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    Halong Emeraude Cruise

    In 1910 a paddle steamer called the Emeraude was offering unforgettable cruises in Halong Bay for visitors to what was then French Indochina. The Emeraude was part of a flotilla owned by the Roque...

    Price from: $160
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Every day, the Emeraude journeys through one of the world's most dazzling natural wonders and into the sepia realm of a dream. Named for a cruising vessel that plied these waters between 1906 and 1937, the Emeraude aspires to the magnificence of the bay itself. Its air-conditioned cabins, en suite bathrooms, award-winning cuisine and spacious deck space set the stage for the voyage of a lifetime. On the Emeraude, buoyed by one of the world's most beautiful bays, little things matter. Colonial style brass fans. Hardwood floors. Beadboard walls. And the most comfortable beds on the bay. In every cabin, the rich decor evokes another age, when craftsmanship mattered more than the bottom line. But make no mistake: The Emeraude makes concessions to the modern era, with air conditioning, electricity and other amenities typical of an upscale hotel room. No need to bring your own hair dryer. We've got that. Umbrellas, slippers, bathrobes. We've imagined all the contingencies so you'll be fully prepared to enjoy your cruise.

DAY 1 11:30 - 12:00 Registration at Emeraude Cafe 12:00 - 12:15 Embarkation 12:15 - 12:30 Check-in 12:30 - 12:45 Captain raises anchor 12:45 - 14:00 Refreshing Vietnamese & Int'l buffet lunch served 14:00 - 14:30 Free & easy 14:30 - 16:00 Shore excursion to Song Sot Grotto 15:30 - 17:00 Crepe Station on Sundeck 16:00 - 16:45 Relax & chill, easy cruising along the Bay 16:15 - 16:35 (Optional) Visit Pearls' Farm or stay onboard 16:45 - 17:00 Captain anchors for the night 17:00 - 18:00 Swims, kayaks or enjoy traditional spa treatments 18:00 - 18:30 Vietnamese Fresh Spring Roll Cooking Class 18:30 - 19:00 Cocktails on the Sundeck 19:00 - 21:00 Gourmet VN seafood & European dinner buffet served 20:30 - 23:00 Screening of highly acclaimed classic "Indochine" DAY 2 06:00 - 07:00 Complimentary cafe gourmand served on the sundeck 06:30 - 07:00 Learn ancient art of Tai Chi on sundeck 07:00 - 08:00 Leave luggage/bags outside cabins 07:00 - 08:30 Energizing breakfast served 08:30 - 09:00 Check-out 09:30 - 10:00 Disembarkation 10:00 - 10:15 Drop off point: Emeraude Café NB: Cruises with 14 persons and below set menus will be served.

The Route

Your cruise through Halong Bay wends among otherworldly karst formations and opens up views of one stupendous seascape after another. Be sure to key on the following attractions, as well. Changeable conditions and tides can affect the route, visibility and anchorage, but the following spots should be visible from the sun deck.

Sung Sot Grotto

Early French tourists who wandered among the 10,000 square meters of this cavern dubbed this space "Grotte des Surprises", or Surprise Cave. Sung Sot more than lives up to its name on Bon Ho Island, situated right at the heart of the UNESCO-recognised World Heritage area. From the wharf, 50 steep stone steps lead up to the entrance, but the view is worth the effort. The grotto features thousands of stalactites and stalagmites. Paths, lights and signposts guide you through two caves which continue to offer yet more twists, turns and, yes, surprises throughout.

Cua Van and Vung Vieng Floating Villages

Seven hundred people live at Cua Van in a calm bay surrounded by limestone karsts. Most, not surprisingly, earn their living by fishing and spend almost their entire existence living on the water. The following day you will also pass Vung Vieng Floating Village. Sixteen hundred people live on Halong Bay itself in similar communities.

Hang Trong Anchorage

The Emeraude anchors at Hang Trong. Hang Trong , or Drum Cave, refers to a nearby cave that earned its name as a result of the sound made as the wind blows through its stalagmites and stalactites. The waters here are quiet for swimming and there is lots to explore by kayak. Depending on conditions there are as many as five potential anchorage spots. Though Hang Trong is the most used, conditions may mean the vessel's captain opts for another site.

Titov Island

Titov Island was named after an illustrious visitor, Gherman Stepanovich Titov, who visited the spot on November 22, 1962 alongside President Ho Chi Minh. The Soviet astronaut was the second person to orbit the earth. Titov himself returned some 35 years later on June 27, 1997. The island is noted for a beautiful crescent-shaped beach that's popular with swimmers and water sports enthusiasts. You may also hike 420 steps up to a pavilion at the summit for a panoramic view of Halong Bay.

Soi Sim Island

On its return to Bai Chay, the Emeraude cruises past Soi Sim. Unlike the limestone karsts, this soil-based island supports ancient trees and a stunning white sand beach.

Practicalities

Emeraude Shuttle

Most travelers journey to Emeraude Pier with their tour group. But independent travelers can elect to take the Emeraude Shuttle. Two 16-seat Mercedes Sprinter mini buses make daily departures from Hanoi and Halong City. The eastbound bus to Halong leaves from the Emeraude's sales office at 46 Le Thai To every morning at 8.30am. The westbound bus leaves Emeraude Pier for the return trip to Hanoi at 9.30am. The three-hour each-way trip costs $40 return.

Emeraude Cafe

From shuttle to cruiser, we anticipate virtually direct boarding but, for those arriving independently, the Emeraude Cafe offers a comfortable place to spend time until embarkation. Shop for souvenirs or enjoy a drink or snack. The Café serves a wide selection of international food including freshly made sandwiches, panini and pizzas. In addition, there are teas, coffees, fresh juices and a wide ranging wine list. The Emeraude Cafe also provides complimentary WIFI access.

Emeraude Pier & Embarkation

After boarding via Emeraude Pier, park your luggage in your cabin and head to the sundeck for a refreshing welcome cocktail. A buffet lunch is served as the vessel casts off and heads out onto the magical waters and into the unrivalled scenery of Halong Bay.

Pastime

While aboard the Emeraude, be as active or as indolent as you please. Go caving at Sung Sot Grotto. Take in the bay from its entrance before heading into the darkness and its natural wonders. Experience the jade-green waters. At the overnight anchorage, take a swim from the dock, dive from our decks or launch a kayak for a nearby islet. Drink a cold beverage. Prepare for sunset with a drink in one hand and a camera in the other. Whet your appetite. Learn a few tricks of the trade from our Vietnamese chefs at a cooking demonstration. Behold the silver screen. After dark, gather topside for a viewing of "Indochine," projected on deck with surround sound and surround scenery. An unparalleled movie experience. Squid anyone? Try your hand at squid fishing with the Emeraude crew. Tai Chi, Halong style. To enjoy the ultimate serenity in the ultimate location, meet our tai chi instructor on the sun deck at dawn with complimentary tea and coffee. All Hands on Deck. Foot and shoulder massages in the sunshine or go below deck for body wraps and scrubs - without losing that Halong Bay View.

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