andrea jackson review 23 Sep 2013
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
It was wonderful to visit islands that we would not normally visit, we particularly enjoyed that some of them were off the beaten track. Annie and Sotiris were helpful in taking us to local tavernas where we had some wonderful meals.
Two members of our party dived and Anna was excellent in her tuition so that they could complete their open water PADI certificate; which they had started at home before the holiday. Annie also took 3 members of our party on a 'try dive' excursion and again her attention to safety and tuition was excellent.
Unfortunately the first disappointment was that Sotiris and Annie spoke the majority of the time in Greek, without any translation or explanation to us as to what they were speaking of. This caused discomfort because they appeared to be arguing.
Also on our arrival Sotiris 'welcomed' us onto the boat, unfortunately his manner was less than welcoming as he appeared to have made the assumption that we would not respect the boat and not clean up after ourselves. This was incredibly rude as he had no idea of who we were.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Travel light, enjoy the Greek islands and people but do not expect great hospitality from the crew.
Make sure you have a itinerary of what they promise on their advert because the reality is that they just sail you from island to island with no input about the places that you visit. Also they miss out things advertised as part of the trip; we did not stop for the mud bath on Delos or explore the ancient cave on Iraklia. In fact no guidance was given with regards to where to visit.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
The holiday benefitted local people as we visited local restaurants, however, I did not feel that it benefitted the local environment as the only drinking water had to be purchased in 2 litre plastic bottles - the absolute curse of our oceans and seas. We have undertaken a similar trip sailing around Italy and on that trip water was stored in much larger containers that could be refilled.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Disappointing. although we thoroughly enjoyed the islands, food and local people but the fact that Sotiris made us feel like unwelcome guests on his boat and spoilt the holiday.
The advertisement promised an insight into conservation mentioning a biologist who would introduce us to the unique fauna of the Aegean, he was not present on the trip, and neither were Patricia the wildlife photographer or Dafni.
A power-point presentation was given but not until the 5th day of our trip and it was quite frankly something a 10 year old could have done better.
They also advertised that you could join in with sailing the boat under Sotiris' supervision, my husband helped a little; he is a qualified day skipper, but was not encouraged and made to feel that he was more of a hinderance. Therefore the children; who can all sail, did not want to join in.
This did not feel like a crew who were interested in sharing their love of environmental issues and love of the oceans but more like they were just doing it to earn money. They did not appear to have any real interest in their passengers other than as a money making scheme.
Read the operator's response here:
We are very glad that you enjoyed all the wonderful islands we took you especially the ones that are off the beaten track.
We are also glad that you enjoyed the home made meals and taverns we recommended and you were pleased with the diving tuition.
I'm sorry to hear that you found the holiday disappointing. We wishes we were informed during the holiday or sooner.
Your husband I believe left the following feedback on our guestbook:
"What a fantastic trip, amazing sights, fantastic diving. Sotiris sailing was our saviour, strong winds, exciting island crossings, just grcat. Highly recommend these guys to anyone who wants to see real Greek islands. Thank you both very much."
It's confusing for us when people say they are pleased and thankful although they are not as we cannot act upon any issues!
Sorry to hear about your disappointment that the crew was speaking in Greek. The Greek (as well as Italian, Spanish) language is more "loud" and "expressive" and it's true that some people think that we are arguing while in fact we are having a conversation. We will definately take this into account for the future.
Sotiris or any other skipper we work with gives our standard briefing upon arrival and explains certain rules about being economical with electricity and water, how to behave on a sailing yacht and about tidiness... our years of experience have shown that these are essential for the safety and enjoyment of our guests. The information/rules you were given are pretty standard and were not meant to insult you or any member of your family.
Sorry to hear that you were confused about the trip you took. You booked a sailing & diving holiday and not a sailing & conservation trip with a biologist onboard (flora & fauna). During my first email to you I thought I explained what is included in the fee (sailing, skipper, diving instructor, number of dives, accommodation, presentation on marine biodiversity etc) with a link to the relative webpage on our site. We have 2 people as crew every week according to the
interests of our guests (diving, wildlife, photography, walking).
The sailing itineraries as quoted on my emails, webpages are adapted according to the weather conditions every week. We cannot sail against the weather and the safety of our guests is our main consideration.
Once again thank you for taking the time to write your feedback. We are very sorry that you didn't feel welcomed on our sailing yacht. Glad to hear that you have some good memories of the islands we took you, the local poeple and food and the diving.