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Reviewed 30 March 2016

We did this cruise in clear weather and it was truly stunning. Great interpretive information, wonderful food and very well organized. Thoroughly recommend this

Date of experience: March 2016
Thank Eliza2B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2016 via mobile

If you're like me and asked yourself the above question, be sure to do both sounds. But if you only have time/money to do one, make sure it's doubtful. Reasons being:
1. It's 8 x larger than Milford Sound
2. It's much more isolated (privacy, tranquility, being the only boat out in the sea is definitely an experience)
3. It has often more wildlife to see (we saw dolphins & seals on ours)
4. If doing the day trip you get to visit Lake Manapouri & also drive over the Wilmont pass (again, breath-taking views)
5. It is longer, and MUCH more than just a 'boat trip' out into the Tasman sea via the sounds
Make sure you bring plenty of snacks with you, and also warm clothing as it can get quite rough out there in the sea.
In relation to which 'tour company' to go with, my understanding is they're all pretty much the same. The place really does speak for itself, so no need for commentary though it is interesting to hear the history behind it.
The reason why I preferred Doubtful over Milford (even though it was very beautiful) was because it felt more than just a 2hr boat ride to the Tasman sea and back. We spent ample time traveling inside Doubtful and got to see a larger space with no other boats/yachts as opposed to the experience with Milford which seems to do well with most tour groups.

Date of experience: March 2016
1  Thank MCL90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2016

About three weeks ago, we took a small boat overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound on the Southern Secret run by Fiordland Cruises. The boat takes up to 12 passengers and there were five couples in our party.
The pick up from Te Anau, boat ride on Lake Manapouri and bus ride over the pass to the boat in Deep Cove was very efficient and our bus drivers were friendly and knowledgeable. We were greeted by John. our skipper, settled into our cabins and set off on the Sound.
A plentiful lunch of soup and salads was served. The seafood salad contained prawns but very little crayfish. After lunch, one of the first activities was to pull the crayfish pots. Ten crayfish were harvested and we imagined that some of these would be part of our dinner. One of the reasons we had chosen the Southern Secret was on the recommendation of friends (who had completed the trip last year at a similar time) and had raved about the seafood on the trip. However, dinner consisted of NZ lamb and chicken and fresh blue cod, which we had caught that afternoon, as well as cheeses, vegetables and salad. The food, including dessert, was delicious and well cooked but our disappointment at not being served crayfish was shared by other guests.
The response from the company when contacted after the trip was that crayfish caught in pots provides food for the next day and they are rationed for further trips. We “get” that sustainability is important but if a company is operating a “high end” trip then it is important that the food lives up to expectations. Other reviews also mention the seafood. Please don't make a feature of catching crayfish if that is not a highlight of the meals. Discussion with other passengers on the boat returning to Manapouri, who had done a similar overnight trip with Deep Cove Charters elicited that they had enjoyed generous amounts of crayfish on their trip.
Unfortunately for us the rain set in after lunch, visibility was reduced and possible activities impacted. Several of us braved the rain and had fun fishing for a couple of hours. John and Alan were very patient and ensured that we enjoyed the experience and caught some Blue Cod for dinner. After breakfast the next day we were lucky to see a pod of bottlenose dolphins which we were able to observe and because of the rain the waterfalls and waterslides were running.
We enjoyed being on the Sound, exploring its extent and learning about the history of the area. Although it rained (a common experience we understand) it was not overly cold and windy and the boat was warm and comfortable. The benefits of being part of a small group and getting to know the other passengers and the crew is a plus.

Date of experience: March 2016
1  Thank RosepetalBunbury
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2016

Went on the overnight cruise with Real Journeys. I balked at paying so much money for limited time but in hindsight, I have to say it was worth it. I've seen many beautiful places on this planet but this ranks right up there. Even though it rained most of the time, that just added to the atmosphere of clouds draping the vertical cliffs. Spectacular. Real Journeys did a great job, very friendly and funny. My best meals in NZ were aboard the ship.

Date of experience: March 2016
Thank robertobF6606JM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2016

totally different from Milford but equally stunning! Another amazing experience the whole day just flew by.

Date of experience: March 2016
Thank Mary And Neil M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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