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“Captain Ben & Co, your the best!”

Solway Lass Day Charters
Reviewed 6 February 2018 via mobile

I very rarely take the time to give a revue but in this instance I feel I must.
I got back from a trip on the Solway Lass a few days ago & ive never experienced anything like it.
I holiday about 4 times a year & go on a silly amount of trips/excursions but this one stuck out for all the right reasons.
I took my 65 year old mother as she wanted to see the Whit Sundays (especially White Haven Beach).
The moment we stepped on the boat a guy named Ben introduced himself & the team (Ben being the captain).
The youngest on our trip was 3 years old & I think my mum (the oldest at 65)
Around 30 guests in total)
Ben asked all our names & played a game with us so we all new each other (honestly we were like one big family & this was only day 1!).
The trip set sail at 7pm that evening so after we all New each other we went to bed (around 10pm).
The next morning we woke up around 7:30 am went upstairs where the team were serving up breakfast (we had 3 massive meals a day & 3 smaller meals) yes we ate between 5&6 times a day!
As I said we went to bed around 22:00 the night before so it was dark & we couldn't see our surroundings, we were in the most beautiful clear blue sea with deserted islands all around us (it was like something out of a film).
After breakfast went down we all snorkelled & swam in the sea (we moved on to 3 different parts for snorkelling every time they got more beautiful).
After dinner that evening we got to no the crew even more.
I run a business in the uk & I'm the type of person that says there is always room for improvement, this is the first time in my life I couldn't find fault with anything!
All 29 guests got on like a house on fire, that can't be easy when the age range is 3 to 65.
Abby, Chris & Louis I would snap you up in a heartbeat if you ever want a job in the uk.
That evening we were all singing silly songs & just having the most amazing time.
The next morning we woke up to White Haven Beach.
I've seen a lot of beaches but none quite like this.
Chris got us all to shore safely & we spent the next 4 hours in paradise! Not a sole there apart from the people on our boat.
We then moved to another part where there were other people & we played volleyball & swam in the lagoons.
That evening on the boat I got to no Ben a bit more.
He had to steer the boat so we only see him to socialise when we were docked.
What a gent he is, one of the girls was a bit sick & he made a little bed on the sofa in the bar & gave her water whilst playing with a few of the little ones & entertaining the rest of us.
Again I was looking for things they could improve on but there was none!
Ben you can come & run one of my pubs any day.
Whoever owns this boat has found the perfect team & captain!
I woke up with a smile on my face every day & 3 nights wasn't enough.
I left that boat with 30 friends & I I could find a team like that back home my job would be easy!
Keep up the good work guys.

George Banks.

Thank ge0rge1981
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5 - 9 of 134 reviews

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.

1  Thank Katinka v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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

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!

Thank christine r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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.

Thank jacquesm129
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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