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Dive Review of Arenui in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

April, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by GlobeTrotter, Buckingham, GB
Reviewer   (5 reports)
Report Number 6584
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Thailand, Majorca
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, currents  
Water Temp
29   to 30    Celsius  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
8   to 20    Meters  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
30m recreational diving  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Although I am not an underwater photographer, I could see that everyone who
was seemed quite happy with the facilities. Debbie and Jerry always there
to help out with any queries, spare batteries, and such. There is a Mac for
people to view their photos and other people's, and lots of space for
charging cameras and other equipment.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
5 stars   
5 stars    
This was our second trip on Arenui and, if anything, it was even better
than the previous time. The crew were just as welcoming and efficient.  As
for Debbie and Jerry - impossibly, they were even more brilliant. Debbie's
welcome briefing was upbeat and amusing and covered everything that the
guests needed to know. She has such a lovely bubbly personality and is
super-efficient at her job - what more could anyone want?! 

Jerry's amazing grasp of many languages ensures that all guests know
exactly what's going on, no matter what their nationality.  Together Debbie
and Jerry make a fantastic team - nothing is too much trouble for them and
not even the most demanding guest could find fault.

The diving was amazing. We were in Debbie's group and, as with everything
else, her guiding underwater is brilliant. She finds the tiniest critters
and spots everything else with the greatest ease. 

We had a fantastic dive at the Manta Sandy cleaning station, where we were
entertained by so many graceful and beautiful mantas as they circled and
swooped - almost  on top of us! Breathtaking!

We did a few night dives and oh! the luxury, as you climb on board, of
being greeted with a hot flannel and a cup of delicious, steaming hot
chocolate!! Such decadence! Not only that, but after every dive nice dry
towels are waiting as you come out of the shower on deck.

We also did a dusk dive hoping to see mandarin fish mating. We didn't have
to wait very long before several of these beautiful, multi-coloured little
fish came out to play. That was a very special dive as I had only seen them
in photographs before that.

Another highlight was seeing three giant frogfish, such amazingly ugly but
really endearing creatures! The corals are so breathtakingly beautiful, the
marine life so colourful and strange  huge
turtles munching the coral a few feet away, bumphead parrotfish, scorpion
fish, tiny pygmy seahorses and other tiny critters - far too many to
mention here. Indonesia seems to have it all.

The shore excursions we did were really good too. We had never been to the
Banda Islands before and we visited Banda Neira, where the original Dutch
fort has been restored - a fascinating piece of history. We visited a
plantation where nutmegs, cinammon, mace and cloves grow. A couple of other
times, the tenders took us to the beach where we could swim and do a bit of
beachcombing. Back on board we are greeted with a very welcome ice-cold

Another fabulous dive was over the lava field - it looked a bit like a
moonscape at first, all hard coral with many fish darting in and out.
Large, weird tree-like structures of hard coral rising from the bottom -
all very different from any other dives we had done.

At the end of each dive, the tender is there waiting for you and all your
dive gear taken from you before you climb up the nice long ladder into the
tender, and a bottle of water handed to you.

The food is out of this world. How on earth the chef manages to produce
such succulent and varied dishes after being at sea for over a week is
beyond me! Breakfast and lunch are buffet but dinner is served. When the
boat is not moving, dinner is served upstairs in the sky restaurant under
the stars - this is gourmet dining at its best. 

The sundeck was amazing  plenty of wide wooden sunbeds, facing in various
directions, out in the sun or in the shade (your choice), with really thick
comfy mattresses. Again, more towels supplied on deck for you to use on the
sunbeds. Here, also, you can have a massage - a real luxury lying there
while the boat gently sways, lulling you to sleep.

All in all, a trip on the Arenui is the most wonderful experience, whether
you've done 100 dives or 5,000. If you want first-class diving and
first-class luxury with first-class cruise directors and crew, this is the
boat for you.
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Subscriber's Comments

By B2003 at Jun 11, 2012 22:03 EST  
Can you tell me what the diver to guide ratio was?  Thanks
By GlobeTrotter at Jun 12, 2012 04:28 EST  
There are four guides for maximum 16 divers. Hope this helps!
By loribelle at Feb 23, 2013 23:36 EST  
Have a question for you about payment -  We were told by the owner they
cannot accept credit cards, so we would have to wire him the money. This
just seems a little shady and scary, and I was hoping you could tell me if
this was how your payment was handled?  Thanks so much for any info!
By ScarlettIsis at Mar 21, 2013 03:39 EST  
Arenui takes credit cards onboard (ie; at the end of the cruise for any
onboard bill - maybe extra massages, alcohol, souvenirs or possibly
additional extras not finalized before balance paid; hotels, flights etc
booked by our Bali office). We can take CC onboard as we have the machine
on the boat - where the card can be swiped and signed for in person - which
is acceptable to Indonesian banks. But for deposits etc we ask for a wire
transfer; usually internet banking nowadays. This is because Indo banks are
very inflexible on CC payments without the card in person (machine payment)
as they have had too any cases of fraud, so we also dont feel it would be
practical at this time. FYI; we are still looking into other options, but
haven't found anything we feel 100% comfortable with yet as secure payment
for our guests ... but overall it's really not been an issue for the
majority of our guests (especially given that internet banking makes it so
simple) ... in fact we find ourselves 75% fully booked until 2016 with many
of those 2+ time repeat guests :-)
By Dolores at Jan 05, 2014 20:12 EST  
This is my dream trip--including the Banda Islands! I wonder if you could
give me a more detailed idea of what the currents are like? I mean, are we
talking fast drift diving or washing machine up-and-down?
By Dolores at Jan 05, 2014 20:33 EST  
This is my dream trip--including the Banda Islands! Can you tell me more
about what the currents were like? I mean, were they like fast drift dives
or more like the  rip-roaring, washing machine up-and-down variety?
By ScarlettIsis at Jan 05, 2014 20:40 EST  
Mostly calm dives and then some fast drift dives; nothing like the
washing-machine stuff you get in other locations! Really great reefs and
lots of fish life as pretty untouched still. Hope this helps :-)
By Dolores at Jan 06, 2014 15:58 EST  
Thanks and sorry for the double posting! I'm also very interested in the
shore excursion to Banda Neira and the plantation. This was all in one day,
yes? Were there any other opportunites for shore visits--I don't mean going
to the beach (although that would be lovely) but things of an historical or
cultural nature?
By ScarlettIsis at Jan 07, 2014 01:05 EST  
There's a visit to the plantation which also includes a walk through the
village, visit to the fort and stop off at a museum etc, but the
Maluku-Raja itinerary also includes other shore visits like the beach
village in south Raja and if the longer itinerary then also a trip up to
the pearl farm of Raja. More on all the dive sites but also shore visits at
the itinerary page; (if
easier, email me for more info; laura @ thearenui .com)
By ScarlettIsis at Jan 07, 2014 01:50 EST  
There's a visit to the plantation which also includes a walk through the
village, visit to the fort and stop off at a museum etc, but the
Maluku-Raja itinerary also includes other shore visits like the beach
village in south Raja and if the longer itinerary then also a trip up to
the pearl farm of Raja. More on all the dive sites but also shore visits at
the itinerary page; (if
easier, email me for more info; laura @ thearenui .com)
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