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Bad NYE Cruise experience - MV Walsh Bay

Cork, Ireland
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Bad NYE Cruise experience - MV Walsh Bay

I was onboard the MV Walsh Bay for a NYE Cruise this year with my elderly parents. It was booked through Sail Australia. It was an awful night, so badly run, unprofessional staff, filthy boat and toilets, extremely rude customer service when I later complained to company owner.

Has anyone else had the same experience with this company with any satisfaction???

I cant stress enough to everyone to stay well away as it was a disgrace! I've never come across anything so unacceptable and unprofessional!

We paid $250 each for this cruise (which I understand is cheap for a cruise but its still a lot of money) When I contacted the owner I felt it was completely rude when they replied saying we may have been more suited on a "Black Tie" style event. This was absurd, just because we expected a clean environment with professional staff doesn't mean we wanted anything fancy.

When I booked I asked would it be an appropriate cruise for my elderly parents, and I was told that this was a "family'' cruise, well it certainly was not. Party goers on the boat were friends with the woman behind the bar, and they took control of the stereo system and blared it when they felt like it, there was also an older couple who continuously went into the toilet cubicle together (which turned us off using the toilet for the rest of the night). I told a staff member about this on board but it kept happening. The toilets were blocked also.

The hole night was a mess, Id advise people to stay clear of this company as they lie on their ads, and have terrible customer service skills.

Melbourne, Australia
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for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
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1. Re: Bad NYE Cruise experience - MV Walsh Bay

Well it certainly sounds like a horrible night. Thank you for taking the time to write, it will be a point of reference for future NYE events in Sydney.

Just out of curiosity, did you post any questions for recommendations prior to you using them? In my observation, the great majority of recommendations and discussion about NYE in Sydney, is about vantage points, hotels, restaurants and parties. Only a very small percentage of enquiries (in comparison) is specifically about NYE cruises.

Edited: 06 January 2014, 05:28
Cork, Ireland
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2. Re: Bad NYE Cruise experience - MV Walsh Bay

Not really to be honest because I dealt with the company via email in detail, and I asked so many questions I thought I had everything covered and it all sounded perfect. Don't get me wrong, the view of the fireworks were brilliant, it was just the conditions of the boat, the antics of the other partygoers, the staff etc that were awful.

If it was just myself and my Fiance there I would probably get over it, buts its the fact that my elderly parents were there, and I emphasised before booking that I needed reassurance that this would not be a party boat, I was told it was a ''family'' cruise, and it was anything but that. They were so excited for that night, and while they still enjoyed the view for the 10minutes of the fireworks, they other few hours on the cruise were completely unbearable. It put a downer on the whole night and that's so disappointing.

Melbourne, Australia
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for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
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3. Re: Bad NYE Cruise experience - MV Walsh Bay

Of course, it's perfectly understandable.

I actually had a purpose in asking you that question, and whilst it's of little consolation, it may serve a very long term 'awareness' for your future travels around the world.

The point being - MV Walsh Bay is a charter boat, NOT a cruise company. You'll notice they advertise themselves on almost every available cruise website. They are independent operators, who contract whatever catering required to sell their services. So it's not like they operate on anybody's expected standard, they simply operate for themselves. And the inherent danger with what transpired in your situation, was that you received 'Sales' information from a third party, who are only selling tickets to receive commission, not selling their 'own' product.

The very same applies to booking airlines and hotels. The risks and inaccuracies involved, is always higher when coming from a middleman, rather than direct from the source. In addition, it also is a good idea to get a locals perspective prior to booking expensive services.

Again, sorry to hear of the experience for your parents, and hope you can bring them back to Sydney for a different and better experience next time.

Edited: 06 January 2014, 05:56
London, England
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4. Re: Bad NYE Cruise experience - MV Walsh Bay

We too were on a NYE dinner cruise and ours seems to have worked out much better. It was a private charter on a Captain Cook ship (John Cadman 3) and I believe was chartered by the UK sports travel company we travelled with for the test cricket at SCG: it seemed to be only Brits on board. We paid nearly double what the OP paid but got a memorable evening on a ship that wasn't overcrowded. There was a free bar all evening and although much was consumed, there were no instances of bad behaviour. The buffet dinner was quite OK but not spectacular, although we weren't expecting a gourmet dinner.

We were in the circulating procession of boats all night and had a good view of the various fireworks, albeit quite a way from the bridge at midnight, presumably because we were one of the larger ships in the bay. I guess that the moral of the story is that you really do get what you pay for. We had the security of a charter researched and booked by the good UK sports organiser. It was a lot of money but it was the "experience" of the NYE evening in Sydney that was the main point as it is unlikely that we will ever be in Sydney for NYE again, so we wanted to make it a special night. If we had been in the situation of the OP, we also would have been booking "blind" and you never really know what to expect. The TA comment about having researched the options beforehand is well made, but we have all made mistakes. This was an expensive one for the OP but at least they all got off the boat safely! Sounds as though Sail Australia is one to avoid. Better luck next time and our sympathies for a spoilt evening.

Brisbane, Australia
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5. Re: Bad NYE Cruise experience - MV Walsh Bay

Sorry to hear of your experience ... sounds awful, unless you're on a bucks night. This is the reason I hate these things ... not only are you having a terrible time but you can't even leave ... you are stuck there.

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Bad NYE Cruise experience - MV Walsh Bay

Bingo.

There's the difference I was referring to.

Captain Cook is a recognized local cruise company - albeit it being chartered, but chartered from a cruise company. So the product has 'some' sort of adherence to a company standard.

I'm totally with able, the 'get stuck' factor is deal breaker for me also.

Edited: 06 January 2014, 06:14
Sydney
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7. Re: Bad NYE Cruise experience - MV Walsh Bay

Hmm I'm not sure there is a such thing as a "family cruise" at $250 per head!!! Don't know many families who would pay that! (The rich ones have their own boat/harbourside residence)

It is such a shame though.

Technically you do have legal options as the service you received was clearly not "fit for purpose" or as described. Probably not very practical as you are from Ireland! What I would suggest is writing a formal 1 page letter of demand threatening to take them to the CTTT unless that give you a full refund.

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: Bad NYE Cruise experience - MV Walsh Bay

I'm sorry to hear you had a bad time ... I certainly would not have wanted to be on a party cruise if I expected something else ... and to put up with unclean toilets .. yuk!!

I've never heard of a cruise on NYE for $250 per head so straight away when I read that I thought "oh oh" ... most are more than double that from what I've read of other posters on this forum.

I would be surprised if you had much recourse under the circumstances as it sounds like someone has hired the boat for the night to earn a few dollars and they may not be a legit company and without the name of the company / owner / ABN, there would be little the Dept of Fair Trading can do. In this instance, you got the cruise but didn't like it.

Last year the Dept of Fair Trading put up a warning about one company who promised a NYE cruise but failed to deliver. I've just checked their home page and can't see any references to scams etc involving a NYE cruise operator for 2013/14.

Sydney/Melbourne
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9. Re: Bad NYE Cruise experience - MV Walsh Bay

So sorry that you had a memorable night for all the wrong reasons.

Unfortunately, I think you'll have to put it down to a bad experience and put it behind you. Looking at their website, they promised >>6 Hour cruise on Sydney Harbour, Quality Boat - Two Levels,Two Open Decks,BYO Food,Cash Bar For Spirits, Beers,Wines, and Soft Drinks,Our Boat Is Fully Licensed with a Well Stocked Bar, Enjoy a Drink While We Cruise, 9pm Fireworks - 12pm Fireworks,Decorated For NYE<< and as far as you have informed us, these things were all provided as advertised. I doubt you would get much joy in trying to get your money back. In essence, you got what you paid for.

The repeated reference to alcohol consumption on the web page and the fact that the website is for Party Cruises would probably have rung my alarm bells but perhaps I'm just naturally cautious.

Hope you enjoyed the magnificent fireworks display and in time will remember only the good bits.

It would be good if posts like this were placed under the NYE sticky so that next year when people start asking 'which party boat should I book on?', this post can be referenced. There's too little feedback on this subject, so hopefully the good that comes from this post will be that others who come after you are better informed.

Edited: 06 January 2014, 22:38
Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
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10. Re: Bad NYE Cruise experience - MV Walsh Bay

Thanks for the feedback as its important to us to be aware of any disappointments visitors have experienced on NYE cruise's so we are slightly knowledgeable regarding recommending cruise boats. At least now we can point other visitors to your informative link on MV Walsh Bay.

Personally if you have asked here on TA first about the boat I'm sure we would have all said be careful as $250 is an absolutely bargain price...

I do hope you still enjoyed NYE it's a pity that you had a terrible experience & thanks again for sharing your experience.