3 Biggest & Most Common Halong Cruise Scams to Avoid

3 Biggest & Most Common Halong Cruise Scams to Avoid

Ways to Avoid Scams when Booking Halong Cruise

Rachel Tran Rachel Tran | Published Dec 12, 2019

You might have heard of Halong Bay before touching down in Vietnam as it’s one of the most famous and majestic tourist attractions in Northern Vietnam.

Halong Bay boasts thousands of gorgeous islands, a system of spectacular caves and a number of modern entertainment centers. What is highly recommended here is spending one night on the cruise, enjoying a romantic dinner and contemplating the first sunlight emerging from the horizon. It would sound perfect only without Halong cruise scams. This article will point out the most common unwanted situations you hope to stay away.

1. Low Quality Services

Services on Halong cruise

How it is:

It happens the most for travelers who book online or through an agency. The advantages of booking online are undeniable because even you are far away, with only a few clicks, you can easily compare among cruises based on your demands of the type, cabin size, service included, visiting points and of course, costs.

However convenient it is, seeking for a reliable intermediary or cruise service supplier on the Internet is never that easy. There are hundreds of agencies or cruises extolling beautiful pictures and advertising about their services. A large number of them do not post the real photos, some even not have a business registration certificate.

Once you book, this might lead to a deep disappointment when you get on the cruise. Let alone the super cheap ones, even the comparatively expensive ones are not reaching your expectations. Boats are nothing like shown in the pictures, staff are aggressive and you may be moved to another boat or asked to share rooms with others. Complaints are useless, there are thousands of excuses. If you have already paid a deposit beforehand, it’s hard to take back and if you accept the service, it may possibly ruin your whole holiday.

How to avoid and deal with it:

If you have no choice but booking online, make sure you choose the reliable agencies or cruises. You can ask for suggestions from acquaintances or anybody who has used the service before. Read some reviews from Tripadvisor, Traveloka and reputable cruise-booking platforms, especially when a deposit is requested advance.

If the price is unbelievably cheap compared to what you will get, it is either a low-quality or unsafe cruise or miscellaneous additional charges that has not been explicitly publicized. Price always goes with quality.

2. Extra Charges

Extra charges on Halong Cruise

How it is:

Seeing is believing. It’s understandable that many of us never believe what people boast and promote on their website. Unlike online booking, you see the cruise onsite, witness some others in the same place at a specific time, then decide. Comparing takes time and effort, it helps but does not make sure 100 percent you will get the expected services because its outside appearance sometimes presents hardly anything inside. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Presumably, while you are standing in the port and wondering which one you would choose, a tout is likely to turn up and introduce to you about their offers. It always starts by “You don’t need to choose us, I just want to help you out with some piece of useful information, because I’m a local” . Then, you are given a picture of a dream cruise. They have sizeable nicely- decorated rooms, scrumptious fresh seafood, professional staff serving you enthusiastically and perfectly-designed itinerary including magnificent caves, discovering fishing villages and kayaking. The guy with smiley face and attractive presentation announces those cost only $35, because of discounts or promotions. It is  irresistible, isn’t it? The moment you pay $35 is when you are the victims of a prevalent swindle circumstance!

Unlike the first situation when it’s nothing like you imagine, you experience all services described and enjoy yourselves so much. At the end of the journey, the cruise owner asks you to pay $400. A 35- dollar trip turns into a 400-dollar luxurious trip in a few seconds, which might bewilder you and break all your plan. It is impossible to argue with the cruise owner as you have used all of their services, and a tout who introduced you about the cruise trip seems to have vanished into the air.

How to avoid and deal with it:

Based on factors such as the routine of the cruise, what food you eat and the amenities, you can guess the range of price. If it is too cheap for all the plush services, be cautious or you will fall into a Halong cruise scam.

Secondly, if you book a cruise on arrival, make sure that you have a deal directly with the cruise owner or staff in the office. Ask carefully about what extent the costs cover and who you can come to in case of problems, discrepancy, compensations and complaints. Don’t believe a random guy who talks to you for a while and then disappears after leading you to the cruise.

3. Cruise Cancellation

Cruise cancellation

How it is: 

Please note that apart from  the case of cancelling Halong Bay Cruise by yourself, there are tons of situations in which your planned a trip to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is canceled by the service suppliers. The most common ones consist of bad weather, security issues, technical problems and unexpected events. These objective reasons are out of control and will be announced by the Administration of Halong Bay. You might be informed in the last minute.

How to avoid and deal with it:

They are not subjective, so it cannot be avoided. But before getting on a cruise, you should definitely understand well about the cancellation policy of the cruise or agency and be sure you do not get the terms wrong. The policies will be clearly published on the website of reliable agencies or cruises but you still should ask them about the cancellation policy in advance to make sure you will receive a refund for it.

According to the policy in general, you can get a 100% refund for any unwanted cancelation upon setting off. If the trip is cancelled in the middle, you will be charged for only what service you have used and refunded the part you did not use, including meals, sightseeing places and services. If the seller says that you are fully charged because the trip already started or any other reason, you might need to have something to rely on, such as regulations , contracts, pictures of policy or recordings of their commitment.

You should be noted that having one-night cruise trip on Halong Bay is absolutely  worth giving a try. However, it would not be a memorable experience unless you made wise choices in terms of reliable cruise agencies. The more coherent contact information they provide and the higher rates they have from previous service users, the more you can trust. In the worst circumstances, if something goes wrong and cannot be tackled, just keep on and assuage it by  enjoying the rest of your trip more pleasantly and wisely. Should you have any related experience, feel free to share with others below so that they can avoid these horrible Halong cruise scams.


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