liveaboard.com Can I trust them?

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kelemvor

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As the founder of Undercurrent, a nonprofit organization and newsletter, I can attest that the only income Undercurrent receives from anyone other than subscribers and donations, is from a few organizations that buy a link to their businesses on our website. I think our gross income from that is about $4000. Our travel reviewers pay their own way (we provide a small fee to the for the article) and write what they experience. Our reader reports come only from subscribers and if I find one that strikes me as being somehow "sponsored," I delete it. I can say that in all my dive travels, I've never so much a take a drink from a dive operator and, in fact, have never been discovered as a writer by an operator until after and article is published and they put 2 and 2 together. The only way any operator learns we review them is when the see the article in print.
Ben Davison, publisher since 1975
I wish you would write that up somewhere easy to find. I know I've been told that before. Unfortunately, when I searched for similar information to provide in the thread I couldn't find it.
 

ScubaCorgi

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I have never booked with them but many people I've met on liveaboards has and they have only positive things to say. I personally book through divebookers. I'm in the US and they're in Canada but I've never had a problem. They also offer free DAN coverage for the duration of your liveaboard.
 
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The internet is full of shams and issues, I came across live aboard.com and wanted to ask if it is legit? I am looking to do my first one in november and want to book with them but don't want to get off the plane and realize they don't exist :) So any feedback would be great!

No you cant. They cancelled my liveaboard twice on me, the boat operator cancelled once and the second was corovirus and I couldnt get in the country and they took my money. Offered to reschedule yes but I cant use it in the time allotted. BIGGEST RIP OFF TOUR OPERATOR EVER.
 

nippurmagnum

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I think the post-COVID liveaboard market will present a special challenge to Liveaboard.com. There will undoubtedly be all kinds of sporadic travel restrictions, liveaboards going out of business, cancelled flights, etc. If the company takes a “buyer beware” approach that just recommends buying travel insurance and otherwise not getting involved when problems arise, there will be a lot of disgruntled customers. Especially if the company insists on being the intermediary in communications with the boat one chooses (which it did when I bought a trip through the company, as I didn’t get a local contact number for the boat until a few days before departure), and if the boat/destination reviews can’t really be trusted. If the company just wants to be a bare-bones portal for the sale of liveaboard trips, and not provide much additional support, it should make that clear, and just compete on price.
 

kelemvor

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I think the post-COVID liveaboard market will present a special challenge to Liveaboard.com. There will undoubtedly be all kinds of sporadic travel restrictions, liveaboards going out of business, cancelled flights, etc. If the company takes a “buyer beware” approach that just recommends buying travel insurance and otherwise not getting involved when problems arise, there will be a lot of disgruntled customers. Especially if the company insists on being the intermediary in communications with the boat one chooses (which it did when I bought a trip through the company, as I didn’t get a local contact number for the boat until a few days before departure), and if the boat/destination reviews can’t really be trusted. If the company just wants to be a bare-bones portal for the sale of liveaboard trips, and not provide much additional support, it should make that clear, and just compete on price.
If the middle-man company isn't helping out in any way then what benefit is it vs just dealing directly with the LOB?
 

Shasta_man

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The message I'd give is that you don't have to use these organizations or travel agents to go. You can but you don't have to. Whether you get a better price is also not a certainty because you can typically get that price direct and I would. You might get some benefit if there is a problem but it's not easy to do a three way negotiation when you are on the ground there. Basically there are three elements to your trip: flight, hotel before and after and the liveaboard. You can schedule them all yourself. Many liveaboards are happy to help with getting you a place to stay before and after, and getting you to the boat and back to the airport. Scheduling flights via the Internet is not so difficult or time consuming since your destination is fixed.

If I was planning to go a lot of places within the country, they might help. So you can use one but they are not a requirement.
 

nippurmagnum

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If the middle-man company isn't helping out in any way then what benefit is it vs just dealing directly with the LOB?

That is an excellent question. In my case, I used Liveaboard.com because I was booking my first trip to the Red Sea, I wanted to find a boat that did not charge much for a single occupancy cabin, and I wanted to find a specific route that included Brothers Islands but departed from Hurghada. The Liveaboard.com portal let me narrow down my choice of boats, dates, and prices. And since I had zero experience dealing with Egyptian liveaboards, I was glad to use their portal. My only frustrations had to do with the rather useless reviews and ratings (everything seemed to be "great", "fantastic", "outstanding"), and the fact that communications with Liveaboard.com were slow. You could always get someone on the phone 24/7, but you always had to wait for a couple of days whenever there was a question that required communicating with the Egyptian liveaboard. Then again, I am sure that was driven primarily by the Egyptian liveaboard side, not by the broker.

Once you have established a relationship with a specific liveaboard, and want to do a return trip, there is less of a benefit to using a broker like Liveaboard.com. The main benefit I would see is if the liveaboard goes out of business between the time that you paid for the trip and the time that you sail (which is not a negligible possibility in the near future). I believe Livaboard.com would find you a comparable boat without charge, whereas if you had paid directly to the liveaboard, you might well be out of luck -- unless you wanted to spend some time in the Egyptian court system.
 

Shasta_man

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It would be very interesting to know if the last paragraph is true. In these strange times, that is certainly a benefit. 6 months ago that seemed less of an important requirement
 

warren S

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Hi, I would not recommend using LiveAboard.com. I just had a terrible experience with them. They get particularly rude and their customer experience has been nothing short of horrible with this whole COVID situation. I suspect they are under the pump and just not managing this thing well. I would recommend booking directly with the boat you are interested in using, that way you are supporting local boats and LiveAboard.com don't take the commissions off them. In any event, as they have told me numerous times in the COVID shut downs, they are just the booking agent, there is nothing they can assist with in the current situation. I would check out reviews online as there are lots of people having a bad experience with these guys. Good luck and hopefully we all get dicing again soon!
 
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