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Clipper Odyssey-Zegrahm Expeditions

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May 16th, 2004, 11:41 AM
  #1
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Clipper Odyssey-Zegrahm Expeditions

My husband and I are booked on the Clipper Odyssey for their Circumnavigation of New Guinea cruise in March, 2005. We'd like to hear from anyone who has been on this ship and who has used Zegrahm Expeditions.
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May 16th, 2004, 12:12 PM
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Jacquie - you will love the ship. I cruised on it last November and am booked for another trip this September - both in the South Pacific. Have never used Zegrahm. I booked both cruises directly through Clipper.
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May 18th, 2004, 02:33 PM
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Zegrahm Expeditions is a great company. We recently returned from a trip with them to the Seychelles and Madagascar. You will be very pleased with Zegrahm, and will receive more than you expect. They are really a class outfit!
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May 19th, 2004, 11:27 AM
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MMSF
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I'm looking at the same itenary around PNG. The rooms seem very small, and the balcony rooms are VERY expensive. Was it a problem for a long trip?
 
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May 19th, 2004, 03:05 PM
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My wife and I sailed on Clipper Odyssey last year along the Great Barrier Reef, PNG and Northern Australia. We are not cruise enthuiasts but had a very enjoyable time. We booked directly through Clipper. The on-board excursion staff were quite knowledge, and the crew and room staff were friendly and helpful. Can't comment on the non-balcony rooms but there's so much to do with the daily excursions, briefings and other activities we were hardly spent anytime in our room except to sleep. We especially liked the "open bridge" policy - it was fascinating to watch the Captain and Senior Officers operate the ship and they would often take lots of time to explain the navigation charts and other systems to us onlookers. It's a well run ship.
 
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May 20th, 2004, 08:23 AM
  #6
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We are avid snorkelers. How is snorkeling on this itenary around PNG? Did you snorkel everyday? Is it as good as Komodo and east of Bali?
 
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May 21st, 2004, 09:33 AM
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Also does anyone have any experience with World Explorer? It sounds like a very close competiter of the Clipper Odyssey. About the same itenary and service, and the same price range, and the activities seem to be very similar. I'm wondering which I should take.
 
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Sep 4th, 2009, 01:28 PM
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We are considering going on Zegrahm's Clipper Odyssey in March 2010 from Komodo to Bali with stops at Bunaken, Monado, Tiger Island, Baggai and others. How well do they handle the snorkeling for avid snorkelers? We do not like going on top of a reef with 15 plus other folks and kicking fellow guests. Groups of 6-10 with guide are the best for us.
If anyone has gone in the past 2 years in Indonesia how was the on-board dining, service and the condition of the cabins since it has been quite a while, it seems, since a major re-furbishment? Are the public areas pleasant and is the pool larger than a big hot tub?
Thanks.
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Sep 4th, 2009, 02:03 PM
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I am probably the wrong person to give you an unbiased opinion. I love the Clipper Odyssey and have my 7th cruise coming up in November. Everything was fine the last time I was aboard which was in May of 2008 so can't give you anything up-to-date. At that time I did the cruise from New Guinea to Yap and Palau.

The year before I cruised almost the same trip that you are considering. For that trip the ship went from Brunei to Bali. Do not miss the trip to Toraja on the island of Sulawesi - it is an amazing experience (for me anyway). We did do an unexpected stop at a small island called Kakaban in the Celebes Sea where there was a lake full of jellyfish. It is just a short walk from the beach and we snorkeled - similar but not as spectacular as Palau.

As to the snorkeling, I like to snorkel at my own pace. I guess you would call it more like floating around. The groups completely turn me off. You will find great snorkeling - some of the best I have seen. Great fish and coral but, not too many larger fish.

We visited an orangutan preserve at Sepilok, Sumbawa, Tiger Island, Sulawesi, Tarakan, Sandaka and Kota Kimabalu.

November will be my third trip with Zegrahm from Tahiti to Fiji. Have been to both before but not the islands in between. I expect ahead of time for the snorkeling to not be as spectacular. Zegrahm has been great to travel with and I am sure you will have no complaints. The food is great and the pool is small. Please feel free to ask if you have any more questions.
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Sep 5th, 2009, 09:05 AM
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Hello again, StanKase. I just came upon this - the ship was drydocked November,2008 for work including interior upgrades.
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Sep 12th, 2009, 07:21 AM
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I am glad to hear all the positive comments.The trip we are considering has 7 stops where snorkeling and diving is available.Yes, of 13 stops that is a lot but that is what drew us to Zeghram vs. Orion. If groups go off to reef spots in Zodiacs do they take10-15 guests thereby making it a little less serene. My wife and I like Louise like to be in groups of 6-8 so that we are not hitting other folks flippers but the guide is astute enough not to let us go to far afield, which I tend to do. I always think I will find the a new species of fish behind the next bank of coral heads.As for the land destinations would you classify the sightseeing as walking a mile or so in a direction or hiking? I understand that there is a "Zeghram Club" that go on many trips and receive sizeable discounts and perks that first time travelers do not. We are social but are a "little" concerned about being in the minority though we have traveled through Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas but it has most often been on our own with guides vs. cruises though we did take a Windstar Cruise years back.Can anyone help us understand if we may be over-sensitive on this issue?I fully understand if repeat travelers receiving a ~10% discount but I have heard stories, and they may be just that, that are far more generous.
As for cabin size the chart indicates the balcony and non-bacony rooms themselves are 185sq.ft. We are considering both at this time. Not to beat this to death but for those familar with the Zagat dining ratings which I question, even though I rate, would you say the dinner meals would receive a 20-22 for food and service? Thanks very..very much for any additional input.
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Sep 12th, 2009, 08:41 AM
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I will try and answer a few more of your questions. Yes, the passengers are usually very well traveled. I thought I was but not compared with others. But, everyone is on the ship with a common spirit of adventure and it is real "bonding" experience. I have never encountered the same person.

As to hiking or sightseeing, there are always activities geared to different abilities so you may make a choice. I cannot help you with the food question. There is a choice of 4 main dishes for lunch and dinner. In fact, you may have more than one if you wish or half of one and half of another. I have always thought the meals were great but I am certainly not an expert - someone else will have to help you with that.

The only discount I have ever received from Zegrahm is a $1,000 coupon as a previous customer to use on specific cruises. I have never heard of them giving any deep discounts. If you go to www.expeditiontrips.com and become a member some of the trips offer a 10% discount. I don't see yours listed right now but it may come up in the near future. When Intrav operated the ship a few years ago great discounts were frequent. Also, the ship is leased out at some times to companies like A&K and they at times offer deep discounts. Don't know whether they are leasing next year though.

As to the snorkeling, I only recall one person explaining things in the water. Just too much confusion for me with all the other snorkelers. All the zodiacs will be moving around a short distance away keeping an eye on everyone. And, you are given specific signals to make if you are having a problem. So, I have always feel comfortable not staying with a group. Hope this helps some and that you get some other answers.
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Sep 12th, 2009, 03:43 PM
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Louise: That really helps. The deep discounts may well have have been with A&K. If I can ask just few more questions. Is there a guide in the water to pointout interesting fish ir anenomes that many miss? On land can you generally have a very worthwhile experience without having to hike.? I realize it depends to some extend on the place, but in general if you can walk a mile or two.
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Sep 12th, 2009, 04:35 PM
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Yes, there is a guide in the water but that is where the congestion occurs. Sometimes there have been two. Because the mix of passengers has some that aren't really very mobile, the hikes are really varied. There is always an expert on birds and the "birdwatchers" go off hiking on their own but there are other long and short hikes. Depends on where you stop too as some places don't have good hiking.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 08:34 AM
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Louise; When you say there are guudes in the water I am not concerned as much for safety for we have thesenavy CO2 inflatable vests but to point out asay a 7-8 lb. lobster. I realize I can decide to not rush over to avoid the "ant in the water" feeling. is that what you mean. Also in an areas where a zodiac takes a group of guests is the group 10 ++ or 56-8. I know I asked this before but either I did not understand the response or it was not answered. If they take 12-15 in a zodiac that is not my style unless 2 guides are in the water and each takes 8 to one part of a reef and then they switch for not everything is in one area, of course.
Also, how long on average is the Zodiac out for a snorkel trip. I enjoy going for about 90 minutes to 2 different spots and back to the ship. If the port is primarily for underwater pleasure I might want to do one outing in the morning (best is 8-9AM before sun is intense and fish still are up nearer the surface) and then at 4 for again the sun is less intense and the fish come back up. I assume they locate reef spots in 10-20 ft. depths for ideal visibility? I think that is about all except....
By chance do you know anything about Central Java for we are thinking about a 4 day land trip there after we disembark in Bali considering it is only a 1 hr. non-stop flight away?
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Sep 13th, 2009, 09:37 AM
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Sometimes I explain things and think I am being clear but maybe not in the snorkeling case. When I said all the zodiacs are close by I didn't mean each one stays with a particular group - the zodiacs will move around to keep an eye on everyone. To bring all passengers out they have to make multiple trips and some are going back and forth to the ship for a while. So, it doesn't make any difference how many are in a zodiac. The guide or guides in the water are strictly to point things out and that is where the congestion occurs. Once you are deposited in the area you can move off by yourself or join the group with the guide. The zodiacs will leave passengers off in the same general area and pick you up whenever you wish. Sometimes, there is a choice of doing a land excursion or snorkling. I don't remember ever going out early before breakfast is over.

What happens quite frequently is the crew will go out on a zodiac and inspect an area to see if it is worthwhile. If not, you may move on to another location. As to depth, it varies. The most unusual place I ever snorkeled was Palau where we snorkeled beside a very shallow reef which dropped off into oblivion. I don't wear any flotation equipment and that is the only place I have ever felt a little nervous. I had to swim out over nothingness to get back on the zodiac because waves were breaking on the reef and it couldn't come close. Snorkeling along the wall was absolutely fantastic.

The time you are in the water is up to the individual - if a person has had enough the zodiac will pick them up and take them back to the ship if possible or they may wait in the zodiac. Snorkling is scheduled so you will have to go according to the day's program.

Sorry, I have not been to Java. Hope I covered everything.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 10:24 AM
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Loiuse; I thought I would catch it before you responded to my last question. This one about the travelers. We are retirees on fixed incomes with IRA's that as many are still down about 28% from 11 months ago and will not come back most likely for 18-24 months to the same place. The IRS categorizes us as upper middle income but no more now that our careers are over. We are not into owning 50ft. sial boats or spending winters in "Palm Beach" though there is a nice house for sale there right now, we like going to the Caribbean and shy away from places like Cap juluca and rather be at caneel Bay or Little Dix or the Four seasons-Nevis (Closed now but opening agin in dec.) or the Mauna Kea on Hawaii. We do not order $100 bottles of wine but are fine with $45-$50 bottles despite the fact you can buy them in the store for $15-$18 but the restaurant marks them up 3 times. We dine out for $75-$100 for the 2 of us once maybe twice a week but if twice the second time is a local $40 tab. We have spend several hundred thousand in 42 years of marriage on vacations I would guess but you will not see many clothes with country club labels all over them etc. we do not have $2000 cameras around our next either. A $300 point and shoot works just fine.
THAT IS US in 200 words. Based on your several trips with this organization will we be comfortable with the guests in general?? This so important. THANKS
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Sep 13th, 2009, 10:55 AM
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You will be perfect. I mentioned before everyone is there in the spirit of adventure and it is a real "bonding" experience. I am retired also and hit by the market slump. I guarantee you will not be able to distinguish one person from another. Most are retired or close to with not very many younger people. I have made so many good friends on board. You won't have any problem at all for sure.
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Sep 13th, 2009, 07:15 PM
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Loiuse; Thanks so very..very much. But can you believe my wife Linda asked me a question that I think you can answer. On Asian Zegrahm trips where the days' destination was not to see underwater pleasures I assume after breakfast groups went via zodiacs to land for sightseeing. Were these trips generally 1, 2 or 3 hours in length? After a leisurely lunch I realize guests to stay on the Clipper but if not did they retirn to the island stop and basically do a si,ilar but different 1 or 2 or 3 hour walk or hikes based upon an individuals abilities to walk or hike. She is asking for in the Galapogos Islands we went on to land from 9-12 then again from 2-4 or so on each island and after 4 or 5 islands ( we were on a 7 night trip) there were just so many different colored legged booby birds it really got boring at least for us as well as hot though we went in April 1997.Is my question coming through all my gibberish?
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Sep 14th, 2009, 07:38 AM
  #20
 
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Hello, Stan - a thought just occurred to me about the amount of snorkling opportunities on the cruise. Do you have a brochure to look at or have you checked the itinerary on the Zegrahm website? Also, go to Field Reports in the bar and for 2007 check the trip I was on - "Islands of Diversity" Brunei to Bali which is similar. There might not be enough snorkling excursions for what you want and you should consider that sometimes water or weather conditions might not permit snorkling in a particular area.

The cruise I am going on in November - "Hidden Gems of the South Pacific" - I selected in part because there are 8 snorkling opportunities. Looking quickly through your itinerary there appears to be only 4 snorkling excursions. Will this make you happy?

You should be able to tell by looking at the daily schedule what is going to happen that day and figure out the approximate time involved for each activity. Hope this helps.
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