My wife and I were on a local plantation tour (Whitney Plantation, the most amazing tour) and asked a few staff about a swamp tour and they mentioned a place by the side of the road on our way back to New Orleans. Neither person knew the name of the company, simply offering a phone number (googled the # to find out it was Swamp Adventures). I called and was informed that they had space for a 2pm tour.
We arrived as another tour had just come in, and the event at that time seemed promising. We were told the tour would be an 1hour and 40 minutes long (100 mins). That being said, neither captain who was there seemed to want to take us out. After being introduced to our captain, he asked what time it currently was and stated, "Great I've got 8 minutes to relax". First flag went up.
At our scheduled time, we headed out after a quick briefing from the captain. I spotted a gator after about 5 minutes or so on the water. Turns out this is one of their "pet" gators, Goliath, whom they feed regularly and keep around to provide an authentic alligator experience with. The captain then proceeded to add a turkey neck to a small PVC pipe with a wire on the end and feed the gator directly. I was shocked at this and seemed counter to everything I was raised (in FL) to understand about wild gator behavior. Second flag went up and this was before he tried to lure the gator towards the boat for my wife to pet it.
After moving on down the main channel, we then went into a few thicker wooded areas, spotting only 1 single fish. That's it. Simultaneously, the weather was changing (usual afternoon thunderstorm approaching) and the captain received an alert on his phone about lightning in the area and so we headed back to the dock. TOTAL TIME ON THE WATER WAS 30 MINUTES.
We got back to the docks and immediately the woman who booked the tour for us started to turn on the Southern charm. "You guys will have to come back and see us next time you're in town", "You make sure to ask for me and make sure you bring your grandma too"(unclear why she mentions grandparent here). After informing we were flying home the next day and were in the area for a conference, she stated, "Well maybe you'll come back next year for a conference".
This was all a prelude to the inevitable which she knew was coming: we would ask for a refund. After my wife finally asked for a partial refund, we were told "It's our policy, we can't refund after the boat leaves the dock."
It rains everyday in the Southeast (esp LA) from June through October, almost without fail. Swamp Adventures is likely making a killing off of these partial "tours", by luring unsuspecting tourists out for the afternoon, even with inclement weather approaching, and offering a half-*** tour. They then save on their costs (fuel, human capital) by stating it's their policy to not refund and netting the increased profit. The woman was in her truck pulling out almost before we were.
We were not informed of any cancellation policy and it is no where on their website. Beware! This is a terrible shady business, with horrible customer service. We felt like we got played as tourists since we didn't live in the area and likely wouldn't be back.
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