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“Amazing location, but avoid Lady Musgrave Cruises if you're camping there!”

Lady Musgrave Cruises
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Sightseeing, dive and snorkel tour, semi-submersible reef viewing, island tour.
Reviewed 5 July 2014

We spent several days camping on Lady Musgrave Island and had a magnificent time in this absolutely stunning location. Unfortunately we did not enjoy our experience with the company, Lady Musgrave Cruises. The staff were rude, unhelpful, generally unfriendly and simply unable to communicate with their customers. We were charged a quite a high rate at $350 per person to be transported to the island (which is twice as much as the amount day trippers are charged, even though they make the same number of trips!), yet were unable to participate in most of the activities that day trippers partake in. When we arrived we were not briefed or told anything about when and how we would get our gear to the island, or how we could organise deliveries of ice/water once on the island (a service advertised by Lady Musgrave Cruises) and found that staff were rude and became irritated when we tried to find out about about these things (politely, I might add). Also be prepared to potentially wait for a couple of hours to be transported until staff have dealt with day trippers and they can find time to squeeze you in and take you to the island. We loaded all our gear on and off the boats ourselves - my partner and I are seasoned campers, divers and hikers and have no issue lugging heavy gear around, but what it's not clear to me what service we actually paid so much money to this company for? Just a boat ride to the island and to be treated as a nuisance? At least we faired better than a family staying on the island at the same time as us who lost a whole morning snorkelling in the beautiful lagoon while they waiting on the beach for three hours after the pick up time organised by LMC to get their gear onto the boat home, while no staff were ableor willing to tell them what time they would be taken across. The irony of this being that we were given a pretty hard time by the particulary unhelpful "island guide" for missing a boat to take us to a dive even though we arrived 10 minutes earlier than the organised time to meet them! The general attitude of the company seems to be "she'll be right", but if it's not alright (usually because of their failure to communicate to their customers) then it's the customers fault.

These guys are clearly just exercising the monopoly they have on the island. It's a ridiculous operation and a shame to see this beautiful location being exploited by such an unworthy operation. All we expected was a friendly helpful service to get us to this beautiful spot, no bells or whistles required. Do yourself a favor and see if you can find a reliable private charter to take you across to the island rather than use Lady Musgrave Tours. Lady Musgrave Island is still well worth the trip though!

7  Thank SamboytheChip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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186 - 190 of 307 reviews

Reviewed 4 July 2014

Firstly the good points, Lady Musgrave is a beautiful island and a jewel in Queenslands crown, the reef is abundant in marine life with little or no damage from anchored vessels. It's just a pity that Lady Musgrave Cruises have a monopoly because the owner John not only embarrasses his company but also Queensland Tourism in general. Having worked as a tour operator aboard and within Queensland I feel ashamed that this person represents what is meant to be good in Qld.

Having arrived early with my children for a trip (as instructed) we were met with John verbally abusing one of his staff (a man in his 50's) about a battery. Then appeared his next victim, another staff member Marie, who he embarrassed in front of a now waiting crowd. When I then dared to ask what time, approx, the boat was due back so my wife could pick us up I got a "whenever, 3, 4,
5 who knows" I asked him was he kidding, did he not have a schedule to which point an embarrassed staff member said around 5.

John, or honest John, ex car dealer as he kept telling us took us on the short transfer to the vessel and in that 5 min journey I've never heard so much garbage uttered by another man, even my kids were embarrassed for him.

After an hour sat waiting we were finally underway with John back to his snarling aggression with his staff, does he not realise this is visible to all? After the customary briefings by staff, who were all wearing co uniforms and attentive the boat left harbour. As expected in a moderate sea the sick bags were soon out amongst the guests and the staff did a great job of collecting these, however to have the owner, dressed like he'd come straight off Arthur Daly's car lot start laughing at the guests who were getting soaked out the back whilst been sick was not on. Guess what John, I didn't meet one who said they'd use you again! Do you know what customer service is?

The island tour was short but informative, lunch and tea were just about acceptable but as others have written nothing to write home about. I took my kids snorkelling and as a diving instructor I
was happy to do this but my concern is that there would be a briefing about snorkelling to the guests. This never happened, I asked john if we needed to let anyone know we were going in the water and he said "just get in". There is a life guard (which was also the boat skipper) but I saw plenty jump in who had obviously not snorkelled before-a recipe for disaster.

My advice John, a good leader is one that staff look up to, not one that staff apologise about their leaders behaviour which happened twice (one mentioned they loved their job despite the serious difficulties and barriers you presented) - you've got good staff, who don't need you screaming at them from the boat whilst they're are leading a glass bottom boat tour, why not try the radio? Leave them alone and stay in the back office and away from the guests and staff, we might even see your staff smile then. What a poor ad for Qld tourism you are, oh and by the way saying at the top of your voice "it's only the bloody Chinese" when referring to people being sick isn't acceptable as a serious tour operator!!!

11  Thank lancashirelass31_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 June 2014

After being unable to visit the reef from further north due to bad weather this was or last chance to go snorkeling before the end of our trip. The booking was easy over the phone and we were smoothly processed when we arrived at the office in the morning.
The trip does take a while and there isn't much to see or do.
On arrival the glass bottom boat trip was informative as was the walk through the vegetation on the island. The two girls were very knowledgable and their explanations were clear and informative.
The snorkeling was pretty good with lots of coral though it did lack the bright colours of the Pacific Islands. Access to the water was easy from the pontoon which was great for the more inexperienced.
Lunch was plentiful and nobody missed out. After reading other comments, this may have been due to the small numbers on our trip. I think it may be a different story with a full load of tourists.

2  Thank lynWaitomo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 June 2014

The day started with rain showers and very overcast early morning, but improved to sunshine and cloudy periods later in the day. We travelled over 1 1/2 to 2 meter swells and a lot of people were seasick on the way over. The staff were very good and handled the situation expertly. One passenger had a panic attack and shouted for the boat to slow down as he thought it would be better for his back if the boat travelled slowly. The staff calmed him down and were very professional.
On arrival at the island we watched a fish feeding exhibition, then half the passengers went on a tour of the island while the others were taken on the glass bottom boat. At the conclusion of these activities the groups swapped over. Maria our lovely tour guide on the island was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the flora and fauna. After a buffet lunch on the pontoon we were invited to snorkel and scuba dive if desired. the sun was shining and the coral and fish were colourful and there were also several green turtles to be seen. The trip back was smooth as we were traveling in the same direction as the swell. All up a most enjoyable day.

1  Thank Julianne R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2014

Plenty of other reviews rave about what you can see and do, so here are some practical tips to make your trip on the day cruise as good an experience as possible:
1) Don't have high expectations of colourful coral. there are small patches of some but most is in sepia colours. But there is lots of it and it can be well seen either from snorkelling or from the free glass bottomed boat rides
2) Pick your day to go according to the weather and the tides. The boat goes out in anything up to 35knot winds, but you wouldn't want to go in anything more than a 15knot wind for the following reasons. Firstly, the ride out will be rough and you may get seasick. Secondly, the water surface even inside the protected lagoon will be rough and unattractive. Thirdly, you will have a rough time snorkelling. Pick your day also according to the tide. Avoid a day where low tide is in the middle of the day (say11am to 2pm. Although the lagoon will be calmest in such conditions, the water level may be too low to allow the glass bottomed boat or you snorkelling to go over the top of the coral, restricting your viewing ability. If you can, pick a day when high tide occurs sometime in the window of 10am to 3pm.
3) Where you sit in the boat for the trip out and back can make a big difference to your chance of becoming seasick. The most stable position (ie, least up & down movement as the boat rides over the swell) is downstairs in line with the servery and in the centre aisle of table seats.
4) There are no tables upstairs, just rows of seats, so selecting a table seat downstairs has the advantage of giving you a comfortable position from which to eat lunch, rather than having a bendy paper plate on your lap. You miss nothing in terms of a view by not being upstairs, as all there is to see for 90% of the trip is open ocean. When there is something interesting to see (maybe a whale in season or approaching the island, you can peer out the door to the forward deck from the lower level, or go to the rear deck. When the boat drops speed in protected waters (1770, the lagoon), you are allowed to go out on the forward deck at the bow for a really good view and pictures.
5) Be aware that if you elect to go scuba diving, you may be wasting your money as well as missing out on some other part of the experience. Some American divers on our trip missed out on going to the island and commented that the scuba dive was in "the worst site ever".
6) Be careful about what "Walking Group" you are put into. You are assigned to a group called W1 up to W5 when you check in. The early groups get to snorkel first while the other groups go in the glass bottom boat to the island. then there is lunch and the later groups go snorkelling after lunch while the earlier groups go to the island. So if it is already a nice day, try to get in the early group so you can go snorkelling before the afternoon wind comes up. However, if the sun has not yet come out, try to get in the later groups so that you give the day a chance to warm up before you go into the water.
7) If you value a good lunch, avoid being late getting to the lunch servery, as you may miss out altogether on the more tasty offerings (on our day, the chicken and prawns ran out before everyone had obtained lunch)
8) If you go snorkelling, bring some dry clothes to change into afterwards unless the day is sunny and hot
9) Some reviews comment on the poor condition of the wetsuits but to our observation, they were fine (perhaps they have been replaced)
10) If the boat leaves the island earlier than you expected, don't complain as they do that in your interest to ensure the boat can get over the shallow entrance to the 1770 entrance back on shore before the tide gets too low.
11) While the many comments in other reviews about the obnoxious owner are probably true (from what we observed of him), he means well and can just be ignored.
12) If you are doing the day out of Bundaberg, the bus transfer costs $20-$30 per adult added onto the boat ticket, so it is more cost effective to hire a car and drive yourself if there are more than say 3 adults. The 130km drive, at about an hour and a half, is quicker and more comfortable, leaving Bundaberg at 6.30am to arrive at the boat terminal (if you can call the fairly primitive conditions there that) by checkin time of 8am.
Going on the tour is well worth the effort, but your day will be much better if you follow some of the above tips.

6  Thank aussiewanderers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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