This review was based on a trip taken in October 2011. We know that some changes have been made to this boat – and the fleet as a whole – as the owners are continually refining their vessels.
Worldwide Dive and Sail:
This liveaboard fleet is becoming one of the most prolific dive operations in the tropics. Having started in Thailand a few years back, they now have vessels in six countries. Each one is based on the design of a traditional Indonesian Phinisi schooner but they are built from scratch to be dedicated diving liveaboards.
Although all of the Worldwide Dive and Sail boats may come from the same mould, each one is slighty different as the owners tinker with cabin layouts and deck plans to get the best out of the vessels.
The boat has eight air-conditioned guest cabins, all located beneath the main deck but they do have portholes. Some have a small double bed (meaning not American sizes), some have 2 single beds and two have 3 single beds. They are ensuite with a shower, sink and toilet. The cabins are neatly designed with wooden furniture in the traditional Indonesian fashion including a few cupboards for clothes and a desk in each. These were taken up with a computer screen that linked to a central hard drive. (Some people may well love that but our group felt that an empty desk would have been more use for their personal iPads or laptops.)
On the main deck, there is a casual, open-air area at the stern with dining tables and chairs where meals are taken. Directly in front is the salon with sofas for relaxing, some cute little storage drawers for sunglasses, books and so on plus a very small camera work table with batttery chargers. Beneath this are a set of good-sized storage drawers for cameras, enough for each cabin to have a personal drawer.
The dive deck is located on the bow (see below) and the upper deck has sunloungers for those who wish to roast. There is no shade on the top deck, but it's a great place to watch the sun go down and admire the stars at night.
The dive deck has kitting up areas laid out along the gangways on either side of the boat. These were well-planned with spacious tank areas and more little cupboards for each diver to safely stow bits and pieces between dives. There is a camera rack with shade cover between the two kitting up areas and, towards the bow, four rinse tanks including specific ones for cameras. The crew were always extremely helpful with rinsing and hanging suits (useful for short people) and very respectful of camera equipment.
Diving is done from two small rubber RIBs which are entered via a pontoon on one side of the boat. The dive schedules ran smoothly and both divemasters were fun, efficient and great animal spotters. In fact, all the crew on the boat were helpful, charming and friendly. The cruise director on our trip, Andrea was fairly new to the Philippines and a pleasure to dive with.
Meals were always buffet style and a mixture of international foods and Philippino specialities. The Chef, Jimmy is a great cook and an even better entertainer, with dinner introductions one of the funniest points of any day. There was a variety of meals throughout the cruise and no two meals were ever repeated. Special requests for allergy and dietary requirements were well noted with no glitches and the run of celebration cakes (one almost every other night) were fabulously sweet and sticky!
OPINION The Philippine Siren was extremely comfortable and well run. Some items (like marine park fees) are not included in the cruise price but others like beer, soft drinks and Nitrox are, which ensures the trip is great value for money.