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P&O Shore Tour - Paradise Kayaking & Snorkeling Experience

Brisbane, QLD
6 posts
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P&O Shore Tour - Paradise Kayaking & Snorkeling Experience

I did the the Paradise Kayaking & Snorkeling Experience tour from Pacific Sun in the last week of April 2011 and was horribly disappointed by the very poor condition of the coral. This was an $85 tour promoted by P&O as "Snorkel and swim in the crystal clear warm waters amongst amazing colourful coral gardens." After snorkeling around for about 15 mins over several hundred meters (I brought my own fins) of smashed and dead coral I asked one of the guides who was nearby in a Kayak if a Cyclone had been through here recently. She admitted that Cyclone Yasi had caused a lot of damage and then said there is one patch of living coral about 50m away. So I swam over there and took a few shots with my new Mask/Camera I had purchased from the ship the evenging before. I don't know how P&O can take money from people to see a coral reef that is at least 98% smashed to pieces. It was most definitely not "amazing colourful coral gardens" as they claim here --> pocruises.com.au/findacruise/…

The Tour was run from a resort off Devils Point Road, I don't recall the resort name but I would expect a lot of the coral in Mele Bay would be in a similar state. It will eventually grow back but I would wait until some good reviews come out first.

Edited: 12:54 am, May 01, 2011
Brisbane, QLD
6 posts
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1. Re: P&O Shore Tour - Paradise Kayaking & Snorkeling Experience

I made a video of the Coral with my LiquidImage mask camera. Take a look at the video here --> www.youtube.com/watch…

Adelaide
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1,325 posts
5 reviews
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2. Re: P&O Shore Tour - Paradise Kayaking & Snorkeling Experience

That is really sad stepo. The coral in your video isn't good at all. I guess at least there were a few anenomes with the Clown Fish there.

It is such a pity that you didn't have a good experience of snorkeling in Vanuatu. Other cruise ship passengers have asked here what to do for a day trip, and they are usually told to do some research about what they want to do (whether that be for snorkeling, sight seeing or shopping) , then wait until you disembark at Vila, find a taxi or bus, negotiate a price with the driver and enjoy your day! Much better AND cheaper than booking through the cruise operators. I hope you have another chance to enjoy the snorkeling in Vanuatu.

Snorkeling is one of the many wonderful things that attracts my husband and me to Vanuatu; we just enjoy it so much. I can tell you there is much better coral and fish life around other parts of Efate, let alone some of the other islands We snorkeled at Havannah Harbour which is about 45 mins north west of Vila a few weeks ago, and yes there was some damaged coral close to the shore, but a few feet further out it was almost pristine.

We had snorkeled at Hideaway Island in Mele Bay last year, and the coral was better than in your video, still damaged (presumably from the sheer number of people snorkeling there) but very pretty in places and large numbers of fish. I don't know how much damage was caused there from the cyclones since we were there, though.

The best snorkeling we did this year was the seaward side of Lelepa Island at Havannah Harbour, where the coral was just beautiful, virtually untouched. Absolute snorkeling paradise.

Cheers, Barbara

Moreton Island...
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6,622 posts
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3. Re: P&O Shore Tour - Paradise Kayaking & Snorkeling Experience

the best site to post a review about your ship shore tour with this expensive snorkelling trip is on

http://www.cruisecritic.com/

As OldNHappy mentioned there are other places to snorkel off Efate, which offer a much better experience

LTB

Brisbane, QLD
6 posts
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4. Re: P&O Shore Tour - Paradise Kayaking & Snorkeling Experience

Our plan was to do DIY shore trips in Noumea and Lifou, which went really well (see my long response about the good experiences in this thread --> http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294130-i4308-k4283699-l32948563-Cruise_ship_FAQ-Noumea_Grand_Terre.html) and try out a shore trip in Vila.

Unfortunately we left the trip booking until the day before and discovered that the two other family suitable coral viewing trips were booked out. So I signed up for the Kayaking/Snorkeling tour for myself only. I had not done any research on Vila as I thought I would just pay the premium and take a quality tour promoted by P&O. And given that Vanuatu is famous for its high quality snorkeling and diving experiences I didn't think I could go wrong with this approach. How wrong was I.

So my two key conclusions about this whole experience are as follows.

1) P&O do not vet the tours for quality as this one was no doubt reduced to very poor quality about 3 months ago, due to Cyclone Yasi.

2) Don't expect that all Coral reef in Vanuatu that is promoted as being "amazing colourful coral gardens" is going to have survived January's Cyclone Yasi. You will need to check with a reliable source (obviously not P&O) beforehand about the quality of the coral.

For the record here again is P&O's link to the tour. The earlier link was a little broken.

pocruises.com.au/findacruise/…

Hobart
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3 posts
50 reviews
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5. Re: P&O Shore Tour - Paradise Kayaking & Snorkeling Experience

VERY DISSAPOINTED.. never again will I book a shore tour with P&O. We had hoped to snorkel at Isle of Pines?? tour cancelled [I guess not P&O's fault] but day wasted as they didnt give us prior notice.

Didnt do Pt Vila tour but heard many complaints!! Did do tour in Luganville. WHAT a dissapointment. P&O obviously do not vet the tours. It was drastically overbooked with about 60 people all turning up at an overcrowded blue hole in four buses and about six canoes.. then on to Vita bay snorkelling was hopeless lots of dead coral and no fish. Dreadful bus driver. no information given all he cared about was getting us back in time for the later tour, drove like a mad thing crossing double lines on blind corners! I did happen to look at the tyres on this grotty old bus and they were bald on the back!! never again.!!!

Adelaide
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1,325 posts
5 reviews
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6. Re: P&O Shore Tour - Paradise Kayaking & Snorkeling Experience

That's such a pity Brianeeg. We stayed on Santo in March for 8 nights, and previously for a week, and I can tell you the snorkeling where we have stayed (three totally different places) was amazing.

It's a pity you didn't come here before you embarked on the cruise, because I'm sure we would have been able to give you a lot more information about what's available. There are so many places easily accessable from Luganville for snorkeling, and quite a few blue holes you could have visited.

I think the main consensus with regular visitors to Vanuatu is NOT to book tours through the cruise company but instead to either wait until you arrive and just ask a bus or taxi driver (who are always waiting at the wharf) to take you wherever you want to go, or alternatively, to book through a reputable local tour company yourself before you get there.

It would be a good idea in my opinion to contact P&O officially with your complaints. It's sad that people can be left with a bad impression of what is a beautiful country with equally beautiful people.

Cheers, Barbara

7. Re: P&O Shore Tour - Paradise Kayaking & Snorkeling Experience

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