Spencer Ambrose issues?

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#1
2,273 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
we are booked with Spencer Ambrose later this year. I was just reading some recent reviews on TripAdvisor.
There is a repeating pattern of reported boat mechanical problems that caught my attention. There is also talk that Spencer is the only captain for his two boats at present so there is some resulting problems with crowding on the boats.
I don’t want to bad mouth someone who works very hard to run a family business, but I also have some red flags after reading these reviews. I thought I would reach out to see if there is any validity to this concern? Does anyone have some very recent experiences with Spencer who could comment to this?
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#2
UK
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Joined Jul 2013
Hmm I just had a quick look as we are also booked with them later this year. On a quick glance it seems 8/10 of the most recent reviews (I only looked down to 10) are 5 stars. So it can't be a hugely widespread problem?

However I will keep an eye as we get closer to my cruise date to check there's no enduring problems
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#3
653 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
This past January we booked the Spencer Ambrose's Jalously (sp?) tour to Sugar Beach. It was a little confusing originally as our speed boat also dropped off most folks at another pier for a different tour. However, even though my husband and I were the only ones going straight to Sugar Beach, one of the crew members stayed with us the entire time. (I think his name was Tony but not sure). Anyway, when some sneak absconded with my lounge chair while I was snorkeling, Tony quickly gave me another one that was holding the cooler with drinks. The rest of the group caught up with us on a later boat for our buffet lunch. We had a great experience.
#4
2,273 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
The reviews are hugely in favor of this company. Without a doubt. It was just these recent posts on TA that caught my attention and made me wonder if there has recently been some changes that have impacted Spencer. I have no desire to change companies but wanted to be sure it isn’t a red flag.
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#5
653 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
You might be interested to know that as all beaches in St. Lucia are public, you can walk and swim (but not use lounge chairs) along the gorgeous shores of the ritzy Viceroy Sugar Beach Resort immediately adjacent to our spot in Sugar Beach.
#6
2,273 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Originally posted by lynncarol
You might be interested to know that as all beaches in St. Lucia are public, you can walk and swim (but not use lounge chairs) along the gorgeous shores of the ritzy Viceroy Sugar Beach Resort immediately adjacent to our spot in Sugar Beach.
Thank you for the tip. We are looking forward to the snorkeling there.
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#7
8 Posts
Joined Jan 2017
Originally posted by Vineyard View
we are booked with Spencer Ambrose later this year. I was just reading some recent reviews on TripAdvisor.
There is a repeating pattern of reported boat mechanical problems that caught my attention. There is also talk that Spencer is the only captain for his two boats at present so there is some resulting problems with crowding on the boats.
I don’t want to bad mouth someone who works very hard to run a family business, but I also have some red flags after reading these reviews. I thought I would reach out to see if there is any validity to this concern? Does anyone have some very recent experiences with Spencer who could comment to this?

Hello Sir,
My husband and 3 children along with my BIL and his family of 7 and my MIL and FIL took Spencer Ambrose tour to Jalousie/Sugar Beach while in Port off the Disney ship last winter. The day was a great day, the beach portion that was accessible to us was “ok”, snorkeling was “ok”, food was “ok”, view of Pitons was incredible and Spencer Ambrose staff were also amazing. One of Spencer’s other boats also had engine trouble that day, with black smoke and strong fumes. Our day took a turn for the worse on the way back to the marina, when the Spencer Ambrose speedboat we were on sunk. YES, you heard that right. Our boat sunk. It suddenly began to take on water and by the time we realized we had a serious problem the boat had sunk within 3-4 minutes. By the grace of God, and thanks to a nearby tour boat from another company we were all safely rescued but several of us did end up in the water waiting to be brought to safety. Waters were rough. Life jackets were either not present, and definitely not accessible in an emergency....it happens too fast. Spencer’s team acted quickly, and we are thankful to be safe. I could tell they were all very shook up, very remorseful and wanted to make the situation right. They reimbursed us 100% for all of our material and financial losses. Because they seemed so genuine and kind and shocked and wanting to make things right, I have refrained from publicly telling our story or giving any negative reviews. The last thing I wanted to do was ruin his family run business, as he assured me nothing like this has or would ever happen again. This is my first time on CC since that cruise, as I am planning for another cruise. Coming across this thread prompted me to look at The reviews on Trip Advisor that you mentioned, and it angered me. It appears his boats are still in poor condition and he has had several other breakdowns. So now I want to prevent the same thing happening to another family. We are lucky. It could have been tragic, there were 8 children on this speedboat in addition to 9 adults including the driver. Seemed overcapacity to me, but they claimed not. Ironically, 2 of the people with us were on the other malfunctioning boat on the way to the beach, and refused that boat and ended up on our boat that sunk! Thankfully everyone is ok but it could’ve been different.
So, my advice to you would be to find a different tour operator. I will likely add this on




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#8
8 Posts
Joined Jan 2017
Originally posted by MinnieMouse18
Hello Sir,
My husband and 3 children along with my BIL and his family of 7 and my MIL and FIL took Spencer Ambrose tour to Jalousie/Sugar Beach while in Port off the Disney ship last winter. The day was a great day, the beach portion that was accessible to us was “ok”, snorkeling was “ok”, food was “ok”, view of Pitons was incredible and Spencer Ambrose staff were also amazing. One of Spencer’s other boats also had engine trouble that day, with black smoke and strong fumes. Our day took a turn for the worse on the way back to the marina, when the Spencer Ambrose speedboat we were on sunk. YES, you heard that right. Our boat sunk. It suddenly began to take on water and by the time we realized we had a serious problem the boat had sunk within 3-4 minutes. By the grace of God, and thanks to a nearby tour boat from another company we were all safely rescued but several of us did end up in the water waiting to be brought to safety. Waters were rough. Life jackets were either not present, and definitely not accessible in an emergency....it happens too fast. Spencer’s team acted quickly, and we are thankful to be safe. I could tell they were all very shook up, very remorseful and wanted to make the situation right. They reimbursed us 100% for all of our material and financial losses. Because they seemed so genuine and kind and shocked and wanting to make things right, I have refrained from publicly telling our story or giving any negative reviews. The last thing I wanted to do was ruin his family run business, as he assured me nothing like this has or would ever happen again. This is my first time on CC since that cruise, as I am planning for another cruise. Coming across this thread prompted me to look at The reviews on Trip Advisor that you mentioned, and it angered me. It appears his boats are still in poor condition and he has had several other breakdowns. So now I want to prevent the same thing happening to another family. We are lucky. It could have been tragic, there were 8 children on this speedboat in addition to 9 adults including the driver. Seemed overcapacity to me, but they claimed not. Ironically, 2 of the people with us were on the other malfunctioning boat on the way to the beach, and refused that boat and ended up on our boat that sunk! Thankfully everyone is ok but it could’ve been different.
So, my advice to you would be to find a different tour operator. I will likely add this on Trip Advisor too as I would hate for the same thing to happen to someone else knowing this is repeat events.
I tried to attach a photo, don’t know if it worked.




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#9
2,273 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Wow. That is quite worrisome. I think I might need to start with a new search for our day. Thank you for letting us know. What a frightening experience. I am very glad that you are all safe.
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#10
Maryland
390 Posts
Joined Feb 2014
I was thinking about using Spencer Ambrose to go to Sugar Beach but thought the price was high - $90 per person. Sinking boats and uncomfortable conditions makes me change my mind. Sometimes, I'll read the most negative reviews on trip advisor and ask myself if I could deal with that. Too bad because Sugar beach sounds nice. Wish there was a better way to get there like a nice catamaran.
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#11
Dallas, TX
117 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
I took this tour about 18 months ago and would not do it again. In addition to the boats that seemed like they weren’t well maintained, it also seemed like they were overcrowded and they didn’t have a good system of getting people on / off the boats at certain stops. We quickly stopped at one pier to transfer to the van portion of the tour and there were huge swells of water from all the boats as we docked. They never tied the boat up, but rather two crew members held on to these posts to hold the boat close to the dock... with the large swells of water they couldn’t keep the boat close and I saw several people almost fall as the boat came about a foot away from the dock as they were trying to step off the boat. Very dangerous and I would not recommend this tour because of that.
#12
Lakeville, MA
1,227 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
I have also read posts about overcapacity and trouble with boats. I would not even consider them.
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#13
Pefferlaw
185 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
Well, I am not please to hear these stories either but for what it's worth, we used Spencer to go to Sugar Beach in 2014, 2015 and most recently last December 2017. We have been planning on booking this coming December as well as we always liked it. I am not sure now...
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#14
257 Posts
Joined Mar 2017
We just returned from our cruise, and we went on the Land and Sea excursion with Spenser Ambrose Thursday. It was wonderful. The only issue was waiting for them to get the boat out of safety. None of us were even sure we would make it to St. Lucia. Once the tour started, everything went fabulously. Tony was our driver and was so knowledgeable and helpful. SheShe and Lucky were great, and Spencer even sped up the boat to make sure we all had great accommodation at Sugar Beach. It’s a high traffic area, but we all had free chairs in a prime location. Overall, a wonderful tour, I would recommend and take again. I don’t think in that time frame, you could see and learn that much about St. Lucia any other way.


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#15
UK
1,431 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Originally posted by MeganGC1983
We just returned from our cruise, and we went on the Land and Sea excursion with Spenser Ambrose Thursday. It was wonderful. The only issue was waiting for them to get the boat out of safety. None of us were even sure we would make it to St. Lucia. Once the tour started, everything went fabulously. Tony was our driver and was so knowledgeable and helpful. SheShe and Lucky were great, and Spencer even sped up the boat to make sure we all had great accommodation at Sugar Beach. It’s a high traffic area, but we all had free chairs in a prime location. Overall, a wonderful tour, I would recommend and take again. I don’t think in that time frame, you could see and learn that much about St. Lucia any other way.


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Good to hear a positive review. We are booked with Spencer for December and I have been keeping an eye on recent feedback as to if we change or not

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#16
257 Posts
Joined Mar 2017
Originally posted by SquishTheWhale
Good to hear a positive review. We are booked with Spencer for December and I have been keeping an eye on recent feedback as to if we change or not

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We were worried too. That’s why I made sure to come back and leave our experience. Once you book, then you hear bad, you don’t really know what to do, but we enjoyed it.


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#17
Ottawa, Canada
2,002 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Thank you for the update. We took the excursion with Spencer's company in 2016 and really enjoyed the experience. I have booked it again for four of us in December, and I'm glad to hear your experience was good.
#18
Massachusetts
612 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
I took Spencer’s Land, Sea & Beach adventure March, 2017. We were supposed to be on a speedboat but ended up on an old fishing boat whose Diesel engine smoked so badly we were all gagging. It was so slow, every other tour operator sped past us. It took us at least twice as long to get to the pier than it should have. Spencer was apologetic and explained they were down a boat due to mechanical issues. We still had a great time and did end up on a speed boat on the way back to the ship. Spencer personally guided us almost all day and bought us fresh coconuts at the mud bath. I didn’t post a negative review at the time for similar reasons mentioned above. I hadn’t thought about it again until I saw this post and wanted to mention my own experience. I personally would not book with Spencer again... I am heading back to St Lucia in April and will be looking at another tour operator. If you stay with your booking just be sure to get on a speed boat and not an old fishing boat!!


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#19
Maryland
390 Posts
Joined Feb 2014
This photo is enough to make me consider other options...

Originally posted by MinnieMouse18




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