Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes
X
 

Dive Review of Thailand Aggressor in
Thailand/Andaman Sea

Thailand Aggressor: "Don't waste your money!", Sep, 2015,

by Jim Garren, FL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 8378 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 2 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments Yes, we read the other reviews in Undercurrent but some mitigating factors convinced us to toss the dice and try this location. The short version is that we threw snake eyes, of our ten live-aboard trips to date (seven with Aggressor) this one definitely comes in dead last. Fortunately we did not pay full pop for the live-aboard or airfare thanks to a previous voucher from Aggressor over a snafu with our Galapagos trip and lots of frequent flyer miles accumulated by my wife on business travel.
We did have to endure nearly 30 hours of flight time/layovers flying from south Florida to Hat Yai south of Bangkok and a two hour mini-bus ride from there to the dock. First impression was not the best on arrival, it happened to be low tide and Aggressor personnel on the boat didnít have a clue how to load passengers and gear under those conditions. Iím not sure if this is a new docking location or what but we did eventually get the 6 divers and their gear on board. Since the boat can accommodate 16 divers the low turnout should have been a tip off, on the positive side there was a substantial discount by Aggressor no doubt an attempt to fill the boat. Warning, should you be tempted by similar discounts for this trip SAVE YOUR MONEY, not worth it at any price in my opinion!
Once on board my first thought was that the diving better be spectacular because the boat was rough, chipped paint, rust and frayed carpet very evident. Later discussion with some crew make me believe this boat may be the original Aggressor boat first located on Grand Cayman way back when they started in 1984. The boat was actually built in the 70ís; it has been sold and shuffled through many locations before ending up in Thailand. That said, there were no substantial equipment failures during our week onboard, AC worked in the cabin, toilets flushed and there was plenty of hot water, Nitrox system delivered a mix within one percent of 32 EAN for every fill. The AC was somewhat weak in the salon where it was often too warm, if you are expecting a sparkling white yacht however you will be disappointed in this boat. The camera table was crowded with only 6 divers on board; I canít imagine how it would accommodate a full complement of 16.
The cruise director and his assistant are the only crew with full command of English but the local Thai crew tried hard to understand the 4 Americans, one Canadian and one Russian who booked the trip. I give the Thai crew high marks for friendly demeanor and exceptional service. Sadly the cruise director and his assistant came across as somewhat burned out, both also served as dive guides along with Yosuf from Indonesia. Yosuf was safe, enthusiastic and soon earned a reputation for exceptional skill spotting the smallest and best camouflaged creatures, the other two dive guides often disappeared within minutes leaving divers entirely on their own. Food was plentiful and will be appreciated by those who like lots of fish and rice but it was far from gourmet fare. My wife and I do not drink alcohol so I canít comment on the wine or beer selection.
Dive sites visited did not come close to following locations described on Aggressors web site for the southern Andaman itinerary we booked. The cruise director indicated that the Thai government had restricted sites that could be visited within the marine park while we were there. Call me a skeptic but when this happens with less than a full boat I always wonder if they are just trying to cut fuel costs. When divers complained about repeatedly visiting the same dive sites we were told that was our fault since some divers had expressed a desire to avoid sites with strong current.
By my count we dove one dive site at least 6 times, some sites were littered with trash above and below water, I would be ashamed to take divers to such locations. Visibility averaged 30 to 35 feet; on the best day might have reached 50í. Only two tiny bamboo sharks were seen during the week of diving, all larger fish here have long since been turned into soup, clearly the area is badly overfished. On a positive note there are lots of nudibranchs, colorful butterflyfish and small creatures, we also spotted large cuttlefish on several dives and soft corals were brilliant.
Previous experience with Aggressor has always been good; when problems with the boat caused our Galapagos trip to be cancelled they fit us in at a better time of year and reimbursed all expenses associated with rebooking flights and hotels and gave us discount vouchers that lowered the cost of this live-aboard. On another occasion they permitted us to reschedule when a medical problem forced me to miss the date originally booked, but so far no one has responded to negative surveys submitted by myself and wife Karen for this trip, very disappointing. I will update the report if Aggressor responds.

Websites Thailand Aggressor   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Hawaii, Bahamas, Caymans, Roatan, Belize, Turks and Caicos, Australia, Red Sea, Maldives, Galapagos
Closest Airport Hat Yai Getting There Palm Beach to Atlanta, Atlanta to Tokyo, Tokyo to Bangkok, Bangkok to Hat Yai

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, surge, currents
Water Temp 83-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-35 Ft/ 9-11 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions one hour dive time, depth based on nitrox mix, no diving after drinking alcohol
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 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 camera table was crowded with 6 guests, boat can accommodate 16
Was this report helpful to you?
Report currently has 3 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Maria Chapmanin TX, US at Oct 01, 2015 10:43 EST  
Thanks for posting this. It is incredible the bad service Aggressor continues to provide related to this boat. This boat was the Star Dancer in Papua New Guinea first docked at Kimbe Bay and then at Alotau, Milne Bay from where it moved to Thailand with a new name and, allegedly, new ownership who was going to completely revamp the entire boat before putting it into service in Thailand. We will NEVER book with Aggressor again, even if offered for free. A trip report was issued on our experience with this boat.
By report author: Jim Garren in FL, US at Oct 01, 2015 12:26 EST  
Sorry to hear you had a bad experience here too, I did read other such reports but was hoping we would get lucky, didn't happen. I can only hope others will heed our advice and save themselves a lousy vacation, I had good feelings about Aggressor prior to this disaster but other live-aboard boats will get a second look before booking with them again.
By David M. Stanwickin CA, US at Oct 11, 2015 14:25 EST  
Am planning a trip to Thailand to visit in-laws and thought this boat would be a great way to spend a week while my wife visits with her family. Based on this review and others, there's no way that will happen now. I've done the Cayman Aggressor and was generally satisfied and would have expected this trip to be even better. I guess not.
Leave a comment (Subscribers only -- 200 words max)
Subscribers can comment here
 

Subscribe Now
Subscribers can post comments, ask the reviewer questions, as well as getting immediate and complete access to ALL 98 dive reviews of Thailand and all other dive destinations. Complete access to all issues and Chapbooks is also included.

 

Want to assemble your own collection of Thailand reports in one place?
Use the Mini Chapbook Facility to create your personalized collection.

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.

Undercurrent Home


Get more dive info like these and other important scuba updates sent monthly to your email.
And a FREE Recent Issue of Undercurrent

Free Undercurrent Issue
Get a free
monthly email and
a sample issue!


Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account | Login | Join |
| Travel Index | Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues |
| Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |

Copyright © 1996-2020 Undercurrent (www.undercurrent.org)
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.

Page computed and displayed in 2.95 seconds