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“Great Boat - Wish I got to spend time on it”

Poseidon Sail Private Charter Halong
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Attraction details
Owner description: Halong Poseidon sail, the newest luxury Junk Boat in Halong Bay. Built as a traditional wooden junk with modern contemporary Vietnamese design, Halong Poseidon Sails will provide deluxe amenities and pampering services whilst cruising through magnificent landscapes. 8 spacious cabins and suites with own bathrooms, large sundeck.
Reviewed 15 June 2013

This is a difficult review to post. I have such positive memories of Ha Long Bay, but I can't judge the tour by the splendor that it progressed through.

We were picked up at our hotel in a very nice bus. The guide, Qua (sp?) was personable and spoke English well. The bus rolled along and stopped at the mandatory tourist trap for a bathroom stop halfway to Ha Long City. We made it to Ha Long Harbor and trundled onto the boat. There was only 8 of us, which was pleasant, as we assumed we would have the run of the ship.

Lunch was fantastic and they provided plenty of food. In line with most of the cruises, beverages and water are not included. You will get stinkeye if you bring your own bottle of water to the table. The surroundings are incredible. Ha Long Bay is beautiful.

The Poseidon boat is one of the nicer boats out there. The cabins are gorgeous, and the boat itself is well maintained, which cannot be said of the competition.

We were taken off the boat to be herded through a cave tour with hundreds of other tourists. The talking points are standardized and you will be ushered along even if you are taking pictures. Following that, we got to kayak but where we were promised 1 hour, we ended up getting 30 minutes. This was something that we were really looking forward to and were bummed that we didn't get to spend the full time.

Following that, we were told we would get to go swimming. As we were on a ship, that seemed like an easy proposition. Instead we were taken to a tiny beach with hundreds of tourists and locals fighting over a tiny plot of sand. Half of our group looked at the beach and asked to just stay on the boat. We were told that was impossible, and we had to go to the crappy beach instead of staying on the great boat. We ended up going to the beach and spending 90 minutes there while the guide played football on the beach. After this, we got to go back to the Poseidon boat.

The next scheduled activity was making springrolls. This was scheduled right at sunset, so once again, most of the group didn't want to take part. Hmmm, make springrolls or watch the sunset over Ha Long Bay? We informed the guide that we weren't making springrolls. 5 times. He kept insisting that we make them, and we kept refusing. What should have been a relaxing, magnificent occasion was instead a fight to enjoy the ship and the scenery.

After sunset we had dinner and the meal was superb again. The choices of entertainment were squid fishing (a meaningless and trite expenditure of time, although I did nearly catch a crab) and karaoke, which the staff commandeered. One of the guests actually went to the lounge and told them to shut it down, as they were going to sleep.

The following day, staff began knocking on our door at 6:30am. We told them that we were skipping breakfast so we could sleep a little longer as the A/C was turned off at 3am. This was apparently not acceptable, as the crew knocked on our door and yelled into the cabin every 3 minutes for the next hour. We did not have to be ready until 7:30am but couldn't get a minute's peace. Now here's where things get weird.

We booked our entire tour with Poseidon Sail. We were kicked off the boat at 7:30am in the morning and transferred to another boat, which was not nearly as nice. We were heading to Cat Ba Island, and all told, we had to transfer between 4 boats to get there. 4 boats. Which declined in quality and amenities with each transfer. We never saw our group again. We never saw our guide again. We ended up being shoved exactly where we didn't want to be when we booked a "luxury" service: on a broken down bus filled with 20 somethings with questionable hygiene. This was not our group and definitely not what we had paid a premium for. At Cat Ba national park, the bus was left with the door open and the bus unattended for nearly two hours with our bags sitting in the doorway.

Poseidon Sail advertises itself as a luxury option to the standard Ha Long Bay tour. What we got was great when we were actually on the ship and allowed to enjoy Ha Long Bay. But the vast majority of the trip was a massive bait and switch operation. We were on the ship that we booked for a grand total of 15 hours when we booked a 3 day tour. After the end of our tour, we had been on far too many mediocre boats, far too many broken down buses with no/little A/C for the luxury price that was paid.

7  Thank Glamm808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (31)
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10 - 14 of 31 reviews

Reviewed 5 June 2013

We booked our Ha Long Bay trip through our hotel, so we didn’t choose Poseidon ourselves. That said, it was a pleasant enough trip. There really isn’t another more convenient way to visit Ha Long Bay than these two-day one-night tours, but be warned: it’s pretty regimented and a bit like a tyrannical holiday camp at times!

My first advice would be to book the best (most expensive) room on the best boat you can afford. Don’t go for a cheaper room on what looks like a fancier boat – no matter how fancy the boat, somebody has to sleep below decks near the engine and that’s what you will get. You want an upper deck cabin away from the diesel fumes. Check the photo of the boat you are being offered – there are three-tier and two-tier boats. The three-tier boats are obviously larger, and more upper deck rooms to choose from, but that means more people.

Don’t think it’s going to be empty seas either – there are over two thousand boats out there and at any given time you can see a couple of dozen of them around you. That said, it’s a lovely experience and a beautiful place to visit, well worth the effort. Don’t bother with a three-day two-night option: that will be too long. But if you are very stretched for time even a one-day trip is worth considering just to see this beautiful bay.

We were picked up by minibus from our hotel and travelled three hours to the boat terminal. All the boats are now painted white by government edict, so it’s hard to tell them apart. A launch took us across to the Poseidon and we settled into our cabins quickly before we departed and lunch was served.

We had one of two upper deck cabins, which was cramped but beautifully turned out. It was also nice to be able to step outside onto the deck and enjoy the view. The room had aircon (which we were told was not working), a TV, a fridge and a tiny bathroom including shower. The lack of aircon was a little uncomfortable as if you leave the windows open overnight you get a nice breeze and plenty of mosquitoes, so bring plenty of repellent.

There were eight passengers in total on our trip, which was half what the vessel could accommodate. The top deck of the boat had sun loungers and seating under cover as well. The bar was open all day but prices were relatively hefty. You cannot bring your own food or alcohol on board – you must purchase all food and drinks from them.

The trip itself was fairly heavily timetabled but opt out if you feel like it. The “Surprise Cave” is not all that surprising, and if you have seen limestone caverns before this won’t excite you at all. Stay on board and chill out would be my recommendation.

We also had kayaking in the afternoon after the cave which was great fun. They may not explain the timetable all that well, so make sure you ask exactly what is happening so you are wearing the right clothes. Some of our guests had not realised that we would go straight to the kayaks from the cave, and were not appropriately dressed for action. You’ll get a bit scruffy and wet so dress accordingly.

Evenings were for a G&T on the top deck watching the sun go down, then an early dinner. Food was plentiful but pretty plain. The “Vietnamese cooking class” we were promised as an evening activity ended up being a very quick instruction on how to make our own rice paper rolls as a starter! Bring your own evening entertainment with you – a book, music, whatever – if you want an alternative to karaoke with strangers, fishing from the deck or a game of cards. We retired to our cabin pretty early after chatting to another couple for a while over dinner.

The following morning we had a trip to Ti Top Island, for a yomp to the top. This is definitely worth the bit of effort for the views at the summit, and the refreshing dip in the water when you get back down. Not many people take a swim afterwards, but I highly recommend it!

Then it’s a slow cruise back to base, with lunch served just before we disembarked. This was my favourite time of the cruise as I felt unrushed and undisturbed.

All in all I believe most of the boats offer more or less the same thing. There will be party boats for the younger crowd, and fancier boats with early morning tai chi and proper cooking classes. Opt for a good mid-range price and don’t forget – the best cabin you can afford to avoid those diesel fumes.

7  Thank Mairead D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 April 2013

This was definitely one of the highlights of my time in Vietnam. Even though the area has now become very touristy, it doesn't take away from the fact that this is a truly beautiful place to visit and a trip not to be missed. When visiting the tour shops in hanoi you will be offered many different boat options with a range of prices from $45 - $200 and they all provide the same basic itinerary with the only difference being the food and accommodation.

We decided to book this boat for 2 days, 1 night after reading reviews and it was definitely a good choice. We negotiated a price of $80 per person but a couple on the boat had paid $70. We found that this was amazing value for money! On the first day, we visited the caves and went kayaking. At night, back on the boat there was a small cooking class, squid fishing and karaoke for anyone that wanted to join in. The next morning, we were taken to a small beach with the option to take a very short hike to the top of a small mountain and the views from the top were amazing! Picture perfect!
The room was fantastic and surprisingly very comfortable and cosy. It was a nice size and had a lovely bathroom. It was all very clean and definitely exceeded expectations.

Another great aspect of this trip was the food, it was delicious! The trip provides 4 meals, lunch and dinner on the first day and breakfast and lunch on the second. Breakfast wasn't the best but the other 3 sure did make up for it. With a range of fresh fish, beef and chicken, a variety of vegetables served with rice and noodles, there was definitely something for everyone and the great thing was that there was plenty of it too.

Overall, this was a fantastic trip and I would definitely recommend this boat, the staff and our fantastic tour guide, Hero.

Every tour shop will offer different boats but if you ask for this one by name in any of them, they should have it.

The only thing that I didn't like was that I was expecting the postcard picture style brown boat with orange sails and on arrival all the boats were white. All the boats have now been painted white because of government regulation after 2 boats collided in the night.

2  Thank Samantha C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2013

We have scheduled Poseidon 2 night boat trip towards the end of our stay in Vietnam and indeed it was very nice highlight of our stay. We have booked via booking. com. They have organized collection from Hanoi and return back to Hanoi which is very convenient. Food was very good and we felt very confortable at the boeat during whole our stay. Program is organized quite well as they try keep you busy - even during "misty" or "raining" days. We have been kayaking even when raining and still had a lot of fun. Please consider to take with you a rain coat in case there is a raning day as they do not have spare raning coats for visitors. This boat is really good choice considering the price and quality you are provided.

3  Thank Dagmar S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2013

After about 4 hours drive from Hanoi, we reached the jetty & was transported by a boat to Poseidon Sail. Welcomed with drinks, our tour guide showed us around the cruise before we check into our cabin. The cabin were clean & had windows where you can enjoy the view of the stunning Halong Bay while laying on your bed.
Lunch & dinner were served by course, mostly seafood cooked in local style & were good. You can inform the tour guide in advance on your preferences or choice of food so that the necessary arrangements can be made. Drinks will not be served, you have to purchase it separately.
After lunch, we spend some time in the sun deck, where you can enjoy the view while the cruise heads towards Halong Bay. Most of of our time during the stay was spent here.
The weather during our visit was cool & misty, it kind of added beauty of the surrounding.
At abt 3 pm, we were brought to visit caves & islands in Halong Bay, thereafter you may enjoy kayaking or swimming.
Our tour guide was very helpful & the cabin crews were polite.
The cruise sails along the different routes of Halong Bay and you will not be dissapointed with the majestic landscape... a feast to the eyes...
Overall a very memorable experience & the cruise was ok. Nevertheless the services can be improved further.

2  Thank Rugesh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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