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Which is the Better Carribean Dive Site?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by lss96, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. lss96

    lss96 Angel Fish

    I am going on a 14 day South Carribean cruise and would like to hopefully dive at a couple stops. A few of the Islands I will be stoppping at are as follows: Aruba, Curacao, Trinidad, St Vincent, St Kitts, St Thomas and Grand Turk. Can anybody advise me on there thoughts or experiences diving at these Islands and which is better? I am not leaving for a few months. Thanks
  2. pasley

    pasley Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lakewood, CA
    Ahemmmm, Your not diving at every stop that offers SCUBA diving? I have not taken the cruise you are going on or been to those islands. But you may find the below of value. Last February I did an 8 day cruise to Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize and Cozumel (Carnival Valor) with terrific diving at each port. I booked through the cruise ship and got two dives at each stop. Had time to see a bit of the port and then evenings with the wife plus those days at sea (2).

    Advantage of booking though the cruise ship:
    1. First off the ship - particularly important if the ship is tendered and not docked
    2. The dive boat leaves when you get there. We were late pulling into some ports.
    3. The Cruise ship will not leave until you return (never even close to being an issue).
    4. The dive boat may pick you up at the ship when tendered and drop you off there. If you book your own you would have to go to shore then to the dive boat and reverse on the way back. At one port the ship anchored (tendered) 4 miles off shore due to the shallow reefs.
    5. If you leave some gear behind the cruise ship will help you try to recover it (last port I was rushed and left regulator complete with computer at the rinse tank). The cruise ship would not however give me direct contact information to the dive operator but did contact the operator. Interestingly the operator could not locate my equipment. Once I got on the Internet and found their direct number and explained I had the serial numbers of all my gear (note take it with you) and I would be contacting the police in the morning miracle, they found my gear!

    1. Cost, Booking through the cruise ship cost more than booking directly with the dive operator by at least $40 or more.
    2. Two tanks per dive site. But in truth three dives may have been pushing it.
    I might consider direct booking on the next cruise, but would need to throughly discuss with the dive operator that they would not leave before we got there.

    Lessons learned:
    1. Take the serial number, make and model and a photo of your dive gear with you just in case you do what I did.
    2. I took all my own gear renting only weights and tank. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
    The rental gear the others wore was junk and leaking air all over the place. Try on this first hand account. A diver I know was in Grand Cayman during a hurricane. Took refuse in the dive shop which was a cement building. Toilet became clogged and he watched them take the regulator off the rental wall, hook up to a tank and use the 2nd stage on free-flow to unstop the toilet. Shook it off and then without washing put it back on the rental rack. Note I heard that directly from the diver who was there. Sure made me glad I had taken my own gear as we used that dive operator in the Grand Cayman. Disadvantage, when the dive was over I had to wash my gear at the dive shop or back on the boat while everyone else just returned it and walked away. Would I take my own gear again... given the above story wouldn't you?

    3. If they offer balcony cabins, get the corner balcony in the stern. 2/3 bigger room and while everyone else had a 10 foot balcony I had 13 yards of balcony. Worth the couple of hundred extra. (This assumes the cabins are on the outside of the ship. Some older ships have a public walkway around all decks).
  3. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives:
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year with
    There is essentially no diving from Trinidad.
  4. scubadiver888

    scubadiver888 Divemaster

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    If you go with the ship in Aruba they'll set you up with Red Sail Sports. Not a bad operation and worth going out with at least once. Two tank dive. Do that one. They will take you to the Antilla then the Pedenalis. If you want something deeper then you'll have to book on your own.

    In Curacao, check out The Dive Bus. Suzy and Mark are a ton of fun and they'll take you to almost the same shore dive the ship shore excursion would do or better, for less money. Two tank dive. Do that one. Bring cash as the credit card machine is a little flakey and you don't want to be waiting for it to work while the ship sails away.

    In St. Kitts there won't be a shore excursion. To the north of the cruise ship terminal (left up Bay Road) is ProDivers. Margot will set you up with a nice two tank dive. If you rent the full equipment package she includes a dive computer. If she tells you she is booked but can set you up with Kenneths, pass.

    St. Thomas is a good dive. There are a few shops to pick from but you might as well go with whoever the ship picks. This is a good dive. Two tanks. If they take you out to Wye Reef look for the HUGE barracuda.

    I haven't been to the other ports... yet. If you dive any of the other ports you should post pros/cons, who took you out and what sites you dove.

    If you are arranging your own dives (e.g. The Dive Bus, Pro Divers, etc.) contact they well ahead of time and set everything up. Almost no one does walk-ons. You can also get directions to the dive shop or possibly arrange for they to pick you up outside the terminal. If you take a taxi, set the price before you get in the taxi.

    Also, pasley is totally on the money... dive every port you can! One other disadvantage to diving with the ship... the operator has to keep a 60' max depth as part of their contract with the cruise line.

    Have Fun!
  5. scubadiver888

    scubadiver888 Divemaster

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Not even if you arrange privately?
  6. scuba_drum

    scuba_drum Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Makakilo, HI
    I used SeaEyeDiving on Grand Turk a couple of years ago, they were first class....
  7. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives:
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year with
    Trinidad proper? There are a few dive charters, but what diving there is~ maybe an hour + away from their port. I have heard from close friends (and ongoing dive buddies) who have been diving there to just skip it entirely. I'm afraid that's my general perception of the island of Trinidad itself.

    The total lack of any information about diving in Trinidad (specifically) on the internet is one heck of a good indicator. If there was anything going, this highly capitalist driven island would have a row of dive charters as long as the fabled Carnival Parade. It doesn't.

    I believe this is the official website: http://www.gotrinidadandtobago.com/trinidad/sports.php Notice that altho Tobago's pages are filled with dive references, Trinidad has zero.

    Tobago, the sister island in this two island nation, is 30 miles away. It on the other hand is just pure paradise.
  8. stangd1909

    stangd1909 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Sarasota FL
    I used Eagle Ray Divers in Cozumel, and they were great! They have some awesome drift diving, and a couple pretty cool wrecks! Pasley had some great ideas....I brought all of my own gear, and with the end balcony room you have more room to put your gear out to dry!
  9. w&k

    w&k Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Florida
    Are you doing the Grand Princess? If so, we are heading out on Feb 27th, and planning on doing some diving.

    The reason we booked this trip is to go diving with Mark & Suzy at the The Dive Bus. The Dive Bus - HOME If you search their website for 'serial cruisers' we will pop up. Beware, because they take and post blackmail pictures, the Feb 2008 newsletter being an object case. ;)

    We use Clive at Dive Aruba, and he's great - Dive Aruba - Scuba Classes, Dive Trips and Equipment Rentals.

    For St. Kitts, we love Kenneth's Dive Center, and Kenneth, Vajai, Yellowman & the crew always take us out for a great trip. St Kitts Scuba Center Kenneth's Dive Center kdcsk@yahoo.com

    We have done one set of dives on St. Thomas, with Blue Island Divers. St. Thomas scuba diving I'm not overly fond of rough water or wrecks, so will probably head over to Coki Beach this time, if we decide to dive there.

    You can find lots of info on the Cruise Critic Scuba and Snorkeling Board as well. Scuba and Snorkeling - Cruise Forums - Cruise Message Boards - Cruise Critic

    If you're on the Feb 27th trip, jump on in on the Roll call thread with us! (you have to join Cruise Critic to see this) Cruise Forums - Cruise Message Boards - Cruise Critic

    Have a great trip!


    cruise website
    Grand Princess Feb 27, 2009 | Caribbean Collection

    Wendy and Keith's place |

    dive pix
    Webshots-Grand Opening Special: Enter code SAVE25 at checkout and save 25% on your order!
  10. diversteve

    diversteve mod

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Phoenix
    If you've never been to Bonaire and want to get an idea of what that's like, dive with the Dive Bus on Curacao. They're in Willemsted - near where you'll dock. Basically the same reef/fish as you see on Bonaire.

    On St. Thomas, try Blue Island or Admiralty Divers in Charlotte Amalie. Either one can pick you up right off the WICO (cruise ship) dock.

    fwiw, Coki Beach is the worst dive I've done in the last 5 years. Really sparse u/w, shallow, not a lot of fish life - it's a locals beach. On some of the cruiselines CB is the ship's dive. It's also a 1/2hr. drive each way.

    btw - Chris Sawyer's in Red Hook just shut down and is only on St. John now - they used to have a cruise dive program - so any web references to them are invalid now.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008

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