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Dive Review of WAOW Charters in
Indonesia/Banda Sea

WAOW Charters: "Terrific food on a beautiful boat", May, 2017,

by Dana Muir, MI, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 9748 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We traveled on the Waow for a 12-day “discovery” trip in the Banda Sea in the spring of 2017.

The Waow is a beautiful boat that should feel spacious even with a full complement of passengers (there were only 8 on our trip). The foredeck serves two purposes; it is used for suiting up (using lounges and chairs for seating) and has large tables that are used for outdoor meals. There is a separate camera room that would be crowded with more than the 5 photographers who used it on our trip.

We were in a superior cabin, which had far more storage space than we could use. This is the 11th liveaboard dive boat we’ve been on, and it was by far the most spacious. The room was lovely, well-appointed, and thoroughly cleaned every day. The cabin was so large that the standard air conditioning unit struggled at times but the space was a treat. There is a large salon with a bar. Meals were usually outside and only inside in the, for us rare, case of inclement weather. Coffee drinkers will appreciate the automatic expresso/coffee machine.

The food is a highlight. First breakfast includes freshly made croissants and bread every day. Second breakfast is a buffet with eggs to order, freshly made pastries, and entrees that include Indonesian favorites as well as a pasta dish, bacon, and more. Both lunch and dinner are 3-course plated meals. You have the opportunity to request something different in advance if you do not like the set menu. There was a good variety of food over the 12 nights we were on board, including both Asian and Western dishes. A glass of wine is included with dinner and prices for wine and beer were very reasonable given the alcohol taxes in Indonesia.

It is unclear how much diving is offered on the typical Waow trip. It is something you should ask about in advance if it is important to you. We were disappointed to learn in the overall briefing the first evening (there is no diving the first day) that only 3 dives per day were scheduled with the possibility of one additional night dive. They said this was because it was a repositioning trip and the boat had to travel long distances. When I expressed surprise about this the next morning to the senior cruise director, he said that the briefing was wrong and there would be 4 dives on 4 of the days (of the 10 full diving days; the last day is a maximum of 2 dives even if you are not flying the next day). He also explained this would be more diving than the prior trip, when they had offered 33 dives during the 12-night trip. I was still disappointed that I had not understood in advance that only 36 dives would be offered; this is low for an Indonesian live aboard. The Waow was somewhat accommodating and added 2 additional dives, bringing the trip total to 38. That included 2 ‘night’ dives that really are dusk dives. The Waow does not offer diving after dinner and the daytime schedule accommodates the relatively long 3 course lunches where everyone eats together.

About 70 percent of the Woaw’s clients are from Europe, where the boat concentrates its marketing. The allocation of diving and the elevated focus on well-presented, high-end meals, may be related to differences in the expectations of European divers versus American divers.

The diving operation is solid. The dive masters and cruise directors are terrific spotters though our divemaster-of-the-day (they rotate) was sometimes frustrated with our 5-person (4 photographers) group; the photographers tended to spread out. This was a relatively high divemaster/diver ratio for a high-end liveaboard, especially since there were only 8 paying-guests. The tenders are functional but could get crowded since there typically were extra staff members/cruise directors/the boat's photog. etc. diving (they did their own profiles so did not overlap in the water with the guests). Tender drivers could do a better job of watching for guests, especially in cases of aborted dives, etc. This was not a typical route for the boat so they always checked the sites before diving to determine the current and a plan for the dives. They do not impose depth or strict time limits on dives; most of the dives were a bit over an hour.

The Waow is a lovely boat that provides an enjoyable vacation atmosphere and leisurely dining. You would be well-advised to inquire about specifics in advance of booking to ensure it meets your expectations in terms of quantity of diving and predictability of the sites to be visited.
Websites WAOW Charters   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tonga, Caribbean, throughout Indonesia,
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 82-88°F / 28-31°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility - Ft/ - M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions divers were encouraged to stay close to the DM
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Nice camera room so long as a limited number of cameras.
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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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