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“Half day cruise”
Review of Cruise Whitsundays

Cruise Whitsundays
Experience for Yourself
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Whitehaven Beach Half-Day Cruises
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Award winning 'Cruise Whitsundays' is the Whitsundays largest and most experienced marine tourism operator offering a range of day cruises and Island Resort connections. Cruises visit the Great Barrier Reef (Reefworld and Knuckle Reef pontoons), Whitehaven Beach and island resorts on Hamilton Island and Daydream Island. The multi-award winning Great Barrier Reefsleep overnight experience is Australia's most unique accommodation. 'Resort Connections' provide services between island resorts and the Whitsunday Coast and connecting the region's airports arrivals and departures. There are also tailor-made activities for the conference, incentive and Weddings market.
Useful Information: Stairs / elevator, Bathroom facilities
Mackay, Australia
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Half day cruise”
Reviewed April 22, 2013

Experience I had as half day cruise. My wife and I are over 60 years old I suffer with high blood pressure, the cruse was not up to the standard as advertised on the broche we were taken to two islands just to pick up other passengers and dropped off on white haven beach for two hours with no shade no shelter and very hot sun no water was provided. On the way back we got on the boat we were provided with tea coffee and scons.had to disembark on daydream island and wait for conecting ferry back to Abel point nothing was provided for us no shelter no water this was unnecessary and inconvenient why couldn't they provide connection straight way we will not recommend this to any of our friends or anyone that asks us....

Visited April 2013
2 Thank 255338Bob1952
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TurtleWhitsundays, Online Assistant at Cruise Whitsundays, responded to this review, April 29, 2013
Hi there

Thanks for your message.

We take all feedback very seriously, and I sincerely regret that we did not meet your expectations. We will be reviewing shade and shelter on Whitehaven Beach and likewise, be making a few changes with regards to how this product is marketed in the brochure. With the new Resort Connections timetable to be released in May we should have ironed out some of the connection issues you had raised. Again, we're sorry and our apologies are tenfold.

On behalf of Cruise Whitsundays, rest assured we will get this resolved and we hope your next trip to the Whitsundays is an enjoyable one.

Many thanks and safe travels,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
41 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Great experience, if you know what to expect”
Reviewed April 22, 2013

We did this as part of a Queensland cruise with Royal Caribbean; it is marketed as a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. We got a call the day before, letting us know that the waters would be choppy and that if we wanted to cancel, we could get our money back. We asked some more questions and found out it wasn't the snorkeling area that was choppy, it's just the transfer to and from the ship on the catamaran. It's a 2.5 hr transfer each way, so that by the time you get to the pontoon/snorkeling site (which really seems like it's out in the middle of nowhere), you only have about 2.5 hours there (including eating lunch). We snorkeled for an hour and a half, and by the time we got out and got changed, we barely had time to eat lunch before it was time to leave. Not very much time, considering how much it cost. The snorkeling experience itself, though, was amazing! Beautiful fish and corals, a once in a lifetime experience for those not from Australia. Overall I'd say it's worth it, but if the water is choppy at all, be SURE to take seasick pills, because the catamaran ride is long and horrible.

Visited April 2013
Thank lmccurdy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA
Level Contributor
387 reviews
207 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
“Total Disappointment”
Reviewed April 21, 2013

A total disappointment - catamaran had a failure of the air conditioning system which made it very unpleasant inside. Ride to pontoon was longer than advertised - taking almost 2.5 hours each way, leaving a very limited time on the pontoon. First went on the semi-submersible which could have been nice if the viewing windows were cleaned on the outside - lots of algae on them so no photos. Then it was time to go snorkeling, but they had run out of large wetsuits leaving only mediums and extra large. After squeezing int a medium, it was into the water. Only problem was their mask leaked, so it was back to the pontoon to get another from the bin. (By this time the crew was too busy cleaning incoming equipment to help.) Lunch was ok with cold chicken legs, prawns and a few salads. The crew said they did not bring photographers since we have only a short time on the pontoon. Although several people complained to shore excursions, we were told that the trip was delivered as advertised. Of course, you had to return several times to even get that answwer. Eventually Celebrity gave us a 15% credit for the tour.

Visited April 2013
2 Thank BSinPNS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TurtleWhitsundays, Online Assistant at Cruise Whitsundays, responded to this review, April 29, 2013
Thanks for your feedback and I'm so sorry the air-conditioning unit wasn't operating on the day you travelled. As I'm sure you can appreciate this is a rare occurrence and we know it would have been an uncomfortable trip in the heat. My apologies are tenfold that we could not your expectations on this day. We will be reviewing how this product is advertised with your cruise liner and likewise, I will pass your comments about the algae and wetsuits onto Justin, our Operations Manager, who will be sure to order more sizes and get these windows cleaned up. We would like to get this sorted as soon as possible. Again, my apologies we dropped the ball and you did not get the experience you deserved. We will be sure to rectify this ASAP.

Kindest regards and safe travels,
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Level Contributor
599 reviews
79 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 650 helpful votes
“Helicopter to Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef”
Reviewed April 18, 2013

My spouse and I travelled to ReefWorld in late August 2012. We reserved our excursion on-line and via e-mail a few weeks prior to our arrival on Hamilton Island. We opted to take the helicopter out to the pontoon and the ferry back to Hamilton Island. Our total package was about $400 per person. If you take the ferry both ways, it reduces your total cost, and if you take the helicopter both ways, it raises it.

The day dawned gray, foggy, and misty, and we feared our trip would be cancelled, or worse yet, that our trip would go as scheduled but that we would not be able to see a thing, neither on the helicopter flight nor beneath the water. There is no cancellation penalty if you can cancel within 24 hours of departure, but we were well beyond that time. The front desk attendant at the Beach Club assured us that the flight would go, and he also assured us that the visibility beneath the ocean surface would be good once we got out to the reef. He even pulled up an underwater camera at the ReefWorld site to persuade us by showing the current conditions.

Our itinerary consisted of a 30-minute helicopter flight, 2.5 hours at ReefWorld, and a 2.5-hour ferry ride back to Hamilton Island. Our 2.5 hours at ReefWorld passed quickly. The water was cold, but clear, and we wore heavyweight stinger suits (wet suits) to keep warm while we snorkeled. Besides snorkeling, we also used the underwater viewing chamber on the pontoon, but we did not have time to take a ride on the semi-submersible because the timing was inconvenient. During our safety briefing and introduction upon arrival at ReefWorld (which was given to just the two of us), despite being told that there would be announcements made regarding the departure of the submersible, we never heard any messages on the loudspeaker. (If you travel to ReefWorld by ferry, the briefing is given to all passengers simultaneously on the ferry ride. We think the ferry passengers are also given the opportunity to sign up for helicopter rides or other optional activities like massages and scuba diving or scuba instruction at that time.

We enjoyed the helicopter ride. Hamilton Island Air picked us up at our hotel and drove us by van to the airport. On the 10-minute drive, we were asked to watch a short video about the helicopter flight that we would be taking, including safety information. We were driven in a van with a family of four; it was not clear to us until we arrived at the airport that the plan was to place us into two different helicopters. We had read that some helicopters could hold multiple passengers, with some passengers receiving middle positions on the bench seating (and thus, not being able to see out the windows clearly, especially to take photographs). But we were placed into our own helicopter, which held just four passengers. One of us sat in the front with the pilot, and the other sat on the back seat. We did not take off from the commercial airport; instead, we departed from the private airport next door. The lobby area of the private terminal was attractive and comfortable. We met our pilot and were outfitted with a life-vest type thing that we wore in a packet on a belt around our waist. Once inside the helicopter, we were each given a headset so that we could communicate with the pilot and with each other. After the pilot completed his pre-flight checks, we took off. The first few minutes yielded views of Hamilton Island and its coastline, followed by a several-minute view of clear blue water. When we neared Whitehaven Beach and the Barrier Reef itself, the view was stunning and spectacular! We landed on a small floating pontoon near the larger stationary ReefWorld pontoon, and a small launch was sent to meet us. (It was a stand-up kind of ferry without any seats, but instead with railings that you could hold on to.) The launch that came to meet us held ferry passengers who had signed up for a helicopter ride. We were very glad that we took the helicopter from Hamilton Island, even though it was more expensive than taking a flight from the pontoon. We felt that the scenery on the 30-minute ride was much more varied and interesting than what the pontoon passengers saw (although that is just a guess; perhaps they saw amazing scenery as well).

Our ReefWorld package included a buffet lunch, which looked attractive and was tasty. We had low expectations for the food, so we were pleasantly surprised by the variety and presentation. Lunch is served on the ferry, not on the pontoon, and all supplies are brought in (obviously!) from the mainland. (The ferry originates in Airlie Beach, then stops at Hamilton island, then finally sails to ReefWorld.) For us, the timing of lunch was a bit inconvenient; we wished that we could have spent that time snorkeling or doing other activities instead of “wasting” our precious time eating before they put the food away. To us, it would be more efficient to feed passengers on the ferry ride home, although that might use valuable passenger seating space to lay out the buffet.

The pontoon holds an overabundance of snorkeling equipment available for guests to use, including masks, fins, scuba equipment, lightweight stinger suits, and heavyweight stinger suits. Equipment is available in all sizes - we are not small people, but we had no trouble finding the appropriate suits and fins. There are changing rooms on the pontoon, although you must use the bathrooms on the ferry. The pontoon is quite large, easily absorbing the crowd from the ferry. The top deck contains lounge chairs where you can rest and relax; however, it seemed like the people who disembarked the ferry first claimed the chairs, reserving them even though they spent most of their time in the water or eating lunch on the ferry. As departure time neared, they opened a waterslide from the pontoon into the ocean. A loud horn was blown and announcements made when it was time to depart. Some people stayed behind to spend the night on the pontoon in one of the two rooms. While it seemed very solitary and peaceful out there, which might appeal to people who really love the water, it would not have suited us personally, so we were glad to board the ferry back to the island.

An underwater photographer is available to take photos of you while you snorkel. He puts together a DVD of all the pictures, which he sells on the ferry ride home. He runs a slideshow on the ferry ride back to the island/mainland, so you can see what you are purchasing before you buy.

On the day that we visited ReefWorld, one of the passengers was handicapped, and the staff did a great job to make sure that the gentleman had every opportunity to interact with the fish. Someone tried to carry him down to the underwater viewing chamber, but it seemed to be impossible. Instead, they hoisted him down to the diving platform attached to the pontoon and sat him with his legs dangling in the water. Then they brought out the fish food, and the fish came and fed around his legs and ankles. To us, it looked like he was having a great time, and it provided other visitors with a great opportunity to take pictures nearby.

The ferry ride home was smooth, but we took motion sickness pill as a precaution because of reviews that we read about the rough ride (it was calm on the day that we traveled). Shortly after departing ReefWorld, we spied a mother whale and her calf, and then we saw the mother whale breaching. It happened SO quickly that there was very little time to snap a quick photo. Snacks were provided on the ferry; we cannot say what the morning snacks were, but in the afternoon, chips and salsa and two kinds of cake were provided. Drinks (including alcohol) are available for purchase. There is a small outside area on the ferry, but most of the seating is indoors. The bottom floor contains traditional ferry seating, with groups of chairs separated by tables. The second floor contains lounge-type seating, without any tables.

Although this was a pricey day trip/excursion, we felt that we could not visit Australia without snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, and being able to fly over it one way to view if from the air was spectacular. So it was money well-spent!

Visited August 2012
1 Thank fluffnfold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buckingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
220 reviews
134 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 199 helpful votes
“Distance no Barrier?”
Reviewed April 14, 2013

My wife and I visited this part of the Outer Barrier Reef in April 2013 as a cruise ship excursion. We had a great time. We boarded our fast large vessel to the Outer Reef amid somewhat choppy waters, especially when we left the shelter of the islands. However, we were going 80km out to sea! - 2 hours in open sea is not for everyone and the crew help in every way possible but nervous sailors beware.

When we eventually arrived we boarded a giant and stable pontoon with underwater walkway, changing facilities etc, but all other amenities were back on board for environmental reasons of course. There was a semi sub ok but this was as limited as usual i.e. the glass needed cleaning for any reasonable photography or even vision.

The pontoon and boat were very well organised and we enjoyed a very good lunch. We had good equipment and safety conscious guides. As for the quality of snorkelling and marine life varieties, it was certainly comparable with that on the inner reef, but, to be honest, not much different and certainly a lot more difficult to get to.

This is not really a trip for the average amateur swimmer; we had a calm day and were lucky….for others, in a rougher sea…the potential for disappointment may be greater…but for the enthusiast on a good day…this was magnificent.

Visited April 2013
Thank Peter3152
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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