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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet/Island Dancer II in
Fiji and Tuvalu

Aggressor Fleet/Island Dancer II, Jul, 2014,

by Angela Richards Dona, HI, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports with 8 Helpful votes). Report 7679.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 2 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 1 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Strongly recommend avoiding this boat. This was not a good trip. The diving was ok but did not live up to my expectations but that is not something that the crew or the company can do anything about.

The biggest disappointment is the yacht itself. Here's a list of the big stuff:

1. My husband and I had a very strong sewage smell in our cabin (cabin 2) and moved to cabin 3 after the second day when it was apparent the crew could not fix the problem while at sea. The smell was so strong at times it made me gag.

2. Cabin 3 did not have a functioning A/C unit, but the smell was milder though it was always present. Obviously we avoided the cabin unless it was absolutely necessary to go in. The heat by morning was suffocating.

3. Nitrox fills were always low in O2. The industry standard is 32% but my tank generally had between 28-30%. We paid $100 for Nitrox and the fills should have been closer to 32. Likely they were pinching pennies to make the O2 last longer.

4. Tank fills were contaminated and all tanks had to be emptied and refilled causing us to miss a dive on first night. A bad taste was ever-present but got better after the first day.

5. The windlass (winch) to the anchor broke and we were stranded in choppy seas at anchor for about 18 hours. We missed two dives and after the anchor was finally cut and let go we resumed diving. Captain Joji tried to give us time to make up these dives but that came at the expense of the village visit that we were all keen to do.

6. Crew could not get small boat started quickly. Since we were now unable to anchor, we needed to rely more on the small boat for entries and exits rather than the super easy dive platform from which a giant stride can be made. Small boat usage would have been no problem, but the crew were challenged whenever they had to get it running. Often they would remove the cover and pull a coiled rope to get it started. This made me very nervous because the large boat couldn't maneuver easily around the reefs and the seas were pretty choppy on most days. Ultimately, everyone was retrieved from the water without incident, but we were all uneasy about it before and during dives.

7. There is no real sun deck on this yacht since the crew uses the bow for their needs. On our cruise, the anchor windlass mechanism was open, oily and took up a good deal of space. There are lounge chairs but there are also large coils of rope, and a generally untidy and uninviting feeling about the area. No one spent any time out there, which is a shame.

Now some small stuff:

8. The diving platform was filthy with black oil splotches. I got these all over my gear and water bottle. Whatever I put into my cubby space got dirty. And oil doesn't just come off easily.

9. Tanks took FOREVER to fill. There were only 7 guests plus the DMs, but we almost never did our dives on time and most of the time that was because the tanks were taking so long to fill.

10. One cabin had a towel rack come off the wall, our toilet seat cover would not stay up so you could sit, cabins were not serviced after the second day (crew super busy with all the other issues, presumably), and screws stick out of the walls below deck. I was walking in the hall when the boat pitched and I was moved towards the wall where my new shirt got ripped from the sticking-out screw. Irritating!

11. The railings along the yacht were all jiggly and unsafe. The wooden decks looked weathered and unmaintained.

The boat maintenance was really lacking. And because of this, the crew was busy fixing major problems rather than doing the jobs to make us happy and comfortable during our vacation. We all felt the crew was kind, helpful and did a great job with great attitudes despite the problems with the boat. It is important to note that the yacht was at port for two weeks prior to the week I was aboard and it would seem that so many of these issues could have been taken care of.

After we returned home, I wrote a stern but courteous letter to the Aggressor Fleet and sadly, their response was that they are not responsible for how the individual boats are run since they are all franchises. The management of the Island Dancer II blamed most of the issues on the crew, and even wrote back a defensive, inaccurate account of the issues. Top management at Aggressor never apologized nor reassured us this wouldn't happen again, they simply issued us a $200 voucher, which expires in one year, to try them out again since as they put it "the trip didn't live up to your expectations".

That's an understatement.

I responded to them that $200 is really not enough to make us willing to try their company again after such a horrible experience - especially without any words of apology or reassurance. We spent over $3000 pp for the Fiji nightmare! I told them nothing short of a 50% discount on a next charter will suffice. I have not heard back from them. :)

We book at least one diving holiday a year with a friend that flies out of London and there are about 9 destinations we had hoped to check out with Aggressor over the coming years. But this experience has been awful and certainly not the luxury cruises they advertise. We will book with the Siren instead. But if by some miracle Aggressor decides to make this right with us we will give it another go. If they don't...no way will we dive with them again!
Websites Aggressor Fleet   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Micronesia, Philippines' Southern Visayas, Hawaii, Egyptian Red Sea, Bonaire, Bahamas, etc.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 24-26°C / 75-79°F Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 10-25 M / 33-82 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Table available on dive deck in prep area. Rinse tank often looked dirty but not terribly so.
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Subscriber's Comments

By Lenny Zwik in TX, US at May 04, 2015 15:49 EST  
We had a similar experience, including the contaminated air and response from Aggressor fleet in 2012.
By Lenny Zwik in TX, US at Aug 02, 2016 13:46 EST  
I just read your report. We dove on this boatin 2012 and had EXACTLY the same issues and EXACTLY the same response from Aggressor Fleet. I'm a member of a large dive group (we had chartered the entire boat) and none of us will dive with the Dancer or Aggressor fleet again.
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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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