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Azalea liveaboard Philippines

Discussion in 'Liveaboards and Charter Boats' started by rockymountaindiva, Mar 3, 2019.

  1. rockymountaindiva

    rockymountaindiva Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Colorado
    13
    0
    1
    Am looking at a trip to Tubbataha in Philippines on the Azalea and am having a tough time finding reviews. Any information appreciated.
     
  2. Yemana

    Yemana Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Australia
    2
    4
    3
  3. rockymountaindiva

    rockymountaindiva Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Colorado
    13
    0
    1
    Thank you for finding this, and no I have not found more information. Because of the lack of reviews on this boat, I just booked a trip to Tubbataha on the Seadoors, which is not the cheapest boat but has some nice beds you can walk around on both sides (where you don't have to climb over your partner to get out) and reviews are generally positive.
     
  4. Marina Nitselska

    Marina Nitselska Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New York
    2
    2
    1
    I have been on many liveaboards before so I can say with great confidence that diving on Azalea boat was my worst experience so far. We were a group of 5 divers. The owner of the boat Dirk traveled with us. About an hour after our departure from Puerto Princesa the boat's engine broke down but we were told not to worry and that the crew was working on solving the problem. The crossing to Tubbataha reef is long and is supposed to be done overnight. When we woke up the next day we were still in Puerto Princesa. At that point we were told that the problem was serious and that we needed a part for the engine so we had to wait for the mechanic shop to open. The owner arranged a few local dives for us and told us we would depart by 6pm the same date. When we returned from the local dives we were told that now we had to wait some more for the coast guard to inspect the boat and allow us to leave the port. We finally left at midnight instead of 6pm as was promised earlier. The crossing took much longer than expected and we arrived at Tubbataha at 5pm the next day. Since we lost 2 days of diving we had to schedule 5 dives a day to catch up.
    The boat does not have enough rental equipment. They only had 3 flashlights available for 5 divers on board so one of the divers in our group had to do night dives without a light. During our last night dive the dive master did not have a flashlight at all ( I had to give her my own backup light) and the safety diver ran out of batteries ahout 30 minutes into the dive and had to rely on other divers to finish the dive. Such diving practices are extremely unsafe and reckless. The owner had no comment about this situation.
    In addition, we had a big problem with running water on board. We had to ask the crew to turn the water on for us if we wanted to take a shower or flush the toilet or wash hands. They gave us buckets so we can fill them up with water and use it whenever the water was turned off. We were told this was because of some electrical problems on the boat.
    The boat has no real relaxation area where you can lie down or take a nap between your dives. The top deck has no shade, only 2 old broken lounge chairs and a few wooden tables. They turn the AC off during the day so if you do not want to stay in the sun your only option is to stay in the dining area where you can't lie down.
    Food was just average. No variety or local flavor. Same breakfast every day. The only meal we all enjoyed was the last dinner before departure back to Puerto Princesa.

    Overall, Tubbataha reef is amazing, you are better off enjoying it on a good boat!
     

    Attached Files:

    Pearlman likes this.
  5. rockymountaindiva

    rockymountaindiva Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Colorado
    13
    0
    1

    Thank you so much! I had already booked another boat for which I could read the reviews so now I feel like I did the right thing. So sorry to hear of your trials on board.
     
  6. rockymountaindiva

    rockymountaindiva Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Colorado
    13
    0
    1
    If you are following this thread you will see that someone has posted their (bad) experience on the Azalea so I am now glad I booked on another boat.
     
  7. shmuggy

    shmuggy Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: virginia
    222
    50
    28
    Please let us know how it went when you get back.
     
  8. Marina Nitselska

    Marina Nitselska Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New York
    2
    2
    1
    Glad I can provide some insight.... I never expected this to happen to me. I really do not want others to go thru this, especially for that price.... hope you have better luck than me. Happy diving!
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  9. dhaering

    dhaering Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Philippines
    3
    1
    3
    My name is Dirk and I'm the owner of M/Y Azalea. We always look that our guest will be happy and feel comfortable on our Yacht. Sometimes things happend which are not in our hand and we try to manage them in the best way we can.
    I apologize on behalf of everyone at Liveaboard Diving Philippines. Please know that your situation was an exception. As you can see on other reviews, we are known for taking ownership and caring deeply about our customers.
    On the other side it's also importend for us that we publish our comments to good and not so good reviews we receive to show the whole picture of every review.

    About 30 minutes after our departure from Puerto Princesa, the boat's engine broke down. First, we were told not to worry and that we will be able to do the crossing to our destination soon. The owner of the boat travelled with us. We had dinner and went to bed. When we woke up the next morning we were still at Puerto Princesa port. We were told that they needed to replace a piece in the engine and that by 6pm we would be on our way. They organized 3 local dives for us so we could at least dive a few local reefs. When we got back we were informed that we had to wait for coast guard clearance and boat inspection in order to leave the port and 6pm departure was now cancelled.
    We departed the port at around 12am that day.
    I confirm fully that we got during the first evening a problem with our injection pump and we decided to go back to the port for repair. I ordered already from sea side the needed spare parts to repair the injection pump. When we arrived in the port our service provider delivered the part. When we start the repair, we recognized that the wrong part was delivered. We informed the guest in the morning and we offered them different options what to do. One option was local dives during the time we looked for the spare parts and repair the injection pump. Second option was to look for other boat to go, third option was to cancel the tour and refund. I also explained to the guest that we have to wait with a decision until I was sure that we were able to get the right spare part in Puerto Princesa. At 08:30 AM we were able to find the spare parts and all guest choose option one, wait for the repair and take local dives. They arrived back to the boat at around 04:30 PM and the repair was done.
    It is a standard procedure of coast guard that a passenger boat which has technical problems has to be checked by a MARINA engineer to get the Coast Guard clearance to leave the port. I was happy that we were able to bring in a Marina engineer (it was Saturday evening and Marina has no 24/7) who checked the boat and to get the Coast Guard clearance.
    Because the boat was right after repair it took us 17 hours to cross to our destination. We arrived in Tubbataha at 5pm the next day, thus 2 dive days out of 5 were completely wasted on repairs and crossing that should have been done overnight.

    During our move to Tubbataha Reef we came into a center of a strong thunderstorm combined with rain and wind I never saw before. We had to change our course to leave this area to secure the safety of our guest, crew and vessel. This course correction which includes multiple stops because our captain wasn’t able to see the ocean took us nearly five hours of our travel time. The rain was so hard and hits the boat horizontal that every area from our boat was floated by rain water and whole electric was under water.
    We had to do 5 dives a day to catch up on lost diving days and we were not able to dive the sites that were on our itinerary initially. We ended up doing 19 dives total, 3 of them were not on tubbataha reef.

    We arrived at 4 PM at Tubbataha Reef and start directly with our diving. The guest was able to do two dives at Tubbataha this day. We offer 3 – 4 dives per day what includes the night dive if we are able to do this dive. It depends always on weather and current situation at the reef.

    No running water on the boat for 3 days. No water in the sink, no water in the shower. We had to ask the crew to turn on the water for us so we could at least wash our hands before meal. Sometimes they would turn it on, other times they would give us buckets of water to flush the toilets and use for washing. We were told this was due to electric problems on the boat.

    The water supply was based on the strong rain destroyed. Until we were able to repair the switch for the waterpump we had to switch of the pump otherwise all fresh water will be pumped to sea and the result is no more fresh water on board. The crew offered buckets to the guest so there is always water available in the rooms. The guest also was informed to inform us when they want to take shower so we switched on the pump.
    Boat does not have enough rental equipment. We had 5 divers on board and only 3 flash lights available for use during the night dive. One of the divers had to dive without a flash light because the crew said: "they only have 3 available". During one of the night dives the dive master had no light at all and the safety dive master's batteries died about 30 mins into the dive, thus if it was not for the other divers' lights we would have never been able to finish that dive safely. The owner of the boat dived with us that night but he offered no comment about the overall night dive situation. I do not believe he realized the potential dangers of what was going on. Normally the dive guides carry extra lights to give to guests if theirs go out to keep everyone safe during the night dive.

    That’s an unaccusable issue and we already took consequences out of this. Our boat was well equipped with torches for the guest and every DM have to have his own torch. After investigation I found out that torches were lost on tours before and some charger were destroyed. All of this wasn’t reported and as I wrote before it already took consequences. It is not true that I didn’t offered a comment to the night dive situation. Direct after the dive when she was out of the water and start to complaint I told her that I saw the issue and go into it. I think that I didn’t have to inform here about which consequences the issue entails and for sure on the next night dive there was enough torches on board.
    The boat has virtually no space to relax. The boat has only 2 lounge chairs on a top deck for maximum capacity of 10 passengers. Those 2 chairs were not usable at all because they were broken. The crew used the top deck to dry their bedding so it was a complete mess. Please see pictures attached.

    Yes, we only have 2 lounge chairs on top deck please look to the attached picture of our normal setup on sun deck. The lounge chair is normally covered by a mattress and the crew didn’t use the area for drying bedding or clothes. I wrote earlier that we came into strong thunderstorm and everything was floated also the crew sleeping area in the top. I have not only responsibility for my guest I also have responsibility to my crew and that’s the reason I allowed them to dry their things on the sun deck.
    We also done a update on our sundeck and offer now real relaxing areas on the boat.
    No A/C in rooms during the day at all. We could only use AC during the night. When it is 100 degrees and humid outside it is impossible to stay at the top deck because it is not shaded and staying in the room with no A/C during the day was just terrible.

    Maybe there is a misunderstanding but aircon is available the whole day except the time we fill the tanks and that’s what we informed the guest in our boat briefing. After I checked the logbooks of Genset and Aircon it shows that it wasn’t different for this tour.

    I also want to see happy guest leaving our boat and that’s why I offered a voucher for free tour with M/Y Azalea for all guest of this tour to let them see the real Liveaboard with all improvements we have done.
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  10. Jay

    Jay Need to dive more!

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Melbourne, OZ.
    725
    349
    63
    The ship sounds like a dump.

    Captain can't see where he's heading in the rain ... no navigation systems? Things falling off it and breaking with strong rain! Can't fill the tanks and have aircon at the same time! This ship sounds like it needs a permanent mooring near Gilligan's Island.

    There's plenty of other large sea-worthy steel hulled ships to select from for the crossing for to paradise ....
     

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