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Dive Review of Mermaid Liveaboards in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

Mermaid Liveaboards : "Avoid Using Mermaid Liveaboards!", Mar, 2020,

by Michael Francis , CA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 11474 has 4 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations For Subscribers Only Food N/A
Service and Attitude For Subscribers Only Environmental Sensitivity For Subscribers Only
Dive Operation For Subscribers Only Shore Diving For Subscribers Only
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ For Subscribers Only
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced For Subscribers Only
Comments April, 2020
Times of crisis, such as Covid19, have a way of revealing the true character of a company. This was unfortunately the case of the Mermaid Liveaboard (“Mermaid”) company. Until the Covid19 crisis, I held the impression that Mermaid was a reputable well run company. After the Covid19 crisis experience, Mermaid revealed itself to be disreputable, greedy, money grubbing, and rude toward their repeat guests. I urge any divers considering Mermaid to look to and book with one of the many competing liveaboard operators.

Here is my March 2020 story. I paid in trust 3400 euros well in advance of my scheduled Mermaid Raja Ampat liveaboard excursion, as required by Mermaid. Even though travel restrictions to the Raja Ampat departure port, Sorong, were pouring into Mermaid, Mermaid provided me with assurances that the excursion would occur as scheduled. Relying ... Subscribe to get the full story. For Subscribers Only  Active subscribers continue reading here
Websites Mermaid Liveaboards   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Raja Ampat, Similan Islands, Tubataha, Komodo, Nusa Penida, Palau, Galapagos, Cozumel, St. Lucia, Barbados, Bonaire, Curaçao, Roatan, Belize, Redondo Beach, Catalina Island, Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands, Bunaken, Maldives, Maumere
Closest Airport Sorong Getting There Sorong is difficult to get to. Indirect flights are generally available from Jakarta and Bali.

Dive Conditions

Weather Seas
Water Temp -°F / -°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility - Ft/ - M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available?

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish For Subscribers Only
Small Critters For Subscribers Only Large Fish For Subscribers Only
Large Pelagics For Subscribers Only

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

Subject Matter For Subscribers Only Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's For Subscribers Only Shore Facilities For Subscribers Only
UW Photo Comments [None] ... Subscribe to get the full story. For Subscribers Only  Active subscribers continue reading here
Was this report helpful to you?
Report currently has 4 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By JDin OR, US at Apr 27, 2020 23:08 EST  
Thank you for sharing. I, too, have lost the fight with a live-aboard company for a refund of two trips. I really feel your pain. I think these forums will be useful for us booking future travel based on these companies' performance now. It's not looking good for them, in my opinion.
By report author: Michael Francis in CA, US at Apr 28, 2020 10:52 EST  
Thanks Janice, if you feel comfortable doing do, let us know the live aboard operators.
By Kay Goldingin Banora Point NSW, AU at Apr 29, 2020 20:33 EST  
Michael Francis booked an adventure of a lifetime with his group of guy dive buddies – Mermaid I Raja Ampat to Ambon March 17-28 followed by Stella Maris in the Philippines April 16-22. Due to his partner wanting to join him/dive, he transferred his booking (which was also in part paid by a credit from several years ago) from Mermaid I March 17-28 to Mermaid II March 27-April 4 in a budget cabin. They wanted to book deluxe however it was fully booked. Michael took his booked flights departing the US on March 15, arriving in Indonesia on March 16. Mermaid Liveaboards did not mislead him about the situation in Indonesia nor was our ability to run his trip date impacted before his arrival into Indonesia. Through multiple emails with his booking agent, direct calls and emails, the guests were kept updated with known facts and decisions required in light of what was unfolding in front of us all during the very days immediately prior to his trip. There were rumors on the evening of March 16 about foreigners joining flights into Sorong, however it was not till March 17 late in the day that any vessel received official notification from Jangkar – Indonesia Liveaboards Association, that Sorong had advised airlines not to ticket foreigners into Sorong. This meant not to issue new tickets… Mermaid Liveaboards had a number of guests arrive on March 17 to join Michael’s originally booked cruise. All foreigners with existing/purchased tickets were still being permitted to fly to Sorong and arrived through the week when Sorong airport officially closed to foreigner arrivals. Any foreigners in Sorong/Raja Ampat returning from their cruises were able to take flights back to Jakarta or other areas open in Indonesia into early April. Many boats continued their trips as their guests were either in/or arrived to Sorong until the airport finally closed to all foreigner arrivals. Those returning from trips were able to make their flights to Jakarta to meet their international departures on their vessels’ return. On March 19, we decided that as there was uncertainty about how long Sorong airport would remain open (a major foreigner destination) and no uncertainty at that time associated with Ambon, we needed to plan the best solution for all our guests. We had 6 guests in country booked on a variety of cruises through to mid April able to join the Mermaid II March 27 and 2 already on Mermaid I who indicated they would join an Ambon rescheduled trip, we formulated the best plan for all parties was to fly guests to Ambon and join a special cruise on Mermaid I Ambon-Banda Sea-Ambon and started to review this option with our guests. For most this was a vessel upgrade, with no extra trip costs being charged and a great destination (see the You Tube vdo of Mermaid I March 17-28 – amazing diving). This trip finally did not happen due to most of the guests deciding they were best to return to their home countries. Excerpts from our terms and conditions relating to this matter :- - Acceptance of the above booking means that you and or your agent agree to the terms and conditions as outlined below in their entirety. - Guests are strongly recommended to have valid medical, travel and cancellation insurances* - Mermaid Liveaboards will do their best to transfer the guest to a vessel the company deems to be of similar or better standard, Alternatively, we may ask the guest to transfer to the date before/after their cruise - Lastly Mermaid Liveaboards, its Indonesia operations company nor its booking agency CMC Marine Ltd, do not offer refunds in the event of personal injury, airplane delay, breakdowns, weather, sickness, strikes, war, criminal acts, quarantine, acts of god, if another guest requires immediate evacuation and the vessel must return to port or for any other event beyond the Company’s actual control No one likes their travel plans to be interrupted like this and the impact of travelling due to covid 19 pandemic was certainly way beyond Mermaid Liveaboard’s control. In good faith, we have issued all guests affected by Covid 19 travel restrictions with a straight date transfer or a price paid credit voucher valid through to an extended period June 30 2023. Additional payment is required if a guest wishes to book something of higher value that their date transfer/credit voucher. Michael rebooked a deluxe cabin at a higher value than his credit voucher and took further umbrage at receiving an invoice for the difference. There are many operators around the world who have not issued a refund nor a rebook… Mermaid Liveaboards have truly done their utmost to manage through an unprecedented situation. We have to have one sets of rules for all and the majority of our guests have been most gracious and understanding. As mentioned in the very issue of Undercurrent that Michael wrote in, the majority of vessels are facing months without running and the implications of that brings grief to us all. We will manage but we are certainly not in a position to provide anything else for free or to manage in any other way than we have already. We truly feel for Michael Francis as his whole plans went out the door due to Covid 19. Fortunately, both Mermaid Liveaboards and Stella Maris, who were also forced to cancel only at last minute due to only last minute airport closure, have provided Michael with free rescheduling of what he originally booked – so his trip of a lifetime can go ahead, albeit it 1 years later… We wish him well and safe diving.
By report author: Michael Francis in CA, US at Apr 29, 2020 22:19 EST  
Obviously the Mermaid and I have a very different view of the facts. Although the Mermaid should have provided me a full refund, I did accept the credit. Mermaid should have honored the full 3400 euros that was paid in the credit instead of discounting it. (I had a Mermaid credit from a prior excursion because I insisted Mermaid provide such credit because I was moved to a budget cabin instead of sharing a deluxe cabin with a seriously sick diver Mermaid allowed on the boat.). As discussed above, I requested the Mermaid apply my 3400 euro credit to the Mermaid advertised early bird rate for a deluxe cabin, and I offered to pay the difference after applying the 3400 euro credit. That was the fair offer I referenced above. Mermaid rejected my offer. In terms of “KNOWN facts,” Mermaid admitted it received several notices that Sorong was closing that predated the March 17-18 televised news broadcasts that Sorong airport was closing to foreign travelers . Mermaid did not share any of those notices. Mermaid later tried to justify its failure to share such notices because they were reportedly unofficial. I stand by my comments.
By alan riderin VA, US at May 08, 2020 12:31 EST  
Assuming you paid with a credit card, contact them and check their "holding" time. e.g. My Visa is 30 days. If within it, tell the CC agent to cancel the transaction, and they will.
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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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