website
4. Possible Inclement Weather
Always follow weather updates. It was raining on the day of my cruise. I’ve had a few friends whose cruises were cancelled because of inclement weather during their trips. Sometimes, cancellations happen when you’re at your Hanoi hostel or sadly, even when you have already arrived at Halong Bay. Keep tabs on the weather and keep your communication lines with your tour operators open, so you can stay informed about possible tour delays or cancellations.
My tour luckily pushed through even though it was raining, but some activities from the detailed itinerary were scrapped – kayaking, fishing, activities/games at beaches, etc. It would have been too risky to have water activities due to strong winds, rain, and waves.
3. There’s a reason why it’s called a PARTY cruise.
Some of my fellow tour mates called it the BOOZE cruise.
I’m not really a party girl. I joined this cruise to have a different travel experience. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. After our Vietnamese dinner, almost everyone went to their respective rooms and rested a bit from the tiring afternoon activities. Around 9pm, everyone went back to the dining area. People ordered drinks, others talked more, and most played games. When the party music started, some were dancing then eventually, everyone else followed.
2. Crazy Moments and Experiences
Being on a boat in the middle of the sea with different people from around the world was really amazing. I was really pushed out of my comfort zone and allowed me to experience one of the best trips of my entire life so far.
Even though a lot of activities were removed due to the inclement weather, everyone on our cruise made the most out of everything. We played foosball on the deck. Some wanted to swim and jump off the deck. Other people pushed other people to jump on that deck. Everyone was crazy happy. There was no hint of negativity at all.
Overall, expect that you’ll experience things that you’ve never done and see things that you’ve never seen. If you have the right mindset, every second of your cruise will be worth it.
A Blur of Acquaintances, New Friends, and Conversations
This was my favorite part of the cruise, making all that I paid for worth it. This I promise: you will talk to SO MANY people. It was really overwhelming at first because everyone was just talking to everyone. You realize you’re talking to one person and the next minute, there’s another person joining the conversation. When you go to the bathroom and go back to the seat you were in, there are new additional people to talk to. When you go to the deck or different parts of the boat, there’s someone new there to talk to.
When you feel you’ve talked to everyone, you get to talk to the same people again talking about different topics. Talking to so many different people pushed me to be more confident. It allowed me to communicate more effectively with other people during my travels and event at home, with different social circles.
It was a crazy blur, really. It was amazing and overwhelming. I learned so much from everyone of that cruise.
In most of my conversations, I would ask this question “IF YOU COULD SHARE AN ADVICE TO A STRANGER LIKE ME, JUST ONE ADVICE, ANY ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?”
Here are just some of the answers that I got:
“Just say it! If you feel something, just say it. If it is something risky, then it should be a risk that you are willing to take. Just say it! Are you really better off not saying it and just keeping the feelings to yourself rather than getting the things out of your chest and revealing a real part of yourself to someone?”
“Be content with the things that you have. You have a lot more blessings than you think.”
“Sex is something that you should share with someone that you are comfortable with. Have it with someone you’ve enjoyed talking to.”
“Just smile. If you’re nice to people, they’ll be nice back. If they’re not, you still have to be nice.”
Different cultures coming together in a single event is really a learning experience. You get to observe how other people act and communicate. I realized that even if we all were from different countries, somehow, people feel the same, people go through the same things, and people have the same purposes or goals in life.
Have you been on a party cruise before? Share your experiences with us!
HANOI SPORTS HOTEL
42 Ma May Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam