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“The good, the bad and the ugly”

Solway Lass Day Charters
Reviewed 22 December 2017 via mobile

The good:
- the ship is beautiful and sailing was great
- food was good
- rope swinging was fun
- most of the crew were friendly most of the time
- drinks were very reasonable priced ($5,50 for glass of wine, $5/6 for a beer, $18 for a bottle of champagne)
- the timing for visiting Whitehaven beach was perfect. We had the beach almost to ourselves the whole day - was perfectly arranged!

The bad:
- we only sailed once, for appr. 2 hours. Winds were fine the last day as well so bit of a waste that we didn’t sail again as that was an important reason to choose this ship. Not all sails were actually on the ship either.

- we specifically booked a scuba dive for during the trip and discussed the specifics thereof only a few days before departure. On the ship we were told by the crew that there is no diving! They don’t offer diving and haven’t done so for months! What terrible communication from the booking office, we were pretty dissapointed!

- not Solway’s fault, but snorkelling just wasn’t good. Tyfoon Debbie (March 2017) apparently destroyed most of the coral, so snorkelling was kind of boring. Visibility was poor as well.

- we had 21 women and 9 men on board and still food was always finished at the end of each meal. Therefore, I can totally imagine people going hungry if there would have been more men on board (as previous reviews have complained).

And then the ugly...

We had an incident with one of the crew members partying a bit too hard on the third night (which was his final night on Solway) according to two Australian girls at least, who complained. I think the 28 other guests had a lot of fun actually. After the complaint, around 22:00 hours, the captain decided to kick the relevant crew member off the ship in Arlie Beach which meant driving the ship back and forth for 8 hours at night.

For me this decision was irresponsible, unprofessional and not in the best interest of 28 out of 30 guests, because: (i) there was no communication whatsover. No crew member told us what happened when we suddenly heard the engine starting or gave any explanation on the change of plans etc. We were told nothing. Not that night, not the day after, never; (ii) everybody was very drunk and dancing on the deck or laying in the nets out front. What if someone would have gone overboard?! To me that was not an unlikely option as some people could hardly stand and there were quite some waves. It was pitch dark, noisy (music going, windy) and no one was wearing a life jacket. If someone had gone over, I think he/she would have drowned; and (iii) the crew obviously had a rough night which for the guests meant that the eggs for breakfast came way too late (1,5 hour after breakfast time, so after everyone had already eaten toast with jam. No one knew eggs were coming because, of course, no communication whatsoever). The captain slept until the minute before we left back to Airlie. I think this is also why we didn’t sail on the third day and snorkelled at a rather boring spot - but again: no one told us anything so I can’t be sure.

Date of experience: December 2017
3  Thank Katinka v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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11 - 15 of 139 reviews

Reviewed 20 November 2017 via mobile

The highlight of our Australia trip so far! Everything about the trip was so enjoyable thanks to the hard work of the crew. We met some fantastic people on board. Rope swing after snorkelling is a must! Cracking sunset at Whitehaven beach.

Highly recommend.

Callum and Leanne

Date of experience: November 2017
Thank cpr02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2017 via mobile

What a wonderful experience, right from pick up to return everyone was so friendly.

The ship speaks for itself- over a hundred years old and as charming as ever. The crew become your friends, believe me! They will do everything to make your stay comfortable and exciting whilst keeping it safe and eco-friendly. We saw whales in abundance, even the captain understood how to get close whilst respecting them: he cut off the engine at a spot he knew the whale had to pass by but little did we know she had a calf with her and she brought right alongside and showed him off - an incredible experience that none of us will forget.

We saw turtles swimming around our boat, not just their head! We spotted a cuttlefish who came one evening in the ships light. The timing to see the beautiful coral and lookouts was such that nobody else was there!

The food was amazing and in such abundance, fancy cooking a chocolate cake on board, a full roast and delicious full breakfast on the last day!

The accommodation was as expected in an old ship, the showers were hot and refreshing!

Well done crew of the Solvay Lass - Ben, Captain, Be as Bosun, Joel, 1st mate (not sure about the jokes though), Stewie- your Mojitos are now legendary although running out of mint might have been because they were sooooo good! Niche, your cooking was a highlight - what a crew!

Certainly a highlight of our East Coast trip, and we made some many new friends, perhaps learnt a little Dutch too!

A great trip - hop on board!

Date of experience: August 2017
Thank epsomrats
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 July 2017

A ship more than a century old, offering, thanks to its crew and its equipment an optimal quality of well being and comfort, perfectly adapted to what one can seek when one is not a sailor but that one likes the sea and all this That it can offer.
During this 3 days tour, the crew is particularly dynamic and very attentive. The cabin we had was of sufficient size for two people and, the food prepared on board of very good quality. Luck has allowed us to sail all sails out, which was a wonderful experience.

Date of experience: July 2017
Thank jacquesm129
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 June 2017 via mobile

My girlfriend and I are on a road trip from Cairns to Sydney. We decided to explore the Withsunday Islands and after some research we found this marvellous old boat from 1902 offering exactly what we were looking for: some good chilling time with style. Our crew was Captain Gary, Steve, Stewie, Charlotte, Joel and Abby. They have been absolutely amazing in providing the best service with professionalism and competence. We couldn't have been in better hands. We have been really lucky also with the weather that was just gorgeous for all the 3 days. Whitehaven beach was as good as you can imagine, we even swam with some stingrays and the beach and the water are definitely back to their best colors after the cyclone messed up everything. Because of that we couldn't do more than a session of snorkeling but the guys of the crew have been amazing in organizing other activities like walking up the highest peak on whitsunday island to enjoy a breathtaking 360' view on the archipelago. We did also enjoy a couple of long periods of sailing which were absolutely amazing. The food was awesome (thanks Stewie&Charlotte) and the drinks too (thanks Abby). We had a double bed in a little cabin which was more than enough to rest after the day but we stayed outside for the 90% of the time anyway.
After all it has been an awesome experience which I can suggest to anyone.
If you wish to explore some of the best islands in the world and you are not looking for a party catamaran, then Solway Lass it is for you.

Date of experience: June 2017
1  Thank robedemanu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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