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“Boat was good but itinerary not so much”

Review of Garden Bay Cruise

Garden Bay Cruise - Triple cabin
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Garden Bay Cruise - Triple cabin
Garden Bay Cruise - Halong Bay - Overview Garden Bay Cruise - deluxe twin cabin with large window.
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Very good
75 reviews
Garden Bay Cruise - Triple cabin
Garden Bay Cruise - Halong Bay - Overview
Garden Bay Cruise - deluxe twin cabin with large window.
Garden Bay Cruise - Open Sundeck
Garden Bay Cruise - Private Balcony
Garden Bay Cruise - early morning taichi lesson
Garden Bay Cruise - Waiting Lounge at Hon Gai Pier
Garden Bay Cruise - Waiting lounge at Hon Gai Pier
Garden Bay Cruise - Fishing Village
Visit Surprise Cave ( Sung Sot Cave)
Visit cave with Rowing boat
Private bathroom with full- toiletry
Private bathroom with full- toiletry
Restaurant - dinning room with sea view
Garden Bay Cruise - Open sundeck with sea view
Garden Bay Cruise - Overview
Garden Bay Cruise - Morning Tai Chi Lesson on Sundeck
Garden Bay Cruise - Morning Tai Chi Lesson on Sundeck
Garden Bay Cruise - visit fishing village
Garden Bay Cruise - Including Kayaking
Garden Bay Cruise - Cooking Class
Garden Bay Cruise - Overview
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Overview
Boat house -
12 Bedrooms, 12 Bathrooms, Sleeps 24
Halong Bay, Quang Ninh Province

Reviews from our community

Very good - based on 75 reviews
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Reviews from our community

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HN_travel...
Sydney, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Boat was good but itinerary not so much”
Reviewed August 1, 2013 for a stay in July 2013
2
people found this review helpful

We booked this cruise (2 day, 1 night) through a local agent in Hanoi 2 days before we went, our boat was the Marguerite 2 and we paid $122USD pp for an ocean view room. We were lucky to get perfect weather on our trip given that it is the rainy season. The boat itself was very good, the rooms were quite nice although a little dated, in particular the bathroom but you are honestly only ever in there to sleep so it's not a big deal. The beds are rock hard though and this is something that they should definitely address. The other areas of the boat were great and the food was very good, the cocktails were also very good although a bit on the expensive side for vietnam. The thing that was annoying about this cruise was the itinerary. We got in the boat at about 12.30pm and then the afternoon was spent first visiting the surprise cave (which is very impressive and well worth a visit) with about 50 other boats, then kayaking again with about 50 other boats before visiting a very small patch of sand with about 50 other boats right at the end of the day when the sun was almost down, this small island is also undergoing massive works to construct a new wharf and has loud speakers blaring out Vietnamese at various intervals, certainly not relaxing and not what I expected of halong bay. The water was also very murky at the beach and there was a lot of rubbish. I asked the guide and apparently all the boats have to do the same route which just seems ridiculous and appears to be concentrating a lot of rubbish and tourism traffic in the same places at the same time. Also, we were told that we couldn't even lean on the handrails on the boat or the boat could get a fine, and we were also not allowed to jump off the boat, something that we had really been looking forward to. The best part was the evening once the boat had anchored and we got to relax and enjoy the area just being on the boat. All in all, the boat itself was great and halong bay was pretty spectacular but it's certainly crawling with tourists and I'm not sure the government is concentrating its efforts in the right areas. The set itineraries are not great and if i could do it again id want to try and pay more for a tour that allowed flexibility or a longer time. Also, The journey to halong bay from Hanoi is actually 4 hours each way including a 30 min stop over. And the roads for about half of it are roadworks and the conditions are not good, so bumpy that you couldn't even read a book. But again, it is definitely impressive to see so worth a visit.

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Travelling group: Friends
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Langley4
Langley, BC
Level 6 Contributor
303 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
“5 star experience, 3 star price”
Reviewed July 27, 2013 for a stay in July 2013

We did the 2 day, 1 night Ha Long Bay cruise, and it was the highlight of our trip! From the moment we were picked up at our hotel in Hanoi, the experience was top notch. The Marguerite is well-maintained and clean. The cabins and ship exceeded our expectations. The bed in our cabin was probably the most comfortable out of all our rooms in Vietnam! The shower was phenomenal! The food was gourmet and absolutely delicious! All the excursions were timely and fun, and our guide spoke nearly perfect English. Our only complaint is that the wifi didn't work - but then again it was kind of nice to be off the grid for a couple days. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Marguerite Junk, and would stay again (and do the 3 day!!!) were we to return.

How easy was it to book the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
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Liked best: Food and cabin
Liked least: Needed more time for kayaking
Travelling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
Families with young children Large groups
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EnriqueCo...
Madrid, Spain
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Nice trip in a delightful place”
Reviewed July 27, 2013 for a stay in July 2013

As a part of an organized trip, a group of friends came to Marguerite Junk for a 2 days 1 night tour in Ha Long Bay. First of all I Have to say Thang the guide was always very nice, kind and helpful... very solicitous towards all of us in a perfect English, better than mine btw...

Kayaking was the funniest part of the trip. I enjoyed it very much!

Another positive thing was food... a lot of good and very tasteful vietnamese food!!

But the negative side was the night on the boat. Nothing to do nothing to see... nothing nothing. Very boring. Maybe for families with babies is okay but for young and mid-age people... boring! Maybe a good idea could be doing cruises targeted only in a type of people: only families only singles.. etc.

Finally, boat was nice, clean and comfortable.

Overall, Margarite Junk is a very good option for a short trip in Ha Long Bay.

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Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Daryl C
1 review
“Scenically Beautiful”
Reviewed July 24, 2013 for a stay in July 2013

Not knowing what to expect of the tour, other than reading the experiences of others on Tripadvisor, the bus trip from Hanoi was made enjoyable by the commentary of our guide, Thang. We were initially surprised at the mass loading of tourists at the Halong Bag embarkation terminal, but everything went smoothly. Once we had been ferried from the mainland to the Marguerite Junk, we were greeted by friendly staff and great facilities. The scenery of this natural wonderland is outstanding and the Marguerite Junk made the experience even more personal by breaking away from the pack of other ships to allow uninterrupted views of the islands and coastline.

The three day, two night cruise was perfect and we enjoyed every moment. The ship facilities were excellent and crew always on hand to help. Without a doubt, I would recommend the Marguerite Junk cruise to anyone and would encourage you to take the 3 day, 2 night option to enable you to get the most enjoyment from the Halong Bay experience.

One of the highlights of the tour was the excellent services of our local guide Thang, who provided concise information on local culture, history and the Halong Bay experience. Our family were very impressed with the helpful and friendly nature of all the staff and particularly a big thank you to Thang who assisted us when we changed our travel plans to remain in Halong Bay instead of returning to Hanoi.

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Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
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Liked best: The overall experience, facilities and friendly staff
Liked least: Nothing
Travelling group: Teenagers
Your age range 50-64
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Large groups
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren H
Liskeard, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Magical proposal site”
Reviewed July 23, 2013 for a stay in July 2013
1
person found this review helpful

After arriving to Ha Long we had booked in to the Novotel Hotel on the bay for three nights, it took us an hour to realise we wouldn't be staying three nights at all. Within a few hours and reading the helpful reviews of TripAdvisor we had decided on the Marguerite Junk to take us in to Ha Long. I emailed them direct and as we were already in ha long, unlike many of the trippers who came from Hanoi they arrived a rep to pick us up by taxis and take us to the meeting area.
We were able to take both huge suitcases on to the boat and they whisked them off and taken to our room.
The whole trip was fantastic and I really recommend it. Tien the guide is a brilliant guide and make this trip worthwhile.
Tien kindly looked after my engagement ring without my knowledge all day, where we walked through caves, (amazing views from the cave). Went canoeing, swam of the beach, and then trekked up to the top of one of the limestones, where my boyfriend proposed.
Once we returned to the boat we watched the sun set from the top deck and had drinks and fruit.
Such a magical day.
The food was pretty good as well, I was worried about the menu's once I saw what was offered hopefully trying everything was great fun and certainly had something for everyone's taste. There was no chance of us going hungry, even the most fussiest of eaters. Even if you are worried about food, you can take your own or even buy all sort from the women to row up to the boats.
The evening's entertainment is a bit... quiet. We sat on the top deck ringing family for quite a while, but most where in bed by 2100 and no one was on the bar.
Tien was really fantastic and was keen to introduce everyone and find some common ground. Had some really interesting information and wanted to get involved. It must be boring for him day in day out.
We were returned to the bay with our baggage, although we did have a scary moment when the bag my engagement ring was in nearly went over board. They didn't look overly secure to us, but I suppose they know what they are doing.
My only one negative about the boat was the bed, the shower and bathroom were fine considering you were on a boat and clean. The bed room was very clean, however the bed was so hard. The mattress wasn't very thick at all.
However, don't let this put you off, we had the time of our lives, the other guests were great to chat to, from many different countries which was so interesting. I really recommend this tour.
P.S wifi was terrible...don't rely on it!

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
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Liked best: Tour up the limestones
Liked least: The bed
Travelling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
Large groups
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBVLondon
London
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great trip but be prepared to be moved from boat to boat”
Reviewed July 19, 2013 for a stay in June 2013

We chose the 3 day trip as I had a feeling 1 or 2 days wouldn't be enough and we are really pleased we made this choice. 1 or 2 days from Hanoi would just be too rushed baring in mind how long the drive is down to the coast.

Another reason we were looking for a 3 day trip was because we wanted to be able to unwind for a few days as we were on our honeymoon so we were a little annoying on the evening of day 1 when we were told we had to check out of the boat the next morning and be moved to another boat. We had just unpacked so it was really annoying. There was some story about the boat being put out of service the next day but the fact we hadn't been informed earlier was inexcusable. We met a couple at dinner who had been told something similar and knew another couple who it had happened to. I guess they simply take your booking regardless and worry about what boat to put you on later. We shouldn't have been able to book on to that boat if it wasn't available as they have 3 in the fleet and one of the others was going out for 3 days from the day we arrived. We booked directly on their website www.margueritejunk.com

This was the only negative though. The food was excellent - be prepared for a seafood feast. The tour guides were average, we had 4 in the end as we were moved around constantly. They varied from good to poor, the poor being because his English was bad and not having much to say. The cabins were beautiful and comfortable and the bathrooms of a good standard with lots of hot water. You only really spend the evenings on the junk and in the day you are moved around a lot on small boats to get closer to the sites but all the trips we went on were interesting and we kept busy. We stayed on the marguerite Garden initially which was slightly more expensive but the only difference is that it is the newest (although you couldn't really tell) and the rooms on the higher deck has views from both sides of the room. The marguerite 2 which we also stayed on was lovely, I'm not convinced the marguerite garden is worth the extra money. Pick up to and from our hotel in Hanoi was good. They called us the night before to confirm which was good as we'd booked on the web and I was worried they wouldn't turn up

As for Halong Bay, it was stunning and well worth the visit. Just try to go for 3 days if you have time

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Liked best: The general ambience of Halong Bay
Liked least: The fact we booked on to one boat and were moved around from one boat to another after one night. It made the trip less relaxing
Travelling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Neelielin...
Singapore, Singapore
Level 4 Contributor
20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“A wonderful and well balance trip with a splendid view of the seven wonder!”
Reviewed June 24, 2013 for a stay in June 2013
1
person found this review helpful

Trip started from the pick up from our hotel door at old quarters and with the guide Mr Tien (not sure of the spelling) He is a great guide answering all our questions during the trip from where to get special food or delicacy on land or any seafood to add on to our dinner on the cruise. We must be the most greedy group of 4 he have seen. Keep asking about food and clean up all the meals on the Junk :)

The program was well organize and pace without jamming with the other Junk. Additional information was given to us to bring what is necessary for each trip away from the Junk. All items was paid and no hidden cost. The guide even help us to look around for seafood at seasonal price for us to bring back to the kitchen for some additional dishes. We were lucky to found a seller near the surprise cave and a great marketing experience to buy from the auntie on the rowing boat with baskets of fresh sea delicacy!

The only sad sight, i would say is that the junks have been ordered by the government to be painted white recently so don't expect to see any colorful or authentic brown junk for any 1 nite cruise.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Bathroom cleanliness
Other facilities & amenities Service
Liked best: The program and friendly staff at work
Liked least: Not able to swim on board.
Travelling group: Extended Family
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Families with young children
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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