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Dive Review of Kararu Voyages/Cheng Ho in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

November, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Thomas Dingwall, Oregon, USA (1 report)
Report Number 4417
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean, Australia, PNG, Indonesia, Micronesia, Galapagos
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, rainy  
Seas
currents  
Water Temp
76   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
20   to 30    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
[Unspecified]  
Liveaboard?
yes 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
1 or 2 
Mantas
Squadrons 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
1 or 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
N/A  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
[None]
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
1 stars
Food
3 stars
Service and Attitude
2 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
2 stars
Dive Operation
2 stars  
Shore Diving  
N/A  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars    
Beginners
1 stars   
Advanced
1 stars    
Comments  
The recent report on the Cheng Ho in Undercurrent was accurate, but overly
kind.  We have have been on many of the major liveaboards, including Peter
Hughes, Aggressor, and Mike Ball.  Kararu charges similar fares to these
operations, but falls short of them in terms of service and facilities. 
The Undercurrent report points out many of these deficiencies, but I would
like to point out a couple more.

The biggest issue we had was with the cabin we were assigned.  We booked a
"Deluxe Twin" cabin, but were placed in the smallest cabin on the
boat - smaller even than those housing one person.  The cabin was about 100
square feet, including a small toilet/shower and bunk beds.  There was
virtually no storage space, and barely enough room for the two of us to
stand up at the same time.

To make things worse, off-duty crew were constantly sitting, standing,
smoking and eating outside our door, leaving us with no privacy and keeping
us up at night.

After the trip we checked the ship layout on the web site.  The room we
were in is marked "single" on the diagram.  In fact, all four
cabins on the main deck are marked "single", yet two of them were
assigned to couples on our trip.  We discovered this was because they
booked two more people on the trip than the posted maximum capacity of the
boat.

When we complained to Stein at Kararu Voyages about this issue, he refused
to acknowledge that anything was wrong with our accomodations.  He said
that since the cabins on the main deck have bunk beds in them, they can be
used as doubles.  So if you book a trip on the Cheng Ho, be aware that this
could happen to you.

The Undercurrent report mentioned the leaks on the Cheng Ho, but didn't
mention one aspect of it.  The main indoor public area on the boat is the
lounge/dining room.  There is a large counter in this room that serves as a
charging area for batteries, etc.  As such, it is covered with 220 volt
power strips, along with various other electrical equipment. 
Unfortunately, everytime it rained, water would fall on the charging table.
 The staff would cover the area with plastic sheets, but water would run
off and pool on the floor.  I shudder when I think about people reaching
under those plastic sheets with water on the floor.

The bottom line: Avoid Kararu/Cheng Ho like the plague.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.


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