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Discussion in 'Liveaboards & Charter Boats' started by Brown Mermaid, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. Brown Mermaid

    Brown Mermaid Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Chicago
    My group and I are looking at doing a Nekton Liveaboard. I've never been on any of their boats but have been on a couple of liveaboards before. My reason for looking at the Nekton as a possible trip is because the boat for the Bahamas leaves from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. That's the best selling point. The airfare going anywhere is extremely high. I figure we can make it to Ft. Lauderdale, no transferring, not waiting at the airport for the next flight, etc. My group and I are leaving for Utila on Saturday, the sellign point there is that it is a brand new resort, that loves to wait on you hand and foot and awsome diving. I won't tell you what some people paid for their air, it was utterly ridiculous. I'm glad I got my air in December and I thought it was high then. Reading everyone's opinion really helped me form my opinion for the rest of the group. Now to sell them on the idea. RoatanMan came in with the positives and knowledge right away, as usual. :10: He did the same for me when we went to CocoView in Roatan. I appreciate his experience. Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the enlightenment. So from my perusal I take it that the Nekton is a bit used but definitely not out, the crew is good, hopefully there will be Nitrox, rooms are comfy hopefully the beds are too. How many people does it hold? Guess I can look that up.
  2. mike_s

    mike_s Solo Diver

    I think they put about 30 people on the boat.

    You will rarely find a negative post about peoples experience on the Nekton.

    But as being currently discussed in another thread, be aware of all the surcharges they add to their boats that other liveboards typically don't have. just FYI.
  3. Brown Mermaid

    Brown Mermaid Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Chicago
    yes, i did note that. have to weigh the pros and cons on that.
  4. Darnold9999

    Darnold9999 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Victoria BC Canada
    I think it is actually 32 but I could be wrong. Not sure I would want to be on a full boat. You might end up in one of the more marginal rooms. Water condensation is an issue on the boat. I leave the air conditioner off unless I am actually in the room and have never had a problem, but others have. I also cool the room just before I go to sleep and then sleep with the the AC off. But that is because I hate the sound of AC. I do the same on any boat.

    With 32 on board things will be crowded. You will want to stagger time on the dive deck i.e. wait 15 minutes or so while the first wave gets in the water. The inside lounge will be crowded if everyone wants to be there at once. Camera table space will be at a premium - there are two large tables but 32 cameras could take up a lot of space.

    Upper deck can hold 32 people and still feel empty so between dive relaxing space will not be a problem. You will not feel crowded.

    Beds are as comfortable as any bed on any liveaboard that I have been on.

    Take an extra 6' extension cord if you need to charge lights/cameras etc. The power plugs are not in the most convenient spot.
  5. DeputyDan

    DeputyDan Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: North Carolina
    I did the Rorqual in the Caymans and we had 11 guests.

    Awesome trip!
  6. robint

    robint Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Albuquerque, NM
  7. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Not sure if it's available from your area but we flew Southwest to FLL reasonably. Nekton has the process down, as soon as you're off the plane, call on your way to baggage claim, (it's a small airport) and their van driver will pick you up within 10-15 minutes, drop you downtown for dinner and take your bags on to the boat. They pick you up after dinner and stop at a liquor and food store so you can buy alcohol/snacks etc., before taking you to the boat. Nekton only provides juices so buy soda if wanted.
    On the return one thing no one mentions is that you can't check bags at FLL for your flights more than 2 hrs before departure. So we went to the airport, rented a car for the day, and drove to a nearby outlet mall for lunch precluded by a stop at the main Divers Direct store just a few miles (south?) of the airport on I-95. But we had a 5PM flight home so 5-6 hrs. to kill. Car rentals are now in a building in the center of the airport so it's really convenient to walk over even with your gear.

    Our $1795 trip priced out at $1995 with the surcharges. Now there's a addl' $20 fee for Sat. phone use.

    The Pilot holds 32, we had 31, it makes for a full dive deck first dive at each mooring. But there's 4 exits - 2 GS and two down the stairs so it's manageable.

    Nitrox is available but limited to something like 12 or 18. My buddy was told by the office staff that he missed the last slot when we paid but on the boat it was offered.

    The rooms are relatively large since the Pilot is designed as an oil rig crew boat, two beds, an aisle between them with room for a chair, sink and head. All have windows (not portholes) also. With the beds together it would be roomy. Bring collapsible luggage. Rooms were clean, beds acceptable.

    The food is excellent considering that the kitchen doesn't look like it's been upgraded since launch, Arminda does a great job of having food ready exactly when needed.

    I think I wrote a "trip report" as a reply to someone's questions in a post a year or two ago in this forum if you want to search for it.
  8. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Isn't there more crew members than that? :D
  9. Nesher

    Nesher DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: The Northern California Territory
    Brown Mermaid:

    You're absolutely right about the logistics to Ft. Lauderdale, especially from Chicago.

    If you're considering a group/club trip for 2009. It's definitely going to be on the Pilot for one of their Bahamas itineraries. The Rorqual is pretty much staying in the USVI for a large portion of the year.

    The Pilot has a short window available for the Bahamas. I've taken both the NW Bahamas and the Belize itineraries last year.

    The NW Bahamas was a good. You really have to hit the right weather.

    However, RobinT and a few others have taken either the Medio Reef and/or the Cay Sal Banks itineraries and they definitely look more exciting than the NW Bahamas to me.

    The Cay Sal Banks itinerary I understand is a bit more advanced diving. If the WCS's decide to take that trip next year. Let me know...I tried to hook up w/ your group last year (St. Lucia.)

    Again, the Pilot is older and needs some work but it's definitely doable. You need to check on the Nitrox situation and make sure everything is arranged & working PRIOR to your trip.

    If Arminda is the cook, you'll be especially happy. The only other thing is knowing that the fees and surcharges can ADD UP real quick on this charter.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2008
  10. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year
    I like the Nekton fleet just as much as I liked the other place you asked me about (in your OP). Thank you for your kind words- but mostly I'm glad it worked out for you!

    I have been aboard them all, either as a diver or just for a look see.

    A lot of people make a big fuss over the number of divers that the Nekton takes. On the first dive of the first day, this is an issue. That's why they divide up the assembled mass into two groups for the first big foray.

    The first dive is a bit like the orientation dive at CCV, the place I sent you before that you liked. A whole lot of people in a compressed space trying to get used to assembling and gearing up. On that first dive, there is a lot of fumble-fussing around.

    From the second dive on out, the group tends to pace itself out. I learned early on, plan on hitting the dive deck about ten minutes after the briefing. When the group disperses, I take the time to fiddle with my neoprene clothes and whatever else. Then I dawdle below, have a good slug of water and then peak over the aft rail. Look like the first wave is about to jump in? I'll head down.

    The whole thing about the passenger count is highly overblown. Of course, I have been on a liveaboard with 80+ divers. But, it too was well managed.

    Don't be concerned about passenger count, not on the Nekton.

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