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10 Reasons To Love Capella Cruise – Best Halong Bay Cruise For Families

The choices are plentisome (and overwhelming) when it comes to cruising Ha Long Bay. As you walk down the port in Ha Long City, and then watch further into the bay, dozens and hundreds of boats and ships of all shapes and sizes, fill up the incredible landscape. So which one should you choose when traveling with children?

We have three kids and wanted to overnight several nights on Ha Long Bay. We went with Capella Cruise and we can’t recommend them enough! Here are 10 things to know about the best Ha Long Bay cruise for families on Capella Cruise:

1- Capella Cruise Has The Only Water Slide In Ha Long Bay!

Probably not your number 1 priority when shopping for an Ha Long Bay cruise, but hey, for all it’s worth, our family loved it and its spices up the cruise! Also… if your kids see it and you’re on another ship… good luck!

2- Capella Cruise Family Rooms

The family rooms are the first reason we considered Capella Cruise, amongst the hundreds of other choices!

On most other cruise lines, you get very small cabins, and when you travel with children, they sleep on narrow beds, hard mattresses, and the beds go up in the walls during the day. On Capella Cruise, however, the Family Suite is a very large, 2-room suite, with the parental room and its gigantic bed, and a kids’ room with three individual beds. The mattresses and the bedding are the very best!

Every bedroom has an en-suite bathroom with a standalone tub over viewing the bay! The Family Suite has a built-in tub, but the view is just as fantastic! And everyone has a large balcony as well!

In the room, you will find refillable water bottles, with water stations scattered around the ship, as well as Crocs for the whole family, to wear in the cabin or around the ship.

3- Daily Water Activities

Every day after lunch, Capella Cruise anchors in a beautiful bay, surrounded by some of the most gorgeous scenery our planet has to offer.

For a few hours, you are free to kayak anywhere in the bay. Our kids absolutely loved it – they even took naps on the kayak! We spotted locals’ graves on some of the islands, purple crabs, and giant jellyfish (they don’t sting and are a sight to see)!

The use of kayaks is free and included with your cruise – you will be given a life jacket. You can also rent stand-up paddle boards if you wish.

It is during water activities that the slide is open, and you are welcome to swim in the bay as well, enjoy the pool and hot tub, or just jump off the boat, if that’s what your active kiddos prefer to do!

4- All-Inclusive Excursions

Alright – the real reason you are coming to Ha Long Bay, Vietnam and what makes a good experience, great! The excursions are all included in the price of the Capella Cruise!!

You may be very happy to just cruise along the bay and take in the scenery – however, going out and experiencing the islands is the only way to fully take it in.

Depending on the the length of your cruise, you can experience the following excursions, with guides from the ship:

  • Bicycle (or golf cart) tour on Cat Ba Island – the only inhabited island in Ha Long Bay: there you will partake in a foot fish massage, tasting of interesting local wines (think cobra wine!!), get a quick geography lesson, and cycle through gorgeous nature
  • Three Peach Beach: a quick but sweet stop over at this golden sand beach. The water, a little cold for our liking, was beautiful, and our kids preferred to build a fort on the beach instead. Love that Capella Cruise brings all towels and water bottles on board the speed boat, so you don’t have to!
  • Dry cave visit: after a quick speed boat trip, followed by a 15-minute car ride to another part of Cat Ba Island, visit this beautiful dry cave, accompanied by a guide from the ship. Dong Trung Trang is super fun, and unlike most caves, it is over ground, so the temperature is quite warm.
  • On disembarkation day, board a bamboo boat to this ocean Dark & Bright Cave, where you can hope to spot one of only 80 langur monkeys left in the world. The government is trying to bring them all to this area of Cat Ba island, to help with conserving and growing the species, as it is one of the most endangered species on the planet. Quick tip – keep an eye out for moving foliage!

5- The Food!!!

We could not believe the gastronomic journey that was Capella Cruise. As with excursion, everyone has the same first dinner, second dinner, and so on. We sailed for 3 nights and all three dinners were incredible!

Dinner is a set menu, but before embarking, you will be asked about food allergies and preferences. From there, the chef will make the necessary changes. I am allergic to oysters and was brought other seafood when oysters were on the menu. We saw several vegetarians being served a totally different menu than ours.

Typically, breakfast and lunch are buffets, though we’ve had a sit-down lunch as well.

We loved being served lunch on embarkation day, as well as breakfast + brunch on disembarkation day. So no one went hungry between leaving the ship and getting back to Hanoi.

6- Different Lengths Of Stay Every Day

This one is a bit of a hard concept to grab, especially if you are used to cruising. With Capella Cruise, your family can choose to cruise 1, 2, or 3 nights (that is, until a new ship is added to the fleet). Because Ha Long Bay is fairly small, the ship anchors in the same anchorage every night, and moves back towards the port to pick up new passengers every day.

While the ship moves back closer to Ha Long City, if you are in between two nights, you will be away on your excursion. On any given day, day 1, 2, and 3 excursions are offered, and depending on which day of YOUR cruise it is, you will partake in that program. So everyone’s Day 1 is the same, no matter the day of the week you embarked.

Here’s the schedule, to help you decide on how many night work best for your family (if you ask me, 3 nights is a must!):

1 NIGHT – lunch and water activities upon embarking the ship, then happy hour en route to the night anchorage, dinner and squid fishing. The next morning, wake up early to visit the Dark & Bright Cave, before enjoying a brunch and disembarkation around 11AM

2 NIGHTS – Embarkation day is the same as for 1-nighters, but as you wake on your first morning, you will board a speed boat to Cat Ba island and enjoy the bike (or golf cart) tour and everything that visit entails, and some beach time at Three Peach Beach. Your second day will be the Dark & Bright Cave / brunch / disembarkation.

3 NIGHTS – Adding on to the 2-night itinerary from above, on your last full day, you will board a speed boat to Cat Ba island and visit Dong Trung Trang Cave! Disembarkation days is Dark & Bright Cave / brunch / disembarkation.

At the end of each excursion, the speed boat will take you back to the anchorage near the city, when you will have lunch shortly after the new guests embark. From there awaits a daily afternoon of water activities.

7- Squid Fishing

Depending on your level of comfort with fishing, this can be a really neat thing to experience. We had never even heard of squid fishing, but squid is plentiful in Ha Long Bay and every night, sailors can fish with the crew. The squid is prepared fresh the following day and it is a very cool experience offered by Capella Cruise, where the kids are more than welcome to join!

8- Getting To Ha Long Made Easy

While we did not use the premium shuttle offered by Capella Cruise, know that it is available. It will pick you up in Hanoi city and drop you off at the cruise terminal, and take you back again after the cruise.

9- Daily Snacks and Happy Hour

Between water activities and dinner, there is about an hour of sailing. We recommend hitting the top decks for a 360-view and for free snacks.

The tropical fruits are amazing and plentiful and Capella Cruise adds some other finger food. It is best enjoyed watching the sun set on this UNESCO World Heritage Site, cocktail in hand, during the buy-2-get-1-free Happy Hour.

10- Daily Cooking Demonstrations

Every night, between Happy Hour and dinner is a cooking demonstration. A member of the crew will teach guests how to make the famous spring rolls. Sailors can partake in the class and roll their own rolls, which are later fried and enjoyed as the night falls!

A really neat Capella Cruise experience!

Best Halong Bay Cruise For Families With Kids

While I am sure other cruise lines do a fine job at hosting families, we can’t recommend Capella Cruise enough when cruising overnight with kids on Halong Bay!

The crew is incredible, the Family Room is extraordinary, and the offerings are second to none. You will love the food, the kindness of the people, the included excursions, and all of the activities on board and in the water.

We have loved our 3 nights with Capella Cruise and can’t thank them enough for hosting us. All opinions are our own.

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