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ABC Islands recommendations?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Sherpakroto, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. Sherpakroto

    Sherpakroto Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Maine, and Puerto Aventuras MX
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    Heading on a cruise to Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao next month on our way north for Christmas. Planning to dive 2 of the 3 islands. Which you would choose, and which dive ops and sites do you recommend? We are both PADI certified, take all our own gear, and spend our winters diving in Mexico RIviera. We haven't had the best luck with cruise ship excursions (overpriced short dives), but do recognize the convenience of using them. Recommendations are appreciated!
     
  2. azstinger11

    azstinger11 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Diego, CA
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    In Bonaire you could rent a truck I suppose but maybe use Dive Friends and do a Klien Bonaire boat dive instead?

    We dove with Aqua Windies and Mermaid Dive Center. Both are nice, Mermiad was cheaper with a bigger boat. Windies was more expensive for a smaller but nicer boat. I wasn’t overly impressed with the Antilla wreck, instead try and go to the two swim through airplanes!
     
  3. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
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    Buddy Dive picks up divers from the cruise ship, gives them a checkout dive ay Buddy Reef, then to Klein for a dive, then back to the ship.
     
  4. Altamira

    Altamira ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
    1,640
    1,419
    113
    Just did a similar cruise last month. If you are going to dive two ports, Bonaire and Curacao would be my top picks without hesitation. I skipped diving at Aruba to snorkel with my wife, so I cannot comment on diving in Aruba, but from what I saw snorkeling, diving would not have been great in Aruba. I did dive Bonaire and Curacao, and had great dives at both places. I am over 70, so was too old to do the ship's dive excursions at Curacao and Bonaire. Instead, I did a wonderful two tank shore dive with Dive Friends Bonaire, and a similar two tank shore dive with the Dive Bus in Curacao. I can highly recommend both of those dive operations. Dive Friends Bonaire is right across the street from the cruise terminal, and you might be able to talk the Dive Bus staff into fixing you up with transportation from/to the Renaissance, which is a short walk to the right of the Mega Cruise Ship Terminal. If not, you would have to grab a cab. Unless the ship's Bonaire dive op is taking you to Klein Bonaire, I do not see a big reason to do the ship excursion, other than not having to deal with with changes or cancellations should the ship not dock or is late. At Curacao, Oceans Encounters was the ship's dive op on several prior visits to Curacao, and they were excellent as well, so I would not hesitate to use them to avoid the taxi to/from the port in Curacao.
     
    GrafCanuck and KathyV like this.
  5. Sherpakroto

    Sherpakroto Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Maine, and Puerto Aventuras MX
    10
    0
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    Thanks folks! We'll settle on Bonaire and Curacao. I like the Buddy Dive idea, and will contact them. For Curacao, we arrive at 8, so it might be tight to get to the Dive Bus in time. I will also check with them.
    Keep em coming!
    Altamira: I'm 64, so I hear you. When will ships realize that age is not necessarily the best factor for determining a diver's risk?
     
  6. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
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    5,746
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    I've never seen this mentioned on the BD website or signage there, so I assume it is a direct deal between the cruise lines and BD.
     
  7. Altamira

    Altamira ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
    1,640
    1,419
    113
    @Sherpakroto
    FYI, our ship docked Curacao about 0730 for a scheduled arrival time of 0800, and was off the ship before 0800. You probably will also, and should not have any trouble making a 0900 dive with the Dive Bus if you elect to set up your own dives. Email them and see what they can set up for you. When I was there last month, we did our first dive a little after 0900 for a 60 minute dive at Pierbaii reef, just across the highway from them, and then a 45 minute SI, followed by the second 60 minute dive at Car Pile, which is in the same area as Pierbaii, only at a slightly deeper depth, again for a 60 minute dive. I would do those two sites next time in Curacao without a doubt. However, if I had been your age, I would have used the ship's op at both locations just to avoid the hassle.
    At Bonaire, assuming you don't use the ship's op, and if Buddy Dive does not work out for you, you will like Dive Friends Bonaire, or you can also drop an email to Capt Don's Habitat, which is right next door to BD. Good luck and have fun.

    Also, it is not the cruise lines that set the age restrictions: It is the dive ops who specify the age limits. I know this to be fact, because I have researched this to the end of my patience. The thing that really pisses me off is the same dive ops that set age restrictions for divers on cruise ships do not apply the same age restrictions to divers that just show up to dive. Sometimes I have been able to get waivers for the age restrictions by contacting the dive op directly (don't expect the cruise lines to give you that info though), but only do that if I have no other dive choices. I prefer to give my money to dive ops that use their brains/common sense and don't discriminate based on age.
     
    shoredivr likes this.
  8. diversteve

    diversteve Technical Admin

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
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    The Dive Bus does Not p/u at the cruise port. they don't have a permit. They suggest a cab to their location in Pierbaai - south Willemstad.

    Bas Harts Diving can pick you up near the cruise port.The Megaport is in south Piscadera, the Renaissance mentioned used to be serviced by Caribbean Sea Sports - they have a nice jet drive boat. There's no good dives right there bu 15-20 mins. farther west.

    Interestibg idea above to have the Dive Bus get you at the Renaissance, you'll walk right by it ,

    For Bonaire the Dive Friends Yellow Sub location is a short walk north of Town Pier where you dock.Average shore dive plus they keep some of their fleet there. I would do something just across the channel like Forest at Klein Bonaire. Rappel is another good boat only dive to the north.

    Personally I would not go to Buddy Dive as their morning boats likely leave B4 you could get there.

    VIP Diving is a more expensive personalized cruise dive experience. Shore dives but it's what Bonaire is famous for, Slightly higher priced but they do all the work.

    don't know Aruba at all.

    my .02
     
  9. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    8,054
    5,746
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    The boats they use to service the cruise ship dives are dedicated to that purpose; they are not the boats they use for their resident guests.
     
  10. Sherpakroto

    Sherpakroto Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Maine, and Puerto Aventuras MX
    10
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    Thanks everyone! I'll review and should be able to finalize everything with ti.e suggestions.
    Now, off to a reef dive in Puerto Aventuras. Retirement fits me!
     

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