I'm not sure what happened between the time of the other reviews and the time of my trip 22 April 2018, but my experience was not good at all.
It seemed as if the we were a second thought to the remainder of the people on the boat that were all there for a scuba diving experience. Everything we did revolved around the scuba divers. We had to all wait for the scuba divers to get off the boat before we could get into the water, we then had to get back on the boat before the scuba divers returned, leaving us with roughly 15 minutes of snorkeling at each location 3 locations. 2 of the 3 locations were not great for snorkeling as they focused on scuba divers experience.
In total we spent about 5 hours of traveling to have 45 minutes of snorkeling.
Overall, I had a very good day - great and friendly crew, very good meals and nice snorkeling sites. A bit more detailed:
As others already mentioned, this is mainly a diving boat. There were only a few snorkelers on the boat. As a snorkeller you might therefore feel a little bit exluded from the group. This is definitely not the crews fault - they did a great job and looked after everyone very well. You just do not get that much in contact with the other passenger who are divers. Anyway, I did not consider this a real disadvantage I just thought it might be worth to mention it.
The meals on board were great. We fist got a warm breakfast, and lunch was delicious and freshly cooked I believe the best lunch I have ever got on comparable trips. Coffee and drinks were available all day long. On the way back they offered nice pancakes and cookies. The kitchen staff on board did a great job!
On the snorkelling sites, I would like to comment as follows I am not sure though if the boat stops at the same location every time or if they go to different sites on other days:
- Stop 1 and 2 each 50 minutes were at Koh Racha Noi. The boat stopped in a beautiful bay, and you can get into the water from the boat. There is no beach. These sites were beautiful however, the water was a little bit deep I think 5-6m which is not ideal for snorkelling. You still can see fishes and some nice corals. However, the variety and amount of corals is not as big as at other snorkeling sites that I have visited.
- Stop 3 Koh Racha Yai, again 50 minutes: This stop was great. A very beautiful, colourfol coral garden and the water was very shallow. Snorkelling was perfect here. One of the best snorkeling I have done arond Phuket. This site quite impressed me.
What is also worth to mention is that there are some informative cards / brochures on the boat about the type of corals, fishes,... you can see in this area. This was great as you also could learn some theory additionally to what you saw. The crew also did a great job in explaining things if you asked. Whats more, in the beginning they warned everyone to take care of the marine life, not to touch corals, and so on. I think this is very good as it is in all our interest that the corals are still there over the next decades.
Really enjoyed heading out on this tour. I'm a diver but chose to snorkel because I was with a non-diving friend, but still saw plenty of marine life. Dives one and three were in shallow water 2/3m with plenty of coral and small tropical fish, while the second dive went a bit deeper in search of manta rays and turtles which unfortunately we did not see, but some days are like that! The tour is run off a dive boat, so everyone on board, including the instructors, the crew and even most of the other divers and snorkelers are experienced and knowledgeable. It also means you spend the bulk of your time in the water, which I enjoyed considerably more than other tours where you get caught up visiting tourist traps. There wasn't a huge number of people diving, which made for a much better experience in and out of the water. Boat was very comfortable with plenty of food, drinks and places to sit and rest. Can absolutely recommend.
I enjoyed this trip, although it was not at all what I thought it would be. For one, I was fortunate enough to be paired with a scuba diver for pickup from my hotel. But if I had not, then I think I may have been left behind, because once I arrived at the pier, it was pure chaos. If it weren't for my hotel/shuttle buddy not having cell phone number of our guide, I don't think the guide would have spotted me, nor would I have known where to go. This trip, as the description mentions, really is you as a snorkeler being tacked on to a full day SCUBA DIVING trip. So if you are looking for some one on one snorkeling guidance, don't book this trip. I was one of three in total snorkelers, whereas the other at least 50 ppl on the boat were all scuba divers. This didn't bother me because I was perfectly fine being left to my own devices, but I think the description did say that as a snorkelers, I'd have access to a guide which I didn't because he ended up scuba diving the entire trip. However, everyone was super friendly, including the crew. One highlight that was unexpected for me was the food. You are served a full, and fairly hearty breakfast, there is coffee, tea, juice and water, along with delicious fresh fruit and snacks available throughout the day. But lunch was the star! The organizer Steven mentioned that on Sundays which was the day I booked my trip that the cooks make two Thai dishes. One was Thai papaya salad, and the other was minced chicken with basil I think, in addition to a thai soup. And for those who didn't want Thai, there was fried chicken and french fries. But the Thai options were deliciously seasoned and flavorful though the spice level was definitely toned down to accommodate all the tourists on the boat. Back to the snorkeling...the different places that we went to, they were pretty, and snorkeling in those areas were okay, but I think because it was meant overall for scuba diving, they probably weren't the best spots for snorkeling because the water was a bit deeper than I think is ideal to snorkel and see a lot of fish. But I did see some fish, and overall, it was pretty fun swimming around in the pretty blue water. So long story short, if you're good at self directing and making the most out of your day, then by all means book this tour. However, if you are the type who expects and/or needs a bit more hand holding, then you will probably not enjoy this trip as much.
I'd give this tour 5 stars but I was unable to dive, not the tour's fault but a medical condition I have so I can't comment on the dive component.
The staff were GREAT friendly helpful and always happy and smiling.
Take their advice, if you get anyway sea sick at all TAKE THE PILL :
Fortunately I do not get sea sick but a few others did.
As most reviews state, this is mostly a diving trip, but the snorkelling is certainly worth doing, as long as you don't mind that you'll mostly be on your own. Hotel transfer was quick and easy (but there was a 1200B surcharge from Phuket Town) and the staff were very professional. Great food too!
We were given a small but good selection for breakfast on board the Dolphin can't recall the last name. Tea,coffee, water, soft drinks, fruit were available all day. After about 1.5 hours cruising we arrived at Racha Noi where most of the passengers dived and a few of us snorkelled. The water was so clear and there were plenty of colourful fish to see. After everyone was back on board we had the option of morning tea which consisted of freshly baked muffins and banana cake. After a bit more cruising we had the option of a hot lunch while cruising to the next dive/snorkel location. After a while there we then cruised to Racha Yai for more diving/snorkelling. Once all on board afternoon tea was served. There were about 60 odd passengers and the dive teams were divided up into groups of about 3 or 4 each with their own dive instructor. Us snorkellers had 1 person supervising us. At all times safety was foremost on this tour. I can't recommend this high enough. All food and drinks mentioned were included as well as dive and snorkel equipment.