We just finished a 5 day diving trip in the land of the dragons with 15 pax on board the Cheng Ho. It was a first time for me in Komodo and also a first time to board a Phinisi, my expectations of the boat, the crew, and the dive sites were met with more than what I had expected. As a full time scuba instructor I was delighted to see how the dive staff of the boat showed and performed safe dive practices during our dives, how keen their attention to detail was underwater, and the dive briefings were followed spot on to every detail. What I liked most about this boat and its crew was that the whole time we were on board it felt spacious and it seemed that we were the only ones there and on the last night when every member of the crew was introduced I didn't think that they were that many of them on board, I know the boat was big but its how the staff gave you the feeling of having your own space and privacy was what I commend.
A big shout out to our Cruise Director Mark for handling our group with such profession. To the kitchen staff who made simple but amazing dishes for everyone to enjoy. To the dive masters who were always quick to lend a helping hand top side and underwater. To the boat crew who always had us in mind making sure that we were always in good calm waters regardless of the moments when winds would really blow.
I would definitely come back and board sea safari cruises.
Our opinion about this boat is a poor one although we had great dives, good food and friendly staff. The fact is that we had the cabin n.107 and my husband had already explained the fact in his review ( 3 weeks ago). I think that n107 and the opposite one should cost less than others. Others are more confortable and bigger. A part from that another poor experience we had booking with PADI travel. Now I won't repeat the same things that my husband has written, but I 'd like to share few pictures for showing how really is the cabin 107 with cockroaches included. My last suggestion is: Cheng Ho may put a bigger tank for washing our wetsuit because the tank for washing mask and camara is bigger than that.
Our boat, with 12 passengers, departed the port town of Sorong on Papua New Guinea for a 9 day snorkeling trip in the area called Raja Ampat, which is now mostly within a national park. The boat and cabins were small but comfy, the food good and plentiful. The guides were amazing, friendly, knowledgeable, and in the water with us pointing out fish and other colorful sea animals, including coral. This was my best snorkeling experience ever and the coral was healthy, lots of beautifully colored fish. I highly recommend it. Go see it while it lasts.
We have had a scuba cruise in Komodo with Sea Safari group on the boat Cheng Ho.
We made our booking through PADI TRAVEL.
I want to inform you that never I will book again a travel with PADI for the following reasons:
- PADI was not able to indicate the correct time of the scuba cruise departure;
- PADI was not able to indicate the correct water temperature during the cruise;
- PADI gave me a wrong information about the hair dryer on board;
- we had the worst cabin on Cheng Ho boat, this may happen of course, but the cabin is completely different from what it looks like in the images;
in the map of the boat the surface in square meters is that of the ceiling, but in reality the floor is less than half the space PADI sells !
Moreover I want not to say anything about the bathroom, where you must be a yoga practitioner if you are taller than 170 cm. and you want to have a shower. I took photos of cockroaches too.
This lousy room should cost much less than the others and when I booked the travel there were still 5 available rooms, so that means that Sea Safari probably considers PADI and their clients as second-rate people
- we have chosen Cheng Ho because there is the possibility to have nitrox on board, but it was a pity because, despite we reserved all our dives with nitrox, it was possible only for one day;
- at the end PADI have taken the payment steps automatically without any warning (this means that I could not change my credit card details or bank account).
My suggestion is that PADI must deal only with what you know how to do in future.
My cabin was n. 107
This will be a mixed review as I guess most people experience. Let me break it down. We sailed on the Sea Safari VII this September and dove in Komodo, Indonesia.
The diving was probably the best my wife and I have experienced in 5 liveaboards and 24 dive trips. We've dived around the world from the Red Sea to Maldives to Bonaire and Thailand and the Philipine Islands. This was our first trip to Indonesia and the diving was both extremely exciting to somewhat boring. Visibility was very questionable to poor at times but I understand that is common during this time of year in Komodo. The first three days of diving were cold with poor vis. The next three days was warm with better vis but the vis was never what I would call outstanding.
The dive guide we had was outstanding. Not an instructor but that is not required as we are experienced divers. He pointed out spectacular small stuff and some wonderful Mantas. We were able to dive in the currents with confidence that our guide was extremely familiar with the current and would not steer us wrong. The currents were strong at times and we had to pull along the bottom from rock to rock at times and hooked into the reef several times for either rest or to watch the blue for large fish. Our guide was always there for help if needed but true guidance at all times.
The staff was hard working and very accommodating. They enthusiastically welcomed us back to the boat after each dive and handled our gear without the first complaint. Tanks were filled before each dive and Nitrox checked and double checked before each dive. (as an aside I feel like the charge for Nitrox at $20/day was a slight bit high but I was in the minority on the boat) The staff was the unsung hero of the trip. Very good people.
The food was mediocre, in my opinion, at best. We are not "American food only" kind of people but the food was less that desirable. That's not to say the cook staff wasn't always cooking and working hard but the outcome just wasn't great. Also, dinner wasn't available until after the night dive. The night dive took place at 6:30 (if memory serves) so dinner wasn't eaten until about 8:00. A bit late especially when the anchor was pulled or dropped at 2:00 AM or4:00 AM so people turned into pumpkins early.
The boat,while charming, was in need of dry dock. Our room was directly under the dive deck and the ceiling leaked. All the water that came on board at the end of dives or when the wet suit or camera tank was emptied ran right over our room and found its way in. When notified the crew did attempt to rectify the situation almost immediately but ultimately the fix was to put a towel on the floor to catch the drip. The shower was sketchy. Sometimes we had warm water and sometimes the toilet flushed. Quaint. Other cabins commented they had no shower water at all and they showered in the dive deck shower. Our cabin, being the most forward on the first floor, had a slanted floor and therefore the bed was slanted side to side. Not anything we didn't adjust to and ultimately was quite comfortable.
So I give the diving a 9 of 10 (some was 12 out of 10 and some was 6 of 10), dive guide 10, staff 9, food 4, boat 5. And after all that my wife says Indonesia is one of the few places that she would love to go back to.