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Dive Review of Bilikiki Cruises in
Solomon Islands/Russell Islands, Mary Island,

November, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Janet & Bob Czapski, MI, USA
Contributor   (14 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 3503
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Thailand, Fiji, Bali-Komodo, Raja Ampat, Malaysia, Caribbean
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, surge, currents, noCurrents  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
75   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
The crew handled cameras wonderfully.  They had a large camera table for
storing cameras during the day on the back deck.  The camera rinse tank was
good.  They do, however, move the cameras into the salon floor during
transits and small baskets were provided each diver for lens, batteries,
etc which were kept in the salon, not on the camera table.  The charging
area was in a nice room, but it was on the top deck, so lots of moving
about was necessary for camera set-up changes.  That was inconvenient.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
2 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
The boat is an older boat with some unique features.  Those who have
difficulties with stairs, high steps in doorways, step-downs from cabins
into hallways will not enjoy this boat.  The cabins were clean, bathrooms
were tiny but adequate.  Noise travels very easily on the cabin deck

Food was mediocre at best.  We did 4 liveaboards back-to-back on this trip
and we rated this food the poorest.  Breakfasts were never hot, food
selections were extremely limited.  The fruits, however, were the best and
most plentiful we've ever seen.  The crew did the best they could with the
ingredients on hand.

The crew itself was extremely competent but very, very shy.  They were NOT
introduced to the group upon arrival, but thankfully they wear their names
on their shirts so you could address them by name!  Once you called them by
name, they were a little more outgoing. The strength of the crew members is
incredible!  It was nothing for one of them to pick up two sets of gear and
carry it easily into the tinnies!  The tinny drivers were extremely
competent in handling cameras & dive gear prior to boarding via the
small ladder at the rear of the tinny.  We did a few dives directly off the
back of the Bilikiki and thoroughly enjoyed those also.

We felt that this was the least "guided" diving that we've ever
done on a liveaboard in an "exotic location".  If you were not
familiar with the marine animals in that part of the world, it would be
easy to miss things.  One of the two cruise directors was in the water for
every dive but they didn't seem to go out of their way to point things out.
 We didn't have a full charter so there were less divers than usual.  If
you were on a full boat, it would be very difficult to observe some of the
unique critters with this type of guiding.  None of the "local"
crew were used as dive guides and most were not even certified divers.

We loved our village visits and visited three carving villages during the
10 day trip.  We also were taken to a lovely village that performed a
fantastic "sing sing" for us.  The musicians used PVC piping of
various lengths/diameters to produce incredible music!  The Solomon Islands
wood carvers are among the world's best.

I contacted the owners of Bilikiki Cruises with my concerns/comments upon
return from the 6 week adventure and addressed all of the above issues with
them.  Their reaction was "well, everyone else loves us" so I
feel that our concerns were totally dismissed.  I felt like since we had
done 4 "world-class" liveaboards back to back, giving them an
update of the comparisons would be of value to them...apparently not.
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Other dive reports on Bilikiki Cruises

All Solomon Islands Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Solomon Islands
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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