While many of you are seasoned travellers, some of you may be unfamiliar with the ways and means of travelling in the remoter regions where we journey. Cruising in eastern Indonesia on a traditional wooden Pinisi ship can be a brave new world for some, so with that in mind we have compiled the following list of Frequently Asked Questions to try to make your journey with us as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible. If you don’t find the answer to your own particular question, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
April to October is the ‘dry season’ in the central part of Indonesia and the the weather and seas are settled and relatively calm. During this time we mainly cover the Bali – Komodo – Flores or Flores – Komodo – Bali routes (Dances, Dragons and Magical Lakes I & II), and during these cruises we sail north of the islands, where ships can operate in the lee of the islands and enjoy protection from wind and swell. Come September/ October as the trade winds and monsoons turn we head to the north and east of the archipelago and into the Maluku and Papua regions – home to the Spice Islands and the wondrous biodiverse region of Raja Ampat. This is the time of year that features many of our longer 12-day Expert Led cruises and our 10-day dedicated Raja Ampat cruises, which offer much more substantial cruising itineraries.
To better prepare yourselves for your journey, we have placed various resources at your fingertips to help you get a better grasp of the areas we will visit, and the peoples, the flora, the fauna, and the stories behind what lies ahead. We have many books on board our vessels on various topics related to our journeys, but to help you get better prepared we have an extensive reading list to help bring you up to speed on all the history, culture and wildlife you will encounter along the way. Also check out our blog, which covers everything from to one-of-a-kind cultural events, daily island adventures, historical accounts, animal encounters, and even recipes to take home. You may also be interested to read about us in features that have appeared in local and international publications, and also some of the awards we have been honoured with. If video is your thing then please visit our YouTube channel to view some of the short clips we have about our journeys and the special events that we have encountered along our routes. You can also follow each boat on each cruise in real time with our cruise tracker.
For the single traveller who wants to secure their own cabin we do charge a 75% supplement.
If you are a single traveller and don't mind sharing a twin cabin with another person of the same gender, then this fee will not apply and you just pay the regular ticket price for a guaranteed spot on the boat.
Packing for a SeaTrek cruise is easy; you don’t have to glam up as everyone tends to dress very casually, so choose clothes that are comfortable for walking/trekking and suitable for wearing on the boat.
The tropical climate means you can safely leave all of your warm weather gear at home. Bring cool cottons, T-shirts and shorts. We cruise during the dry season in each of the regions that we visit but rain is always a possibility so bring a lightweight waterproof jacket; it can sometimes be a bit windy on the boat and this will also help keep you warm. Likewise, a lightweight fleece could be useful for pre-dawn trekking or if there is a cool wind on the boat – even if you don’t need it onboard, it will be useful for the plane. SeaTrek is respectful of the local cultures and customs; bring clothes that cover your shoulders and knees for village visits. Finally, you might want to bring at least one smart-casual outfit for sunset cocktails and evening meals on the boat. Ladies: beach throw-overs, kaftans and sarongs are always useful; choose fabrics that dry easily. Also, bring a lightweight sundress or two – the boat offers a great setting for a photo shoot, live it up!
You’ll be spending plenty of time out in the scorching tropical sun, so be sure to pack sunscreen with a high enough SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, which are stronger in the water, and some sun-protective clothing as well. Cover-ups, sarongs, sun shirts, and other such clothing will ensure that you come back from your trip with just happy memories and photographs – and not sunburn. A good hat is essential; a wide brimmed hat or cap will keep the strong equatorial sun off your face and neck. Sunglasses keep your eyes protected and add a little glam to your photos. A strap to hold your glasses can be a good idea on more active adventures. Just in case you fail to avoid getting sunburnt, bring an aloe-based lotion to soothe burned skin.
Pack comfortable trainers, trekking sandals, sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots for hikes and walks. Bring socks to wear inside your walking shoes to avoid getting blisters. Many travellers appreciate the added stability of a walking stick or hiking pole; lightweight telescopic poles are easy to pack. You might also want waterproof sandals or reef shoes for wet landings and water activities. Flip-flops are great for the beach. Note: Standard practice is to go barefoot on the boat.
A day backpack is essential on day hikes to carry things such as your water bottle, camera, binoculars, and rain jacket. Seatrek provides each guest with a Seatrek-branded metal water bottle, which can re-filled as often as required, and makes a nice souvenir to take home. A waterproof wet/dry bag is a good idea for your phone, camera etc.
Don’t forget your swimsuit/bikini/shorts/trunks/Speedos —and preferably more than just one swimsuit, so that one or two can be drying while you are wearing another. Luckily, swimsuits and/or swim trunks don’t take up too much space in your luggage. The water is warm but a rash guard (or a wetsuit) will protect you from the sun, abrasions and stings.
Skin & Hair Protection
Ladies, it’s important that you take good care of your skin and hair. The sun, seawater and salty air may be beautiful to experience but it can be tough on your body and will wreak havoc on your locks. Bring moisturising lotion to soothe skin parched by the sun and the saltwater; bring a leave-in conditioner to de-tangle your hair with ease because the water, mask, and hair-ties will leave it in knots. Also consider bringing a scarf or headband to hold back unruly hair, or hair-ties/pins to keep your hair off your face and therefore prevent water seeping into your mask. Note: Your cabin is outfitted with towels, shampoo, conditioner and bodywash.
If you are photo enthusiast bring all of the camera and video equipment that you will use as you can expect exceptional opportunities for photography. If you prefer the ease of a point & shoot, bring that. If you want to take underwater photos you might want to invest in a waterproof camera/GoPro or waterproof housing to capture photos of the incredible marine life. It’s a good idea to bring a spare memory card; our cruises explore remote regions where memory cards cannot be purchased.
- Snorkels, masks & fins in all sizes are provided onboard. If you are an avid snorkeller, you may prefer to bring your own mask & snorkel. If you’re new to snorkelling, you might want to consider purchasing a full face snorkel mask to bring with you, it’s an easier option for beginners.
- Even if you think that your stomach is rock-solid, a squall could turn up and make you feel sick. Sea-sickness tablets are provided on board but you may have a preferred brand, in which case bring your own.
- You’ll find reference books and paperback novels on board. However, books of your choice or an e-reader will come in handy for down hours.
- We have a sound system on board each of our boats, but you can bring your own music as well if you wish plus a lightweight portable speaker so you can listen to the sounds of your choice in a private corner of the boat.
- There is a comprehensive wilderness first aid kit on board but remember to bring any personal medications.
- Essential items should be packed in your carry-on luggage. Medications, corrective lenses, spare underwear, cameras and documents should not be checked in case your bag does not arrive with you. Never place valuables in checked luggage. We suggest you make copies of your tickets and the photo page of your passport.
SeaTrek cruises are all inclusive (excepting alcoholic drinks) and include all meals, soft drinks (including mixers), park fees, and on board and onshore activities. Our talented chefs will prepare an array of Indonesian, Western and Asian dishes each day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with snacks available throughout the day. One night during the cruise we will have a BBQ on a secluded beach (weather permitting), and we will often catch fish along the way and stop at local markets to procure fresh ingredients.
Special dietary requirements and allergies are no problem, just simply let us know the details well before the cruise and chef will ensure you are taken care of.
Our prices for alcohol are very reasonable and we try to keep them as low as possible, with local beer and wine being relatively inexpensive (about US$2 for a can of beer and $20 for a bottle of locally made wine). Alcohol taxes in Indonesia are very high, so we must charge higher prices for imported wines (around US$30 a bottle and up) and US$4 a shot for spirits. Guests are more than welcome to bring their own spirits and wines on board at no extra charge, or in the event that you would like us to procure something special, such as French champagne, just let us know and we will do our best to find it.
BYO: While we encourage guests to bring their own spirits and/ or wine, we advise that each adult is able to bring just one litre of alcohol into Indonesia duty free. If you wish to travel with it in your carry on luggage to your port of embarkation (yes, you can do this in Indonesia on domestic flights, strangely enough), the bottle must remain UNOPENED or else it will be confiscated. You may travel with opened bottles in your checked luggage.
When the time comes for payment, please be advised that while we do accept credit card payment, there will be a 2% surcharge.
We can cater to special requests for dietary requirements such as vegetarian, halal, kosher, children’s fare, low fat dishes, allergies, etc. However, we must be notified in advance of any special needs so we can make arrangements.
Since the company’s beginning, both Ombak Putih and Katharina has welcomed families on board with open arms. In that time we have hosted a great number of children onboard, and they have enjoyed the cruises immensely, especially for short trips of seven days. The opportunities and experiences for nature, culture and the great outdoors that we offer on our cruises provide more in one week for a child’s education and outlook on life that than any school can teach in the classroom.
It’s not an easy road trying to please all our guests, but all we can do is try our best to accommodate everyone, so in the interests of openness and honesty we would like our guests with children to consider the following simple rules and recommendations regarding boat safety and the comfort of other passengers.
Many of us have kids and know how difficult it can be at times to keep their youthful exuberances under control, especially when on holidays. But there are times and places to be wild, and times and places to not. While we love for kids to have a good time, our boats are not big and it’s very easy to disrupt or disturb other people who are trying to relax or simply enjoy the world go by. With this in mind we ask that you talk to your kids about keeping their noise and youthful energy to a minimum on board. When we get to shore, they can run around to their hearts’ content.
Please be aware of the potential dangers that surround us on the ships and in the tropical environments, both on land and on water that we cruise through. When on land or in the water, please try to get your children to refrain from getting too close to animals or straying off the path. Ours are working ships and have many potential hazards, so please let your kids know to be careful when moving around. Both boats have been built with child-safety in mind, and to this day they still have a clean bill of accident-free cruises, but to keep things this way we need the attention of parents, and it is of utmost importance for them to be vigilante and to watch their children at all times. For your peace of mind and added safety, the side railings on both ships have been built higher than on normal traditional Buginese schooners, and we advise you keep a close eye out in the lounge area, especially where the stairs to the cabins can be steep.
While our crews are great with kids and will show them all a fun time, please try to not let them get in the way of the crews going about their daily duties, as this reduces productivity and will slow down how we go about our cruise. When the work is over and it comes time for play, our crews will be more than happy to entertain your kids all they like.
Small babies and toddlers like to cry, so we do have a policy of not allowing children under two on board our FIT cruises.
We know that kids get bored and frustrated so we’d like to help keep them occupied during the day. We have many games and activities on board, but if there’s a particular board game or activity they like, just let us know and we will do our best to accommodate. We don't have electronic games on board, but most kids have their own. We do not have Internet on board, so online gaming will not be possible.
During the cruise you will enjoy the incomparable service of well-trained, friendly and super-efficient Indonesian crew members, and it is a time-honoured tradition on all cruise vessels of the world to tip the crew at the end of the voyage, provided of course the guests have been satisfied with their services. On your final night on board, you will have an opportunity to discretely contribute to a collective ‘captain and crew’ tip fund, which will be distributed equally among the crew members. We believe that between US$ 5-10 per cruising day is an appropriate amount (i.e. seven-day cruise = $35 to $70 total, not per crew member). However, this is just a suggestion and remains entirely up to the judgment and discretion of the guests. We do ask that you please refrain from offering tips to crew members at any time, except during cases of exceptional service, when it should be arranged through the office. Tipping of your tour leader for their hard work is also welcome, and is at your discretion. There will be an envelope provided for both crew and tour leaders in the cruise bag in your cabin.
The short story is this: we do not have it on board, but there are options.
Considering the remote regions where we cruise, having any kind of on-board capacity for Internet is a near impossibility. Our itineraries often put us way beyond the reach of any consistent land-based signal, and with the prices of satellite Internet being what they are, this is just something we cannot offer.
We like to think of this as a positive. With the need to be online 24/7 becoming an all encompassing factor of modern living, being able to go to a place that is off the grid will only become more of a luxury as we march forward into a digital future. With that in mind, our boats will be one of those digital-free oases where you can truly switch off and enjoy the natural world around you, free from any outside distraction. For those who have the luxury of switching off, it will be a beautiful experience, we assure you.
However, with the realities of technology being what they are, it's not that simple for some to live offline, and there is the option for a (very) intermittant connection through the purchasing of a local SIM card with a 3G or 4G connection for your phone or device here in Indonesia.
There are cell towers all over the country, and we will come into range of these from time to time, allowing for the sending and receiving of SMS and small emails. This is by no means guaranteed, and we can sometimes be off the grid for up to a week at a time, particularly in the far east or north of the country. You can purchase a local SIM card prior to your trip from any any one of a vast number of cell phone stores that line the streets of Bali, and load it up with some credit. The store staff will be only too happy to help.
Please note: If you run a business that requires you to be constantly online, or simply cannot be without a regular connection for staying in touch with friends and family, then a SeaTrek cruise may not be the best match for you.
Please ensure that all necessary travel documents are valid, effective and in your possession. Passports are required for all participants and MUST be valid for at least SIX MONTHS after your date of return by Indonesian law. Most foreign nationals can obtain a 30-day tourist visa on arrival, but citizens of a small number of countries do not enjoy this privilege and have to apply for visa in the country of origin or elsewhere outside of Indonesia prior to arrival. We recommend that all our passengers double-check on the requirements as they are in force at the time of their arrival. Please assume full responsibility for checking and verifying any and all passport, visa, vaccination, or other entry requirements. We will provide information or advice on general matters such as climate, clothing, baggage, and special equipment in good faith as a courtesy to you, however, please fully ensure that you are properly prepared.
On Board Safety and Navigation Equipment
We take guest safety extremely seriously. Our vessels are fitted with all internationally-required safety equipment (and more besides) including life jackets, life rafts, satellite telephone, SSB and VHF radio, radar, locator beacons, GPS, and all crewmembers are highly trained in both seamanship and first aid.
Each vessel has an extensive first aid kit to treat all kinds of minor ailments and injuries. However, it is always advisable that guests bring their own first aid requirements and medical kits, and take ensure that they bring any prescribed medications if needed. We also carry an Automated External Defibrulator (AED) and an emergency oxygen supply. While our Crew and Tour Leaders are trained in first aid and will do our very best to take action, we cannot take responsibility for medical care on board.
Medical History & Allergies
Because of the remote nature of where we operate we must insist that you make full disclosure of any and all conditions and medications that you may be taking in the medical questionaire which is sent to you before the cruise. It is of utmost importance that you let us know of any food or medicine allergies that you may have, so we can best accommodate your dietary requirements. If you require medicines or hardware such as insulin, asthma inhalers or epi-pens, please ensure that you have them at hand.
Our guests range in age from under five to 85 years old and above, so we make sure that we try to accommodate everyone as much as possible with our on shore activities. Our trips have varying levels of fitness requirements depending on the specific itinerary and activities, yet each one is optional. The minimum level of fitness we do requote is to be able to negotiate stairs between decks, and to be able to get in and out of our tender boats onto beaches and docks. We try, where possible, to offer activities to suit all levels: for instance, when trekking in Komodo we have easy, medium, and hard treks available so everyone gets a chance for a dragon encounter. When other treks or activities are beyond the reach of some guests, we offer the option of staying on the boat or beach to relax.
The tropical sun in Indonesia can be unforgiving on light-coloured skin, all the more so because of the additional exposure due the sea breezes and reflection of the sea. Guests must make sure that they protect themselves with a sun hat, sunscreen lotion of SPF 30 or more, and we advise wearing a t-shirt or rash vest/suit when snorkelling.
Small Cuts and Bruises
Never leave even the tiniest cut or coral bruise untreated as it can quickly get infected in the tropical climate. We have the means to treat such cuts and abrasions on board, but it is advised that you bring your own antiseptic ointments and basic first aid materials.
Most of the time the waters in our sailing area are pretty calm. However, if you are prone to seasickness we advise you to consult with your pharmacist or doctor at home to advise the best medicine for you. Locally-produced seasickness pills are available on board, which are most effective, and it is best is to take them at least one hour before departure and to keep taking them for at least the first couple of days of the trip. For most people, even in case of swell, seasickness usually passes after a day or two once one gets used to the motion of the boat.
While malaria has very little incidence offshore, (our guests will spend the better part of the voyage on board where mosquitoes do not venture at all), on quite a few of our itineraries we do visit areas that are prone to malaria infection. Overall, the best remedy against malaria is to avoid being bitten, so we advise our guests to wear long trousers and shirts that cover up the skin during island visits and treks. We also recommend wearing light clothing, and also a hat is good protection. Apart from that, you should bring enough stock of a good quality repellent and use it before each trek and shore visit, especially early morning and late afternoon. If you want stronger protection you can take malaria prophylactics in tablet form. We recommend you check with your local doctor at home or a reliable travel clinic what they recommend and what is best suited for you. Take a copy of the itinerary you are travelling on so they can give you the best possible advice. Be sure you notify your doctor (and us) of any allergies.
Voltage on board is 220 volts. There are several electric sockets and USB charging ports in each cabin suitable for European type plugs, but we do have a selection of adaptors for non-European type plugs. Additional sockets are located in the saloon, where we have a dedicated area for the charging of electronic devices and cameras.
We require all passengers to sign a strict and comprehensive liability release, and for scuba divers (in the case where we do arrange diving with a third party) to sign an additional declaration of their good physical condition. Copies of these liability releases can be sent on request. Our cruise price does not include travel insurance, and it is mandatory that all guests must have a comprehensive policy that covers medical with an emergency evacuation policy (Medivac), and proof of this must be shown. We also strongly urge our guests to purchase a comprehensive insurance policy that covers trip cancellation and interruption insurance. SeaTrek does not provide cover nor do we have a preferred broker.
Reservations: You may reserve space on one of our cruises by email on email@example.com, online at www.seatrekbali.com, by fax +62 (0)361-445-6333, or by telephone +62 (0)474-3913. Your booking is not final until you receive a confirmation from us.
Deposits and Final Payment:
A deposit of twenty five percent (25%) per person is required at the time of booking. Final payment is due ninety (90) days prior to departure. If your booking is made within ninety (90) days of departure, the entire cruise cost must be paid at the time of booking. Payments can be made by cash or wire transfer. If you pay your deposit by wire, we will confirm your reservation once your payment has cleared the bank.
Cancellations by You and Refunds:
To cancel your booking, you must submit your request to us in writing by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cancellation fees will be applied per person according to the following schedule, based on the date we receive your written notification.
• More than 90 days prior to departure – 25% of the total cruise cost.
• Within 90 days to 60 days prior – 50% of the total cruise cost.
• Within 59 days prior – 100% of cruise cost.
Your trip/cruise is transferable should you provide an alternate participant at the same fare. No refunds will apply to unused portions of a trip once the tour begins. If SeaTrek has un-reimbursed payments on your behalf once we confirm your trip, a change fee may be imposed.
The cruise price does not include travel insurance for your protection, so we strongly encourage you to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and we mandate our clients to have a travel & medical insurance policy with an emergency evacuation policy.
Cancellations or Changes by Us and Flexibility:
We reserve the right to cancel, alter or modify any trip without prior notice for the safety and/or comfort of clients due to local circumstances or events. This includes moving guests from one boat to another prior to the trip to optimise passenger numbers. On very rare occasions that a trip cancellation may occur, we will offer you either an alternative cruise or a full refund. We will also assist with any re-ticketing costs that arise from scheduling changes. This will constitute full settlement of claims you may have arising out of our cancellation.
SeaTrek will not be deemed in breach of this agreement by reason of delay in performance or non-performance of any of its obligations under this agreement to the extent that any such delay or nonperformance is due to any Force Majeure. “Force Majeure” means any circumstances beyond the reasonable control of SeaTrek.
Please read all trip-related documents as soon as you receive them. It is your responsibility to contact us if any information is incorrect. SeaTrek will provide this agreement, a waiver of liability and assumption of risk agreement and a medical questionnaire to be signed and returned, in addition to your booking confirmation and travel information.
Every effort will be made to carry out our cruise itinerary as planned; however, our itineraries are subject to change at the captain’s discretion. When touring at sea, weather, currents, and even harbour masters don’t always co-operate with our planned itinerary, which sometimes make our planned schedules challenging or even impossible to carry out. For that reason, our written itineraries must be approached with reasonable flexibility. We reserve the right to make alterations due to circumstances beyond our control and/or other factors, in the best interests of all. It’s all part of the adventure.
Health Requirements and Medical Care:
Our trips have varying levels of demands and fitness requirements depending on the specific itinerary and optional activities. To participate, you must complete our medical questionnaire. Medical care beyond basic first aid, due to the sometimes remote regions visited, is often not immediately available If you have a physical, dietary, or any other condition for which you may require special attention, please inform us in writing when the booking is made. SeaTrek assumes no responsibility for any medical care provided to you.