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AVOID the Merak - please read!
User: Helen
Date: 7/8/2018 4:20 am
Views: 158
Rating: 1    Rate [
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Myself and my partner went on an 8-day cruise on the Merak in March 2018 and it was the worst experience of my life.

When booking the trip, we knew it was classed as economical, this did not bother us in principle because we were looking forward to a more intimate experience rather than creature comforts.

 

However, the reality was totally different for a number of reasons;

-        The toilets were regularly blocked and overflowing with human excrement

-        The showers and sinks regularly did not have enough water for us to wash

-        We were allocated the only double bedroom on board. This is next to the engine so it is impossible to sleep because of the noise and vibrations. The room also quickly filled with diesel fumes so it is not safe to sleep in the room

-        The crew were very rude and if we asked for a drink we were told no despite them helping themselves to coffee and snacks throughout the day – in fact they boasted about how they were eating all our food

-        The guide was also rude, withdrawn and told us on numerous occasions that he did not want to be on the boat and was just filling in for a friend

-        The crew invited their family members on board which meant the conditions were really cramped and legally we had too many people on the boat. We had the Captain’s wife and 8-month-old baby and a 9-year-old boy. The boy came on every excursion we did and we spent the entire time babysitting him whilst his dad, a member of the crew worked on the boat

-        The crew left us on numerous occasions alone on the boat when we docked on larger islands so they could see friends and family. On one occasion they turned off all the power and lights and left us in the dark for hours and on another occasion left us with the engine running

 

The most disturbing incident was when they left some of the group stranded out at sea for 25 minutes in high tide and put our lives in serious danger.

The guide had taken the group and the 9-year-old boy on a walk and then we went snorkelling from the beach. We had no life boat with us. We were snorkelling for a very long time when the boy started to get into trouble because he was tired. Myself, my partner and another tourist stayed with the boy and called for help to the guide. The guide acknowledged us and went back to shore. We decided to head for some rocks but got stuck in the current and I was badly injured after being bashed against the rocks on several occasions. We waited on the rocks in high tide for 25 minutes before help came. By this time we were struggling to stay above the water due to the high tide and the current and were starting to fear for our lives.

When we asked why it took so long to rescue us the Captain told us the guide had not told him the group was snorkelling and so they did not know we needed the life boat. Also the guide did not have his radio charged so could not contact the main boat for assistance. In fact the only reason we were rescued was the Captain had become worried at the length of time we were gone and came out to see if there was a problem. If the Captain had not have done that it is highly likely there would have been fatalities.

 

I have complained to the boat owner and the Ministry of Tourism and have not received a refund which is really disappointing.

 

I really urge people to avoid this boat and their cruises. It is seriously not worth the risk!

 

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