Nekton boats may come back!!

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Shasta_man

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If you do Bonaire or some place where you don't get off into the less accessible areas, then you add the hotels and inclusives to your competition. I'd imagine they could have lower costs than you.

Also, you can't just take that Nekton building anywhere. One of the reasons you never got to the good side of St Croix was it could be so rough. Swath or not, you're still bobbing. And if much of the customer base is the seasickness prone variety, they sure won't allow you to stay. So not possible to exploit the wild side of the island.

I'm wondering whether this thread is still talking to the OP...

If I wanted to get on the boat at a nice dock, I wouldn't have been able to do many of the Pacific liveaboards I've done. That single board inclined at 45 degrees was hairy to get on in Bali.
 

Damselfish

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drrich2:
Staying at a land resort with the option to roam the island seems nicer than a live-aboard experience to me. Yes, I realize the live-aboard can dock and let the passengers off to wander the island or whatever, but at that point, what's the advantage of a live-aboard over a land-based resort & boat dive package?
I thought that too until I tried one...
 

smoffatt

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My family (4) took a liveaboard cruise on the Pilot 3 1/2 years ago in Belize and thought everything about it was wonderful, hope you are successful in your venture and we would support! SM
 

Damselfish

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I'm also of the "lugging gear around the island in the hot sun is no fun" persuasion and prefer boats or my hotel dock. And I do think it's best a liveaboard get you to sites that you probably won't get to otherwise. But sometimes this might be sites possible to get to from land, but the land-based logistics make it difficult and time-consuming to get in many of them. There are other advantages to a liveaboard as well.

I wouldn't do a ABC liveaboard that just did the same old sites. It could be good if it spent it's time in the right places. But it seems it would make more sense to base in Curacao or Aruba for supply and flight reasons.

parrotman:
Caymans might work, although I would not do a Caymans trip, costs too much to get there and I personally was not that impressed with the diving.
It's actually usually cheap to get there from the East coast. And if you only dove the west side of the island, which is common, I can understand not being impressed. In any event, there's been the Cayman Aggressor there for long time which seems to be pretty popular. They're on what, like the Cayman Aggressor 14?

parrotman:
One thing that I do not like about some of the liveaboard ops is their choice of departure ports. When doing the Belize trip, the Pilot was moored at the Port Authority dock. Sorry, but when I spend that kind of money to fly to Belize, overnight in a hotel, pay $30 for a cab out to the boat, I don't want to feel like I am some lower class citizen that is traveling through the slums to get to the boat. Both the Peter Hughes boat and the Aggressor were moored on a dock off of the hotel that I was staying in. Nice hotel with a water front bar, Classy operation.

Spend the bucks for a nice dock, it will make a difference. I took the Rorqual out of FLL. That was much better experience. I was picked up at the airport, taken to a large shopping area while we waited for the rest of the passengers. Watched a movie and had lunch then got on a nice bus to go out to the boat. Class act. I wold guess that if the Nekton op had continued that level of service they would have been more successful.
It's definitely a good thing if the liveaboard op arranges things so arrival and departure days are as nice as possible for the passengers, but there's many ways to accomplish it. I don't think the dock is the key thing. Liveaboards sometimes leave from more commercial docks than your typical resort dayboat and it might not always be money - might be space available or draft or ease of supplying the boat. While there may not be a nice hotel and bar at the end of the dock, there are usually interesting port type activities to watch instead. So as long as I don't feel unsafe I'm happy, and I've never felt unsafe. (In some ways you might consider the commercial docks safer, as access is often more restricted.)
 
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Believe me I understand how much work needs to be done on the boat!!

I am running all of the numbers and coming up with a business plan now to see if there is any chance of success. It will depend much on the return of our past divers.

If this comes together I can assure everyone that the boat would be back to 100%

I absolutely agree that the boat would need to be foreign flagged. I am looking into that as well.

Any other ideas and comments would be greatly appreciated.

Personally, I think rising fuel prices and the downturn of the economy put the crunch on Mr. Dixon as it has many small business owners all across the the country. I would love to see the Rorqual back in service. We have been on it several times and have made many happy memories. Best of luck in this endeavor and Joe and & will definately be back.
 
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Hi Kris.

It's awesome to hear from you and I would definately dive the Roarqual again. I have been on her three times, Medio, St. Croix and Mayaguana. I wanted to dive Medio again this summer, but that didn't happen. I have heard good things about Belize and would consider that one as well.

I would dive the Medio, Mayaguana, Cay Sal and Mona iteneraries. Not sure about doing St. Croix again. Of the three trips I did with Nekton, Mayaguana was the best (even if the wind was nuts). The reasons: Jeff's cooking was awesome. The boat was as neat and clean as it could be in the condition it was in. You and Kendall were looking for ways to improve everything and listened to us.

I would be willing to pay more for the experience, AND I would like to see some longer trips built into the schedule at some point. Seven days wasn't long enough for Mayaguana because you lost a day in travel each way.

Some suggestions (a bit rambling):

Have the crew wear some kind of uniform.

Get the nitrox running reliably and have more than 15 nitrox slots. Nitrox makes a big difference when doing multiple dives a day over a 5 day span.

Hire Jeff back. He had great ideas and was an awesome chef. (or someone of his calibur.)

Move the camera tables if you can. Everyone liked to dump everything on them from wet towels to glasses to shirts, etc etc. It gets a bit frustrating to try to set up your camera or make changes to your kit when there is no room. Also, please make sure all the air hoses are working.

Since you are totally refitting the boat, see if you can redo the area to hang suits and add an area to have gloves and boots so we aren't using deck chairs. Also, for those of use that would be wimps and use dry suits in Mayaguana in April (yep that would be Kamela and me), a different set up would be needed.

These are just some thoughts that come to mind and I'm sure I can think of others if I really put my mind to it.

I have seen some of the other posts that deal with the start up and refit of the boat from people who would know more that I would about those things so I will leave that alone.

I wish you the best Kris and I truly hope that you are able to get this up and running. I would definately sail with you again.

Dorothy Catapano

We did the 10 day trip to Cay Lobos and having those few extra days of diving were great. I agree with a more professional crew. We could tell a TREMENDOUS difference in crew behavior/attitude after Nelson left. Unless YOU plan on running the boat 24/7, try to get Nelson back. He runs a tight ship.
 
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One issue that I am interested in (and I must profess I do not know the "right" answer) is what the boat/boats should do if they do not have a fully booked charter.

For all the negative press John Dixon received (no doubt some of it was warranted), he had a longstanding policy of going on charter regardless of how many people were booked for a certain trip. I worked on the boat when we had four, five, six guests at a time. John's policy was that if people reserved the trip, paid a deposit, allocated vacation time, he was going to send the boat out, even if that particular trip was going to lose money. His belief was that if you cancelled a trip due to low occupancy you would have many angry divers who would probably never re-book. If you go out with a very small group these divers would return time and time again.

I have seen a number of threads on SB where customers were angry with different liveaboards because of cancelled trips due to low occupancy. My question is, does it make sense to go out on a charter that is going to definitely lose money? From a financial perspective it sounds like a very bad idea, but from a customer service perspective I certainly understood his reasoning.

Since we are dealing in the realm of the theoretical (boats coming back), what is your opinion?
I would be highly pissed if I had made plans to go diving, arranged (most-times) non-refundable air-fare and had my heart/mind set on a week of relaxation, only to find out at the last minute it was cancelled due to low occupancy. JD sent the boats out--we went to Cay Lobos (10 day trip) with on 8 passengers. He had to have lost money on that trip. It was a good trip. Would have better if Nelson was captain.........................
 

vladimir

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About 1,200 vacationers were stranded in Mallorca and the Spanish coast due to the sudden collapse of a British tour operator.
This is one reason that I don't deal with middlemen, like travel agents, if I can avoid it. As the DIR guys say, it's another failure point, and they offer a service most people don't need. I book my diving with the dive operator, hotels with the hotelier, and flights directly with the airline.
 

John_B

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About 1,200 vacationers were stranded in Mallorca and the Spanish coast due to the sudden collapse of a British tour operator
The Guardian newspaper says it is unclear how the British travelers are going to make it home.
Two words: trip insurance.
 

vladimir

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Two words: trip insurance.
If your finances are so tight that your tour operator's failure is going to strand you, then trip insurance might be a good idea. Skipping the trip would be a better one though.
 
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