We chose this cruise for my husband's 70th birthday as he is a very keen salt water fly fisherman, and I am a keen photographer, plus we enjoy a bit of luxury and fine dining.
Firstly the fact that one had find their own way from the airport to the Cruise office we though was a bit average, considering some people had to wait 30 minutes in the heat for a taxi. In Amsterdam, for a cruise of much less cost, we were met at the Airport. Next, the food. We considered, as did a number of other guests that we spoke with, that the food was very ordinary. In fact, had I been in a 3 star hotel, i would have sent a number of meals back. Tasteless, boring and uniteresting are but 3 words we would use to describe, and not beautifully presented as shown in their brochure. Pork belly was tough and burnt, sous vide steak not seared properly, so quite wet and sloppy. I requested a cheese tomate and onion omelette one morning as I don't eat grain. What i received was the worse example of an omelette ever, with nothing in it, and a bit of cheese grated over the top. Some people thought the food was wonderful, and this just leads me to believe even more that some people just do not know what fine dining and good food is. To claim you will experience excellent modern australian cuisine is just folly to my mind.
Only one night on the entire cruise was any entertainment offered after dinner. I wrote a letter as requested about the food, but the response was, to summarize, that they don't see there was any issue. This is in direct contrast to what the sales manager told me 2 weeks lafter the cruise when she phoned me. She advised on the phone that they had received a number of complaints, and that right at that time, the directors were at the ship dealing with the matter and attempting to get some structure into menus (or words along those lines) As I pointed out, if you have pub cooks (at best) and not 5 star chef's, why bother. The response letter I received claims that they had only 3 negative responses about the food. That may be because we (and perhaps others) didn't bother to put in a form so that makes at least 4. Out of 18 cabins, that is about 22% of guests who thought the food rated a low to mid range score. For a small ship, that is getting up there. One night there were mud crabs served on the front deck (not cracked properly). The wind was howling and mustard and crab was flying everywhere. Could someone not have thought to move the event to the back of the ship away from the howling wind? The director in his letter did state that
"Normally this activity is a ‘big hit’ with our guests however crew have confirmed that unfortunately, on this occasion, windy conditions did detract from the experience"
(well that is an understatement if ever I heard one)
Perhaps True North need to have more than just all young crew without a lot of life experience. The young crew were great and lots of fun, however, for the price True North charges, I would expect to have at least one mature, seasoned, quality control officer on board, keeping an eye on every aspect. Not someone who is hands on with activity, but a person who can observe and improve. Had such a person been present at the dinner table, they would have heard many a complaint. The company was not prepared to acknowledge anything wrong though, so why bother. I will look elsewhere for our next Kimberley experience. Certainly not good value for money.
The claim about their cuisine, in our opinion, was not true. What you see on their web site under Modern Australian Cuisine....I could only WISH we had seen and tasted some of what they show and talk about there. If they cannot even spell sous-vide correctly on their web site (sous-veined??) how can you possibly expect them to actually carry it out. Very disappointing and even moreso was the response.
Our cabin was in the top category and very comfortable. (apart from our toilet not working when we boarded, which was repaired quickly)