• Ha Long Bay/ Hotel Logistical Question

    #5 Posted : Thursday, December 14, 2017 8:39:15 PM


    Yes, the missed flight was all part of my stupidity...a flight leaving SFO at 12:05 AM (if the AM had been written, it would have clicked...otherwise, dumb me thought it was the following night...took about 5 hours for the realization to hit ) then it was a scramble to get there. It did not help that it was the weekend of Chinese New Years and flights were tough to find. I told my husband, as we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off, bemoaning our dilemma, that we would laugh about this ...some day! And, now we do, but at the time humor was not to be found...anywhere! We had reservations on the Ginger Cruise Line, and I cannot say enough about the rep we used and how she worked so hard to make sure we got to take this cruise. We were on the Jasmine ( they also have the Ginger...a bit bigger, and the Violet ...only 5 cabins). Face it, they had our money, and we were not arriving into Hanoi until 10AM, when our original driver was to meet us at the hotel at 8AM. ( to answer your question...we had planned to take our luggage as we only had one bag each...carryon used for electronic stuff which we would not leave...I would think the hotel would hold luggage if you mention Tauck...we got a larger room on the junk, and had plenty of luggage room). The rep had a driver meet our plane, and he drove us to Halong Bay, basically a 3-hour trip). The junk leaves at noon ( although I understood it was delayed to accommodate late arrivals due to an accident on the main road )..when we arrived at Halong Bay ( we had no idea what was going on as our driver didn’t speak English), a tender pulled up to the dock and it took about 15minutes to catch up with the junk that seemed to be at anchor waiting for us. Wow! They warmly welcomed us, and even had our lunch waiting for us! I cannot tell you how impressed I was with that customer service! My husband says that the Halong Bay experience ( sans the snafu with getting there...although, the entire story, with embellishments, would make a dandy travel essay...yes, there were more events in this odyssey!) was a highlight of this trip! The inner bays are stunning, and our trip to the small village was very special... The day boat ( the Jasmine took the one-nighters back to the dock, and all of the two- nighters from the three ships in the fleet offload to a smaller boat. We were the only two from the Jasmine and there were four from the Ginger) then traveled deeper into the park and it was wonderful...not to be missed. Now, my disclaimer...this was 2012, and I am not sure if there is a better line that has appeared on the horizon. When we went, my research showed this was the best line, and our experience validated this. I see ( on another thread, that “Fernando” has booked the Violet, so this might still seem the best choice! We sure loved it! Joyce

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  • Post Tour Extension - Thailand

    #4 Posted : Thursday, December 14, 2017 7:49:50 PM


    Fernando, The Violet junk is a wonderful choice. We were on the Jasmine ( and loved it...2 nights, 3 Days) , but met someone who was a friend of the owner who raved about the Violet ( the Violet, Jasmine and Ginger all part of the Ginger Cruise Line). We though the Jasmine was great, but she thought the Violet (with only 5 cabins)was phenomenal! Congratulations on a great choice! My laugh about the entire experience was, with the decor of gauzy curtains and dark, polished wood, I expected to see Bogey and Bacall sitting at the bar! My husband felt it was a highlight of the trip! Now, if you get Larry as your TD ( not to diminish other TD’s, but we loved Larry), you will have the best experience ever! Joyce

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  • Tuscany and Cinque Terre

    #3 Posted : Thursday, December 14, 2017 5:35:37 PM


    I recommended it in these forums before, but we really enjoyed the "Wine Safari" tour of Chianti from Walkabout Florence. Visits a number of wineries, a fantastic butcher shop and includes a wonderful lunch. You can book it on Viator (look for wine safari) or directly on their website. Viator is a great place to look for tours and activities in general (it's run by Trip Advisor). You can see the details of the tour at:

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