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liveaboard.com Can I trust them?

Discussion in 'Liveaboards & Charter Boats' started by pilotaydin, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    I don't use liveaboard.com but their website is quite handy for picking out boats. They shouldn't be expected to provide that out of the goodness of their heart, so that where some of the commission goes.

    I've always been quite happy with my guy, Greg at Liquiddiving.
  2. Rioja

    Rioja New

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Singapore
    Watch out for liveaboard.com not honoring the stated refund policies these days. I booked a trip about a month ago for the summer. I knew there was a fairly high chance it would be cancelled, so I made sure to read the cancellation policy for the boat, and explicitly confirm its with them prior to booking. The so-called "book with confidence" policy allows for refunds if the trip is postponed due to government actions more than 14 days prior to departure. The trip was cancelled, and now they're trying to tell me I'm eligible only for a credit, even though we're still way before the 14 day cutoff. I understand the challenges facing providers right now, but I don't particularly want to be an unsecured creditor to a liveaboard operation right now. LiveAboard.com has now just ghosted me and stopped replying to my messages.
  3. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    When did you start your conversation with them about getting a refund?
  4. Rioja

    Rioja New

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Singapore
    About 12 days ago they got in touch to tell me the trip wouldn't happen, and told me I was eligible for credit only. I have since followed up with them numerous times requesting that they honor the policy we had discussed prior to my booking, but I've received no response.
  5. Rioja

    Rioja New

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Singapore
    To follow up on this: After about 2 weeks, and a number of messages sent to them, I eventually did hear back from liveaboard.com and they have agreed to process a refund. So, communication was less than ideal but in the end they did do the right thing. I understand it must be a challenging time both for them and for all who run tourism-dependent businesses.
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  6. Peter Menke

    Peter Menke New

    NEVER AGAIN! I booked a trip with Nautilus Explorer for the 05.07.2020 to Guadalupe island. - I payed 1006,20 $ at the 18.03.2019 - I had to cancel the the tour because of corona travel restrictions for a penalty of 50 % -the refund was 117,39 $! -so i lost 888,81 $ for a trip which didn't even occur! -they did not even offer an alternativ date.
  7. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    You booked direct with the Nautilus?
  8. Ministryofgiraffes

    Ministryofgiraffes Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Toronto
    That sucks, but could you elaborate a little on the parameters around the cancellation, namely:

    A) Did you cancel your berth before they actually cancelled the trip?
    B) Was your flight cancelled or the border into the country closed? What were the actual parameters around the travel restrictions when you cancelled? Was it a travel advisory or there was literally no way you could actually get to the boat?
  9. Dom@DiveAdvice

    Dom@DiveAdvice Contributor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: South of France
    Interesting series of post that I have just come across and so I thought it might be the moment to offer input from the other side.

    I started my first Dive Travel company in the US back in 1986, and prior to that was on a dive boat for 4 years in the Red Sea. My present company has been operating for nearly 20 years with offices in California and the South of France.

    I have seen many dive liveaboards come and go during that time, and more than a few people who have lost their shirts when a boat they booked directly, went south and they never saw anything for their hard earned payments. In our modern world, and in particular in these times of the pandemic, really the only safe and secure way to book a dive trip to a foreign land is by using a reputable agency that is licensed and bonded and keeps their finger on the pulse.

    For example, there are more than a couple of online booking agencies currently offering liveaboards that are not only not in operations but who are actually being pursued in their own countries for large amounts of deposit monies sent to them. It’s all very well offering every boat in the world, but you have to know the boat, who owns it and can one safely do business with them. Several clients have come to me for advice on what they can do in the circumstances where they sent monies directly to a boat as they were offered a great deal for booking directly. More than likely they have lost it and all I can do is advise them in future to book thru an agent like ours, where their monies are guaranteed and if there is a deal, they can get that thru us, or often a better deal from us.

    We have offices in California and south of France with escrow accounts and bonded by the California Seller Of Travel Business bureau. In Europe we have legislation in all EU countries requiring that if an agent sells a trip, that if the trip does not operate, they are obliged by law to pay the full sum back within a 2 week period. Understandably in this past 12 months that put many agencies on the line as they no longer had the monies, and in many cases to avoid bankruptcy, they offered to rebook or credits toward a future trip. The monies are legally covered by obligatory bankruptcy insurance so the clients money is always protected. This is the law in Europe and you cannot walk away from it, but if one had sent payment direct to the boat, there is no comeback.

    Many years ago I personally lost over $10,000 when I booked a Maldives resort for clients thru the inbound agent that the Island Resort listed on their website, only to find that when the clients arrived in Male, the resort told them that they had not been paid and insisted that they pay again before flying them to the island. Imagine receiving a 6am frantic call from clients stranded in Male airport. Presuming that it was all a big error as payment had all been made, I gave the resort our company credit card to cover the entire bill while I endeavoured to contact the inbound agent to whom I sent payment. To cut a long story short, we never got our $10,000 back and neither did many others who booked thru this same agency, but the clients never lost a penny and had a terrific holiday and despite the questionable start, have come back to me again and again.

    It was my error and I paid heavily for it but I learned you do not send monies to banks overseas without knowing who you are dealing with.

    We have perhaps the best and most up to date live availability on our website as well as a secondary availability of trips booked thru other agents in our network. We know it is good as although we do not pay huge amounts to Google to list us, we get many hits and we are favoured in the industry as a reference of availability.

    There is no reason in the world why people should pay a boat directly when they can pay reliable agent who know the business and have the clout to take care of things when they may not go exactly as planned. Even Aggressor and Explorer Ventures can have their issues at time, but by booking thru an agency that does lots of business with them, your booking gains a huge amount of clout.

    By the way, we do give out boats website and contact details during the whole booking process, but most important, we know the differences between different boats and destinations and advise our clients with our thoughts and input.

    We have never been about one booking, the most important one maybe the first, but we presume that if our clients are happy and all goes well, why would they look to book with anyone else. Reliability and integrity are our most valued assets.

    I hope that might help anyone who might have doubts in their mind about why they would use an agent.

    Dominick Macan
    Dive Advice Travel
    Tel: +33 492 94 02 99 (France)
    SKYPE: adventuredom

    http://www.diveadvice.com/liveaboard-availability … for up-to-date liveaboard availability worldwide

    "In Partnership with Amazing Adventures Travel of Mill Valley, California"
  10. maddog2

    maddog2 Registered

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Vancouver, Canada
    My review of LIVEABOARD.com and INDO SIREN

    In January 2020 I booked an Indo Siren dive trip with Liveaboard.com for a 10 night/11 day Komodo Nat'l Park dive trip for August 2020. It was offered with a 30% discount on the $4900.00 usd regular price, so I booked it to coincide with a family vacation in Bali. I paid for the dive trip in full and had a $0.00 Balance. Unfortunately, with COVID the trip was cancelled (by Indo Siren) and a refund was refused, so I rebooked for the following August 2021. Another Booking Voucher and number was issued to me, again showing a $0.00 Balance (as I expected). Unfortunately, yet again, COVID forced the Operator of the Indo Siren to cancel the dive trip and once again a refund was refused. For this latest cancellation/reschedule to August 2022. I received an email on July 19, 2021 from Liveaboard.com with a pdf file containing another Booking Voucher and number. I was shocked and angered that the new Booking Voucher showed an unpaid Balance of $1650.00 usd, which I was not made aware of except for in the pdf attachment that accompanied the email.

    I immediately complained (July 20, 2021) but was unable to get an email response from Liveaboard.com. My repeated phone calls to their Support Line was finally answered (July 23). I am still awaiting the result of their 'investigation'. I asked to speak to a Manager, but was told that none was present at the moment. I then asked for the Manager's name, but was refused even a first name.

    Interestingly, a few weeks earlier I inquired as to why I was refused a refund when new dive bookings today are offered with a refund of 85% if you cancel up to 30 days prior to your trip. I was told that it didn't apply to me, but was not given a reason. Presumably, it's because my dive trip was booked back in 2020 before the policy was put into effect. Although, I haven't been able to confirm that because Liveaboard.com didn't respond to this line of inquiry. It's also interesting that my new Booking Voucher and number (with the 30% increase in price) does state that I can get an 85% refund if I cancel 30 or more days before the dive trip's schedule departure date.

    My latest experience with Liveaboard.com has not been good. It makes me wonder whether Liveaboard.com really knows what they're doing and why their Support staff does not seem to be very knowledgeable and/or possibly deceptive.

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