Before you read on.. you might want to watch this first.
The Ha Long Bay area actually consists of three bays; Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay, and Bai Tu Long Bay. But often, all of them are referred to as Ha Long Bay. Note that many cruises do Lan Ha Bay tours as you’re not allowed to swim or do any water activities in Ha Long Bay. However, you’re still passing through Ha Long Bay, so you actually see both, and they’re basically the same thing.
Even though going on a cruise can be a bit pricey, it’s totally worth it. If you can, definitely do a luxurious cruise as you’ll get a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What’s the best time to do a Ha Long Bay cruise?
We’ve been told the best time to do a Ha Long Bay cruise is in April and May or October and November. However, Ha Long is really tricky with the weather, and even though you might visit during the best month, you can still experience bad weather. That’s what happened to us. We did a cruise in mid-April and got cloudy weather with low visibility. Luckily, it didn’t rain, so we could still enjoy all the activities.
Ha Long Bay cruise 2 days 1 night itinerary
We went on a 2 days and 1-night cruise with Capella Cruise and only wished that our journey lasted even longer. We had so much fun on the yacht and really enjoyed our time.
09:00 – Get picked up in Hanoi
11:30 – Arrive at Capella Cruise lounge
12:45 – Transfer to Capella Cruise yacht by Tender and check-in
13:00 – Lunch is served
15:00 – Kayaking, swimming, sliding
17:30 – Happy hour and sunset party
19:00 – Dinner at Harmony of the sea restaurant
20:30 – Chill out on the deck watching the stars, play poker, karaoke, squid fishing
06:00 – Tai Chi Class on the sun deck & Light breakfast
07:15 – Visit Dark and Bright Cave
09:30 – Check-out from the room
09:30 – Brunch in Harmony of the sea restaurant
10:45 – Get off Capella Cruise
11:30 – The bus takes you back to Hanoi
A bit about the Ha Long bay Capella Cruise
Capella Cruise is the newest model of luxury cruises in Ha Long, which opened in August 2020. It has a heated swimming pool, jacuzzi, AND IT’S THE ONLY ONE WITH A SLIDE! Capella was everything we ever wished for our Ha Long experience. Even though we didn’t spend much time in the room, we loved it nonetheless, because it was just gorgeous.
How to get to the cruise
To start the cruise, you first have to come to the Tuan Chau Port in Ha Long and board the Capella Tender boat at their dock/office that takes you to the yacht. They have a pick-up limousine bus in Hanoi that takes you straight to the port.
The yacht is anchored further inside the bay, in between the islands.
There were no waves, so we enjoyed this boat ride, which painted the picture of where we actually are and what we are about to do.
Heated swimming pool and a jacuzzi on board
The first thing you see while you board is the swimming pool. Our instant reaction was: wow! It’s actually a heated one because the cruises also run in the colder months. We did a quick dip in the pool before checking out of our rooms, and the feeling is incredible! Seeing that amazing landscape while swimming – priceless!
Right next to the pool is a well-sized jacuzzi, which makes the colder days much better yet again. Can it get any better than that? The answer is yes, so keep reading!
La Suite De Capella
The room we stayed in was gorgeous! It’s located on the 2nd floor and has a private terrace with sunbeds. It’s a perfect place for enjoying the view or working on that tan (if you’re lucky enough to have sunny weather). 😀 I’d say it’s also a perfect place to enjoy the sunrise, but we couldn’t leave our beds and instead appreciated the view from there. Luckily, the suite is surrounded by big windows, so you see everything nicely.
The suite was much bigger than we expected! There was a big comfortable bed, living room area where we also got served some fruits as a welcome, desk, big closets, and bathroom. The view was amazing from every corner of the room!
Bathtub with a view
You’ve probably seen countless photographs of Ha Long cruises, and one of the most iconic ones is definitely the bathtub one. Don’t feel ashamed to enjoy your bathtub on this cruise, and even try taking one of those photos. Honestly, where else will you be able to do something like this? Even Matej couldn’t resist those bubbles in combination with a stunning view! 😀
Oh yeah, we forgot to mention that we had a massage bathtub which helped us create an insane amount of bubbles!
Kayaking in Ha Long Bay
Kayaking in Ha Long and Lan Ha Bay is undoubtedly a highlight of the cruise, and we loved it. You get to have some fun exploring the calm waters on your own. We even went so far that we checked out a floating house tucked between some of the islands.
Water slide off of a cruise ship
One of the biggest attractions and the reasons why we chose Capella Cruise was their slide! None of the other cruises have it yet, so that’s what makes Capella unique. Sliding down the slide was very fun, and it was an excellent addition to the experience. Teddy, the cruise director, who was, by the way, a super fun person and took part in many activities on board, was also of great help, so we felt extremely comfortable while sliding and had a great time. If this isn’t on your bucket list, put it right now!
We really felt at home on the cruise, and that’s all thanks to their lovely staff. Their team is truly fantastic. We always had a friendly chat with them, and they were attentive, but then again, not too pushy. One of the best staff teams we have had a chance to meet so far!
Happy hour and sunset party on top of the deck
Towards the sunset time of the first day, we enjoyed a happy hour and sunset party on the yacht’s top deck. Unfortunately, there was no sunset, but Lan Ha Bay is stunning either way! We experienced that perfect movie setting: laying on the sunbeds with some mocktails and jazz music playing in the background, snacking on some fruit and nuts while enjoying one of the most stunning landscapes in the world. Can it get any better than that?
Cooking class onboard
Right after the sunset party, we were invited to join a small cooking class. As Matej loves cooking, this was an excellent opportunity to test his skills. It wasn’t anything too complicated, but you got another snack to eat. They guided him through the process of preparing and rolling the summer rolls, and he had them ready for us in no time!
Being a vegan on a Ha Long Bay cruise
The food onboard Capella Cruise was to die for, and there was A LOT of it! Most of the buffet food was based on meat and seafood, but for all of you wondering, yes, they can prepare vegan and vegetarian dishes.
We arranged our food beforehand, so everyone knew what we eat and there were no problems whatsoever. Also, our main “guy,” Alex, that took care of us during meals was terrific and hooked us up with some incredible dishes. I’d even say we had a bit too much food. 😀
Vegan or vegetarian?You HAVE to read this! You will be surprised.
Vegan and Vegetarian Guide to Vietnam.
Food onboard the cruise
One thing is for sure; you won’t be hungry while cruising the Lan Ha Bay! As soon as we arrived, we got served lunch, got a nice portion of fruits as a welcome gift while checking in our room, ate in a cooking class, and had a rich dinner. In the morning, you get served breakfast, and as a farewell, there’s a brunch. On top of that, there’s always a lot of sweets and fruits during every meal. And all of that in only 24 hours! So, be prepared as you might gain some weight too! 😀
Evening activities onboard: Poker, karaoke, massage
We thought the night was finished after dinner when they told us that we could go downstairs and play poker and sing karaoke (not at the same time, though). We joined the poker table and, as expected, lost all our money very soon. Jokes aside, we played just for fun, not for money. And unfortunately, Matej didn’t let Arijana show off her singing skills, so we can’t talk about the karaoke experience.
Some people tried their skills in squid fishing which they then got prepared for breakfast the next day, and there’s also a gym and spa on board.
Sunrise at Lan Ha Bay
Of course, we had to wake up for sunrise! Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side, so there wasn’t that magical sunrise everyone hopes for. However, we’ll never forget the view we had from our bed. We enjoyed it so much that we decided to miss the Tai Chi Class.
Bright and Dark Cave exploration
We went to explore the Dark and Bright Cave in the early morning, a beautiful location in Cat Ba National Park. You get transported to a smaller dock with floating houses close by, and then you are taken with a smaller sampan boat through the caves. There’s also an option to kayak around by yourself.
Unfortunately, the water in the Dark Cave was too high to visit, so we only got to explore the Bright one. Nonetheless, it was a cool experience going through a cave and ending up in a small lake of sorts, surrounded by high peaks of the Cat Ba National Park.
We also got to see a bit of the daily life on the dock, which was quite interesting.
Before we left the cruise, we got to enjoy a rich brunch. I think this was the most food we ate on the cruise, and it was so good! A perfect way to say goodbye.
Overall experience of our Ha Long Bay cruise
At first, we weren’t interested in a tour or cruise of the area. That’s why it took us more than a year of being in the country to try it, as everyone kept talking about it. After all, it is the most famous location in Vietnam.
We loved our experience and now get the hype over the cruises in Ha Long, especially luxurious ones like Capella.
The cruise schedules are usually pretty strict and packed with activities, so don’t expect much free time. You don’t have to participate in all the activities if you don’t want to, but what’s the point then.