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“Better Late than Never” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Tubbataha Reef

Tubbataha Reef
92 nautical miles southeast of Puerto Princesa City | Naturephilippine. Com, Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island, Philippines
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Type: Reefs
Attraction Details
Doncaster, United Kingdom
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Better Late than Never”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014 NEW

I went diving in March to Tubbataha Reef aboard the Stellar Mari Explorer, the cabins are very comfortable and the food is excellent. The refurbishment of the boat was very good but it is not a purpose built dive boat so it feels more like being on your own private yacht. That said the diving experience was excellent from the divemasters to the boat staff. All were extremely proffesional and commited to you having the best diving experience possible. The boat manager Colin was brilliant and kept us updated and informed regarding weather and how this may impact on the dive day, he made sure everything ran smoothly from arrival to departure. The overal experience was vey positive.

Visited March 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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44 reviews from our community

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Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“MV Stellar Maris Explorer,Tubbatha Reef Transition Trip, June 2014”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

Stellar Maris

I was fortunate enough to get the last trip of the season, June 17th-24th.

It was the Transition Trip, we travelled from Puerto Princessa, Palawan to Anilao, Batangas over 7 days.

The Stellar Maris is a fine vessel with quality fittings, with plenty of room, quality through and through with a great crew who give a high quality of professionalism in all areas.

Payment for the trip was paid by bank transfer before I left home which meant no problems for me. With on board expenses to work out at the end of the trip.

I sorted out insurance online on board on the day of arrival which was good.

With limited guests I was lucky to be upgrade to the Queen Deluxe suite, so much room, double bed and a big bathroom, plenty of hot water with rain shower head and a full size toilet to sit on. The flat screen TV was not expected but appreciated along with my bed being made each day.

The food was good, a few too many carbs for me but the variety, quantity and standard was very high, and certainly the best I have had on any liveaboard.

The diving was just wonderful on most dives, great visibility, sharks, rays, morays, barracudas, schools of jacks, and the wide range of all types of corals of all colours made for great diving.

The crew was so good in setting up all the gear, in fact they simply did everything, carefully looking after the cameras. With the water temperature 29 or 30C we certainly did not bother with wetsuits. The warm towel when you got back to the boat was a nice touch and my rashy being washed and hung up after each dive made me feel guilty but it was nice to be spoilt. Nothing was too much for them.

Having a driver to drop me off at the bus station on leaving the boat made getting back to Manila a breeze.

Thanks again to all crew on board in all capacities for making the trip special.

I have no problem in recommending the MV Stellar Maris as a professional outfit from start to finish, you will not be disappointed and I will hopefully be back next year.

Visited June 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quebec, Quebec, Canada
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Expedition May 22-27 2014”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2014

My girlfriend and i travelled to Tubbataha on the Stella Maris Explorer in May 2014.

We left Puerto Princessa without any expectations regarding Stella Maris. We booked our trip last minute, and did not take sufficient time to review the experiences of previous travelers on the web. The price point of the trip made sense and the comparable boats leaving to Tubbataha were either too rudimentary or too expensive for our budget.

We experienced a difficult time actually paying for the trip as they did not take credit cards and had to use gas station to help them transact the trip purchase. The payment was very complicated. I would definitely suggest them to partner up with a payment processor to accept credit cards. It would lessen the hassle of booking the actual trip and enhance the experience for the travelers.

The trip was our first live aboard experience...and will definitely not be our last.

First of all, the boat was magnificent, the recent renovations were very well done, and consequently the boat was very comfortable. The crew were absolutely extraordinary; We did not even have to lift a finger. The chef and cooking was very tasty, the chase boat
crew were very professional, the boat crew were vey polite, and the dive masters were great.

We definitely recommend this boat to explore the Tubbataha marine reserve, The rooms are very comfortable and allow privacy when desired. The lounge and dining room are modern and comfortable. The flatscreen TV with dozens of DVDs proved very entertaining between dives. The TV screens in the room allowed us to view our videos and pictures between dives and fine tune our videocameras. The hot tub on the front deck was great for refreshment or night relation (with drinks of course).

Thanks to all of the crew on the Stella Maris Explorer, We hopefully see each other again soon.

Visited May 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ao Nang, Thailand
2 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Stella Maris liveaboard diving”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2014

i have been diving Tubbataha Reef in June 2014 being on board of Stella Maris. Would like to say that diving was absolutely superb and exceeded our expectations (we were a group of 5). the boat is really comfy, spacious. What really makes any liveaboard trip remarkable and satisfying is the boat crew. Stella Maris' crew is GREAT!
see you again guys!

Visited June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brookeville, Maryland
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“M/Y Sakura is a great way to dive Tubbataha”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2014

Sakura does not promise to be a luxury dive live-aboard. Dino, the owner, was quite upfront that it is a "budget boat,” but when you consider the relative cost of diving the legendary Tubbataha Reef from Sakura, it was high value all the way: the food was good and plentiful; the staff was well-trained and attentive; and we dove the same sites as the big fancy boats, but with fewer people. Our gear was set up for us in advance of every dive; the boats that took us to dive sites were more than adequate; the boat drivers were attentive and always there when we surfaced—often good distances from the starting point. Our dive master, Carmelo, was extremely helpful and safety conscious. For us, an added advantage was that being on a budget cruise there was a good chance none of the other divers would have a camera the size of a small car, assuming as those photographers often do that they are the only ones with sight-rights on anything cool.

Sakura’s accommodations are modest, but then, we didn’t spend too much time in them. For 8 guests there are bunk beds. We were lucky, as the only couple on board, to have a “private” room—a former hold with a mattress, which required a bit of acrobatics to get in and out of, climbing thru a hatch on the deck. But it was comfortable and had a wide shelf for our stuff. One piece of advice we would offer: pack light! You don’t need much on board and our fellow divers in the bunk-bed area didn’t have much space for their personal items. And yes, we all had to share the two bathrooms, but that was never a problem.

In retrospect, one of the nicest advantages of diving Tubbataha Reef on Sakura was that we had a like-minded group with whom to share the experience. These were all unpretentious people (without monster cameras) who simply wanted to dive this unique site and see all the fabulous stuff it has to offer within their means. We were lucky to have a great group of fellow divers from all over the world, and had a thoroughly enjoyable time with them, on the boat, and in the water.

Visited April 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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