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“A superb day trip” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lady Musgrave Cruises

Lady Musgrave Cruises
1770 Marina Captain Cook Drive, Seventeen Seventy, Queensland, Australia
07 4974 9077
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Owner description: Sightseeing, dive and snorkel tour, semi-submersible reef viewing, island tour.
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“A superb day trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

The trip to Lady Musgrave includes a visit to the island, a glass bottom boat trip in the lagoon and as much swimming you can stand around wonderful reef. I found the reef fantastic. I have been to a lot of different reefs in the world, other places at the great barrier reef, as well as Fiji, Philippines and so forth, and I think the reef at lady Musgrave stand up very good. The only thing I could miss is that we did not see so many bigger fishes, but almost only smaller ones. Maybe we were unlucky, or maybe there are not so many. Anyway it was a great day.

Visited August 2012
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Brisbane, Australia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“The mass tourist 'factory ship' experience on the Great Barrier Reef”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2012

So, you'll quickly find with a search on the internet that this 'tourist processing plant' day trip on the southern Great Barrier Reef has gobbled up all the smaller and more personal operators in the area and is now the stand alone monopolistic option to properly dive the reef out of 1770 or Bundaberg in the form of a day trip. That's not to say it doesn't offer up some advantages, and an accessible way to see the wonders of the reef without parting with thousands of dollars. I spent a week online to find no other day trips available for a quick swim on the reef so alas, I ended up booking on the Spirit Of 1770 day cruise. It's a real shame that such a beautiful place like Lady Musgrave Island can't entice enough competition to give you a choice of tour operators and avoid feeling like an anchovy stuffed in a tin when you take this trip. That being said, the day is still packed with options and experiences that you won't find on dry land in that area. First of all, check and re-check your booking! I booked through a third party and was given the complete run-around of false information, severely under quoted prices, deposits over charged and then refunded only to eventually learn it would cost more now to go than if I had booked it direct or via my RACQ discount. Tip: DO NOT book through the website 'Divethereef' as they run a scam offering the trip at nearly half the price, they take your deposit and then call you at the last minute to try to claim there was an error and that you will have to pay the premium price. Upon arrival the actual boat's office staff were very helpful and quickly rectified my situation, offering me the 'student rate' which came in about the same as the discounted RACQ rate, nice work guys! The tour is fast paced, down to the minute with no time for deviation, it would be good if they left an hour earlier to ease up on this pace so you could take more in. Boarding the boat, most passengers are stamped with a code on their hand, somewhat symbolic of the process for the remainder of the day, but also so they can manage the large numbers of people more efficiently. I chose to do the two scuba dives (costs extra) so I was unable to visit the actual island, but was told that I didn't miss out on much by many of the other guests. Yes the stories are true, the crossing can be rough and many will get sea sick, so nibble on a piece of fruit and sit on the centre of the top deck of the boat, which will help you avoid this. The boat trip is also cold, bring a wind proof jacket. I've read claims that the trip takes 75 to 90 min to make, but it's closer to 2 hours. Upon arrival we're whisked away to muster for the first dive, the instructors are experienced but very fast, the dive gear is functional at best but nothing more. Check your gear though, one guys regulator was faulty, the BCDs and fixtures are leaky, but they seem safe and clean enough. The first dive to the outer wall (Manta Bombies for us) was ok, but they have a strict 70bar limit so go easy on the air, if anyone in the group hits 70bar, the whole group surfaces and the dive is over. We saw no large sea life, 15 to 20m vis, some nice coral and a lot of dead coral as well. They can't control the outcome (animals) and are clear when explaining that each dive yields different results. When we arrive back at the pontoon we have only limited time to get lunch and prepare for the second dive, the food is a mix of tasty salads however the prawns are mingy, the cold corned beef is rancid and the mangled chicken frames that remain are inedible (the masses of foreign tourists that ate lunch before you picked the buffet to bits and waste a lot of the food on half eaten plates, leaving little to be excited about). The staff are friendly and helpful but undergunned, giving the illusion of perhaps some isolation and lack of service, however they do do a good job under the pressures they face on the day. The staff are less than informative when it comes to the region, area and facts about the place, rather they focus on the procedure and timing of the day, which is a good thing as far as safety is concerned for the guests. It's only on the return trip that we are blessed with a few candid facts about the history of the reefs and their discovery. The second dive is in the lagoon where we explore the coral gardens, less exciting but far more beautiful than the outer wall. A lot of friendly fish under the pontoon which acts like a FAD for multiple reef fish species all year round. The coral gardens are awesome, literally just like the film Finding Nemo, however Nemo isn't there as that species of clown fish is not native to the southern reef haha. All the turtles and any other large life forms have been well and truly scared off by the onslaught of the masses of early morning snorkelers. The afternoon and morning tea is good, nice cake and cookies mix, tea, coffee. The second dive is longer and you get to feed some of the fish at the end, which results in a localised frenzy of action which is cool, with visibility at 10 to 15m. Upon exiting the water, you have a fairly short time to change out of your gear, grab some afternoon tea before to tourist devour it all like gulls to a dropped pie, and get ready to depart for home. We saw a few whales off in the distance (August) but not much else to see on the big boat ride out and in. All in all I felt a somewhat like a portion of meat on the MV Nisshin Maru, being trimmed of excess money and transported around the place at high speed, but still had a lot of fun somehow.

Breakdown

>>>PROS<<<
*Reef is always spectacular, no matter how you look at it
*Staff are friendly and pretty accommodating but under-gunned, so speak up, ask for what you want or you probably won't get it.
*Plenty of fish in the lagoon, even if you miss out on the big animals
*Can do it in a day and be easily home for dinner
*Dive staff do almost all the work, so you don't need to do much
*All gear is provided in your price, but wetsuits cost $5 to hire, recommend you bring your own
*Good view from the back of the top of the main boat
*Moderately priced so achievable on a limited budget
*Afternoon tea and morning tea is good, easy
*Inside lagoon (away from the snorkelling area) is spectacular, almost post card perfect

>>>CONS<<<
*Terrible 'processed meat' style mass tourism with no personal feel
*Incredibly fast paced, super regimented and factory-line style day, no time for anything else
*Booking and making sure you get what you need is a real chore, triple check EVERYTHING! Call them the day before, and get there early so you don't get screwed out of anything, be polite as they look like they don't have time for anyone who doesn't comply with them in any way
*Rough boat, rough ride for those with weak stomachs
*Main boat was grubby, not at all like in the photos, desperately needs a clean inside and out
*Lunch was average, could have been much better and managed better with an extra staff member or two
*A lot of dead coral on the outer walls, not much life (one sleeping turtle)
*Strict group surfacing policy as soon as the first person hits 70bar in their tank, conserve your air! If you do hit 70bar, signal them that you're on 80 or 90 so you can stay 5min longer
*Little to no flexibility on anything
*Dive gear is just acceptable, some broken gear so check it thoroughly before you leave the pontoon, wet suits are A1 crap but again did the job at the bare minimum required
*No way to secure your property, no lockers, everyone has access all day to the boat and pontoon so don't bring valuables or cash, no security whatsoever for your property at all
*They really try to preserve the environment, they say all the right things, but the lagoon water is filled with mass tourists, sunscreens and pollutants - saw people feeding lunch scraps to fish and birds unchecked, even one of the staff was feeding chicken bones to a seagull, so really not a fan of the probable long term impact on this area this operation causes. Not proud to have supported it, but as mentioned this was the ONLY way to do a day trip dive on the southern reef without spending up massive dollars.

Overall, if you're pressed for time and need to dive the reef, it wouldn't say you'd be disappointed, the reef is amazing. To do it in a day and be home for dinner was awesome, they are for the most part a friendly mob and mean well. But I won't be lining up in a hurry to do it again, would rather save the money and do a 3 day trip with a serious operator. Not in a hurry to further contribute to the demand for operations like this. Do it if you've never been there before, do it to see the reef it's amazing and they will get you there and back in one piece, but don't do it if you have dived the reef before and think this is going to be a pro operation, it's a tourist trap lol, so expect to be one when you board the boat for sure.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Blissful snorkelling, friendly staff”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2012

We had a wonderful time on this cruise, with hours of blissful snorkelling including turtles, rays, starfish, gorgeous reef fish ... Also great guided walk on the island and glass-bottomed boat cruise. The 1hr45 min boat ride over is notoriously gruelling (nicknamed the chunda express by the locals) but we were lucky in the weather and even saw four pods of whales (!), one going over and 3 on the return. A magical day. The food is included incl lunch, morning tea, afternoon tea, and snack.

Visited July 2012
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Onancock, Virginia
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Rough but worth it”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2012

It is a 2 hour ride in very choppy water going to this island, at least the day we went. I rarely get seasick but did this time, as well as about half the other passengers. I mean it is really rough, mostly pitching. The crew is well prepared however.

The island is beautiful. The day is spent with the boat tied to a large floating dock, so the facilities are still those on the boat, as well as the lunch is served on the boat. There are 3 rustic showers, lots of picnic tables and 2 platforms from which to dive or snorkle.

Very nice reefs and plentiful fish, sea turtles, great variety. The fins and snorkles are in good shape. There was lots to do, a nature walk, glass sided boat, submarine. I appreciated very much that the crew was organized and that things happened on time.

Visited May 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wirral UK
Top Contributor
499 reviews 499 reviews
252 attraction reviews
Reviews in 259 cities Reviews in 259 cities
434 helpful votes 434 helpful votes
“Wow - what a great trip and everything is included”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2012

I initially thought that $180 each was a bit steep for a day trip, but it include everything you needed. I did not spend another cent. Morning coffee when we arrived. A great buffet lunch with a wide choice - even our gluten free eating son was happy. Afternoon tea and cakes. Quality snorkling equipment. Chilled water available all day. Even sun cream was provided. So it ended up as good value.

The trip goes from the pier at 1770. There is plenty of free parking. We are not great sea travellers, so we took sea sickness pills. Fortunately non of our party was ill, but a few on the boat were. Condidtions were as calm as they can be for open sea, with light wind and clear skies all day. It took about 1.5 hours to reach Lady Musgrove island. The boat moors at a pontoon on the inside of a large lagoon, just off the island. You are based on the pontoon and the boat during your stay here. 3 main things to do with your time and you are allocated a group number when you get on the boat, so each group does each activity in turn - very organised -

1- snorkling from the pontoon. Good quality equipment. Wetsuites provided if you need them. We found the water warm enough without them, but some did use them. Life vests provided. Reasonably clear water and plenty of fish to see, especially as they feed the fish periodically from the pontoon. You can easily see turtles who reside in the lagoon, which was a great experience - just don't get too close and disturb them. Lots of coral reef to look at. As good as snorkling gets really.

2 - they take you by glass bottom boat to the island nearby. Saw turtles again. A lovely uninhabited coral island. White beaches and lush forest. They give you a tour through the island with good information. You can camp on the island, but it needs booking in advance. An idyllic place.

3 - submarine trip. Again this leaves from the pontoon and goes close to various parts of the lagoon to view the coral reef. Great for those that do not swim.

The trip back was really nice and they tried to locate some manta rays, but without success. We got back just as the sun was setting - a magical day out.

Very friendly and helpful staff. Plenty of clean toilets.Comfortable seats.

We came to this area to see the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef and we were not disappointed. This is a great day trip. We were very lucky with the weather - I'd not fancy it in rough seas.

Highly recommended.

Visited May 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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