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Halong Bay in April -- boats and advance booking recommendations

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My husband and I are planning a trip to Hanoi to visit a friend and would like to see Halong Bay while we're there.

I'd like to get recommendations for smaller, more intimate boats that will cost no more than $250 per night. Are there any special ones to look at?

Also wondering if we need to book in advance (as told to me by a boat company) or if we can wait till we get to Hanoi and book the day before at a tour company where we may be able to get a better deal?

Thanks for your help.

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