We booked to go on the Emperor Wings trip to see the reef an islands of the Whitsundays. I was thoroughly looking forward to the trip and the sights were great but the time on the boat was average. What we saw of the Whitsundays were fantastic so I feel a bit bad for give it a 3/5 rating. We went to Whitehaven Beach as well as Hayman Island and sailed past many others as well. All fantastic.
Unfortunately the boat was a real let down. First of all it was not all bad, the boats Host Woody and Captain Stu were brilliant and a real credit to the company. The food was better than expected and all prepared fresh by Woody.
The boat is perfect for backpackers on a shoestring but for the rest of us its cramped, noisy, and gets dirtier as the trip goes on. We were expecting it to be cramped but sleep is near impossible with the constant hum of a generator as well as water pumps constantly being activated any time water is being used. Thankfully there was plenty of fresh water even if it does taste of chemicals and was usually warm as the cooling system has to be turned off to route power else where. Same goes for the "Air Con". The boat is air conditioned but it is fairly asthmatic and easily defeated by the boats 26 passengers plus crew. They also turn it off during the day so if you want to get out of the sun and heat...You cant. Not great if you pick up a funny tummy from the tiny bathroom. Its not a bad little place but its constantly damp from the diving passengers and water sloshing around the tanks below. You just have to get on with it knowing everyone has missed the bowl and your standing in it and everyone with dirty hands is also holding the handle to steady yourself from the waves.
The water equipment provided was plentiful and appeared to be maintain to standard. The snorkelling locations are excellent and well worth the trip. The diving is also great from what im lead to believe. Unfortunately both me and my partner missed out as the instructor had a male appendage attached to his forehead. If you didnt pick up the skills instantly you got sent back to the boat. If you had a problem, back to the boat. Even if you asked to take it slow, if you had a problem, back to the boat. It was hugely disappointing to travel to the great barrier reef and miss out on an experience of a lifetime because the "Instructor" had no patience or skills to instruct paying customers. My brother missed out as well due to a medical condition he had as a child. He could have dived if he had a doctors certificate, but we were only informed of this a few hours before boarding the boat. Again very frustrating.
Sorry for a long rant, visit the Whitsundays their Brilliant but think long and hard about Emperor Wings Diving. For the most part it could be a good trip IF everything goes your way.