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Cruises and insurance for missed dives

Discussion in 'Cruises' started by jonhall, Nov 27, 2019.

  1. jonhall

    jonhall Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Indianapolis
    972
    436
    63
    A thought - divers do go someplace to dive, but divers and non-divers alike go on cruises for reasons such as @Pat.D gave.

    I look at myself as a vacation diver (whatever that is) - we just happen to plan trips where diving is available. Being retired, I'm fortunate enough to make a few trips a year to places where I can dive. On the cruise we are taking, I could take or leave the diving - only taking a mask/snorkel since it is a Caribbean cruise! Only my second cruise (first was Maine coast into Canada) diving would simply be an activity that I can do and, depending on the experience, possibly influence future travel plans. If diving were my number 1 priority, the only cruise I would take would be on a live aboard. The cruise - it's just something different to do.
     
    Altamira likes this.
  2. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    1,114
    918
    113
    I can give you my 2 cents (maybe 4 cents?) worth of advice having done a lot of diving off cruises. I've done the southern Caribbean cruise out of San Juan five times in the past 10 years, and we're doing it again the first week of February (so we'll be in St Lucia a week after you are!)

    First, booking independent (i.e. NOT the cruise ship excursion) is the way to go.

    Second, the policy in your original post is pretty unusual. I found that same policy on the same website that you did while I was recently searching for options for our upcoming trip.

    My experience: we dive at every port, every cruise. We only take the cruise to go diving.

    At some islands I've varied the dive ops we use, but at St Lucia we have (so far) always used Dive Fair Helen. They are one of the ops that require a "taxi ride", but the dive shop has always arranged this for us. Every time (five times so far...) we have used them they have been 100% solid, no problems whatsoever.

    Our itinerary is St Thomas, St Maarten, St Kitts, St Lucia and Barbados. And St Lucia is EASILY the best diving of the group, although each island has its own unique character. Last time we were in St Maarten the reef sharks, including a baby, followed us around like puppies.

    I haven't booked our St Lucia diving yet for our upcoming trip, because I was considering using the shop that you pulled your original post from (is it "Scuba Steve's"? I think I have that right...) They offer to pick up with their boat at the harbor where the cruise ship docks. But this harbor is further north, and the prime diving is in the south, near the Pitons.

    It seems like a bit of a gamble, i.e. if there's a problem with traffic you might "miss the ship" (or at least that's what the ship people will scare you with.) In all my trips, to these islands as well as cruising to the western caribbean a half dozen times, I have always dived (independent of the ship tour) and never missed the ship.

    Dive Fair Helen can take you to the better diving area, and the underwater topography is pretty dramatic... it's the side of a volcano, after all. The Superman drift dive is everything it's reputation promises.

    If you do want to dive one of the other islands instead, let me know and I can give you my advice based on having done it all a bunch of times. I've used a couple different dive ops at St Kitts and Barbados, so I can give you pros and cons there. We've always used the same dive op at St Thomas and St Maarten... but things have changed a bit since the hurricane two years ago. Again, I can share with you what we're doing for our trip in February and maybe save you some time researching your options.
     
    delacrue96, Altamira and jonhall like this.
  3. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    1,114
    918
    113
    My family (son, brother, niece, mom, her husband) have done a lot of cruises as dive trips. Our intent is just to dive each day at a different island. We also sometimes go on trips to one location for a week instead.

    The cruise ship trips have their advantages: different location each day, we don't have to think about finding food after, the ship is comfy. We don't have to worry about splitting our group among different activities; we're all there just to dive.

    And their disadvantages: a lot of hustle to haul gear (yeah, we bring all our own gear... but its caribbean diving, so at least it's minimal gear) off and back on the ship (but we figure we need the exercise... and I have a personal policy against ever using the elevators on the ship; stairs only, even carrying dive gear), limited space to rinse and hang gear each day (but we get creative), diving with a new shop each day so sometimes we get treated like "first day divers" (until the first time the guide checks our air and realizes we have more than them...)
     
    jonhall likes this.
  4. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    1,114
    918
    113
    Oh, I just noticed your spreadsheet. And there's no Dive Fair Helen on it. Google them, seriously. As I've said above they are the only people I've used for my cruise diving in St Lucia and they have been rock solid. The scenery on the drive to the shop is beautiful, always great dives, and then always back to the ship with several hours to spare.
     
    jonhall likes this.
  5. TerryC

    TerryC Master Instructor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: St Kitts, West Indies
    215
    118
    43
    Two perspectives here;
    One from my own personal diving and one as an Instructor working in the Caribbean.
    My own personal dive insurance is with Dive Assure, this covers me for dive days lost due to weather. (I tend to take a trip to Asia every year so I am very particular about reading insurance "small print" and coverage limitations.)
    Dive Assure travel insurance paid me for lost hotel rooms and a missed flight earlier this year although I have never had to claim for missed diving days.

    I also work with Pro Divers St Kitts so I am conversant with their booking policies:
    50% deposit at time of booking. (This guarantees your dive, no boat cancellations for lack of numbers).
    Deposit refundable if:
    Cruise Ship fails to dock. (Happens once or twice a year).
    Cruise ship docks too late for you to join us. (Very rare).
    You cancel 7 days prior.
    Weather forces us to cancel the dive. (lost 2 days this year).

    Obviously I come into contact with lots of travelling divers and based upon the stories I have heard you need to read every operators terms and condition carefully.
     
    jonhall likes this.
  6. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    1,114
    918
    113
    +1 for Pro Divers. We've dived with them on most of our St Kitts cruise stops, and we're booked with them this upcoming trip on Feb 5. Auston and Margot run a tight ship, everything's always been on point. And apparently their boat is now parked in the marina right next to the cruise ship dock (previously it was a five minute drive from the cruise ship over to the shop.)
     
    jonhall likes this.
  7. robint

    robint Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Albuquerque, NM
    6,540
    1,149
    113
    The reason some divers use cruise ships is just that..... its easier than flying to and from different islands, and your non-diving partner has something to do while you are out on reef, then you have quality time together in evenings. Me and hubby are at this juncture now. I have been grounded, so to speak, and he still wants to get in some dives, but doesn't see any reason to be be out all day diving while I sit alone at a hotel for a week. The cruise ship gives me things to do with other people, like go on a snorkeling tour or a ruins tour, while he is out diving, then we are together in afternoon still, and have a nice dinner and show every night on ship while it moves to next port. It is a compromise for both of us, but it is working for now. Wish I could still dive, but I don't want to lie on those release forms....
     
    Altamira and jonhall like this.
  8. TerryC

    TerryC Master Instructor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: St Kitts, West Indies
    215
    118
    43
    YLE.
    So you remember the small bay where for many years we were co-located with the restaurant?
    Irma took that away from us. No longer is the bay deep enough to take the boat in.
     
  9. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    1,114
    918
    113
    ohhh... that makes sense. I wasn't making the connection between the move and the hurricane.
     
  10. jonhall

    jonhall Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Indianapolis
    972
    436
    63
    So where does a cruise ship diver meet you now?
     

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