Spirit of Tasmania

Submitted: Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 01:51
ThreadID: 68458 Views:8958 Replies:21 FollowUps:18
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Looking for some reviews and opinions on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry. Firstly, the other half gets sea sick and i would like to know how hairy it can get out there in the Bass strait. Heard horrible stories from guys on rig supply vessels and other seasoned sailors. Does the vessel ride well, is it even noticable in moderate weather? Will be visiting the chemist before we leave anyway to get some sort of tablets or remedy ( Any preferencesout there to whats best). Will be getting a cabin so should be far more comfortable then the recliners. Also a lady we are travelling with is a little frightened by heights and she is worried about how heigh she will be up on the ship, especially when in the restaurants and such where its glass all around. Can anyone shed some light on this to maybe ease her nerves. Have googled most of my current info, but couldnt find anything on these questions anywhere. Looking forward to the trip, just want to get a heads up with what we could be in for (Mate and I).

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Reply By: fisho64 - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 02:48

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 02:48
gee Kroozer-sounds like "phobia city"?
Havent been on the Spirit but I have worked much in Bass Strait. Any vessel will be fine in flat calm weather. And rolly in bad weather. Its not a constant that you can plan ahead for.
There isnt much alternative except to fly.
Not sure about the restaurant, but she doesnt have to sit at a window seat?
What are you doing down there anyway? (Kimberely born and bread)
AnswerID: 362878

Follow Up By: Member - Kroozer (WA) - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 14:40

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 14:40
Going to visit my folks and see some snow. Lived in the Kimberleys my entire life, thought i better go see whats out there.
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Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 06:12

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 06:12
If you get some preventative medication for sea sickness be sure and read the packet. Some pills require you to take them several hours in advance and may also affect your ability to drive safely for xx hours.

AnswerID: 362883

Reply By: Stu-k - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 06:46

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 06:46
Yeah sounds like you know what your in for lol.
I have done the trip a few times and am yet to get a smooth crossing.
A cabin is def the go to, much better than watching people throw up around you!
Have never taken medication for that trip but for a rough scuba trip I used a strop(spelling?) its a stick on patch that leaches some chemical slowly into your bloodstream. They do work but dehydrate and make you feel ill in the process.

Mate Tassie is a great place and well worth the boat ride. Port Arthur is not to be missed while your there.

AnswerID: 362884

Follow Up By: Gramps - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 09:20

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 09:20
"and make you feel ill in the process"

LOL I thought they were supposed to prevent that.

FollowupID: 630527

Follow Up By: Stu-k - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 15:35

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 15:35
Yeah but ya dont throw up lol, ya gota luv it!
FollowupID: 630589

Reply By: Mandrake - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 07:29

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 07:29
Been over and back twice now - first sailing was as smooth as one way but a 10metre swell on the other leg. The second trip this March had a 3 metre swell running on both voyages and you wouldn't even know it if the skipper hadn't told you !!
The Spirit handles it really well and as long as you actually don't see whats going on its OK ..
It can get quite rough at times but fortunately its not too often -
The restaurants from memory are on deck 6 or 7 ? so about 50 metres up ?
Tassie is worth it though ...

The only thing wrong with it is the queuing and waiting to load at both ends ....grrr


AnswerID: 362886

Follow Up By: Member - Kroozer (WA) - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 14:43

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 14:43
Wow, 50 metres up. Thats bloody huge for a ship. I was thinking from water to bridge would be lucky to top 35 metres. She is a monster
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Follow Up By: Mandrake - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 15:51

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 15:51
I have erred metrically speaking - how about 50 foot up - its only 25 metres wide !!

Sorry Kroozer

Its only a little ship 195 metres long ... 25 metres wide and they don't give a height

I better get back to metriculation !


Mandrake - metrically challenged .
FollowupID: 630594

Reply By: Member - Nick (TAS) - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 08:10

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 08:10
I have been known to get sea sick quite easy but havent at all on the Spirit(6 or 7 times now).Good thing you got a cabin as the cruise seats suck big time and it seems to take forever to get there.
As you are inside going from level to level, it dosnt feel heigh and unless you sit right in a window seat in the front restaraunt, it will be fine.
Not very often the ship has to return because of bad weather.......
AnswerID: 362890

Reply By: DaveO*ST-R - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 08:51

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 08:51
Have travelled on the Spirit twice now. First time was as flat as. Second time in Feb last year it was blowing a gale with 6 metre swells which made it somewhat difficult to walk around. I am not the world's best sailor, so took Quells from the chemist at the recommended time before sailing and did not have a problem with sickness. We travelled cattle class on a day sailing and found the trip to be VERY long, especially as someone else said with people bringing up their lunches into a bag !!!! If we did a night sailing with a cabin, it would have been much more palatable. I find the Spirit a necessary evil, if you want to take a van or camper over to Tassie, there 'aint a lot of choices !!! Worth the effort though, brilliant place to tour around.

As stated, the main decks are a fair height off the water, but if you stay away from the rails and look out to sea, not over the side, no dramas. You can dine in some of the restaurants in the centre of the boat, away from the windows !!


AnswerID: 362894

Reply By: Holden4th - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 09:02

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 09:02
Went over and back this Xmas. The trip over had 4-5 metre swells and a 35 knot breeze and it was noticeable when you were walking but no big deal. (but then again I don't get seasick)

The cabins are towards the front of the boat on deck 7 and all over on deck 8. You want to be nearer the bow as opposed to the stern so if you can get a cabin on Deck 7 this would be best. The rolling affect is less noticeable in the cabins and the nearer the middle of the boat the better.

Unless you go out onto the deck and lean over the side there is no sensation of height (i suffer from vertigo). The restaurants give no sensation of height whatsoever. There are restaurants on deck 7 and a other meals are available on deck 9.

AnswerID: 362897

Reply By: Member - Matt & Caz H (QLD) - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 09:03

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 09:03
Hey Kroozer

Can let you know tomorrow!!!!! We board the Spirit tonight at 6.30pm................... Matt gets seasick real bad - we have a packet of KWELLS with us and hopefully I won't have to spend the night cleaning up after Matt and the 2 girls!!!

We are looking forward to the trip, however I (Caz) am a little nervous - I don't get sea sick as such, however I was Game fishing a few years back out at Flinders Reef and the drive shaft in the boat died, we had brand new radios that decided not to work and neither anchor would hold...................... luckily we had flares and were rescued by a dive boat (who almost didn't come to the rescue as they thought the flares were coral spawn!!!) One of the only times I thought "Well this is it Girl"!!!

Sure we will be ok though. Will post in tomorrow (if I can LOL!!!)

AnswerID: 362898

Follow Up By: kev 57 - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 09:58

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 09:58
You can also use ginger tablets,family members who cruise a couple of times a year swear by them...
FollowupID: 630535

Follow Up By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 12:37

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 12:37
Kev I was going to mention Ginger tabs as well. If I hadn't experienced taking the Ginger I would of said it was the biggest load of BS I'd ever heard. As the packet didn't have any instructions I chewed the tablet. Hell it was foul BUT queasiness went instantly and didn't have any further discomfort. We were on a fishing charter at the time.

Our experience with the SoT was that the sea was as calm as a mill pond, in both directions. Got a cabin so if there was any roughness throughout the night we slept through it anyway.
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Follow Up By: Member - Kroozer (WA) - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 14:50

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 14:50
Excellent, let us kow how it goes. Good luck, wish it was me.
FollowupID: 630580

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 15:46

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 15:46
Why take ginger tablets at all? Get the real stuff and enjoy chomping on it. Much better.

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Reply By: TassieD - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 10:26

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 10:26
Having been back & forth several times and doing contract work on the ship its best to get an inside3-4 berth cabin. Far less rolling and pitching. The only deck thats really noticeable for height is the deck 10 bar on top of the ship.
Most of the rest don't have huge windows so its no different to looking out the window on the second storey of a building.
If you do the night sailing there's nothing outside to look at anyway in the dark.
I get awfully seasick yet I've never done on the Spirit, even in 12m swells one memorable trip. We always eat before we get on the ship as its not cheap on there and you're better off not eating on the move. A couple of stiff drinks and an early night and you sleep though the trip.
AnswerID: 362909

Reply By: png62 - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 11:02

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 11:02
I'll advocate the "Kwells" too - no affiliation just happy sailing and no illness.
The food is expensive in the restaurant and you need to book as early as possible - I missed out on the last sailing -wasn't happy and had to go to the buffet - food was reminiscent of the uniformed days and eating in a military mess, the restaurant food is always good - not for the price charged, however I would prefer to pay for expensive good food than expensive buffet. The advice about eating before getting on the ship is good but take your own breakfast too.
Hang the expense, it's your holiday - the cabin is a must I reckon.
AnswerID: 362916

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 15:50

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 15:50
For the evening meal - we fed ourselves in the caravan before driving around to join the queue. In the morning, we just had a very light snack on the boat, drove to Burnie, shopped at Woolies and then had breaky in their parking lot.

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Reply By: Member - Royce- Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 11:05

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 11:05
I've done 27 return trips and planning 28 in November.

I get violently motion sick.... No I mean REALLY ... so bad that I can't move or talk or even flicker an eyelid without retching uncontrollably.

My only solution is to have stemital prescribed by my doc, take a triple dose in necessary and if things look like getting really out of hand, take a prescription sleeping tablet. I reckon if the boat went down.... I'd go with it.

Having said that, the new pair of Spirits are a great improvement on previous ferries. You should have no problem, because I don't!!!!

In calm weather, I barely notice it and that's from a bloke who feels bad when tied up at the dock!

Height is not an issue. You have no sense of height inside, unless it's daylight outside and even then, very little problem. You don't need to be near a window in the restaurants.

The recliners are a challenge. I have a special method of handling them. The cabins will be fine though.

For sea sickness, the crucial thing is to make sure you are really tired. Get to bed and sleep the trip away!

Enjoy! Cheers Royce

AnswerID: 362917

Follow Up By: Member - Kroozer (WA) - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 14:54

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 14:54
Damn that would be a bummer getting that crook. Are the seas usually rougher in winter compared to say summer or is it just on and off all year round? I myself dont really enjoy being on large ships when there rolling about.
FollowupID: 630581

Follow Up By: Member - Royce- Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 15:25

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 15:25
The seas are usually CALMER in Winter. Tassie is beautiful in winter. Hobart has the same climate as the mediteranean where Europeans go for their winter!

Most days are calm and sunny. Crispy cool, but beautiful. For some strange reason they don't promote themselves for this time of the year and close down most tourist attractions.

Spring would be the most likely to have rough seas, but remember that Bass Strait has rough seas any time of the year.

FollowupID: 630588

Reply By: Geoff & Karen - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 12:14

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 12:14
Better still. Put your wife on the plane and fly her over, and you meet her at one of the airports. Or if you dont mind travelling alone, leave her home all together. Problem solved!
AnswerID: 362927

Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 16:41

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 16:41
Hi Kroozer

When we went across in 2006, we chose a day crossing to get there and it was flat calm and a most enjoyable day. The next day we met a Swiss couple and the lady said they'd had a very rough day crossing and she had been very sick; then again, she may not have travelled on water before.

We were free to wander all over the boat and sit anywhere, but choose to be on a higher deck. I am terrified getting on a ladder unless both feet are on the ground, but had no issues sitting beside the glass, or going on the open decks to take photos.

We purchased Quells (take one half an hour before leaving if you need them). We didn't use them at all.

We had a night crossing return, and it was a stormy night. We planned to skip the evening meal, but after coming in freezing cold after watching Devonport disappear while standing in the cold wind and rain for some time, the alluring smell from the restaurant was too tempting. Back down to the cabin for some money and we ate a good big meal before retiring to our cabin. We had a porthole, which helped avoid any claustrophobic feelings. It was a bumpy night, but neither of us felt sick at all. Me, who used to be sea sick on large ocean liners leaving Fremantle - before we even got past Rottnest Island, and my husband who since an accident some years ago, suffers motion sickness.

The suggestion that the lady who has the problem with heights fly may be a good idea - IF she is OK about flying. However her fear of heights probably precludes flight completely.

Don't let getting there deter you and have a wonderful time - Tasmania and the Kimberley have to be the two best places in Australia, and so different that no further comparison can be made.


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AnswerID: 362969

Reply By: Member - Gavan F (WA) - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 17:09

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 17:09
G'day Kroozer

I get chronic Motion sickness (even on a surfboard).

Try Travacalm It works on your head and stomach .Kwells and Dramamine only work on one or the other.

I did the trip earlier this year and as long as your missus take the medication before and follows it up regularly before she feels sick all should be good. I even watched a movie and ate at the buffet.

She should trial any preventative a couple of times before you go .

I always take a tablet the night before and then 2, 2 hours before I travel and then as I get on the boat ,from there I can control it as required .

AnswerID: 362975

Follow Up By: Member - Kroozer (WA) - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 17:57

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 17:57
That sounds great. Will check them out. Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Gavan F (WA) - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 09:39

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 09:39
Sorry Kroozer , should have mentioned that they come in a few different Styles . I use the blue packet which is fully loaded.
FollowupID: 630745

Reply By: Member - Kroozer (WA) - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 18:01

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 18:01
Thanks for all the advice and info, greatly appreciated. Will take everything into consideration here and sit down with fellow companions to reassure them that it should be alright. Pills for the missus, and mates missus should be fine as somebody said its night time anyway so cant really see distance anyway.

Also whats the gaming lounge like. I like a little bit of a flutter on the pokies, and so do the sheilas.
AnswerID: 362987

Follow Up By: cobber - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 18:06

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 18:06
We had a great trip on it both ways, the BEST part was the Stickey Date Pudding with the King Island Cream
FollowupID: 630622

Follow Up By: marcus - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 19:12

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 19:12
Hi Kroozer,
The gaming lounge is quite small but with patience you should get onto a machine.Meanwhile lots of cosy bars with plasma t.v's,a general store type souvenir shop and restaurants.A really nice modern ship with comfortable cabins and ensuites.My crossing both ways was calm and a very enjoyable experience but do recommend a cabin.
FollowupID: 630631

Reply By: PradOz - Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 22:13

Sunday, May 03, 2009 at 22:13
hey Kroozer

i noticed recently in the chemist a wristband type thing that they say works (?) on accupressure points to stop seasickness. maybe worth a look whilst you are in the chemist looking at the travelcalm.

never been on the Spirit but recently did a cruise. we were infomed on board that if you felt sea sick, go to the centre of the ship and to a deck as low as possible. not sure if you can - maybe stay in the car ;) They also said if you look out at sea to focus on the horizon not in close as it also helps - no good for the night journey but maybe ok if traveling back in day. Also, these ships all have stabilisers fitted and sure in very bad weather they dont eliminate the problem, but it can minimise it.

also my MIL gets seasick very bad and recently she got some needle from the on board doc i think and found she was ok just about instantly. she said it was the best she ever was on a ship

dont think there will be a height problem if you are going at night as it is pitch black out at sea so you wont see too much in distance - just tell her not to look over edge and straight down. sure you will all be ok - have fun, wish i was coming
AnswerID: 363046

Reply By: Amy G - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 19:02

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 19:02
I am one of those seasick types too and I am afraid to say that on a January overnight crossing I did become quite seasick! It was the first time I had been on the Spirit and so I didn't take anything beforehand. We had a cabin which was the best decision we could have made. Aside from having a bed to sleep in you also have your own bathroom! The other half was fine the whole way and fortunately saw the funny side :)

On the way back I bought those accupressure wrist bands at the shop on the boat and wore those. I also took the precaution of having dinner before I got on the boat, though the buffet restaurant really is nice and at $20 a pop has a good range of things to eat. You can also get a table away away from the side of the boat so you can't see the water. On the way back I slept through the night and although I'm not sure whether to credit the wristbands, the empty stomach or the fact that my cabin wasn't moving around in a large circle all night, I would recommend combining these three approaches with some good seasickness tablets!
AnswerID: 363211

Reply By: Member - Matt & Caz H (QLD) - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 20:33

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 20:33
Hey Kroozer,

well we made it and no spewing happened!!!! we had a fairly good run 10 - 15 knts, 1 -1.5m swell, we went to bed around 9pm and the boat did a bit of rocking and rolling last night, however we took the KWELLS and we all got enough sleep last night to function today!!

We arrived at Devonport at 7am, we drove out to Stanley and had a look at "the nut" we had a GREAT lunch at the Stanley pub.

I am sure you will be fine, the spirit is a fantastic ship and a great experience!!

Take Care
Matt, Caz and kids
AnswerID: 363244

Follow Up By: Member - Kroozer (WA) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 00:37

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 00:37
Excellent, thanks. Hope you enjoy your time over there as much as i will. Cant wait.
FollowupID: 630901

Reply By: Member - Roger B (VIC) - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 22:20

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 22:20
Went to Tas, on a day crossing, no cabin. After a few hours Bass Strait isn't all that scenic. A calm crossing though. Came back in a cabin on a night crossing. Also calm, but much better. A bite to eat an ale or two, into the farter, and next minute they're waking me up in Melbourne to go and get in the car. You'd reckon with those two ships going back and forth most days, they'd have flattened a bit of a path across Bass Strait by now!!

Roger B.......
AnswerID: 363264

Follow Up By: Madfisher - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 15:34

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 15:34
Yep same experience, couldnt believe it when Capt called us to go to the cars. I swore I only put my head down a few minutes before, and the rocking well that must have just rocked me to sleep.
One other thing nobody else mentioned is that this ship gets up and bogies. Normal cruise is 25 knts, to save fuel, but if running late they can crank it up to 32.
Cheers Pete
FollowupID: 630976

Reply By: Member - Campergirl (NSW) - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 22:02

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 22:02
Hi Kroozer

Just came back on Monday night. I've done 17 crossings now. If you request deck 7 and as other members have said a 4 berth inside cabin you won't really notice much. I've been when it's really rough and had a top deck forward cabin - bad move. I've tried every cabin type on the ferry and found the inside 4 berths the best for comfort.

You don't get meals included any more on the ferry - so eat before you board - have a walk around while heading out of Port Phillip bay - then hit the sack. You'll wake up in Devonport before you know it.

Then have breakfast in Devonport or travel down about 30mins to Elizabeth Town on the A1 (heading to Launceston) and stop at the Elizabeth Town Bakery for a great breakfast and real coffee. Tell them the crazy girl with 2 boarder collies sent you!

I'm not a fan of cruises but since they got the new vessels, they're alot better.


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AnswerID: 363769

Reply By: kend88 - Friday, May 08, 2009 at 12:56

Friday, May 08, 2009 at 12:56
I went over as a year 12 student 40 odd years ago. There were about 40 of us. Roughly half didn't eat beforehand, the others, including myself had a big feed of greasy fish and chips. Pretty well everyone who didn't eat got crook, nearlly all those that ate the fish and chips were fine. On the way back some of those that had been sick tried the greasy food option and were fine. Since then I have always try to make sure I have a full stomach whenever on a boat, and have never had a problem. Don't know of course if it just my constitution though, could be coincidence. Have done the Tassie crossing quite few times, and have found there is about a 50% chance of it being pretty rough. As many have said, the pitch is nowhere as noticable toward the centre of the ship, but I can't resist being up in the open air on the bow and stern for lengthy periods.

AnswerID: 363836

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