Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bhaya Classic IV: A Halong Bay Cruise Experience

I apologize for the lack of posts as I've been busy with school, my new (little) business venture that takes so much of my free time and the relief efforts our company is doing for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas. So after weeks of not updating, I finally got the chance to sit down and continue the series of posts from our recent Hanoi Trip.


The main reason why I insisted on traveling to Hanoi, Vietnam is to be able to experience spending the night on-board a junk while cruising along the famed Halong Bay. The day before the tour, we received a good news from Bhaya Cruises that we were upgraded to the luxurious The Au Co since a typhoon was approaching Vietnam so they are transferring guests to the bigger, newer and state-of-the-art ships of The Au Co.

I cannot contain my excitement on the day of the tour that I kept checking my watch and going back and forth to the lobby if our service has arrived. The driver was 10 minutes late but surely not enough to dampen my mood as I was overly excited with the cruise. We were the first guests in the van then another couple got in not far from where we were staying. The road trip from the hotel to the port took about 4 hours with a 30-minute pit stop at a souvenir shop/factory where locals make beautiful embroidery that are sewn to clothes, wall decorations and dainty trinkets.

I slept the entire trip until we reached the Tuan Chau Marina in Tuan Chau Island where guests check-in and wait for their ride to the cruise ship. Upon confirming our names, we were told by the staff that Bhaya IV has received approval to sail from the Coast Guard so all guests initially transferred to The Au Co are being returned back to Bhaya IV. I felt sad as I was too excited to cruise on-board the most luxurious ship sailing in Halong Bay but of course, we get what we paid for -- cruising aboard Bhaya IV.

Smaller boats were docked by the marina but the bigger ones are anchored about 5-minute boat ride away. Once we heard the staff called for the guests of Bhaya IV, DB and I walked to the queue for embarkation. Be sure to wear your life vests even if the ride is short for safety purposes.

Our home for the next two days -- Bhaya IV Classic.

The ship can accommodate a maximum of 40 passengers having 20 luxurious cabins and suites.

  • 2 Accommodation Decks
  • 1 Lounge Deck with Dining Room and Bar
  • 1 Sundeck
  • 18 Deluxe Cabins
  • 2 Royal Suites
  • 1 Massage and Spa Area
  • 1 Boutique Library

Upon entering the ship, we were ushered to the dining room for the briefing and buffet lunch.

It was only after an hour that we finally got to see our room located on the main deck of Bhaya IV.

All rooms have 2 twin beds that can also be converted into a double bed. Deluxe rooms have a floor area of 12.5 sqm including the private bath with hot and cold shower and restroom. It is also fully-equipped with an air-conditioning unit, a mini-bar and a fan.

Bhaya IV deluxe rooms have private windows so you can see the magnificent view of Halong Bay in the comforts of your room.

But for a better cruising experience, it is best to lounge in the sun deck if you want to read a book, have a drink or two, sunbathe or just admire the beauty of Halong Bay's more than 1,600 towering limestone karsts, islets and emerald-blue water. No wonder it was recognized as UNESCO's World Heritage in 1994 and voted as one of the the World's New 7 Wonders in 2011 alongside our very own Underground River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

As DB and I were having fun reminiscing about our previous travels, we came into an agreement that this is probably on the top five of the best trips we ever had.

Until The Au Co passes by.

For about Usd600 per person for an overnight stay in a deluxe cabin, it would probably take more than a year to convince DB to spend that much for the cruise alone. But a girl can dream right?

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