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“Sketchy! although our tour guide Gabby was Great”

Son of Man Sea Tours
Ranked #4 of 54 Tours in Castries
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Succasunna, New Jersey
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
“Sketchy! although our tour guide Gabby was Great”
Reviewed March 3, 2013

In March of 2012, I started searching shore excursions for our January 2013 cruise. I am a big supporter of Trip Advisor and spend much time and effort reading reviews and researching locations. (I also write reviews after trips to give back, and try and help fellow travelers) Our 2013 cruise to the Carribean included St Lucia. I was so excited because this was a new port for me. As I collected information, I realized that I wanted to go with a company in St Lucia that went to THE PITONS by sea to aviod the often reported long and difficult trek by land. Son of Man was highly recommended and their WEBSITE looked good. The price was $110 pp for a full day tour including mud baths, waterfall, snorkeling, and lunch. I trust Trip Advisor and their reviews were really good. So, I booked this tour for the 6 people in our party. To hold the reservation I provided a cc # but only to hold the reservation. It was clear on the WEBSITE that no deposit would be taken and we would pay in full on the day of the tour. I made the reservation in April (for the following Jan.) and this is one instance where my planning WAY IN ADVANCE came back to haunt me. I would not have booked them without having seen their website, and comparing it to others.

I am also a member of the cruise critic boards, and I had shared info about Son of Man on my roll call. When a fellow cruiser tried to contact them, they never returned her inquiries. I thought that was odd, as I had had no problem.
Shortly after that, their website disappeared from the internet. I did have all their information in my travel folder including 3 phone #'s, and I did have my reservation confirmations, so I wasn't worried...yet...

Then in September, I noticed a charge of $224 on my credit card? @#$%*#?^%$+ OH NO! I called the first phone # I had. This was the one listed on the website to be the owner Elvis. He answered the phone and assured me that we did have a reserved date and they had taken the DEPOSIT only because our party was large. I asked what had happened to their website and he said something similar to a previous poster that there was a problem with the Domain Name.
It was also at this time that there were less reviews being posted on TA about Son of Man Tours.
And there were rumors all over that they were no longer in business. I asked Elvis about this and he assured me they were still in business AND the website would be fixed soon. OK, I wasn't happy about the deposit, but we still had the tour that I wanted. However, now I was suspicious.

In the next few months there were questions and more bad reviews on TA and more instances of problems with bookings and deposits. There were a few good reviews, but they seem to be people who were staying at Sandals La Toc on ST Lucia and were solicited for the tour on the beach in front of the resort. It is now December and less than a month away from our trip. I am so excited for this 12 day cruise after New Years, but the St Lucia stop is weighing heavy on my mind. If It were only me, I could handle a problem coming up at the port, but I was responsible for 5 other people in our party. So, I called Elvis again to Reconfirm and ease my mind. To my dismay, his # was now disconnected. MORE RED FLAGS. I tried the second phone # I had, and there was an answering machine, so I left a message that said... I WANT A REFUND and At this point I am arranging with another tour company at the last minute, because I don't want to get stuck. (I was definitely not happy, but I was even willing to take the loss of the deposit to make sure we had solid plans for our day in St Lucia.) Well, within hours, Elvis calls me back. He says please don't cancel, they will definitely take us on the tour. He says to make it up to me, he will give us a Private Tour and reduce our price a little. OK, he already had my $224, so I agree to stay with him.

On Jan 10, 2013 our cruise stops in St Lucia. We are met by Gabby of Son of Man Tours! I am so relieved...at first....
But, in the first 10 minutes, Gabby has numerous calls from ELVIS. Elvis wants to talk to me. He says we can have the private tour, but he now has to charge me more than agreed. That was unfair of him, unbusinesslike, and unprofessional. On the spot, I really didn't want to disappoint the others traveling with me, so we went, and paid full price.

St Lucia is beautiful, and Gabby was Really Great! We enjoyed the tour: the mud baths were amazing, the warm waterfall was unforgetable, the snorkeling at Jalousie Beach was the best I've seen in the Caribbean. The others in my party were very happy with the day (noone else knew what I had gone thru for the past 8 months with the arrangements)

To sum up the experience. I would run the other way when dealing with this company over the internet or from the USA. It's possible that if you arrange on the beach at Sandals La Toc (with Cornelius), there is less room for error. The company sub-contracts the boat transportation, and the land drivers. What they are really supplying is the Tour Guide, they don't have their own boat or van that says SON of MAN TOURS. The company seemed VERY unorganized...and not truly professional.

I debated my overall review score for quite a while. Ultimately, I don't want to hurt someone's business intentionally. Unfortunately, I feel responsible to warn other travelers that some of this company's practices are shady.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
16 Thank nomad824
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Richmond, Virginia, United States
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Son of Man at Sandals La Toc”
Reviewed February 20, 2013

My husband and I just returned from a belated honeymoon from 2.10 to 2.15 at the Sandals La Toc. On previous vacations, we have booked tours through the local guys and found them to be much more cost-friendly for us and also a better experience all around.

Our first day at Sandals La Toc, we were approached by a man in a coral colored shirt named Cornelius. He is so nice and so cool! He is straight up with you. The Son of Man tour we did is exactly like the Joes Knows tour through Sandals although it is cheaper, you go on a smaller boat (which is cooler!!) and you're supporting the local community. If you take the tour, you will see it is a bigger operation then I thought - there are salesman (like Cornelius, boat drivers, taxi drivers, tour guide, etc.)

The water at the Sandals La Toc was too choppy to go out from there, so we got in a Taxi and drove 5 minutes to Castries to board our boat (don't get too excited, it really is just a john boat more or less but big enough to hold about 10 people and I never felt unsafe). Mango was our boat driver and he was knowledgable and too cool!

For the tour, you drive up the coast and Mango points out all the hot spots, celebrity homes, landmarks, movie landmarks, etc. I frankly would have thought it was a great day just doing the boat ride. However, you also go to the Sulphur Springs and take a mud bath, go see a waterfall that you actually can get in and take a picture behind, and go snorkeling which was AWESOME! We saw all kind of fish, beautiful coral and a squid! Another couple we went with had been snorkeling at some great spot in Hawaii and said this was better! The snorkeling spot is in Jalousie Bay, right in between the Pitons! What a view!

Overall great tour, would recommend to anyone. Cornelius even had us on the beach selling it to other guests after we had done it! lol I was glad to help though because I would definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone. If you do Joes Knows instead, you're a sucker ;-)

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Sarah D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
“Excellent group to deal with, they went out of their way to provide a great trip.”
Reviewed February 15, 2013

We recommend Son of Man Tours to anyone. It run by the locals and they do a great job. Very friendly and helpful. Great trip!

Helpful?
Thank Gadgethill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kentucky
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Do NOT Book With Son of Man Tours! They are THIEVES!”
Reviewed January 9, 2013

Let me begin by restating what I said in the title of this post so no one misunderstands me.

Do NOT book a tour with Son of Man Tours. They are THIEVES!

I hope that was clear because I mean it. Consider this my effort to protect consumers and vacationers around the world.

Now, let's get down to business. I am not normally prone to writing these sorts of reviews, but this one is well-deserved and, honestly, it's been a long time coming. I traveled to St. Lucia in December, part of an otherwise delightful Carnival cruise that departed San Juan, Puerto Rico. Knowing that we would port in St. Lucia, I scanned Trip Advisor for the best way to see the island. And it seemed, by reading very positive reviews, that Son of Man Tours was an excellent option. WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!! WRONG!!!!!!!!!! WRONG!!!!!!!!!! Did you all get that? I want be very clear . . . WRONG!!!!!!!

I should have known there were issues when my initial emails to Son of Man were not returned. I just gave them the benefit of the doubt and assumed my inbox marked them as spam. So, after a couple of failed attempts, I CALLED Son of Man and booked my excursions with them over the phone. Now, a very important fact here is that I booked a party of 4. My credit card was charged three times (one charge of $438 and two other charges for $241). Yes! My charges were nearly $1,000.00. I caught the mistake immediately when I checked my credit card balance. I instantly phoned Son of Man Tours and was told, by the manager, that I would receive a credit and that it would take a couple of days to post back to my account.

That, my friends, was the understatement of 2012!! I checked my card balance again . . . no credit. Again, no credit. Again, no credit. When Pavlov's dogs repeated certain behaviors, they were rewarded. I was repeating certain behaviors and apparently Pavlov had just run out of Pupperoni or, more importantly, MY money!

So, I decided that the best way to handle this was to contact my credit card company and open a formal dispute of the charges. On two different occasions, Barclays placed me on hold to contact Son of Man and intervene on my behalf. On those two different occasions, no one at the company answered the phone. And we tried MULTIPLE numbers. Uh . . . problem!

Prior to this happening, Son of Man disabled their website. In fact, the manager there explained to me that there was a problem with the domain and they were working to repair it. At the time my credit card company opened the dispute, the site was still inactive. Uh . . . additional problem!

So, assuming that they had taken my money and run (and any normal person with a semi-functioning brain would assume this) . . . I then opened a dispute for the $483.00 in charges that were my actual charges (for the 4 trips I initially wanted to book and, in hindsight, made the mistake of booking).

Fast forward 6 weeks . . . my credit card company was STILL working on resolving the case. Days before I left for my vacation, Son of Man Tours FINALLY answered a call from my credit card company. However, they denied being out of business and said they were more than willing to accommodate me and my friends on their tour. Uh . . . I don't think so!! I'm sorry. You've been m.i.a. for two months . . . charged my credit card double the amount you were supposed to . . . lied to me repeatedly . . . proved you cannot be trusted to follow through with simple accounting tasks . . . and, for all practical purposes, went completely off the grid. Probably not going to be taking your tour because I'm not Liam Neeson in "Taken 2." Just saying . . .

They also told my credit card company that, instead of crediting my account the proper way, they would give me cash for the money they owed me if I met them at the port. Excuse me??? What? I am supposed to meet you at the port in a foreign land for a hand-to-hand cash exchange? Seriously?? I am pretty sure I have no intentions of living an episode of "Dexter" so that's a big fat "NO!"

Miraculously, by what surely was some sort of divine intervention because the supernatural is the only reasonable explanation, I was then given a credit for HALF of what was charged to my card. I then called Son of Man Tours myself (the day before I left for San
Juan). . . and explained that I was not using their service because all signs (the unreturned phone calls, the lack of credit it a timely manner, the defunct website) suggested that they were closed and out of business. (By the way, there were/are other Trip Advisor posts that suggested the same and additional posts which mention credit cards overcharged). The manager of Son of Man then promised me he would credit my account for the remaining $483.00. He also promised to call me when he got back in the office to resolve the matter.

Now, it's important to note that I was in San Juan and St. Thomas Saturday through
Monday . . . but my phone never rang. I did turn it off for the remaining portion of the cruise to avoid international charges. This will be important momentarily.

But, back to the cruise. I decided . . . and I had a legion of friends and strangers to assist in the search efforts . . . to take my credit card with me in St. Lucia and track Son of Man down at the port after all. Only thing . . . they were not there!!!! We looked. We asked other tour operators. Some had never even heard of them. How is this possible? The total area of St. Lucia is only 240 square miles??? This, ladies and gentlemen, is Exhibit Z (yeah, I'm pretty sure we have exhausted the alphabet with my exhibit list).

Needless to say, when I got back in the States, I turned on my phone and . . . drum roll,
please . . . NOTHING!! Poll of hands, fellow Trip Advisors! Who's shocked??? So, I called Son of Man Tours again. The manager claimed they had try to call me, but my phone was turned off. He then promised, AGAIN, to credit my account the remaining $483.00, but did warn that, because of the holidays, it may take a while to post to my account. This is exactly what I was told (minus the holiday part) in September when I was charged that amount TWICE!!

Fast forward to today . . . January 9th, 2013, nearly 4 months after my initial booking with Son of Man Tours . . . STILL NO CREDIT. So, I decided to call St. Lucia again (though my international phone bill at this point is about $100, which I think they should also credit my account for). Guess what? I called the manager's personal cell phone and NO ONE ANSWERED! And guess what else??? I called the Son of Man Tours business office and that number restricts incoming calls. IS ANYONE IN AMERICA, THE CARIBBEAN, OR THE REST OF THE WORLD SURPRISED???? I didn't think so!

The irony in me having to post this is that the manager of Son of Man, when I chatted with him the day before I left for my trip, acknowledged all the confusion and trouble caused by their disabled website and then referenced a Trip Advisor post that was unflattering and claimed it misled people into thinking they are out of business. Son of Man Tours SHOULD be out of business! I am STILL waiting for my $483 credit!! Check that . . . my $483.59 credit! And, yes, I am counting!

I have filed additional complaints with my credit card company and investigations/disputes have been reopened. And now, I am posting this on Trip Advisor for all the world to see. So, in closing, let me restate for the record . . . DO NOT BOOK WITH SON OF MAN TOURS!

Son of Man Tours, because you have admitted to me that you read these posts and I know you are going to see this one, I am going to leave a message for you as well. CREDIT MY ACCOUNT NOW!

Thank you. And have a sunny St. Lucian Day!

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
11 Thank plaidypus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Son of Man Tours”
Reviewed January 5, 2013

My wife and I took this tour this past Wednesday Jan. 2nd 2013 on our honeymoon. We stayed at La Toc Sandals and were approached by Cornelius on the beach. He was great and so was our trip. The orientation at the resort promote the "Joe Knows" tour but it is more expensive and not as intimate and authentic. Joe Knows is more of a party and commercialized whereas Son of Man is couples of all ages with a maximum of 10 people. Yes, the tour does include booze, lunch, snorkeling and all the sites that have been mentioned on previous reviews etc (Cornelius will explain this to you). The lunch was an authentic traditional meal on the waterfront of beautiful Soufriere. The sites were amazing and our tour guide named Gabby was great. As there were only 10 of us (which is the max they take per boat) he will answer any questions and genuinely wants to make sure you have a great time. There is no need to pre book online. Just hit the beach the first day you are there and Cornelius will set you up. The tour is very safe, intimate and very authentic. Thanks Cornelius and Gabby!!!
Ryan and Sara (Toronto, Canada)

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Ryan P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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