Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Reviewed April 2019
    Helen Plater

    You can be single and do the Maldives without feeling like the odd one out!

    From day one you are part of the Felicity family. From being welcomed on board and shown your surprisingly comfy cabin, to the last breakfast on board, you are looked after and made to feel so welcome, you will not want to leave. Captain Shafy, Guide Kamey And all the crew work tirelessly to get you the best wildlife experiences. Their knowledge of the Maldives and all its creatures is endless and no doubt why you get to see, and experience, so much.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Swimming for an hour and 10 minutes with Fernando the 8 metre long Whale Shark has to be the most inspirational part of my trip. Scuba diving after a 20 year break from it felt daunting until Captain Shafy took charge. His patience, confidence and expertise was inspiring. This too was an experience I’ll cherish.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader Kamey has very good English and navigates you through you Maldives experience with his laid back charm. Laid back, but hard working! On snorkelling trips he does his best to get everyone engaged in their surroundings. From identifying species to sorting your camera problems - he can do it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to be able to swim for this trip, and the fitter you are the more you will get out of it. Having said that there is plenty of opportunity for chilling out on deck with a good book. Surprisingly spacious, you can find your own space on the Felicity should you so desire some time to yourself. Don’t pack much. Rash vest, sunscreen, 2 lots of swimwear (one on, one drying), flip flops for shore excursions, sun glasses and hat are a must. If your thinking of getting a waterproof camera - do! It’s great fun and they will help you with it! If you don’t sleep on airplanes go a night early and stay in a hotel in Male to gather yourself before your trip (it’s well worth it).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You and your belongings are safe on board. There aren’t any safes but you don’t need one. I didn’t even lock my cabin door. The food on board was outstanding- you are left wondering how do they do that on a boat. There was a vegetarian and a celiac in our group and their food looked as good as, if not better than everyone else’s! Nothing was too much trouble. There are so many places to see in the world, but the Felicity in the Maldives will get another visit.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    JEAN WOOD

    SATISFACTION GUARANTEED: EVERY DAY IS EPIC.

    This was a magical ‘out of this world’ adventure that went way beyond my wildest dreams. Dive in - a spectacular tropical paradise awaits below and above the warm turquoise water. It was incredibly spine-tingling getting up unbelievably close to whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, eagle rays, dolphins, sharks and a vast array of stunning colourful fish. ‘MV Felicity’ was THE ideal way to have these unforgettable encounters with marine wildlife and ‘chill out’ at the same time. I can not recommend this more highly and it totally ‘recharged’ my batteries. Captain Shafi and crew were outstanding and from the moment I stepped aboard this gulet, I felt at home.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Swimming along beside ‘Fernando’, a magnificent 7.2m long whale shark.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    KAMEY is THE BEST, the finished article, the ‘real deal’. He is perfect in this role - going the 'extra mile’ at every opportunity to make this the trip of a lifetime for the entire group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Spend at least 1 night on deck gazing up at the stars and listening to the waves as you drift off. It is so therapeutic.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Betsie Webster

    Don't Think About It ...Do It !!

    Just stunning :0 One of the best holidays I have had and just what I needed to de-stress Wanting to visit the Maldives and travelling on my own this is a fabulous way of seeing it As soon as you step out of the airport ...there it is ! absolutely stunning turquoise sea !! You get transferred to the gullet via boat. Stepping on board kick your shoes off and RELAX :) My double room was a decent size as was the bathroom The rest of the group (5) were lovely and we got on well All of the staff were lovely and nothing was too much trouble The food was gorgeous and fresh and also plentiful !! You will not go hungry

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Inspirational ....all of it !! We managed to get an private showing of a whale shark after most of the other boats had gone :) Utterly mind blowing and blissful also the delight of watching the manta rays gliding around so elegantly. I have dived in the red sea and THIS knocks spots of it !! Some of the snorkels were like swimming through an aquarium and overall what we didn't see isn't worth mentioning quite a lot of it due to the leader Kamay and Shafy (Captain) and also Oubi pointing things out to us that we could of easily missed The two presentations were interesting and great to hear such work is being done to preserve the wildlife and the corals

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabulous !! I thought he was warm, professional, informative and funny. He clearly is passionate about what he does but with a relaxed attitude I'm envious of his office :) Overall everyone were friendly attentive and a total pleasure to be around Let's put it this way I didn't want to come home !!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It will help to be a reasonable swimmer and wearing a rash vest or UV suit is helpful to prevent from getting burnt also giving you a bit of warmth. Don't get me wrong the sea is warm but if your doing a drift snorkel you can still get chilly

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you want a holiday to kick back and relax this is the one for you The boat is a good size with plenty of covered space and uncovered for this who want to get that tan It is a great way to visit the Maldives at least our island (the boat) moved around to different places rather that being stuck on one island !! I would do it again in a heartbeat !!
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Russ Brimelow

    Spectacular wildlife, wonderful crew and great fun group

    What a week! Everything you might wish for and more. We spent time with whale sharks, mantas, stingrays, turtles, and all reef life. Also had a great laugh in a beautiful place - lovely group who looked after each other, crew were attentive and focussed on all the details of wildlife spotting and safety. A big bonus for me was the diving. Shafi was truly superb as dive leader (and ships captain). Did 4 memorable dives with him.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many. Swimming with the whale sharks, the pirouetting of the mantas, following turtles across the reefs, floating above 15 to 20 sting rays, laughing all through dinner, breakfast with the sunrise etc etc

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kamey was a great guide and combined great knowledge with an easy and supportive manner. He pointed out countless sights on the reefs we would not have spotted while quietly supporting the lesser swimmers. Shafi was a great captain and dive leader. He has a sunny personality and huge skill and experience in all of his roles in managing the boat. He has done 4,500 dives and is completely first class at managing a relatively novice diver like me.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Rash vest and go pro/tough camera are musts! Bring loads of sun cream. A travel towel was great as an addition to my bed sheet as the air con is efficient. Bring your favourite shampoo, conditioner and shower gel as only hand soap provided. Also - let the crew tell you what the best opportunities are on each day rather than hark back to the itinerary. You will see more and better wildlife that way! And maybe have a party night too!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A big thank you to the crew and the local guides at Secret Paradise. It was an amazing week that I am certain we all enjoyed very much.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Jean Bonham

    Marine Wildlife of the Maldives

    We boarded our boat, Felicity, and set off almost straight away for a lovely trip around the islands of the Maldives. They say it is a romantic place and it is but it is also very suitable for any occasion for friends or even singles. There were 11 of us, 5 singles and 3 couples, mostly British. I would definitely recommend doing the Maldives on a boat, as you get to see different islands and you are not just stuck on one island. There are only 7 double cabins so 14 is maximum.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We were able to go a long way in search of the whale shark and manta rays and they took us to where they were. The sea was so warm to swim in so you don't need a wetsuit but be careful to put plenty of SPF on the backs of your legs and your back or wear a rash vest. Snorkel gear is provided and it was of good quality AND one of the crew cleans it for you and makes it so the mask doesn't fog up. I've only ever had to it myself before so that was a real luxury. All the crew are very helpful in every way.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader spoke perfect English and was very passionate and helpful in every way. He asked the question that we were strong swimmers and there was one lady who said no so he kept her by his side the whole time, and let her hang on to a ring which gave her more confidence. He took us to all the sites where we would get good snorkelling, see beautiful fish and we also had another crew member with us in case anyone got into trouble. All the crew couldn't have done more to make my holiday perfect and safe. I felt perfectly safe with all of them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are worried about boats/seasickness then this probably isn't for you. The food on the boat was very good if a bit basic and they catered for a lot of fussy eaters (vegetarians etc). Most of the food is fish/rice based. I put on 5lbs in a week so there is always plenty of food, so much so we felt guilty because there was always a lot that went back, hopefully the crew ate well too. Also lots of fruit which was good, nice fruit too, mangos, papaya, pineapple, bananas etc as well as oranges and apples. There was nothing the cook wouldn't do for the fussy eaters.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The configuration of the boat was superb, outdoor (under cover) eating for every meal. The cabins were much bigger than I expected with different type beds, I guess you just ask if you want a double or singles etc. One thing I was disappointed though was that although it is a yacht, they have no sails so everything is under power of the engine. So don't expect to go for a lovely sail. Also, I found when I got there that there was no safe in my cabin so I asked the group leader. He said everything is quite safe and I actually put my money and passport in my suitcase and it was fine. Anything else left out was also quite safe, no one touched anything that didn't belong to them. That was quite refreshing.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Keith McKenzie

    Marvellous Maldives

    Great variety of marine life to experience. Turkish Gullet was an experience - not luxurious but more character than a modern boat. Excellent food. Knowledgeable and trustworthy crew. Snorkelling at 7:30 each morning before breakfast - very refreshing !!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Swimming above eleven manta rays and watching a turtle feed up close. Sleeping on deck undermeath the stars. Eating freshly caught fish. Enjoying different reefs every day thus seeing something different each day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kamay ( nickname Angabaddy - ask him what it means ) was very knowledgeable about the marine life, the environment and local politics and could even get the footy results on his phone as there's no wifi available. Moreover, as my wife is not a strong swimmer, he kept her beside him using the life ring which allowed me to relax more during the snorkelling. Plus the Captain brought up the rear to check we didn't lose anyone and the Dhoni was always available if anyone needed to get out the water. Can't praise Kamay and the all the crew highly enough including the chef (marvellous food and catered for vegetarians) and Eddy the barman.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take your own hair shampoo / conditioner / shower gel as it's not supplied. Take insect repellent as only on the last night, mooring near Male, our legs were covered totally in bites. The other nights were fine. You don't need to take a towel - plenty available. We bought full face masks with attached snorkels but had to switch to standard mask and separate snorkel ( supplied by Kamay) as we couldn't breathe properly - left the masks with Kamay for kids to play with in rock pools. All in one swimsuit is a good idea or rash vest, otherwise cover exposed areas with sunscream - very hot and easy to get burnt. AC is very loud and used with the fan can be a bit of a pain. Take a light blanket in case you need it at night.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The whale sharks are generally young adults of about 15 years old and 5 meters in length ( I thought they would be bigger) and for us were difficult to find. In fact we only saw one once in two days. We then had the choice of staying to try again or moving on and being able to experience a Maldivian feast and music / dance. We all chose the latter and had great fun at no extra cost. The cabins are reasonable though some found the beds a bit hard and on our side of the boat, the toilets were sometimes rather smelly ( no paper of any sort to go down the loo as it clogs the system!) No shoes to be worn on deck - bare feet all the time. Don't overpack - we took three times the amount of clothing and hardly used any of it!!
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Philippa .

    An absolutely fabulous trip

    I had a fantastic time on this trip. The boat crew is great. Whether it's serving your meal, helping you on and off the boat, or taking your hand in the water to show you whatever's been spotted, every member takes their role very seriously and strives to ensure that they give you the best experience possible. The ship's captain accompanied me on a dive and filmed it on his own camera. He then presented me with the disk on the last day, which was so thoughtful and unexpected. The amount of fish, sharks, mammals etc to see is vast and the colours are amazing. I swam with a whale shark called Fernando, who is 22ft. I also saw huge manta rays and lots of sharks.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The members of the crew who accompanied us in the water during snorkelling trips took the time to teach me how to dive down to get closer to whatever was there. Not being a particularly confident swimmer, this was great and I was soon practicing with confidence.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kamey, the tour leader on my trip, is so knowledgeable and his passion for marine wildlife is tremendous and he is very respectful of it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I agree with the previous reviewer regarding the amount of other holiday makers and boats scrambling to get to the whale shark. My first experience was great as it was with just my fellow Exodus group but the second day was not enjoyable due to the sheer amount of people in the water. However, I would urge anyone considering this trip not to let this put you off as the Maldives has so much more to offer.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This holiday has piqued my interest in cruises of this type and I'm already looking at the Exodus site for something similar for next year.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Mary Purnell

    Mantas, extreme weather and good company

    The prospect of sighting whale sharks was the big attraction for this trip, along with plentiful snorkelling opportunities. The MV Felicity has great character and a wonderful crew who couldn't do enough for their guests. We had a lovely group of people and who got along famously from day 1. Snorkelling was well organised and well led by guide Kamey and our multi-talented Captain. However the whale shark experience was a huge disappointment, not because the crew didn't do their best to get us an encounter, but because the whole thing in the Maldives appears unregulated with scant regard for the welfare of the creatures. As soon as a whale shark was spotted, boats sped up from all directions dropping snorkellers and divers in the water. There are no speed restrictions in force, and no limits on numbers and we were surprised to find scuba in use around the whale sharks. We had a talk from someone from the whale shark research project on the boat, which set out guidelines for encounters, but these seemed to be disregarded by many of the boats in the area.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkelling with manta rays over the reef early one morning. The crew worked really hard to get us in the right spot and I got some lovely photos

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kamey worked really hard to get us the best snorkelling despite the adverse weather conditions, and was very knowledgeable and helpful

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I would hesitate to recommend this trip to anyone who wants a whale shark encounter, and come away feeling that the dignity and well-being of the creatures has been respected.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Larry Meyers

    Leisure at its finest

    If you like small ships, great food and spending time in and on the water than this is a great trip. Keep in mind that this is a snorkeling trip with a lot of leisure time built in. Be prepared to sit back, read and chat with your fellow travelers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There is no doubt that swimming with a variety of sea life in warm waters is why one comes to the Maldives. Throw in some great sunrises and sunsets, remote and not so remote islands and a few storms and you have a nice variety. These islands are unique in of themselves and alone worth the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A good group leader is someone who knows what they are doing, leads and makes sure everyone is enjoying themselves. My fellow travelers summed it up well--Kamey is a genuinely nice person who likes to have fun and wants others to have fun as well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Our departure was the inaugural Marine Wildlife of the Maldives excursion. We were fortunate to have an Exodus representative on the trip and the updated trip notes will cover some of my points. To be clear, the focus of this trip is snorkeling and not diving. There was only one day, Thursday, that diving was a true option. I arrived on the island early and did my diving with the local operator for our trip, Secret Paradise. I had some excellent dives and saw some great sea life. Gear--while the gear on the MV Felicity was very good it is always best to bring your own mask and snorkel to insure no surprises. I brought a shorty but didn't need it. There is no need to bring any towels. What you do need is plenty of good waterproof sunscreen--suggest SP 50. A rash vest with a good SP factor is also a must. For those of you with thin hair on top you should bring a swimming hat. The underside of your arms, tops of your feet and the back of your legs should be given special attention. The MV Felicity has teak decks which means no shoes can be worn while on board. Some boats allow for non slip socks which you might inquire about. I also brought my own bar of soap and liquid laundry soap. Reading material is a must for this trip. There is plenty of leisure time on board. I brought binoculars but never used them. Our captain was kind enough to turn on his Wifi for a few of hours in the evening on a couple of nights. Beer cost 3 dollars US and I believe a bottle of wine went for 22 US. You record how much you drank and settle up at the end.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As my fellow travelers stated--it is a great trip in all aspects.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Gillian Wright-Dixon

    Excellent Trip

    The Maldives is known as paradise to some, others probably wouldn't even consider this part of the world. This trip exceeded my expectations in more ways than one and if your looking to do something different, then give this a go. I have previously done walking/hiking trips or discovery trips and didn't think a boat trip would be exciting enough. I was wrong. I never considered the Maldives previously as a must see destination, and had an image in my head that said "it looks like a boring place to visit with not much to do". I decided to book this trip due to my "give it a go" attitude, and it has been one of my favourite trips I have done that I would go back and do it all again. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone that likes wildlife, great food and good company. The corals and reefs were so vividly clear to see and colourful. The amount of marine wildlife was staggering.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I had the privilege to snorkel with some of the most beautiful biodiverse creatures in the world including whale sharks, manta rays and sea turtles which were each awe inspiring and magical. I also had the pleasure of scuba diving for the first time in my life which is an experience I will never forget.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kamey was a good leader and certainly knew a lot of information about the areas we visited. He enjoyed having fun with the group and worked well with the ships crew to ensure all needs were met. Kamey is a confident swimmer, snorkeler and diver, so you are in safe hands!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The Felicity has a generator that runs throughout the day and night, if you are a light sleeper or if noise disrupts your sleep then I would advise ear plugs for this trip. Plugs in the cabins are English (or at least it was in my cabin). Snorkel equipment and fins are provided so you don't necessarily need to purchase your own. Some of the group were cold at night due to the air conditioning/fan, therefore it might be worth packing a blanket. Alternatively you can turn the air con or fan off. Beach towels and bathroom towels are provided. Beware of stormy weather - its tropical and it happens! The sun is very strong in the Maldives, take a t-shirt to swim in. I ended up wearing more clothes swimming than when I was on the boat! Take a spare pair of socks - if your fins start to rub your toes (like mine did) just snorkel with socks on :) Underwater camera is a must if you wish to take unforgettable shots! Factor 50 sun cream is recommended but its up to you. I used 30 and crisped up too much and too easily. You need to be confident in the water. You are not swimming in a milk pond, there are currents and you can spend a couple of hours in the water at a time. The water is warm day and night, even in rain. Evenings are warm and pleasant I was unsure if I would need a wrap in case the temperature dropped. It didn't drop much and was nice after a hot day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Loved the trip, loved the group, loved the food. Will return in the future.
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