Well here I am adding in a little more. What can we say about Halong? Where to start is a better question. This is an amazing spot in Vietnam and the Halong Phoenix cruiser is an amazing little boat with a great crew.
We found out the secret to which boat to choose when you book your cruise (as there are 100′s to choose from), pick the boat with no more than 10-12 cabins. All the other boats just seemed so touristy. Ours was genuine, authentic, and a because they were only 10 of us on it we all became a little travel crew. We became friends and had a blast for the 3 days we were on the boat
The kayaking was great. Some advise however, bring lots of sunscreen, a hat, and lots of water because when they say a day of kayaking they aren’t kidding…. it was hours of kayaking in the blazing hot sun. But still very much worth it as we ended the day jumping off the boat, swimming, and having a wonderful feast followed up with a group nap on deck (which a wish someone had gotten a photo of cause I’m sure it was hilarious!)
All in all Halong Bay is an absolute must (although we are told in dec-feb can be a mad house with up to 500 boats in the area! Yuck!). It truly is a once in a lifetime (but for us hopefully more than that) experience. Enjoy!