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Blackbeards vs. Juliet liveaboard

Discussion in 'Bahamas' started by Midge907, Aug 5, 2016.

Which would you choose, based on cost, quality of diving, etc.

  1. Blackbeards

  2. Juliet Diving and sailing

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Midge907

    Midge907 Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    Has anyone on here done both of these trips. It seems to be easy to get to Nassau, and really easy to get to the Miami area when it comes to flying in. When I end up doing either of these I will be traveling solo most likely, traveling in from Alaska. I like the idea of no custom lines in Miami, but not so much the crossing, and then on the other hand flying to Nassau means staying the night in Atlanta and getting a good nights rest before the flight to Nassau and then going direct to the boat after landing. Decisions, Decisions.
  2. WarrenZ

    WarrenZ The Ultimate Bad Example ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Las Cruces NM
    You clear US customs right after going through the Nassau airport security so you land as a connecting flight in Miami. Blackbeard's is a very basic boat camping at sea is a good description of it three hots and a cot with 3-4 Dives a day.
  3. Wookie

    Wookie Curmudgeon Apprentice ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    No comparison in my book. Blackbeards is camping at sea. 20+ divers on a 65 foot sailboat with a gallon of fresh water per person per day. One shower, well, you can have all of the salt water showers you want.

    Juliet, OTOH, is a 87 (or 104) foot vessel with cabins and big salon and galley and some cabins have ensuite and a dive deck head. Never underestimate the value of a head on the dive deck. Limited to 12 divers and 5 crew.

    I don't diss either operation, I know and like both owners, and have toured both boats. Neither one is for me, but then, I don't like liveaboard. If the only thing you care about is great diving, and don't care if you are damp and hot and with a bunch of youngsters for the week, by all means go with Blackbeards, but understand what you are getting. If you want air conditioning and a nice cabin and a more mature group of divers, and great diving, Juliet is your choice.
  4. Quil

    Quil New

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Louisiana
    You mentioned that you don't much care for the crossing from Miami. Having dove with Juliet before, I never really thought much about it as it goes by very quickly. You board the boat in Miami, leave port by mid afternoon, get settled in, and when you wake up in the morning, you're anchored in the Bahamas.

    The diving is great, the cabins are comfortable and as has been said, air conditioned, which is nice. There's a head on deck, plenty of space for your gear, and the crew was great. While I would like to go and try out Blackbeards at some point, the Juliet was just awesome and I'm definitely going to be going back with them on many more trips in the future.
    scubadiverdeb likes this.
  5. passedoutwookie

    passedoutwookie Registered

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Gulf Coast, Alabama
    Well since Wookie responded I guess passedoutwookie should too...

    I just got back from a trip on the Juliet. As Wookie said, I think the features of the Juliet are much better than those on Blackbeard. I can't imagine being on a boat that's smaller than the Juliet with almost double the people, less bathrooms, no privacy, etc... For some that might be their cup of tea but I like to be able to go back to a berth and have a little privacy and some A/C every now and then. I enjoyed the crew, the food was good and plentiful, On deck head and shower are a plus. Oh yeah, the diving was great!

    I looked at going on the Blackbeard too when I was selecting my liveaboard. I was really drawn to the cheaper price tag. One thing to factor in though is airfare. For me, a ticket to Miami was much cheaper than one to Nassau so it negated some of the increased cost of the Juliet. Also, the crossing was nothing. You do it the first night so you're not really losing any time.

    Good luck with your choice!

    edit* Here's a video of our trip. It has a few shots of the Juliet in the beginning.
  6. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    The word cabin does it for me - Juliet. On Blackbeards your private space is a bunk with a curtain. Don't bring a lot of stuff either - besides your dive gear it all has to fit on a shelf near your bunk. They're going to ask you to empty your luggage after boarding so they can store it on the dock.

    Check with Cat Ppalu also - the better Blackbeards boat. Costs about the same as Juliet, leaves from the Bahamas and often if they don't have a full charter they sell the extra space(s). It's not any longer than BB's but being a catamaran there's more space. And you share a cabin with one other person. Plus afaik they don't limit the fresh water showers and there's two of them.

    Or Lost Island Voyages. IDK much about them.

    I haven't done either but have looked at both and read reviews. In the end we did the T/C Explorer since the diving is arguably a little better and they offered a discount we could take advantage of.

    If you're not set on the Bahamas, their Saba/St. Kitts trip is often less expensive but the need to fly into St. Maarten and out of St. Kitts makes that pricier and more difficult logistically from the west.
    They also have a Summer Sale currently - one of their Sept. trips is $1495. Ensuite cabin, AC, a much larger boat etc.

    Two Turks Caicos trips at $1795 also - I've been on that boat. Read the fine print though with fees/fuel surcharge it's closer to $2K. Nice thing is if you can get to MIA or CLT in time, there's an AA non-stop to Provo that gets there early enough in the afternoon to sail that night.

    Explorer Ventures: Adventures in Liveaboard Scuba Diving!
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
  7. stfree

    stfree Registered

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: San Jose de la Montana, Costa Rica
    Once, long ago, when I was 22 or so, Blackbeard's was just fine. Price was cheap and being sweaty plus cheek to jowl with a couple of dozen other twenty-somethings for a week or so was no issue. I was used to dorm/barracks life and tropical temperatures so that was no real issue. Creature comforts were sacrificed for the bucks and that's about all I can say about it - other than that, the diving was fine. Perhaps a little more gonzo but I probably was then too.

    But the Juliet is different like the Ritz-Carlon is to the Holiday Inn. On the Juliet you can pre-select your cabin (with A/C!) and unlimited nitrox for a slight up-charge. Dietary needs can be accommodated (within limits) and the food is of decent quality/quantity and well-prepared. The deck is arranged to facilitate diving by design and has dedicated stations for each diver. You can receive as much or as little assistance as you want/need. But you do pay - not grossly but you do pay. And worth every penny to the "more experienced". Very few of the five cruises I have made on Juliet had divers with less than 50 dives in open ocean. With just 12 paying divers, the experience level makes things more comfortable to this old barnacle.
  8. pickens_46929

    pickens_46929 Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Indianapolis, IN
    Dove with Blackbeards when younger and more able to do the camping at sea thing. Think we ended up mooring next to the Juliet at least 3 times that week. Frank's summary is pretty spot-on.
  9. ppatin

    ppatin Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Baltimore, MD
    I felt the same way. I loaded up on Dramamine as we pulled out of Miami, enjoyed the sunset and then fell asleep. Just make sure you know what kind of sea sickness medication works for you.

    One big advantage of the Juliet is unlimited freshwater showers. It's really nice being able to clean off after diving.
  10. drrich2

    drrich2 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    So Blackbeards doesn't have air conditioning? Somehow in all the reviews of it I read, I managed to miss that. Good to know.

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