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Customer Reviews for Halong Bay Cruise & Thien Cung Cave

Halong Bay Cruise & Thien Cung Cave

Bay of the Descending Dragon is the English translation for Halong Bay. This remarkable natural wonder and UNESCO World Heritage Site became famous in the West when it was featured in the French film Indochine. Halong Bay is dotted with an estimated 1,969 islands spread over 900 square miles. Some islands are covered in dense vegetation; others are bare and rocky. Sail gracefully past these imposing formations on a converted fishing junk. See tiny islands dotted with rock arches, sheer cliffs, innumerable white sand beaches and peaceful coves. You will stop at Thien Cung Cave and wander through the cavern to marvel at its stalagmite and stalactite formations (suitable only for the agile). Notes:Drinks and western-style restroom facilities are available on board. There are about 120 steep steps to reach the Thien Cung Cave, which is an optional visit.
Average Customer Rating:
4.167 out of 5
4.2
 out of 
5
(12 Reviews) 12
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (12 reviews)
5 stars
5
4 stars
6
3 stars
0
2 stars
0
1 star
1
11 out of 12(92%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Halong Bay Cruise & Thien Cung Cave
Review 1 for Halong Bay Cruise & Thien Cung Cave
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Sailing in the mist

Date:March 23, 2014
Milt
Location:Campbellton, NSW, Australia
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:March
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Leaving the ship at 7.30am we were in heavy mist. As we approached the islands the mist began lifting revealing a magnificent spectacle of the islands crowned with the receding mist giving it an earrie feeling. The islands were beautiful, the cave was spectacular and the service provided by the local ferries was excellent. All together a great trip.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
Review 2 for Halong Bay Cruise & Thien Cung Cave
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Nice Day on the Water

Date:February 24, 2014
Cruisinguy
Location:Vancouver
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
This was a very interesting cruise through the islands and the cave. We had good weather, which is important for pictures. The local cruise boats, while they look rather beaten up, are, in fact in good condition and the one we were on was very nice inside. Our guide spoke English quite well, which is always important. If you are interested in natural scenery, plus getting a look at how the locals live, this would be a good choice.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+4points
4out of 4found this review helpful.
Review 3 for Halong Bay Cruise & Thien Cung Cave
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Don't Miss Half a Day on the Bay

Date:February 13, 2014
JimTMichigan
Location:Michigan, USA
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:January
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This was a best-buy excursion on the cruise, we thought. Picked up at the ship by one of the many local excursions boats, we had a wonderful scenic cruise around the bay - all those beautiful islands and "motus" with the background of mountain ridges. The Thien Cung cave was more impressive than I expected. Yes, we followed the continuous tourist cue up the steps, through the cave and down again, but it was worthwhile. Be sure to consider buying some Ha Long Bay pearl jewelry if it's offered aboard the boat. We bought two pearl necklaces and a pair of earrings for $45. Yes, they take US dollars - cash on the table top. The lady, even added a few inches of pearls to one necklace for us because the gift was going to a niece who would need it longer. They also had embroidered items in case you missed picking up enough back in Nha Trang. Back aboard for a late lunch and ice cream!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+3points
3out of 3found this review helpful.
Review 4 for Halong Bay Cruise & Thien Cung Cave
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great way to spend a half day

Date:January 30, 2014
CJMarbella
Location:Marbella ,Spain
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:December
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Excellent way to see these beautiful limestone islands and which are recogised as a World Heritage Site.We took a morning tour with my Mum (82) and we had a great morning, access to the "Junk" was made very easy as they came right up to the Ship to collect us and the staff were very pleasant and helpful. For those who don´t wish to see the caves can stay on the Junk. the Junk was clean and they serve free tea and you pay for cold drinks. Rest rooms available too on board.. You do need to be agile to get up those 120 steps as they are quite steep but the caves are well worth the visit. The steps back down can be precarious so you should be cautious, particularly as there are lots of fellow tourists so it is a busy place. After the caves the tour sails around the limestone islands and its a beautiful and relaxing way to see them and the special rock formations. All the time small fishing boats pass you by and there are great photo opportunities, you can also sit on the top deck (open air) and watch the world pass by! Overall a super relaxing morning!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+4points
4out of 4found this review helpful.
Review 5 for Halong Bay Cruise & Thien Cung Cave
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Worth going on...

Date:August 1, 2013
EvelynK
Location:East Troy, WI
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I had read negative reviews before signing up; but the chance to see the limestone islands overcame the remarks. We were both glad we went on trip. The 'not-junks' were refurbished small boats that were comfortable...easy to move out to deck for better photos. Mike enjoyed bargaining with vendors to came to windows. It was interesting to watch & feel the pilots jockeying for the best position for their own passengers going, coming & inbetween. The caves had colored lights which we don't see too much of anymore in USA caves & it was pretty. If one just relaxes & enjoys the beauty, this is a great excursion. They're all what one make's of them.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+9points
10out of 11found this review helpful.
Review 6 for Halong Bay Cruise & Thien Cung Cave
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

This was such an interesting tour

Date:February 15, 2013
Islanders
Location:Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:January
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
So much to witness that was different, so interesting, from beginning to end. The time flew by so quickly. We could not have done this on our own so really appreciated the tour.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+6points
8out of 10found this review helpful.
Review 7 for Halong Bay Cruise & Thien Cung Cave
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Caves are Special

Date:February 4, 2013
JLWK
Location:NC
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:January
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This was a beautiful excursion, the BAY and CAVES ARE SPECIAL
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+5points
5out of 5found this review helpful.
Review 8 for Halong Bay Cruise & Thien Cung Cave
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Halong Bay and the caves have changed

Date:December 1, 2012
Gamelan
Location:Islamabad, Pakistan
Cruise Date Year:2010
Cruise Date Month:March
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I went on this excursion as part of the Grand World Voyage in 2010. I was highly anticipating this excursion, as I had been to Halong Bay as a backpacker in the 1990's and stayed overnight at Catba island. I remembered it being extremely beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed the cave. The bay is still beautiful, albeit it was so much more crowded and polluted than I remembered. I remember jumping off the boat and swimming in a blue bay; I would never consider jumping in the water now. The vessel was advertised as being a junk- it is not a real junk, it is a small boat that looks similar to a real junk modified for tourists. I was naive enough to think this would be a real junk. In any case, the cave was the biggest disappointment- when I visited in the 1990's there were many small pagodas put in there by locals- making the experience enchanting. The government has since removed all of those pagodas, "cleaned" it up inside, and put in a lights show. I was not impressed- the way it used to be was much better. I find this is typical in Vietnam- everything is "stylized" in this socialist manner to attract more tourists, and the original character is taken away from it. That put the same bad taste in my mouth as the US dollar priced laquerware stores in Ho Chi Minh City did. And, there were a lot of rude, jostling locals and other tourists around going up to and inside the cave. The island and dock area where the cave is located is dreary and chaotic. While I would still recommend this trip to others, and consider it a "must" to do a cruise of Halong Bay if you have not done one before, the trip is not without its drawbacks. My mother, as well as some other passengers, stayed on the boat and did not bother going to the cave; if I were to ever find myself on this tour again, I'd probably stay on the boat next time and save my time and energy for enjoying Halong Bay. While it is polluted and crowded, it is still very beautiful. Perhaps HAL could consider finding operators that would do the bay only and not include the cave? Some people might go for that option.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+38points
38out of 38found this review helpful.
Review 9 for Halong Bay Cruise & Thien Cung Cave
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Disagree with the bad reviews- we loved it!

Date:April 25, 2012
Fellow9037
Location:Midwest, USA
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:March
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I'm not sure why the other reviewers did not like this excursion- maybe some people just need to complain about something. First off, the guys who drive these boats are a little crazy- there is a LOT of bumping into one another, both at the Zaandam and at the pier to see the caves. We LOVED it! Our guide was very knowledgable, although somewhat tough to understand at times. The cruise through the bay was magnificent, and we only spent about 1 hour out of the 3 1/2 in the caves. The caves were beautiful- some of my favorites. There are LOTS of steps involved in the caves- both getting up to them, and around inside. If you cannot navigate steps, DO NOT GO TO THE CAVES! Yes, there was some jostling and pushing, but that is Asia- you are in a Third World country, and need to remember that not everyone in the world lives as you do. Overall, we LOVED this tour- everyone from my six year-old son to my 72 year-old father. Note: there WILL be peddlars that approach your boat. But they seem to be nice people, and will leave after a few minutes if you tell them "No". There will also be beggars at the ship, and they will stay there all day. They climb on the tenders to beg, and we saw some wicked infighting. Probably want to keep your young children away from them.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+18points
18out of 18found this review helpful.
Review 10 for Halong Bay Cruise & Thien Cung Cave
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

There's not enough to do

Date:April 10, 2012
Nikjil
Location:Mountain Top, PA
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:March
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
We did not see the caves. What the info does not make clear but was made abundantly clear to us by shore excursions is that the cave part is a level 3 not 2. It is over 100 stairs in the caves, slippery, narrow, steep, and no railing for the most part. I guess based on previous reviews and complaints prior to arrival, that morning we were told that we had the option of choosing just a tour of the bay for the full amount of time. Our weather was lousy but the bay is beautiful and the guide was excellent. The junks put-put very slowly, 3.4 knots and they jockey for position, bumping into each other (a little scary). I thought that if you are doing just the bay, the tour is too long and either including lunch or a trip to the town would have been nice. By the way, rowboats full of child beggars selling fruits come up to the junks and board them. We did get back in time to take a tender to the town. There's a great souvenir market (good prices but very repetative). The shore excursion claims the tender drops you off a short walk away from the market. This is not true, it was quite a long walk and there are few restaurants around the market. We did try a little local seafood place, good but you need to ignore the hole-in-the-wall atmosphere.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+13points
13out of 13found this review helpful.
Review 11 for Halong Bay Cruise & Thien Cung Cave
Overall Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

worst shore excursion ever been on

Date:February 27, 2012
nhlhockey
Location:Canada
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Enjoyed it?
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
I have taken 5 holland america cruises in the past few years. This was by far the worst holland america shore excursion I have ever been on. You see the caves for 99% of the tour and actually only sail through the Halong Bay cliffs for maybe 15 minutes. They should rename this tour to Thien Cung Cave and return boat trip to the Zaandam. The ship hypes this tour so much in reality it is horrible. They need to increase the amount of time travelling through the Halong Bay cliffs. I asked for a refund of this excursion and was told I would get 25% refund. The last day of the cruise the refund still didn't show up on my shipboard account.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
+25points
25out of 25found this review helpful.
Review 12 for Halong Bay Cruise & Thien Cung Cave
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Halong Bay

Date:February 12, 2012
Apeman
Location:Australia
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:January
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
The visit to the cave was frightening because of the sheer number of people pushing and shoving in confined spaces.
The bay itself was well worth the trip and could have spent more time in the bay rather than the caves
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+20points
20out of 20found this review helpful.