The mood of our stay was set by the warm and enthusiastic welcome we received from the crew. Every member of the crew seemed to work extremely hard to make our stay pleasant and keep the boat clean and in order.
The cabins were very comfortable and the bedding was luxurious—beyond what we expected on a liveaboard (although it has been many years since our last liveaboard trip). The cabin service and chocolates on the pillow were a very nice touch. Except for a minor issue on the way back in, the marine head worked remarkably well.
The boat was filled to capacity and that felt crowded at times. The salon was very crowded for dive briefings and the overflow folks always had to sit on the floor. The briefings seemed to start as soon as the bell was rung, so running up from one’s cabin when the bell tolled meant arriving late. Either delaying the beginning of the briefing for a couple minutes or two bells (a warning bell and the real thing) might be good. When all or even half of the divers were in a single group it also seemed crowded underwater, even though our group seemed to disperse throughout the water at different levels.
The free loaning of lifelines and safety equipment was a testament to NE’s commitment to guest safety. There were several dives where the dive masters did not attend the briefing, and what happened underwater was significantly different than what was described. In spotting hammerhead sharks and other elusive creatures, it would be helpful for the DM’s to point and continue to point at what they spotted, so anyone who looked at them would be alerted that something of interest was in sight.
The gift shop selection was disappointing as popular styles and sizes were in short supply or nonexistent (ie size M/L mantas and hammerheads t-shirts). We would also suggest adding postcards! Design ideas might include views of the boat and some typical scenes from the islands and life we encountered there, both above and below water. Also “dive skin” type shirts with the Nautilus logo and a manta would probably be a good seller.
REPLY from Captain Mike
We are all about listening and hearing what our guests have to say. Our commitment to continuous improvement is absolute and obsessive. All comments are welcome and help us with continuous improvement.. Sincere thanks to this guest for sharing her thoughts…
Upcoming changes that will address these issues.
FREESTYLE DIVING !!!! Our boats are switching over to using 3 high speed 25 foot RHiBs (rigid hull inflatable boats) with twin 200 hp outboards in 2015. This means never more than 8 – 10 guests at one dive site and the freedom for each group of divers to pick their own schedule, dive duration and dive sites with intimate briefings and a dedicated divemaster for each group. We are exceptionally excited about this. Diving Socorro Island will never be the same and we will soon be looking back with wonder at the “old days” when the big boats pulled up to dive sites and launched all their divers at once.
ALL AVAILABLE CREW are required by SOP to attend every dive briefing. We’re not sure what happened on this trip but we are on it with the hiring of a DSO diving safety officer. Our DSO will report directly to myself and he will be in charge of divemaster and skiff captain’s initial and recurrent training, quality assurance processes, safety and SOPs and compliance with our internal SMS (safety management system under the marine equivalent of ISO 9000).. That’s a handful!! In short, we are extremely fortunate to have recently hired the best guy in the business to ensure divemaster and skiff operations run safely, smoothly and consistently. Email me directly if you are interested in learning more..
New gift shop designs and clothing will be ready within the month..