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COBALT COAST RESORT on GRAND CAYMAN

Discussion in 'Trips and Marketplace: Shore based or group trips' started by BDSC, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. BDSC

    BDSC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wake Forest, NC
    6,367
    2,766
    113
    Not sure what the beers will cost at the resort but my girlie drinks (pina colada, daiquiri, mudslide) look to be about $10.
     
    Damselfish and KathyV like this.
  2. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    4,256
    2,276
    113
    Sounds right, so when you add on the 15% service charge and convert from Cayman to US currency, that would be about $14 US. But who cares, you are on vacation!
     
  3. tridacna

    tridacna ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New Jersey
    5,297
    2,341
    113
    I on e saw a bag of ice at a Bermuda supermaket for $15!

    T’was the day before Cup Match

    Cayman is a veritable bargain comparatively.
     
  4. uncfnp

    uncfnp Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
    5,620
    3,734
    113
    10 or even 14 for an unbrella drink by the pool tops the 4 dollars for a diet coke at the airport any day!
     
    KathyV and AdivingBel like this.
  5. AdivingBel

    AdivingBel Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Missouri
    1,523
    1,367
    113
    Drinking expensive bad airport coffee as we speak...all good :yeahbaby:
     
    Damselfish, KathyV and uncfnp like this.
  6. BDSC

    BDSC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wake Forest, NC
    6,367
    2,766
    113
    We are back from a week of diving at Cobalt Coast. Always good to be home but I'd rather be on vacation somewhere. So here is my take on the trip.

    Airport Experience
    A few of us arrived on Friday and clearing customs took maybe 25 minutes so not too bad. It looked like the tail end of another flight was just ahead of us in line. From what I was told by the group that arrived on Saturday, it took a little over an hour to clear as several flights were arriving. As soon as we cleared and got our luggage, we walked into a hallway and there was our driver holding the Cobalt Coast Resort sign. The drive to the resort was about 20 minutes I guess in a large air conditioned bus.

    Leaving we arrived at the airport about 3 hours before our flight. We were flying southwest and had no issues with check-in and going thru security. They have more seating than in the past but with all the flights leaving on Saturday, it was still crowded. There is one snack shop past security and their selection is limited but it's food if you are hungry.

    Cobalt Coast Resort
    I really liked the resort. I was in their Mermaid Suite on the top floor. No elevator but three flights of stairs didn't kill me by any means. Our room was large with a sitting area. Big closet and big bathroom as well. A/C worked great. Like has already been posted, the A/C units had recently been all changed so you could keep your room as cold as you wanted. I did walk into one of the two bedroom suites and it was very nice as well. All in all I didn't hear any complaints about the rooms. I know they are getting ready to start a redo of all the bathrooms in all the units.

    The area where you eat is outside under a shaded patio/deck. They have numerous ceiling fans going. I was worried about being too hot while eating but I never felt that way. There was usually a nice breeze. I do know there is a long range plan to do some remodeling and offer an inside eating area but that's likely a few years out.

    The have a nice bar area right by where you eat and right by the pool. Seats maybe 10 or so at the bar itself. Drinks are a bit on the pricey side but it's Grand Cayman. A few folks went and purchased some beer and alcohol at one of the local stores. The resort asks that you do not bring out in public the cans of beer of bottles of alcohol. You can mix a drink in your room or pour the beer in a cup and bring it out. Obviously the resort would prefer you not do it at all and buy drinks from them. They actually have it on your welcome sheet not to bring alcohol from the outside on the resort grounds but it didn't appear they strictly enforced that. I guess they could if it got out of hand. I didn't mind just getting my drinks from them. I'm not spending a couple of thousand dollars for a dive vacation to save a few bucks on a drink.

    Food
    I thought the food overall was really good.

    Breakfast: Served buffet style. They had scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, breads, muffins, and would rotate between pancakes and French toast. They was typically some other dish as well. They had orange juice, cranberry juice, and coffee.

    Lunch: Again served buffet style. They kind of did a themed lunch. I know on Sunday they had ribs, chicken, fish, and several other dished like potatoes, rice, mixed vegetables. One day it was pizza and pasta type dishes. Each day a little something different. Typically lemonade, tea, and water to drink and maybe cookies for desert.

    Dinner: Dinner was served plate style. Normally there were three choices. Two would involve some sort of meat and the third might be a pasta dish. Most nights at least one of the meat dishes would involve some sort of seafood like shrimp or fish. I think they had pork one night, beef/steak a couple of nights, etc. Various vegetables were on the menu like rice, potatoes, mixed vegetables, etc. I think the portions were more than adequate and no one complained about not getting enough to eat. Some even said they gave you too much. If there was any area that was a little weak it was deserts. Those that have been to Little Cayman know about their deserts. Don't expect that. Pretty much every night was some flavor of mousse in a glass and a piece of cake. They were good, just not great and it got to be a little repetitive. If you just didn't like what was offered any particular evening, they would work with you.

    Dive Operation:
    We did the typical when we got there and checked in at the dive shop, showed our c-cards, and signed the waivers. You are assigned a dive locker that is just a few steps away to store your gear after the day of diving. They will give you a lock but most folks didn't bother to lock things up. I didn't see the need. We left each morning around 7:45 to go diving. We either left from their dock if it wasn't to rough for the boats to pull up to the dock or we took a 5 minute ride to another dock that was a bit calmer where the boats would be waiting.

    We did two dives in the morning and most folks did the afternoon dive as well. First dive was usually your deeper dive, maybe 80 - 100 ft max, for 50 minutes and the second dive would be in the 40 -60 ft range for 60 minutes. They didn't seem to be hung up on dive times and you could likely get in a few extra minutes but most folks in the group stayed close to the dive time suggestions. The afternoon dive was typically the 40 - 70 ft range with 60 minutes.

    I thought the diving was good and overall I was pleased with what we saw and the conditions of the reefs. Is it Bloody Bay Wall at Little Cayman....No. It's not that good but I don't think anyone came away disappointed with the diving.

    The Staff:
    I have been to resorts and on liveaboards all over the world and I can tell you I have never been anywhere or seen any staff that was better than these folks
    . Both the resort and dive staff are first class all the way. These folks bust their ass for you to make sure you are having a great time and do it with a smile on their face. I can not say enough great things about them. Craig and Emma have assembled an outstanding team at Cobalt Coast. Here is an example of what I am talking about.

    One couple on the trip had recently gotten married and this was like their honeymoon trip. They had signed up for a one bedroom suite which they got. However, the bedroom had two doubles instead of one king and naturally they were disappointed. It was my understanding that all the one bedroom suites had a king. There was really nothing the resort could do that Saturday night as the resort was full. So we all go out diving on Sunday. When we returned, they had a king bed in their room and a bottle of champagne compliments of the house! They couldn't believe it. Emma had her staff come in, break down the two beds, remove them, and set up a king. I was left speechless.

    That's about all I can think of for now. I have no doubt I will return to Cobalt Coast Resort again, but based on their performance on this trip, my expectations will be high. I will be glad to answer any questions.

    BDSC
     
  7. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    4,256
    2,276
    113
    Thanks for the detailed report, I am glad that you had a great time! But I have some questions, how was the valet diving services, are they similar to CBBR and LCBR? How do they reconcile gear handling for valet boat diving but still offer unlimited shore diving?

    Did anyone try the shore diving? How was the house reef for diving? Where do you get tanks for shore diving? How do they handle Nitrox vs. Air tanks? If you wanted to snorkel on the house reef, is it any good?

    Did anyone do night dives by boat or as shore dives? How about specialty dives like the Kittiwake or Stingray City, were they offered at an extra charge? How was the weather, did you get to dive the North Wall or were you mostly diving the West side?

    I read that they had recently remodeled the pool area and that they had added a hot tub, did anyone try it out, how was it?

    I agree that deserts are great at LCBR but I think that CBBR wins that contest, their deserts are fabulous! Last time we were on Brac we resolved to only eat one desert per day, at either lunch or dinner, because two is just too many!

    Just an FYI, if you get to the GCM airport early, check in, check your luggage, and still have some extra time - then jump on the free shuttle to the George Town Yacht Club, see the link below. It is only 2 or 3 minutes away and it is a beautiful location with great food and offers both indoor and outdoor dining. It's a nice way to extend your vacation time a little and much nicer than hanging around the crowded airport!

    Home
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  8. BDSC

    BDSC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wake Forest, NC
    6,367
    2,766
    113
    The valet service was exactly the same as the other resorts. Go sit at the back of the boat, they bring your bc, and off you go. After the dive they change out tanks for you. If you want to go shore diving, just place your bc/regs in their mesh bag and they will take them off the boat for you and leave them near your locker. You just have to remember to do that because you won't have access to them once the boat is tied up to their mooring.

    I don't think anyone dove the house reef that I know of in our group as most folks were doing the afternoon dives and three was a plenty. I did see a few folks from another group do the shore dive but I didn't ask them how it was. The tanks are right there at the dive shop. As far as night dives from the boat, I do think they offer that but they need a minimum and there just wasn't enough interest from our group to do one.

    If you add on the afternoon dive package, both the Kittywake and Stingray City are included at no additional charge.

    We mostly dove the west side as the winds were up and a bit rocky in the North Wall area.

    The pool area is nice. It seemed as if all the decking was new and the hot tub was a popular place even in August!

    We are going to Little Cayman next year and I typically reserve the 5:00ish flight from GC to LC so we will probably take advantage of the GTYC.
     
    AdivingBel and KathyV like this.
  9. uncfnp

    uncfnp Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
    5,620
    3,734
    113
    Hey Kathy! Not to much to add to BDSC’s report. Very thorough and I am not surprised since I have to say he really does have an exceptional dive group that he has gathered together over the years.

    Here’s a great big Thank You @BDSC for making Eric and I feel welcome. :clapping:

    We flew Delta and overall had a very smooth trip. In fact the return through Atlanta was the fastest yet. Looks like they may, hopefully, be getting their act together. They finally have a TSA precheck line!

    Resort. This was our first stay at a dive resort or AI. Very impressed. Of course there are always a few issues. We were in room 1. That is first floor far left if facing the water, a large one bedroom unit. Biggest problem was the water in the showers. It ran alternating very hot and quite cold. And sometimes just cold. Next was no satellite reception in the living room, which mattered not a bit to us. And last is the nearby, I assume septic system, that very rarely, when the breeze was just right, we would get a whiff. And mostly just outside the room.

    Pluses? It was very roomy and kept very clean. Towels were plentiful and soft. Mattresses firm but not hard, very comfortable. The A/C worked a little too well. We had to keep cutting it back! The pool area was wonderful with lots of tables and chairs with umbrellas, and lounge chairs. With the ocean breeze and the shade we rarely got too hot and when we did it was just a few steps to the pool.

    Kathy was right that the best place to purchase soda is the dive shop. Drinks were in bottles while the bar had cans and added the service charge. We also took Kathy’s advice and picked up some tequila at the airport but be warned, selection of tequila was surprisingly limited. We too saw the request for no outside food or drinks so we omitted a trip to the store.

    There is an ice machine in a room by the bar/buffet but they keep a bucket of ice and a water dispenser available throughout the day. Breakfast was a bit repetitive and if late the eggs cold but I have to say overall I thought the food good and the lunch buffet the best. I have attached the dinner menu.

    Diving... Ok, I have to be honest. It may not be Little Cayman but its not the east side either. :( The reefs we were limited too due to weather was showing a lot of wear and tear. Unfortunately the pier at CC is not protected and more days then not the waves were up and at an angle to the pier preventing the boats from docking to on and off board. So many days we were transported to the west facing pier and so dove those sites.

    This and the weather made shore dives awkward at best and the pier closed 3 of the days, including one day when a section of the boards broke loose. So despite my hope for shore, especially night dives since none were offered by boat, was dashed. A shame too since the new shore diving area with tanks by the pier was very nice. As Kathy alluded to, the valet service itself requires one to plan shore dives ahead of time. Hard to do when the weather is iffy. And in the 6 days of diving we were unable to do the planned Stingray City dive.

    The staff? Both dive and resort were indeed exceptional.

    Would I do it again. Only if the resort could guarantee a majority of northern dives and given their pier and valet procedure, this unfortunately is not possible.
     

    Attached Files:

    drrich2, BDSC, KathyV and 1 other person like this.
  10. Doctorfish

    Doctorfish Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Canada
    1,439
    885
    113
    No one on GC guarantees northern diving. If it's rough, you dive west. If the wind is blowing from the NW, then you dive south. It has nothing to do with Cobalt pier or valet service. All the west side based dive ops work the same way. Having said that, IMO there is still some good wall diving to be had on the west side of GC if you can't go north. Northwest Point is one of my favorite dives anywhere on GC. Reef Divers has a well deserved reputation for high quality service and diving on all 3 islands. Cobalt Coast is an excellent option for a controlled price vacation on GC. If you were to add up a la carte pricing for food, room, diving elsewhere on the island, Cobalt is a bargain.

    I've dived the Cobalt mini wall many times and really enjoy it. Again weather dependent but when the weather is good, makes for a great afternoon or night dive.
     
    scubadada and KathyV like this.

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