The sumptuous four-course meal took place inside the atmospheric grotto of Drum Cave. The elegant tableware, international standard cuisine and carefully chosen wines lent an otherworldly touch to the craggy ceiling, shadowy, candlelit crevices, and stunning nighttime view of the bay through the cave entrance.
The cruise departed Saturday after a breakfast at Hanoi’s legendary Press Club. Once onboard the near-replica of the 19th century paddle steamer, guests indulged a day of champagne, premium wines, a seafood buffet, volleyball on shore one of the bay’s islands, tapas and a wine tasting before the Drum Cave dinner.
After the meal, guests returned to the Emeraude for a single malt tasting on the sun deck, before retiring to one of the classically appointed cabins below.
The paddle steamer returned to shore Sunday morning. Tickets for the all-inclusive started at $245 per person based on double occupancy.
While this was the seventh year for the now legendary Wine & Dine cruise, 2011 has already seen increased international attention paid to Halong Bay. Lonely Planet magazine called out Halong Bay as the world’s second-best spot to go boating; and the Bay is in the running for classification as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
The event was sponsored by Yalumba, Warehouse, Hanoi Press Club, Carlsberg and Diageo.