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#1 stewsmith

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 11:03 AM

well this trip was planned some 16 months ago and after going to the dive show and sitting in on a 40 minute chat about the boat and the 2 week itinerary we decided to part with our hard earned cash. the boat we had booked was the nautilus2. the boat looked very impressive, and would be the biggest liveaboard that we had been on. the cabins were also very big with 2 double beds and a proper shower cubicle complete with water jets. 2 of the guides that were on the boat at the time of booking were known to us as we had dived with them a few years ago when they worked out in the Red Sea.
unfortunately they had decided to come back to blighty after we had booked.

we booked through Tony Backhurst who i had vowed never to use again since a previous trip booked through him years ago turned into a complete nightmare. sadly for us we had no option as the Nautilus 2 only ran 2, 2 week trips per year and he was the UK agent for the boat. well we were booked and looking forward to returning to the Maldives. we had been to the Maldives 3 times before island based so knew what to expect in terms of diving. fast currents, nice thilas and lots of fish.

a few months after booking we were contacted by tony backhurst to say that our lovely flights we had with Emirates leaving on a friday had now been changed to a flight with Sri Lankan with a 3 hour stop over in Columbo and now leaving on a monday.

4 days prior to departure we were again contacted by TB to tell us that our 3 hour stop over was now extended to a 7 hour stop over in Columbo. not seeing the funny side of the conversation i asked for a company director to call me asap. well i did get a telephone call from someone informing me that she was angela mackintosh and she was a compny director. i explained that i was not happy with the flight situation and that if i had of known this at the time of booking i would not have booked. she told me in a nasty tone that i was over reacting and that she didnt see a problem with the 7 hour stop over. she then went on to say that she had managed to get us booked in to the Ramada hotel for the 7 hours. this sounded a little bit better and after giving me a load more spill i hung up on her as she obviously had no customer services training. in the mean time my wife contacted sri lankan airways to ask for free seat upgrades due to the inconvenience. the lady at the end of the telephone was polite and understanding and legroom seats were booked for our party of 4.

well the monday came and we were in our legroom seats enjoying the red wine on our way to Columbo. we arrived at Columbo after 10 or so hours and were now hunting around the airport terminal for the sri lankan info desk where we had been told to go to to get our transfer to the Ramada hotel. well we found the kiosk, luckily we found it before another 40 or so people that were also looking for it. even better they knew who we were and that a room had been booked in our name for the Ramada. Now just take this voucher to the other Sri Lankan desk the other side of customs and they will sort you out. so again we rushed to be first in the queue. handing over the voucher to the guy in the sri lankan kiosk he proceeded to write yet another voucher, passports out once again. we were told to just wait over there until our transport was here. well 40 minutes later we were told to follow this guy outside to our coach. we did as asked and had to wait another 50 minutes before the coach arrived. with everyone getting very frustrated at the delay and the heat together with the lack of sleep and the excess red wine. there were 20 or so people on the coach that were booked into the Ramada, or so we thought. we arrived at the Ramada only to find that they had no idea that we were coming and had no booking for us, and had no empty rooms. This was not funny, you could actually see it coming though and a few of us even joked about getting to the hotel and there not being any rooms. so back onto the coach we were heading back to the airport. or so we thought. instead we were heading in totally the opposite direction. after 30 minutes we arrived at another hotel, and i use the word hotel generously. this place was no more than a hard up back packers retreat. by this time if we were lucky we could have an hour and a half lay on a bed and a hot shower, grab some breakfast and get back to the airport. well we did just that, had a lay down for an hour and a half, had a hot shower and went to breakfast. i actually skipped breakfast as i was given a plate of eggs that were no where near cooked, i asked for some new eggs to be cooked properly and turned over to how i like them. this was obvious too much to ask as when the new eggs arrived all that had happend was that the raw eggs i returned had just been turned over on the plate. moving swiftly on we got our plane to Male in the Maldives and our diving could begin.

we were met at the airport by one of the guides from the Nautilus2. Issey. No greetings drinks were offered and no conversation either. actually none of the group were in the mood for conversation as we had been travelling for what seems like days. Once all of the guests were located we were taken to a dhoni ( dive boat ) which was used for transporting us to the mothership the Nautilus2. On first impressions we were very pleased. It was absolutely massive. loads of in and outdoor seating areas, 2 jaccuzis, a sun deck bigger than a tennis court. we were given a fresh coconut with a straw and started to sip it as the boat briefing was given. well brief it was. there are life jackets up here and life jackets inside of your cabins. first dive tomorrow will be at 6am and if you want to do a check dive this afternoon you can. that was it. so BRIEFing being very apt. of course we did have to fill in a disclaimer saying that what ever happend nothing was the Nautilus2 fault. no talk about any other safety. no mention of fire escapes, re calling divers at depth in an emergency, nothing about filling in dive logs after each dive. we were asked our names and allocated cabins. ours was on the lower deck room 203. the cabin was very nice. very spacious even though it had 2 double beds in it. it was well designed with ample storage under the beds for bags and cases. the bathroom was also very nice with a very roomy shower enclosure with water jets. very impressive indeed. we unpacked and then went for a walk around the boat meeting other guests on the way. the boat was mixed with german, austrian and british divers. all of which seemed friendly enough, albeit very tired. we decided to do our check out dive that afternoon, which consisted of diving a shallow thila ( pinnacle )

after our evening meal i asked Issey ( the guide ) if he would be able to show me any resident critters like sea horses, frog fish and the like. he replied no and walked off. this guy had serious communication problems which were obvious from the start. he had no enthusiasm towards diving and was going to be quite hard work. now i had done almost 100 dives in the maldives prior to this trip and knew it had loads to offer and found it hard to believe that a guide who had worked there for 20 years had no cards up his sleeve. ok then, so lets buy him a drink at the bar and see if he loosens up a bit. well he had the drink and that was that. i dont even recall him thanking my wife for her buying it for him.

well it was an early night for most guests as we were feeling the strain of the nonesense we had experienced on route. the next morning it was time to dive. the dive wasnt too testing as a few guests decided against doing their check dive the previous day due to fatigue which i can sympathise with. so we done another check dive around a thila which was ok.
The next 13 days were more or less the same. The pre dive briefings that were given through out the trip were not very good regarding strength of currents. It was almost as if the guide was trying to scare people off from diving, which he did. Numerous divers listend to the briefings and decided not to dive due to the predicted strong currents. When we actually got on most dives the currents were only moderate. This was a bit of a p1$$ off to my wife also as she was not taking her video rig down with her because of the information received. In the end we only used the dive briefing for getting a mental picture of the guides drawing of the reef. When we would be at the dive site and ready to dive, the guides never got into the water to check the current. We were told at one particular dive briefing that the current would be REALLY strong. When we got to the site my wife asked Issey the guide whether the current was REALLY strong as she didn’t want to leave her rig behind to find out that there was only a slight current as had happened every day since the holiday had began. The guide licked his finger stuck his finger in the air and said to my wife that yes its REALLY strong. This was the kind of attitude the guide had. On another occasion a german women who was sat right at the back of the dhoni next to the engine asked if it was left hand or right hand to the reef and he replied “ do i need a loud speaker “. That was his reply and he never gave her the answer. I had to bite my tongue as i was getting ready to explode and if i did explode i would have lost the plot completely. This guy was a complete jerk and i was adamant that he wasn’t going to ruin our trip.
To summarise the diving it was ok. Not great as i had expected, but this was due to not diving the channels on incoming currents. The thila diving that we done was good. Lots of nice hard and soft coral with plenty of fish life. The viz around Ari Atoll was very poor due to the plankton, but the viz in Felidhe Atoll was very good. So what did we see. Unfortunately no whalesharks, a few mantas, several eagle rays, including a pass by of 12 in flight formation, 4 marlin which was great to see, loads of whitetip reef sharks a few grey reef sharks, a few turtles, loads of reef fish and a couple of nudis. I can honestly say that i have never been on a dive trip before where so many guests were moaning about one thing or another. Generally it was the guide that was the cause of the moans. As i have said the boat was excellent and there were a few crew that were also very good. This boat could be one of the best around if it was managed by the right person.
Here is a letter that i have sent to the owner regarding things that happened on the trip. Some of which i hope you would agree is totally unacceptable. I was going to wait for a reply from the Nautilus2 owner before posting this, but as i have not even received an acknowledgement email from him, i thought i might as well just post. I will try and post some shots in the gallery at the weekend.

Dear sir,

Nautilus 2 - 27 January 2009 - 10 February 2009

We have just returned from a two week trip on the Nautilus 2 and were not very satisfied with the level of service that we received whilst on board.

We would consider ourselves seasoned travellers and have enjoyed many liveaboard trips to the Maldives and other diving destinations around the world including Galapagos, Cocos, Komodo, Red Sea to name a few.

We booked our trip on the Nautilus 2 over 12 months ago at one of the dive shows held in the UK when Joe and Karen were the guides on board. Having dived with them previously in Egypt and spoken to them at the dive show regarding the itinerary of the trip, we considered this trip suitable for our requirements. From the limited information and photos we could find on the internet we were very pleased with the few trip reports that we did find and also that the boat was built to a very high standard, very spacious and with excellent size cabins. On this basis we encouraged another 2 friends to book also.

We have dived the Atolls of the Maldives several times previously and knew what to expect regarding the diving.

So where did it all go wrong?

The house keeping on the boat was not to an acceptable standard, I will list a few examples. Table cloths on the tables were not cleaned for the duration of the whole trip, ( 14 days ) even though there were visible crumbs and food stains on them. The Jacuzzi was not cleaned until the 7th day of the trip (and this was on our request), even though a brown scum was floating in the water after it had been used. When the Jacuzzi water level dropped due to evaporation we would have to ask at least 3 times before anyone was sent to refill the water. The sun deck was also not cleaned until day 7 and cigarette ash trays were also left until day 7 to be emptied. Red wine had been spilt on the floor of the sun deck on day 3 and this was left for 4 days before this was cleaned. Overall the level of house keeping as I hope you would agree was not to a level expected. Why someone on the boat is not given simple house cleaning duties to perform whilst the guest are off diving is beyond belief. Crew were also seen flicking cigarette ends into the sea instead of using ash trays.

The atmosphere between the crew on the boat was very sombre and at times very loud and aggressive. The barman (Raj) most nights seemed under the influence of alcohol and on the evening of the 3rd February he become violent towards at least one of his fellow colleagues which was witnessed by several guests. I myself had to intervene and ask the barman to refrain from acting in an aggressive manner. I asked him to lower his tone and act appropriately as this was not suitable behaviour in front of paying guests. As I understand, he was actually on the telephone to his employer, which I presume was yourself.

The interaction between the dive guides and the UK guests was non existent and as far as we are concerned no attempt on the guides part was made to talk to the guests. On many occasions I felt as if I was being totally ignored and that the guides did not want to be there. As I have said we have made many liveaboard trips and have never been in an environment where we felt like this. On one occasion, which was the morning after the barman incident, one of the guides, Issey returned at 0545 from a night away from the boat, where he stayed overnight on a local island. When he returned he walked passed myself and another guest who were sat on the back of the boat having a morning coffee and he did not have the manners to even say good morning to us. This was common behaviour from Issey. I asked several of the guests if either of the guides had asked them if they had had a good dive on the trip and all of the guests said that neither of the guides had asked any questions regarding anything. No apology was made by Issey either regarding the behaviour of the barman which I find quite shocking in view of him being well aware that we witnessed this unprofessional behaviour.

Another thing that I found strange was that the crew were always sleeping on the chairs that are on the back of the Nautilus 2. I have been on some liveaboards where crew sleep on deck at night as there are not enough cabins for them, but to see them lounging and sleeping during the day is not what I expect from them, especially when there were cleaning duties to be done. I am a person that wakes up early in the morning and when I woke up early I would not be able to find an area on the boat where I could have a coffee and read a book as the crew were sleeping and there were no lights on.

The information given out at dive briefings regarding the currents were not very accurate either and people were missing dives because strong currents were predicted and when on the dive the currents that were predicted were not there. I have plenty of experience in diving strong currents so this was not a problem for me as I expect to be diving in strong currents when diving the Maldives. We were also dropped in the wrong place on a few occasions which is part of diving and understand that this does happen. What I do not accept is that after the dive no apology was made by the guides for this. On other occasions when I have been diving in the Maldives, it was common practice for the guide to enter the water prior to any guests entering so that the guide could go down a few metres to do a site specific current check. This was never done whilst I was on the boat. My wife, who is also a videographer asked Issey regarding the strength of the current when we had reached one particular dive site as she was getting frustrated being told by Issey that it was really strong only to get into the water without her camera to find little current at all. Issey replied to her quite rudely and just said “What????” in front of the whole boat like she was asking some ridiculous question. He then licked his finger, put it up in the air and said “very strong”. This was typical behaviour and was not done in a humorous manner, it was done to belittle people. Another lady couldn’t hear the current briefing on the boat (she was geared up at the back near the engine), Issey replied “Do you need a loud speaker or something” and then didn’t answer her question. I also find it strange that no dive log was recorded by the dive guides of what divers dive times, maximum depths and nitro fills were. This is the only boat I have ever been on where one is not completed by divers after every dive, so in the case of an emergency, the information is at hand for the hyperbaric chamber doctors to see.

I asked Issey whether it was possible to dive at a few well documented sites that were on route, One example was the Victory wreck. I asked him on the first day if he had any plans of diving the Victory to which he said may be. When we were leaving Felidhe Atoll. I again asked the question to which he replied no. Another example was Madivaru, the manta cleaning station. We were sold this trip as a manta / whaleshark season trip so we were hoping to be diving at known areas to see and photograph and video them. We dived this site only once and were told that the mantas have not been seen there for months and months and it used to be good 3 years ago. This I know not to be the case as another guest had dived at Madivaru within the previous year and had seen many manta there as we had 2 years ago.

I feel that there is no management structure on the boat and that because of this, your perfectly built vessel is being let down. I do not know who is in charge of the Nautilus 2 as I was never introduced to anyone claiming to be the cruise director. On appearance the Nautilus 2 is one of, if not the best live aboard in service. Sadly though because you have no cruise director on board it is quite a way from the top 50. I would love to have come away from this trip and been able to recommend the Nautilus 2 to the diving community that read forums where I post trip reports. Unfortunately I would not recommend the Nautilus 2 to anyone until the level of service is increased to a level expected. The only time Issey seemed to get enthusiastic was after the last dive of the day when he was drinking and getting ready to go off fishing. The trip had been advertised with fishing as a night time activity and my wife and I asked as to whether we could join them one night to try and catch some fish. Issey told us that we could fish off the back of the boat (catching tiny fish) but not go fishing on the boat where they were catching the good stuff - even though it was advertised.

On another more serious note, on embarking the Nautilus 2 the safety briefing consisted of telling us where the life vests were kept and nothing else. Nothing regarding what re call system was in place for recalling divers in the event that a diver was injured during a dive. Nothing regarding person overboard. Nothing about escape routes if there was a fire.

One guest was unfortunately taken ill after a dive and was not acting in a coherent manner and needed some form of treatment. This was obvious to myself and other fellow guests but it did not seem to be too much of a concern to either of the guides who were more interested in drinking alcohol. It was only when my wife told Franky that she thought that the guest could have a possible DCI and that as a safety precaution oxygen should be administered just in case. This was when I could not believe what I was witnessing. Franky did not seem to know how to administer oxygen and was running around showing signs of stress. I actually witnessed him reading through a manual regarding how to administer oxygen. From the time of my wife informing Franky and oxygen actually being administered it was 30 minutes. I would hope that you have checked that Franky has the relevant certification to administer oxygen.

I am a keen photographer and have several thousands of pounds worth of underwater equipment and was not too pleased to find out that the dohni or the Nautilus2 does not have any form of rinse tank for guests to rinse their cameras and dive computers in. I asked Issey about this and he told me that they did not have a rinse tank and that there was a hose on the back of the boat. So for the first 2 days I used the hose on the back of the boat only to find out that the one I had been using was not fresh water but sea water. This could have had very severe affects with my housings due to salt crystals building up inside of the housing control arms. I was also alarmed to see that gloves were allowed to be worn by divers, this is the first time I have witnessed this in the Maldives. I have worn gloves whilst diving myself, but this was when I was diving Galapagos where there are no corals.

To summarise :

The boat was not kept clean.
The dive briefings were not very accurate
The safety was very poor
Customer relations was non existent
The crew were not managed
Photographers were not catered for
Issey seemed more interested in fishing than in his guest and diving
The crew seemed to be sat or laying around too much ( except the cook and his assistant )

This trip cost us a lot of money that we worked very hard for and I feel as though I have not had any value for money what so ever. Fortunately for yourself a lot of the guests on board had never been on a liveaboard before so have nothing else to compare the Nautilus 2 to. The only plus things I can bring away from this trip is that the weather was great and that the chef and his assistant worked their socks off to deliver very tasty food. I would also like to praise both the dhoni skipper and the dhoni mate as they were very helpful at all times. I cannot believe that this is the level of service that would have been given whilst Joe and Karen were on board.

One thing worth mentioning, Issey did say at the beginning of the holiday to advise him of any problems during the holiday rather than moan later, fair enough but as you can guess from his attitude mentioned above, we did not find him approachable and we do not think it is our place to request areas to be cleaned throughout the boat. Surely that is his job to check and chase up the appropriate crew members.

Please could you reply to this email as a matter of importance as I would like to post a trip reports on various forums to which I subscribe, but to be as fair as possible to yourself it would not be a full report without your comments.

Many thanks, Stew and Louise Smith

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#2 Scubamoose

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 12:22 PM

I actually waited and hoped for this report to be all good from side to side. I'm considering Maldives as one of my next dive destination because all I heared for last two weeks, when diving in Marsa Alam, was people talking how good the Maldives are (I didn't really get it why they didn't go there) :pardon:
Im really sorry to hear about the misfortune with the crew aboard Nautilus 2. You had so many issues there, that I will not even start to comment.
And I really see You'r frustration about the whole thing.
I just came from my ONE dive trip per year, and luckly it was the best I have done so far. If I would of shared You'r experience on my only trip in this year... i would be pissed as well!! :)
Still thanks for sharing You'r excperience. Atleast I know one liveaboard to be cautious for.

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#3 Giles

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 12:48 PM

Absolutely no excuses here.

I was once asked by a very passionate boss of mine why I worked as a Divemaster, I said something like I love diving and warm tropical weather.
He said or maybe it's because it's an easy industry. People come on holiday wanting to have fun and go diving. you can sit back and do very little and they will go diving and have fun OR you can put a little effort in and they will have the best time of their lives.

He was right .. it really doesn't take much to enable people to have the best time ever on vacation (until the next) you have to go out of your way almost to ruin someones vacation.
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#4 sgietler

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 06:08 PM

Stew,

thanks for the informative report. the quality of a dive trip is heavily dependent on it's leadership, which seemed to be heavily lacking here.

I think it was a good choice of yours not to "lose it" on the trip and get into a really bad mood, you did the right thing and tried to make the best of it.

It sounds like Issey was simply a guide and not a trip leader, which takes different kinds of skills. sounds like someone decided to pocket some money instead of hiring a proper trip leader. There is absolutely no excuse for this.

let us know if you get any reply.

Scott

#5 meister

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 07:22 PM

Quite a report Stew. Thanks for posting. Also interesting comments from Giles...
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#6 diggy

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 12:28 AM

Very Informative and not pardonable at all.

BTW fares on sri lankan airways would be way lower than Emirates as per my undersatnding. You need to look at that too ! Unless the contract did not specify an airline !

Cheers,

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#7 Hamish Morrison

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 02:03 AM

Hi Stew,

Sorry to hear your bad experience with Nautilus2. Although I have not used this boat myself, I have always had excellent service from Tony Blackhurst on Red Sea liveaboards. Presumably you have written to TB as well. As the boat charterer they should also be aware of your concern. After all it reflects badly on their reputation having dissatisfied customers. They can probably apply greater pressure on the owner & are less easily ignored than you are!

I have dived several times in the Maldives and have always used Maldives Scuba Tours. I have no qualms about recommending them & their boats (which they own). They are first rate. Boats are crewed by friendly locals & the guides know their patch like the back of their hands. They always check the current before chucking their divers in!

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#8 stewsmith

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 09:47 AM

I actually waited and hoped for this report to be all good from side to side. I'm considering Maldives as one of my next dive destination because all I heared for last two weeks, when diving in Marsa Alam, was people talking how good the Maldives are (I didn't really get it why they didn't go there) :pardon:
Im really sorry to hear about the misfortune with the crew aboard Nautilus 2. You had so many issues there, that I will not even start to comment.
And I really see You'r frustration about the whole thing.
I just came from my ONE dive trip per year, and luckly it was the best I have done so far. If I would of shared You'r experience on my only trip in this year... i would be pissed as well!! :)
Still thanks for sharing You'r excperience. Atleast I know one liveaboard to be cautious for.

Scubamoose


dont let my experience put you off, as i have said, i have been there 3 times before staying on islands and have had a fantastic time and this has not put me off of returning. only i would not use the Nautilus again.

stew

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#9 stewsmith

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 09:55 AM

Hi Stew,

Sorry to hear your bad experience with Nautilus2. Although I have not used this boat myself, I have always had excellent service from Tony Blackhurst on Red Sea liveaboards. Presumably you have written to TB as well. As the boat charterer they should also be aware of your concern. After all it reflects badly on their reputation having dissatisfied customers. They can probably apply greater pressure on the owner & are less easily ignored than you are!

I have dived several times in the Maldives and have always used Maldives Scuba Tours. I have no qualms about recommending them & their boats (which they own). They are first rate. Boats are crewed by friendly locals & the guides know their patch like the back of their hands. They always check the current before chucking their divers in!

Hamish.



the first time that i dived with TB was a few years ago ands he gave us the wrong flight times so we arrived at gatwick airport 8 hours before we could check in. that was the start of it, then we were meant to be on the Amelia's maiden trip and ended up on a boat called the Starlight1. we renamed it starshite1 as it was a complete death trap. exhaust fumes filling the cabin deck, food that was not edible ( i know its egypt but it was even bad for some of there standards ) a guide that didnt dive, ( helen chambers ) she dove 3 times in 4 days, sending the chef in to guide us on a night dive even though he wasnt even qualified. we lost the fridge that was on the sun deck after 10 minutes of leaving port as it was not tied to anything and it turned over and we ended up with loads of broken glass all over the sundeck. no one i spoke to after the trip had ever heard of the boat. so there is a taste of what we have experienced previously with TB.

stew

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#10 Scubamoose

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 12:01 AM

dont let my experience put you off, as i have said, i have been there 3 times before staying on islands and have had a fantastic time and this has not put me off of returning. only i would not use the Nautilus again.

stew


i will defenetly dive maldives someday. well see with what operator tough
and please do share the reply from TD or boat owner :)
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#11 Shaff

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 12:11 PM

Hi Stew,

I really am sorry to hear about the bad trip and experience onboard Nautilus2. They seem to advertise the Nautilus2 as one of the premier liveaboards in the Maldives as far as I know. Now I know it's not! The owner is supposed to be a real pain in the a#$. I hope he replies and I hope the staff change their attitudes towards the guests.

Let me know when he replies. I want to know what he says to you. Looking forward to seeing your photos.

Cheers

Shaff

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#12 ralphy

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 11:45 AM

Hi Stew
really sorry to hear of your experience, I think you showed good restraint given the way the guests were treated......

Please do let us have copy of the reply you receive; I am particularly interested as I and a group of friends intend to join a Maldives liveaboard this year - and needless to say this boat is now not on my short-list.

R

#13 stewsmith

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 01:00 AM

Hi Stew
really sorry to hear of your experience, I think you showed good restraint given the way the guests were treated......

Please do let us have copy of the reply you receive; I am particularly interested as I and a group of friends intend to join a Maldives liveaboard this year - and needless to say this boat is now not on my short-list.

R


of course i will post any responses that i get, Tony Backhurst have emailed to say that they are taking this complaint serious ( as they should )and have passed my letter of complaint on to their customer services department. but i have had no email from the Nautilus2, not even an email of aknowlegement

all the best, stew

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#14 Shaff

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 01:57 AM

of course i will post any responses that i get, Tony Backhurst have emailed to say that they are taking this complaint serious ( as they should )and have passed my letter of complaint on to their customer services department. but i have had no email from the Nautilus2, not even an email of aknowlegement

all the best, stew


Hi Stew,

I've been trying to get in touch with the owner and he just seems to be too busy. Apparently he's avoiding a lot of people. This is not the first time a guest has complained. On every trip there are 5 to 6 serious complains about the crew and the guide. I'm curios to hear what the owner replies...if he replies.

Cheers

Shaff

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#15 stewsmith

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 10:58 AM

Hi All, Its Louise (Stew's better half) here,

Well I just got a reply from the main booking agent of the Nautilus 2. I have forwarded this to Tony Backhurst. Well I was so angry at the reply, I just had to share it with you guys.

Their reply is first and then under that is the reply they got back from me today. I am really sad they do not take customer service seriously. Its such a shame cause I could recommend the actual boat all day long!!

THE BOAT'S REPLY


Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith!

May I introduce myself, my name is Mr. Maenner Alois, I am the sales manager for Nautilus One and Two.
First of all I am very disappointed and upset about the way how you handling your inconvenience. If you have a complain on the vessel you have to contact first the crew our captain and give them a chance to clarify your complains. If there are some problems which you can not fix, then you can contact us and we find a way how we can refund your complains, if they are true and serious.
They way you are going is NOT fair and DISTROING our business in the holy INTERNET.
We sent your letter to the crew to clarify, that’s why it took some time. Please find bellow a statement from our Dive Guide Franky and the CREW regarding Allegations on board of Nautilus TWO.
Let me translate it for you!
Mr. Afif the Maldivian washed the deck every day, vacuum cleaning in the salon also every day, Room service 3 times a day. The guests arrived Tuesday and Wednesday they filled the Pool. On they same day Louise Smith asked them to change the water, Franky told her that they pool was just filled up today. He said OK next day we change the water again and they did it.
If the Crew would not clean the ashtray 3-4 day like you said then there would be no space and not on the table as well. So they cleaned them also every day. Franky said that you trough the cigarettes anyway in the sea.
The crew is and was always friendly, one day we had a problem with our barman, he got a burn out and the rest of the crew send him home. On the next day everybody of the Crew was a little bit sad.
Issey came from his Home Island in the morning; we can not believe that he not said good morning to the guests.
Franky get up every day at 5.45 am, to wake up the Guests for the early morning Dive. And at 6 AM the guest gets every day hot water for tea and coffee. We have to say sorry if you was already awake long time before to wait for the first dive.
Our Crew are also Humans and no slaves and they have to sleep some time.
I can say that always and on every Safari boat some members of Crew are sleeping on deck. This is very normal. And also good for Safety reasons (change of weather conditions) our boat is relay BIG enough to find space for everybody. If somebody sleep outside then only on the heck of the boat, so there is around 38 metres lenght left.
In the Briefing on Nautilus Two we can not say how strong the current will be, therefore we have to be at the spot with the Dhoni to see the surface and jump into the water. This is the way how it has to be in the Maldives. Issey and Franky informed you always before each Dive which direction the Dive will be made and how strong the current will be. And they jumped on each Dive site on the right place.
We could not Dive on the wrack Maldives Victory because the current was to strong this day, Full Moon
Divestite Rangali or Madivaru is the same Diving spot, with just different names, Franky told you that you will Dive there 2 times to see the Mantas and you was lucky and saw 2 big and 3 small Mantas.
Every day at Dinnertime we make a briefing for the next day program, also on the evening before wale shark watching. We offered for the next day 2 Dives and Wales shark Watching, when we make wale shark watching we are unable to make 3 Dives this day, wale shark watching takes 3-4 hours. Everybody of the guests was happy with this offer and agreed. Next day Mrs. Smith (Louise) tried to change the program and the rest of the Guests got upset with her.
We have on board 2 big green water container, sorry but your camera equipment was too big to store everything in there, to wash it with fresh water. But we have one fresh water shower in the heck to clean the Equipment. Which is no problem, our Water maker produce 10 tons fresh water per day!
Once again we are sorry when the trip was not the way how you expected; we wish you all the best for your coming safari trips anywhere in the world.
Regards Alois Männer






MY FOLLOW UP REPLY BELOW
Dear Mr Maenner,

Thank you for your reply. To be honest, I am a little shocked. I was not writing to you for compensation or to cause an argument. I see Franky has got an answer for every issue (well not every issue - he hasnt commented on the safety issue). The only thing you and Franky have appeared to concentrate on is the cleanliness of the boat. Room Service was received three times daily and was spot on (there was no complaint about this in my original letter so I do not understand why Franky needed to raise this in his reply). The cabins and cleanliness of the same could not be faulted in any way (from our cabin anyway).

However, the sundeck was certainly not washed during the whole of the first week (yes the main deck was washed every time the anchor was raised and lowered and so were the side walks but the sundeck was not touched). The Jacuzzis were not cleaned daily and I certainly did not ask for the Jacuzzi to be cleaned the same day it was filled. We were told when we got on the boat that they would be cleaned daily so, when they were dirty with green scum floating around after about two or three days, we asked for them to be cleaned. We were quite shocked that on a luxury boat we had to ask for cleaning to be done. Once cleaning was done, we then had to ask at least twice each time for the Jacuzzi to be filled up.

With regards to the emptying of ashtrays, this was not done on the top deck (ask any smoker on board) - it was also the crew throwing cigarette ends into the sea (not the guests) so please do not throw that comment back at us. I am livid that the dive guide would come back with this. I do not know any diver that would discard cigarette ends over the side (neither tolerate this if they caught someone else doing it). Ask the crew, I did actually tell one of them not to do it!

I am shocked at the reply regarding camera rinse tanks. The two green bins were full up with defrosting fish most of the time and were never made available until the very last day as a rinse tank for gear. I actually asked the guide (like you suggested) if we could use one of the green bins throughout the holiday for a camera rinse tank to which he replied "no". So I am hoping by now you realise some issues were raised with the crew (with the exception being their rudeness - this is something that is very hard to raise with someone!)

So what were your feelings with regard to the safety issues and dirty table cloths for two weeks - no comment I presume since these have not been included in your reply.

With regards to the whale shark day, I did ask if we could possibly do a dive at the whale shark location which not everyone agreed with, however, we were only bouncing ideas off each other and the crew (which is what you actually quote below "any issues you should have gone directly to the crew".

I am very upset with your reply but I am not too shocked at your attitude. I have actually heard from other people that it is not the first complaint the boat will have received.

I just feel it is a little sad that customer service means so little to you. Its very easy to respond to a letter of complaint just arguing the point but it takes a little more guts to acknowledge the problems and deal with them. I am not sorry for posting trip reports on the internet, believe me, I will be posting some more today. We (as like many others) save hard for our holidays. NEVER do we treat anyone like slaves and how dare you insinuate that this may be the case. I suggest you remove that chip from your shoulder.

As mentioned the crew were very inapproachable. But hey you know what, this is your problem, not mine. I will be back to the maldives but not with you guys. I can always find another boat. However, you should be more careful there may not always be a ready supply of customers waiting for you! I originally wrote to you because I felt you had a boat and a business to be proud of. I now know this is not the case.

Stewart is away at the moment but I am sure he too would like to respond to you so you may be hearing from him too.

Louise Smith

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#16 Hani Amir

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 11:52 AM

That sounds horrible! I'm going to ask some of my buddies if he's knows anything about the crew or the boat. Might as well find out which ones have a bad reputation as well I guess.

#17 stewsmith

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 05:18 AM

here is my reply to the outrageous email that was sent from the Nautilus sales manager, Stew



Mr. Maenner Alois, as you have stated you are the "sales manager " for the Nautilus2. I would like to think that as some of the concerns that I raised in my initial email were of a very serious nature that you have passed my concerns on to someone within the Nautilus company who is a senior person. Not wanting to demeanor your " agents " position, but it is quite clear from your response to my concerns that you have no customer service skills and are only employed as a marketing person. You do not have any guest interests at heart and see guests as nothing more than money. However since you did manage to reply to my email of concern I would like to just send you one last email correcting you where it is required.

I must appologise now as I unfortunately do not know your nationality, I am assuming that you are of Maldivian origin. Please forgive me if this is not correct. I am assuming that you have tried to translate Frankey's reply in one language into Maldivian ( dhivehi ) (sp ) and then into English. Obviously trying to do this would cause a few discrepances and I will forgive you for them.

In my letter of complaint to you regarding a few minor issues and some more serious issues I never once mentioned the word COMPENSATION. I am not and was not writing to yourself for any form of refund. I paid my money, had a bad experience and I would like you to have read my letter in the context in which it was written, and hopefully acted upon my complaints to enable future guests a better time than i received. It is true that I posted a trip report on ONE internet forum and as you must have seen this report you would have read that I was giving you chance to reply before I posted the full trip report. I sent you an email on the day after I returned to the UK and have not had any correspondence from you, not even a letter of aknowledgement. That is why I continued with the full report.

I thought my letter of complaint to yourself was not rude, was not an over reaction or offensive. If you re read it, you will see that I gave credit where credit was due, as I also did when handing out my tip at the end of the trip.I thought, and still do think that the Nautilus2 has all the makings to be one of the best liveaboards in service. I do not think that it is myself or the " holy internet " that is ruining your business, but it is the way in which the Nautilus2 is managed that is ruining it. Actually it is the way it isnt managed that is ruining it.

I will not dwell on the way in which some of the housekeeping was done or in our case NOT DONE, we have given you the facts and you have chosen not to listen to them.

Some of what you have translated from Franky's reply is totally wrong as my wife has brought to your20attention in her response tou you. And again I will not dwell on those points. You are obviously not wanting to hear anything bad said about the crew.

Some things that you have written do not make any sense at all, hot water at 6am. what that is about, I have no idea. I did not mention anything to you regarding having or not having hot water at 6am. I was generally awake at 5am and hot water was available from the water cooler/boiler. I have never said anything regarding this. I suspect you are mixing my complaint up with one of the many others that you have been given.

Issey was rude, ignorant and had a very bad attitude. Fact

Regarding the diving, as I have said previously, when I have dived in the Maldives before, the guide would get in the water to do current checks, not wet his finger and stick it in the air and try to belittle guests.

I also find it strange that the most serious complaint I made was that I witnessed Franky reading a manual on how to administer oxygen when he was stressed out as we thought that his buddy ( a single guest ) might have a DCS after we brought it to his attention that she was not acting in her usuall manner. Does it not seem strange to yourself that Franky has not denied this allegation. ?

Rangali and Madivaru I know are the same dive site as I have dived it many times before. We did not dive it twice as Franky has told you, we dived it once. We did not see 5 mantas, we see one. Where Franky is getting his information from I just do not know.

I cannot believe they way in which some of the replies are being written, again I will excuse you as there could be 3 languages being translated here. But to say it is my fault that my camera is to big for the crew to allow me to rinse my camera off after a dive is ridiculous and just about sums up the attitude of Issey, Franky and yourself.

As I have said I will have no further dealings with yourself, and I would be most greatful if you sent me the name and contact email address of one of the directors of the Nautilus so I can inform them of my experiences. I will thank you now for sending me the information requested.

Many thanks, Stew Smith

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#18 stewsmith

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 05:26 AM

Now un-beknown to us, other guests had made complaints regarding this trip, both to Tony Backhurst and also to the Nautilus2. We only found this out as I emailed them for their postal address so i could forward a dvd of the trip on to them. Their complaints were of a similar nature to ours, and praised things that were worth praising and then knocked things that were not to an acceptable standard.

This morning I received this freom the Nautilus2.

Good morning Barbara, good morning Mr. and Mrs. Smith

First of all thanks for your replay and your comments as well, I just wrote
Mr and Mrs Smith the feedback what I got from the Crew and the guides. I was
not in board that time.

Believe me, I relay appreciate the information I got from you and Mr and Mrs
Smith. We always try to do the best for our customers.

After your Mail I will go there personally, check the situation and fire Mr.
Franky or Issey from his job. It looks like that he did not informed me with
the right figures.

Nautilus 2 was a very big project and for the investors a very high
investment as well, so it is very important that the vessel runs perfect,
especially with the Customer service. I will personally taking care of this
matter.

The owner of the boat is Nautico Maldives and the Director of Nautilus Two
is Mr. Wahid a Maldivian. He is a friend of me and I helped him to make this
project. I sent him already this information.

If am thinking to employ a cruising Director to avoid such problems in the
future.

It is very hard to organise everything in Maldives to a European standard,
as I said I relay appreciate guest information and details, but to publish
such information in the Internet is not fair. It is already hard enough!

Once again, very sorry for the inconvenience, thank you very much for your
help, to getting better in the future, and best regards



(it appears that this guys attitude has changed, for what reason i am unsure.) Stew

Edited by stewsmith, 24 February 2009 - 05:27 AM.

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#19 Shaff

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 11:33 AM

Hi Stew,

That's a rude reply from that guy. Btw, he's not maldivian. The owner of the boat doesn't want to meet me. I heard tonight that they are pretty pissed cos of the stuff going on here! Way to go!!!

Cheers

Shaff

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#20 stewsmith

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 07:37 AM

Well I have been home now for best part of 5 weeks and today i got this response to my letter of compliant from my tour operator. ( Tony Backhurst )

Dear Louise & Stewart


Apologies for delay in getting back to you but the boat owner is away and I am for him to respond. He should be back within the next 2 weeks and I will get back to you as soon as I hear from him.


I will keep you updated.


Best Regards






Maxine Johnson
Customer Service
Scuba Travel | www.scuba.co.uk

To say I am really getting P1553D off with them is an understatement. How can a company with such bad customer services get best tour operator year after year.

Stew

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