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Lj82
07-10-2008, 13:17
Hi people
I am currently look at Similan LOBs and would like to ask for your opinions here.
My budget for the LOBs are around SGD$1k (USD$750) for 4days/4nights 14 dives package.
2 boats that caught my eyes are the MV Manta Queen2 and the MV Dolphin Queen.
Did anyone of you have any experiences with these 2 boats?
Or are there any other boats in that price range that you would recommend?

Are there any things that I should look out for when looking at the Similan LOB? (first time planning 'far away' LOB trip)

A million thanks in advance. :)

Travelnsj
07-10-2008, 15:15
I would PM Quero...she lives and dives there.

Quero
07-11-2008, 07:04
To begin with, DQ costs quite a bit less than $1k. $1k will get you a mid-range boat, whereas DQ is a budget-class vessel. The current price for DQ in quad bunks, shared bathrooms down the hall, is a touch over $500. When you add in the cost of the transfer to the boat and the marine park fees, the total comes out to about $640. Still far below your budget.

MQ II is also a budget boat, albeit a newer one. She is only into her second season, I believe. I usually don't put my customers on MQ because I have found the company problematic to deal with. Maybe they're better when they are working directly with customers.

You can do better than either of these boats and still be pretty close to your budget. With a budget of $1K, you can get on a boat with private bathrooms, for example. OTOH, if you meant your budget was $1K Sing dollars, that changes things! I'd still recommend different boats, though, even so.

Lj82
07-11-2008, 08:15
To begin with, DQ costs quite a bit less than $1k. $1k will get you a mid-range boat, whereas DQ is a budget-class vessel. The current price for DQ in quad bunks, shared bathrooms down the hall, is a touch over $500. When you add in the cost of the transfer to the boat and the marine park fees, the total comes out to about $640. Still far below your budget.

MQ II is also a budget boat, albeit a newer one. She is only into her second season, I believe. I usually don't put my customers on MQ because I have found the company problematic to deal with. Maybe they're better when they are working directly with customers.

You can do better than either of these boats and still be pretty close to your budget. With a budget of $1K, you can get on a boat with private bathrooms, for example. OTOH, if you meant your budget was $1K Sing dollars, that changes things! I'd still recommend different boats, though, even so.

You are absolutely right.
Its 1k SGD :smilie39:
I merely copy my post from a Singapore forum and forgot to change the currency. Which boats would you suggest though?

Travelnsj
07-11-2008, 10:18
Quero just out of curiosity have you been following those two threads on SB (I started a couple here also) about the death on the Baani Adventurer in the Maldives due to CO poisoning? When you mentioned a budget boat...kinda reminded me of the Baani incident...you get what you pay for. What regulations does Thailand have to check the compressors, filters and the Air going into the tanks?

Lj82
07-11-2008, 11:59
Quero just out of curiosity have you been following those two threads on SB (I started a couple here also) about the death on the Baani Adventurer in the Maldives due to CO poisoning? When you mentioned a budget boat...kinda reminded me of the Baani incident...you get what you pay for. What regulations does Thailand have to check the compressors, filters and the Air going into the tanks?

Safety is of cause a concern.
But I do not agree that lower end budget boats are always not as safe as bigger and higher budget boats.
There is a need to find out if the lower end boats are well managed, hence I ask around on the forum.

Would be interested to hear what Quero has to say about this though.

Quero
07-11-2008, 18:35
Quero just out of curiosity have you been following those two threads on SB (I started a couple here also) about the death on the Baani Adventurer in the Maldives due to CO poisoning? When you mentioned a budget boat...kinda reminded me of the Baani incident...you get what you pay for. What regulations does Thailand have to check the compressors, filters and the Air going into the tanks?

I'll take a look at those threads, now that you mention it. AFAIK, there is no regular inspection of compressors here in Thailand. It comes down to using operators who are conscientious. There are several budget-class, safety-oriented, and concientous operators here on Phuket. We actually have some ops in a lower price category than Budget, and it's these I worry most about. I never, ever use them. As the saying goes, You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

Quero
07-11-2008, 19:00
Quero just out of curiosity have you been following those two threads on SB (I started a couple here also) about the death on the Baani Adventurer in the Maldives due to CO poisoning? When you mentioned a budget boat...kinda reminded me of the Baani incident...you get what you pay for. What regulations does Thailand have to check the compressors, filters and the Air going into the tanks?

Safety is of cause a concern.
But I do not agree that lower end budget boats are always not as safe as bigger and higher budget boats.
There is a need to find out if the lower end boats are well managed, hence I ask around on the forum.

Would be interested to hear what Quero has to say about this though.

What allows a budget boat the ability to turn a profit (let's face it, kids, we are in business here; the business of helping you have fun, but we still need to make a living) is cutting corners on things.

Here in Thailand what gets cut on budget-class boats is usually bathrooms, Nitrox on board, extras like more than one towel for a trip, sometimes the size of the group a DM works with, size of the cabin (and windows, sometimes), the departure point of the trip.... The way to make more money when charging less is simply to put more people on the boat (smaller cabins, shared bathrooms, bigger dive groups), and cut costs like bringing the boat all the way down to Phuket to pick up passengers (fuel costs), using only air and not Nitrox on board (one less compressor to worry about, no O2 cleaning necessary), etc.

Unfortunately, sometimes, at very low budget ops in areas where compressor parts are hard to come by, ops may be tempted to cuts costs by reusing compressor filters or not changing the oil frequently enough, or in some other way delaying regular maintenance. Here on Phuket, compressor parts are easily available, and competition is fierce. If any agent learns of an op that cuts corners on safety, that agent simply will not book customers on the op. We live on an island an our industry is small--enough said. (Of course, the diver making independent arrangements has no way of knowing....)

Quero
07-11-2008, 19:04
To begin with, DQ costs quite a bit less than $1k. $1k will get you a mid-range boat, whereas DQ is a budget-class vessel. The current price for DQ in quad bunks, shared bathrooms down the hall, is a touch over $500. When you add in the cost of the transfer to the boat and the marine park fees, the total comes out to about $640. Still far below your budget.

MQ II is also a budget boat, albeit a newer one. She is only into her second season, I believe. I usually don't put my customers on MQ because I have found the company problematic to deal with. Maybe they're better when they are working directly with customers.

You can do better than either of these boats and still be pretty close to your budget. With a budget of $1K, you can get on a boat with private bathrooms, for example. OTOH, if you meant your budget was $1K Sing dollars, that changes things! I'd still recommend different boats, though, even so.

You are absolutely right.
Its 1k SGD :smilie39:
I merely copy my post from a Singapore forum and forgot to change the currency. Which boats would you suggest though?

If you PM me and give me dates, I may be able to help.

Lj82
07-11-2008, 21:00
To begin with, DQ costs quite a bit less than $1k. $1k will get you a mid-range boat, whereas DQ is a budget-class vessel. The current price for DQ in quad bunks, shared bathrooms down the hall, is a touch over $500. When you add in the cost of the transfer to the boat and the marine park fees, the total comes out to about $640. Still far below your budget.

MQ II is also a budget boat, albeit a newer one. She is only into her second season, I believe. I usually don't put my customers on MQ because I have found the company problematic to deal with. Maybe they're better when they are working directly with customers.

You can do better than either of these boats and still be pretty close to your budget. With a budget of $1K, you can get on a boat with private bathrooms, for example. OTOH, if you meant your budget was $1K Sing dollars, that changes things! I'd still recommend different boats, though, even so.

You are absolutely right.
Its 1k SGD :smilie39:
I merely copy my post from a Singapore forum and forgot to change the currency. Which boats would you suggest though?

If you PM me and give me dates, I may be able to help.

PM sent!:smiley2:

Lj82
07-11-2008, 21:02
By the way, when you say you find MQ2 problematic to deal with, may I know what kind of problems did you face? Safety issues, administrative issues or logistics?

So far the dive club that liase with them have been very prompt in replying my emails.

Quero
07-12-2008, 00:55
By the way, when you say you find MQ2 problematic to deal with, may I know what kind of problems did you face? Safety issues, administrative issues or logistics?

So far the dive club that liase with them have been very prompt in replying my emails.

Administrative. If an op makes it easy for me to sell trips on their boat, I tend to keep that boat in mind; if an op creates difficulties, I tend not to consider that boat unless there are no other alternatives (for example when a customer has a preference for a specific boat).

It makes sense that an op would be especially accommodating to a whole dive club as the op will not have to pay any commission to an agency and often get the whole boat booked at once. BTW, the club doesn't see that commission either, typically, though different ops have different policies in that regard.

Lj82
07-12-2008, 03:22
By the way, when you say you find MQ2 problematic to deal with, may I know what kind of problems did you face? Safety issues, administrative issues or logistics?

So far the dive club that liase with them have been very prompt in replying my emails.

Administrative. If an op makes it easy for me to sell trips on their boat, I tend to keep that boat in mind; if an op creates difficulties, I tend not to consider that boat unless there are no other alternatives (for example when a customer has a preference for a specific boat).

It makes sense that an op would be especially accommodating to a whole dive club as the op will not have to pay any commission to an agency and often get the whole boat booked at once. BTW, the club doesn't see that commission either, typically, though different ops have different policies in that regard.

Thanks for your feedback.
Do check your PM.:smiley2:

zahgurim
07-15-2008, 07:37
I'm looking to head to Thailand again in a bit, with a group of friends.
Am thinking of the Mermaid2 liveaboard, hitting Similan & Hin Daeng... Decent boat?

Quero
07-15-2008, 09:20
I'm looking to head to Thailand again in a bit, with a group of friends.
Am thinking of the Mermaid2 liveaboard, hitting Similan & Hin Daeng... Decent boat?

Yes, decent boat. MM2 is also one of the higher end boats. She is fairly comfortable since she was refitted a few years ago to provide private bathrooms (instead of semi-private) in the main deck cabins. There are several newer/nicer boats in a similar price range if you'd like to compare. Did you want a 6d/6n combo trip?

chinacat46
07-15-2008, 13:24
I'd be interested in a 6d/6n combo trip. What other boats besides the MM2 in that category are there?

Sansho
07-15-2008, 14:31
As the saying goes, You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
Haven't heard that one ... that's great :smiley36:

Lj82
07-15-2008, 21:56
As the saying goes, You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.Haven't heard that one ... that's great :smiley36:


"Peanuts" in Singapore can carry a very differemt meaning though..
The wife of one of our politician once said that the pay of the chairperson of a charity organisation here is 'peanuts'. That has to be some very expensive peanuts considering he earns SGD$25000 per month and gets 10-12months bonuses. :smiley5: