SCUBA Diving

Old Jun 3rd, 2003, 01:50 PM
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SCUBA Diving

We are planning a Western Caribbean cruise with stops in Belize City, Roatan, George Town and Cozumel and want to do some diving at each port. Which dive shops would you recommend at these stops? One of us may not be diving and would like to ride along & snorkel if possible.
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Old Jun 4th, 2003, 04:52 AM
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I have done that itinerary with the exception of Roatan. The problem of booking on your own and not using the ship's scuba excursion is one of timing. Often by the time the ship docks, the AM dive groups have already gone out for the day. And if you arrange a PM dive (not always possible), you may be sweating it out that you get back on time and are not waving bye-bye to the ship. In Belize and Grand Cayman, you will probably have to tender in to the dock and those on ship excursions are the first to get off the ship and sometimes you don't even know what time you'll get off.

For these reasons, I have booked through the ship even though it is usually more expensive. What line are you going on? We were on RCCL and in Grand Cayman were happy with the dive company: Red Sail. In Belize, I do not know what company they used.

If you have been able to book privately with no problems, please let me know. I'm always seeking more and better information!
rst is offline  
Old Jun 4th, 2003, 05:46 AM
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I don't think we'll run into too many problems with timing. We're going on Carnival-Paradise and this will be our first cruise. We have seen the cruise ship passengers standing in line for quite some time in the Caymans and may be surprised at how little time we actually get to spend at port. We have from 8-6 in Belize, 6-2 in Roatan, 9-5 in Grand Cayman and 12-10 in Cozumel. It appears that we can get an afternoon dive in Belize and Cozumel and a morning dive in Roatan. We have some connections with Bob Sotos in Grand Cayman and may be able to squeeze one in there as well. We may decide to do an east end dive in which case timing may be real tight. Please let me know of any dive shops you'd recommend. How much are the ship's excursion dives with equipment rental?
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Old Jun 4th, 2003, 06:52 AM
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One thing you may want to know.

If your significant other is snorkeling they will be exposed to the sun more than you will be.

Most of the areas do not allow you to wear sunscreen while near their reefs.

The oils are apparently damaging to the environment.

So just be careful.
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Old Jun 4th, 2003, 08:43 AM
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You said you don't think you'll have problems with timing, but this is your first cruise? Since you haven't cruised before I would definitely worry about the timing. You stated an afternoon dive in Belize but you're only there until 6. Don't know if you are aware but the departure time is when the ship leaves and not when you have to be back on board. In Belize you have to tender (15-20 minute ride) and as I recall when we were there with a departure time of 5, the last tender back to the ship was 4:30. And with your arrival time of 8, that means that's when the ship is supposed to arrive, not when you can leave the boat - usually its about an hour or so later than that that you actually get to leave, plus factoring the time of the tender ride. I'm not sure about Roatan, but you have to tender in Grand Cayman. Cozumel is better because you are docked. IMHO, on a first cruise I would try the ship's excursions. This way, if there are weather problems or delays and an excursion is missed or cancelled, the ship will refund your money. If you go with an outside vendor and somehow you can't make it, you might lose any money put down. A lot of times where you have to tender and its bad weather, that stop will be cancelled or time there will be shortened. Just a few things you might not have thought about.

As to the snorkeling, as a former snorkeler (now diver) I used to be the snorkeler on the dive boat. In my experience sometimes that didn't work all that well. They would cater to the divers so the sites would be fairly deep and lousy for snorkeling so I would end up just waiting on the boat.

Whatever you do have a great time - Grand Cayman is beautiful!
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Old Jun 4th, 2003, 05:23 PM
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A group of us did a cruise/dive trip to the same ports. We booked all of the dives independent of the ship and it work out great.

In Belize we dove with Hugh Parkey - He was great. His boat was the nicest dive boat I've been on. He has a shop right on the dock and he tendered us back to the ship because time was running short. I would highly recommend him.

In Roatan we dove with West End Divers. Their boats, equipment and service were all good. It's a very poor island.

We weren't able to tender in to Grand Cayman because of bad weather. I understand this happens frequently.

I don't recall who we dove with in Cozumel, but this was my favorite dive. The colors of the coral were amazing.

I would recommend scheduling all of your dives for the morning so you don't have to worry about getting back to the ship on time.
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Old Jul 1st, 2003, 06:14 AM
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We too did the same ports on Carnival Paradise in May 2003. We unfortunately had to skip Belize because of high winds, but the other ports were wonderful. I fully believe in booking tours privately; we saved a LOT of money and I believe we had much more rewarding experiences.

Did a two-tank dive with Bananarama Dive ( in West Bay Beach...if you book ahead of time, they will pick you up at the port in their van. We took a cab (for two people $10US to the dive shop and he returned to pick us up later and speed-drove us out to the other side of the island so we could see things before our ship left). This dive shop is great, and the dive masters are very friendly. The beaches in West Bay are gorgeous. (We were the last on the ship - my boyfriend pushed our schedule to the limit and they literally closed the door behind us!)

Grand Cayman:
Being that this was our first time there, we wanted to see the legendary Stingray City. There are MILLIONS of tours (through the ship and private) that will take you to this place to feed the stingrays, and stop somewhere else for snorkeling as well. Anyway, we had made an advance reservation, but our ship came in an hour late, and our tour had to leave without us...but we had no problem walking back toward the pier about a block and signing up with a new tour for the same price - still about $10 (~$35USD) cheaper than the cruise excursions (and it included bottled water and a souvenier rum cake). My boyfriend did the submarine dive that went down to 900 feet for $350 or something - no thanks! I shopped instead!

Though what we deemed to be the least exotic of our ports, this was my FAVORITE diving. We booked privately again, and highly recommend the charter company - Albatros Charters ( We were also there from 12-10pm and were able to fit in two afternoon dives, an hour of deep-sea fishing, and a night dive (my FAVORITE!!!)...and still had enough time for drinks and nachos at Carlos n' Charlies by the pier. The company is owned by a couple - Burak is from Turkey...he personally took us on our private excursion, which also included water/fresh fruit/sandwiches and Coronas when we were done diving! It was an amazing trip...and all of this, including tanks, weights, computers, and wetsuits for two people cost us around $350US. It was a BLAST - I highly recommend it. No one else on our cruise enjoyed Cozumel as much as we did.

Have a great cruise! I am going on another three-dayer this weekend for the 4th of July!
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