Seek Sophie Reviews & Ratings
Went on a 2 day, 1 night boat trip through Seek Sophie in Komodo National Park, Indonesia. The stops along the way were seriously incredible! The responsiveness of the company was swift and helpful.
However, we had a bad experience on the boat itself. Unfriendly staff, guide was not informative, not a single woman crew member on the boat (they claimed to be "women-led") and it was not sustainable (they claimed to be, but they gave us plastic water bottles). The boat was overbooked, so there wasn't enough food or drinking water on the boat. Toilet clogged. Not enough beds for everyone. The company did give us a 20% refund, which was nice, but such a shame all of this happened.
Also, they did bring us extra food and water during the trip, which was great, but the woman who brought it didn't even apologize for what happened when she did.
Hopefully, they won't do business with that boat, crew, or guide again.
We are very sorry that you didn't enjoy your experience with one of local businesses on our platform. We really appreciate your feedback and will share this with the local business so they can improve their services in the future. As you might be aware, Komodo National Park is far less developed in terms of tourism (compared to places like Bali), so your feedback is incredibly valuable in helping local businesses refine their offerings and improve.
We also wanted to address each of your concerns in turn. We hope that this way, other travellers can also benefit from knowing what to expect from a basic boat in Komodo National Park:
For your trip, we regret that the crew hadn't brought enough outdoor deck mattresses onto the boat. To remedy this, the boat upgraded their guests who didn't have a outdoor deck space to the more expensive cabin room.
As for the food, we understand that the crew underprovisioned for the travellers on the boat, and we are very sorry about that. As soon as the boat operator heard that there was an issue they delivered new supplies immediately.
On the toilet, the basic wooden boat toilets are very sensitive and do not handle any tissue (which is usual for old toilets in Asia). Too much tissue is often the cause of the malfunction. We try to do our best to keep our partner operator's crew aware of the cultural differences, and they will do better next time.
Although you may not have seen any women crew on board (as that is still not a very culturally acceptable practice in Indonesia) the local business you booked through is owned by a woman and a phenomenal one at that. Not only does she organise these trips, she also volunteers to teach children in the community and is the leader of the Labuan Bajo chapter of Trash Hero an organisation which gathers volunteers pick up trash in the city on a weekly basis.
Finally, while our platform does focus on sustainability, particularly on ensuring travel dollars go toward local businesses and economic inclusion, we note that this particular operator does not have the badge 'refuses plastic'. In a remote location like Labuan Bajo it is quite difficult to deliver fresh water in a safe and environmentally friendly way. So while you'll be able to find hotels in more developed parts of Indonesia with distilled water from the tap, none of the boats in Komodo National Park (whether basic or deluxe) have those facilities. We want to make sure that we focus on our customer safety first and in the remote places, plastic water bottles is the only way to ensure that.
As you mentioned, as a platform we pride ourselves on providing the best customer service - which is why we respond quickly and do our best to make up for any inconveniences. On the other hand, we really do believe that travel is the best way to effect positive change in the world. We want to make sure that we give locals a way to take part in the local tourism industry and improve and grow. We can help locals do better for the environment as we help them grow their businesses. Please do be assured that your feedback will go a long way towards helping the local businesses improve and step by step hopefully they can grow and improve as the tourism industry develops further in Komodo.