Lucy Casley spends the night in a Deluxe cabin on a boat cruise in Vietnam's Halong Bay.


On Halong Bay, in the north of Vietnam, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Check-in experience: We arrived at a busy little reception room full of travellers arriving for their cruises. We had a refreshing green tea while staff organised everyone into groups. When it was time to board, we got the friendliest of welcomes by the staff.

Room: A Deluxe cabin. The boat is built in the traditional Oriental style favoured by shipbuilders in the area, and our all-wood cabin was fitted out in a blue-and-deep-brown colour scheme. We had a queen bed, small couch, ensuite and, best of all, a private sun deck with two loungers.


Bathroom: Was a decent size — there was even a bathtub — and fine except for a lack of privacy because of its flimsy door. Oddly, the shower had no curtain, so water went all over the floor and toilet.

Facilities: The Bhaya boats have 15-20 cabins. The sun deck is a nice place to relax, with some chairs and loungers. There's also a restaurant and bar area and massage rooms.

The bed: I wouldn't brag about the bed, but it was just fine for me. However, my partner had some discomfort during the night.

Price: Prices for an overnight cruise start around US$150 (about $205).

Noise: You could faintly hear people next door because the boat is an old build, but unless you have a terribly noisy neighbour it's not a problem.

Food and drink: The set-menu lunch was all local produce, most of which was very tasty. The brunch was standard but the food was good — eggs freshly cooked on request, cereal, pastries, bread, muffins and some Asian cuisine.

What's in the neighbourhood? Halong Bay in all its beauty.

What's so good about this place? We got to do and see a lot of things in less than 24 hours, which was great, depending on whether you're looking for an action-packed time or a more relaxed cruise. The staff are really friendly and welcoming, especially our particular tour guide.

And the bad? They could do with some more secure safes and a more comfortable bed.

Perfect for? Leisure travellers who want to explore Halong Bay in a pleasurable but energetic way.

Would I return? Our tour guide, perhaps a tad unprofessionally, said it was the second-best cruise to go on, which immediately made me think I'd like to try out the best one.