V’Spirit Cruises – Green Spirit

Halong Bay – Our Home under Threat

For every cruise company that operates there, Halong Bay is far, far more than a location in which to conduct business. Amidst the gorgeous mosaic comprised of thousands of islands and islets, the V’Spirit Premier Cruise finds a home, one that we treasure as the beautiful projection of Vietnamese life that it displays to the world.

However, while Halong Bay is an eruption of green in its tree-topped mountains and its gorgeously reflective sea below, our home is under a very real and present threat. The rise of tourism since the late 20th century has seen a rapid decline in the health of Halong Bay, due to the ill-thought-out acts of both cruise companies and tourists. The wealth of discarded waste that finds its way from cruise ships into the water is astounding, and the coral reefs and mangrove forests that are suffering as a result of this have had less of a threat throughout millions of years of life than they have in the last 30 years of tourism.

The future of Halong Bay is very much in doubt and as long as current practices are radically overturned, we risk losing not only an utterly unique wonder of nature, but also the homes of thousands of residents and the livelihoods of millions more Vietnamese.

The V’Spirit Premier Cruise – The Green Spirit

At the V’Spirit Premier Cruise and its sister companies, the Green Spirit has been a crucial part of the way in which we operate for over a decade of our relationship with Halong Bay. Our ultimate aim is a bay respected by all; one free of plastic waste and full of healthy and happy residents.

To achieve this ambitious goal, we take the following small steps towards a greener future in Halong Bay, for its nature and for its residents:

We believe that the key to Halong Bay’s future lies in recycling, which is something that we are passionate about on the V’Spirit Premier Cruise. We recycle water bottles and shampoo bottles, while for other toiletries, we provide packaging made of 100% recyclable materials.

Occasionally, we will head out onto the water to engage in a bay clean-up, where we scoop up items of rubbish from the bay. On kayaks and tender boats, our crew will scour the water with nets, collecting rubbish for proper recycling.

To address the problem of pollution in Halong Bay, our highly modern ship has fewer emissions than most of the older ships plying the waters. Not only is this better for the threatened mangroves of the bay, but this approach, as well as the fewer emissions from our modern shuttle bus, is an improvement for global warming worldwide.

In the past, we have sponsored events aimed at raising awareness for visitors of the bay as well as residents throughout Vietnam. Our latest effort, an art exhibition, was held on Soi Sim beach in Halong Bay and displayed local children’s impressions of issues including plastic and carbon pollution.

The secondary aim of our Green Spirit initiative is to lend a helping hand to some of Halong Bay’s incredibly long-term residents, who have seen their peaceful way of life threatened in recent years. The ancestry of some of the floating villages here stretches back a staggering 7,000 years, but many have had their populations decimated by increasing global interest in their homeland.

The V’Spirit Premier Cruise takes the following steps to ensure an easier and more secure lifestyle for the residents of Halong Bay:

At places like Cua Van fishing village, residents remain, living on floating rafts in low living conditions. We designed our charity initiative to help such residents and have thus far delivered scholarships, learning materials and monetary assistance to Van Gia floating school, the only school for the children of Cua Van.

In times of crisis, we have delivered disaster relief to the residents of Halong Bay, after natural forces have left people disconnected from the mainland and desperate for help. Our latest efforts were centered in Ban Sen, where vicious rains caused mass flooding and the destruction of most people’s homes.

On a recurring basis, we are proud to offer employment to some of the locals of the bay, with whom we have a mutual and highly amicable relationship. One such local is Mr. Khai, who allows us with his family to kayak around their silent back garden. We have a mutually beneficial relationship with Mr. Khai’s family and many others around Halong Bay.

The V’Spirit Premier Cruise will stay committed to the Green Spirit approach to responsible tourism in Halong Bay as long as we operate there. We have an obligation to provide a better future for the health of the bay and its residents, one that can also be enjoyed guilt-free by passengers cruising with the V’Spirit Premier Cruise.