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Doubtful Sound Overnight - Small Boats

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Reno, NV
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29 posts
2 reviews
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Doubtful Sound Overnight - Small Boats

Thanks for all the advice and assistance provided on this Forum.

I have a question about the smaller companies that do overnight tours on the Doubtful Sound.

Previous posts have indicated that Deep Cove Charters, Fiordland Cruises, Fiordland Expeditions all do smaller boat overnighters on the Doubtful Sound with the number of passangers somewhere between 8 - 12.

I have checked out their websites. But also tried to find some reviews of these smaller operators without luck. Can anyone who reads this forum comment on any of these providers.

Initially I was looking at Real Journeys, but their boat takes 70 people, I like the idea of a smaller boat, but have some concerns about whether or not they are professionally operated and provide a quality experience.

So I am looking for some reassurance from someone who has been on one of these smaller boats, etc.



New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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28,297 posts
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1. Re: Doubtful Sound Overnight - Small Boats

Hi Michelle

I've had a friend do an overnight with Fiordland Cruises and she absolutely loved it. FC has 4(?) twin rooms with everyone sharing 1 loo and 1 shower.

F Expeditions has everyone sleeping in one bunkroom, shared facilities.

Deep CoveCharter has, I think, a variety of doubles, twins, bunkroom with 2 sowers, 2 loos.

Many opt to go with Real Journeys because they want their private ensuite bathroom.

The fact that there is no feedback on TA could possibly be seen as a positive sign. As we know, bad news travels fast and I'm sure if anyone had encountered less than perfect service it would have been posted.

I know it's a hard decision to make, but if you go on one of the small boats, please kindly post a review. Have a great cruise :)

Te Anau
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for South Island, Te Anau
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2. Re: Doubtful Sound Overnight - Small Boats

I haven't done any of the small boat overnighters, however I do know most of the operators, and I assure you they are all profesionals, and all the vessels are Marine Department certified.

Esensially this is a trade off, between a larger vessel with en suite cabins & plenty of room to move around, and a smaller boat with shared facilities, and more chance to interact with the crew, and probably a more personal experience.

Whatever you choose you will not be dissapointed. Doubtful Sound is absolutely beautiful.

Destination Expert
for Madison
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934 posts
23 reviews
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3. Re: Doubtful Sound Overnight - Small Boats

If you like to fish, Deep Cove is a great choice. Chris and Diane are professional but very Kiwi too. They have a cozy set-up that we enjoyed very much.

We shared our trip with two other couples whom we had never met before, and we all got along famously in close quarters. It was the best part of a truly fantastic trip, all around.

It is difficult coming from the States to overcome your fear of being ripped off. I can assure you that we ran into no shady operators anywhere in NZ, thanks to a lot of reading on this site and in guidebooks.

They are few and far between in New Zealand, and easily avoided. Let down your guard a little, and have a great trip. You will not be disappointed!

Reno, NV
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29 posts
2 reviews
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4. Re: Doubtful Sound Overnight - Small Boats

Thanks for all the responses. To be clear, I wasn't so concerned with paying for something and being ripped off as having an overnight trip that was very akward and uncomfortable.

So saying that, I do appreciate your responses.

Follow-up question for Kimbobb - we are not really into fishing and are going out to Doubtful Sound just to enjoy the scenery and have a few drinks in the middle of now-where, to experience the silence (I am sure we will fish, but that is not the purpose of the trip). I was looking at Deep Cove Charters and I have a questions as to whether the layout of their boat is conducive to non-activity. It seems like it may not have as many places to sit outsite and just enjoy as the others because the boat looks like a deep sea fishing boat.

Honestly right now I am veering toward Fiordland Expeditions for no reason other than their marketing is pretty slick (shallow I know!). They have a very nice video out on youtube.com.

Once we finally decide I will let you know and definately post a review on our return.

California, USA
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21 posts
2 reviews
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5. Re: Doubtful Sound Overnight - Small Boats

Last February we used www.doubtfulsound.com for the overnight. Not luxurious, but I wouldn't trade it for the larger boat. For us money was not the criteria, and the experience of close quarters for a day was not so bad. The trip was extraordinary, the skipper quite a character and the fellow passengers interesting. I'll suggest you hurry up because the bookings go fast. It is quite an experience - not to be missed.

6. Re: Doubtful Sound Overnight - Small Boats

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