: Paul Smith
22 April 2013
We had a two day one night stay on the Paloma during our tour of Viet Nam. We really enjoyed our time on the boat, and the stunning views in Ha Long Bay. We were picked up by a mini-bus at our Ha Noi Hotel, and were driven along with the other people on the cruise to Ha Long Bay City, the departure point for the Paloma.
Upon arriving in Ha Long Bay you board a smaller boat that brings you out to The Paloma. The Paloma is beautiful, with dark wood working and striking red accents. The rooms are good sized considering you are on a boat, and have full bathrooms in each room, as well as heat and air conditioning.
On day one the Paloma takes you out on the bay, and after a few hours cruising you get back on the smaller boat to go to the floating village that is in the bay. It is really interesting to see what life is like in the village, complete with a school, and of course a gift shop. The villagers harvest pearls for sale in the gift shop which is a good portion of their main source of income. Once in the village you can go on a bamboo boat trip around the surrounding bay area, which was very nice, or you can jump in a kayak and go for a paddle. Back to the Paloma, and its time for a cooking lesson, we learned how to make Spring Rolls, which is not as easy as you may think.
Day two you have to option of jumping back on the small boat for a trip to the amazing cave. We did this and it is pretty cool to see, however if you would just rather relax on deck you are really not missing anything that exciting in the cave. Also there are lots of steps to get up to the cave, and lots more once you are in it, so if you have any physical limitations, this may not be for you.
Now a word about the food on the The Paloma, not only is it fantastic, its never ending!!! I think each meal was at least 4 courses, at dinner I actually lost count. The crew is also very accommodating to special diets, if you are a vegetarian, or do not eat seafood, its not a problem at all, they will make sure you are well fed either way! Most meals are some sort of seafood, with as I said several courses, and then dessert. Breakfast has an omelet station, as well as toast and fresh fruit. Coffee was so-so, but you are on a boat!
The only unfortunate part of our trip was the weather, as it was rainy and foggy, and you really can't do much about that. Should you have bad weather the room where your meals are served has plenty of tables and great views of the bay so you can play cards, as we did, or read, or simply just relax and watch the bay go by.
: Retureau Catherine
Halong Bay is not to be missed. Peaceful and beautiful get away from hustle of urban Hanoi. The 4 hour drive is interesting to say the least, but you are rewarded with beauty once in the water.
Paloma Cruise was pleasant and satisfactory. It definitely is showing much wear and tear. We stayed in a suite with private patio. Coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, I am accustomed to high quality Asian food. The food on the Paloma was just ok, but definitely not gourmet quality. Best meal actualy was the breakfast buffet with an omelet station, pho stations, and western style staples. Kayaking, cooking class and tai chi added positively to the experience.
January 15, 2013
We took a tour for 2 day and one night with Paloma at end of January 2013.When we reached the cruise- it was more than our expatiation. Nice welcome- safety briefing. Paloma offered us a free upgradation from the deluxe room to personal suit with nice private balcony. It was a wonderful suit with a free bine (though we did not drink). The cruise crew was very professional, well mannered with strong supervision of efficient and professional caption” Nicolas”. The food was excellent - very tasty with a many variety of dishes. The crew members well taken care my 2 years old son too- play with him, keep him busy- very nice. I will go back to the same tour again.
: Elios H
January 24, 2013
This is one of the best experience for me in Vietnam ,Thanks to the team of Paloma Cruise .A mention to Putri at the reservation and marketing section ,my dutiful guide Nam and the manager Nicolas and the team at the cruise for making my trip at Halong bay a memorable experience.Although i traveled in January and was worried about the weather as i read that it is cold and foggy but i guess i got lucky and had warm and sunny days which made my trip even better.
The cabin i got was on the 2nd floor has a good view of the bay .The bathroom was clean with good water pressure for the shower.The food on board was tasty and in abundance .The drinks are bit on the high side but you need to understand that you are in the middle of now-where so i did not mind the extra as i had a relaxing time after a hectic day tour.
In overall this cruise has a good value for money and is would be in my recommendation list .
: John K
January 06, 2013
Spent 2-days and a night on the Paloma - a 4-deck boat with about 16 rooms. This is a middle ot the range boat in terms of luxury. It's comfortable enough for a 2 or 3-day trip. It's very clean and a well-managed boat with a good captain and crew. It's run very professionally. They picked us up from our Hotel in Hanoi for the 4-hour journey to Halong Bay.
The boat is pretty steady, so for those who tend to be sea-sickish, this is great. Firstly the bay is well sheltered despite of it's size - believe to be more than 1,000 sqkm. The rooms are all ensuite (not all cruises in Halong Bay have this feature so ask if you don't want to end up sharing toilets).
The cabins are situated on the first and second decks. The biggest rooms are upfront and rear of the boat. We were upgraded to a Family Room which is actually a 3-bedder (a queen and a single) on the second deck of the ship right up the front of the boat. It has a spacious forward balcony with 3 sunchairs. The ensuite toilet was a bit crampy but this is not a 5-star cruiser - toilet, basin & shower.
All standard rooms have a window out to sea though the premium cabins are a little larger, comes with a balcony and some fruits and a bottle of red wine (Vietnamese).
The meals are not lavish but the food is great, usually about 5-6 different local dishes with the buffet breakfast. The tour included two lunches, one breakfast and one dinner. Drinks apart from coffee and tea are not include though they have a long happy hour where you get a free drink if you buy two. The cruise was quite enjoyable but winter is too cold to allow us to swin or kayak. The sky was also very much cloudy most of the time, so if you want sun and sea, Dec to Feb is not the time to come.
: Louis D
25 December 2012
Everything was perfect about our cruise with Paloma. We went on the 2 day 1 night trip on 25-26 Dec and I would not have changed anything except maybe stay for longer! The staff were friendly, the food was amazing, the company was excellent, and the attractions and itinerary were perfect. Halong Bay is stunning and we loved kayaking, walking to the viewpoint, going to the beach, exploring the save, doing tai chi at sunrise, taking a spring roll cooking class, and eating some of the best food we had in Vietnam.
We went on a 2 days / 1 night cruise with Paradise Cruises. The weather in mid-November was fine; pretty foggy but the temperature was ok. I wish we'd had more sun, but that's obviously not their fault!
- beautiful boat, very polite and helpful staff
- the double deluxe room with balcony was very beautiful and very clean. Comfy bed, great shower.
- breakfast buffets were good.
- the cooking class (we made Spring rolls) was very entertaining
- the morning Tai Chi lesson on the Upper deck was a great idea, although the lady instructor did not make a huge effort. but still, very relaxing, incredible surroundings
- Cocktails during happy hour were not expensive and the mojitos were pretty good
- the young lady who guided us during the escursions was so lovely!
- It's not a cheap choice
- The food was not as good as I expected from other cruises. The buffets were ok, but the Vietnamese special dinner was not very good.
- The spots where the cruises stop get extremely crowded. It seems like they haven't thought about organizing different turns, so every vessel stops in the place at the same moment. They get extremely crowded to the point that it's uncomfortable.
: Frank L. D
Overall, we enjoyed the experience - Halong Bay is absolutely amazing and not a place to be missed, and an overnight cruise is certainly a great way to experience it. The boat is very nice, the rooms are small but that's to be expected, but they are in great condition and we got a fruit platter in our room was a nice touch.
The cruise was pretty packed with activities, which isn't to all tastes, although we didn't mind it, and we've heard that for longer cruises, there's more downtime for relaxing, swimming, etc. The food was very good, not the best that we had during our visit in Vietnam but still good.
We enjoyed kayaking around a floating village, and they took us to an amazing cave (although it seems like a lot of different groups do all of this so it may not be that unique to this trip). The drive from Hanoi is 3-4 hours, and we stopped on both ways at what we thought was an irritating, enormous tourist/souvenir trap. Seems like every bus going from Hanoi to the Bay goes there so might be unavoidable.