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Dive in Belize

Discussion in 'Introductions and Greets' started by claxorn, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. Aquatic Eagle

    Aquatic Eagle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Euless, TX
    894
    0
    16
    It's all about insurance. Sure you can find operators on shore but you are taking a risk. I don't mean that the independent dive operators don't care if you get back to the ship or not. I mean that sometimes unforeseen things happen and you are late to the dock. Maybe there are engine problems with the dive boat or who knows what. The extra money you pay for the ship-arranged excursion means you will not be left, no matter what. If the boat breaks down in the middle of the ocean, the cruise ship will be notified and will wait until you get back or are picked up.

    This also means quality insurance. If the boat advertises a beautiful coral reef and all you get is a patch of reef, many times the cruise ship will refund a portion or all of your money. Of course that depends on circumstances. If it's out of the operator's control then there's no refund but if the operator takes you to a crap area to dive in order to save on fuel then it is researched and usually at least a portion of the money is returned by the end of cruise. It also means that the operator has been researched and checked out by the cruise staff. The shore excursion staff goes on these tours all the time to make sure they are running as they are advertised. Many cruise lines have dive instructors on-staff that go on these tours "undercover" for quality assurance purposes. I know because I've done it. I've seen a private operator that had an inflator hose completely severed with a cork in the end. I've seen deep dives run with no depth gauge provided to the guests. I've seen BCDs with holes in the bladder. All of these things are monitored by the ship-arranged tours.

    I don't agree that you get a cattle boat of divers. Sure you get a lot of mixed experience but that isn't specific to cruise ship tours, that's any dive operator in a tourist destination. "Cattle boat" is something I would reserve for snorkeling trips but not diving trips. I have seen snorkeling trips with over 100 people on one boat before. I've never seen a dive operator arranged by the cruise ship with more than 12 people on board.

    Do what you want but I would save the self-arranged tours for somewhere other than Belize. In Belize you usually have a 15-20 minute wait just to get on or off a tender going to or from shore. Then you have a 10-15 minute ride to the shore or ship. That takes up a lot of time and makes it even more difficult to arrange your own tour in the short amount of time you have. If you arrange a dive through the ship then you typically get off the ship an hour before anyone else can expect to touch shore. Even the other excursions like Mayan ruins are best arranged through the cruise ship. To get to Xunantunich is a 2-2.5 hour ride into the jungle. We've had people left in the jungle or a van break down in the jungle and have to fly themselves to the next port. Belize is NOT the place to be arranging your own tours and it certainly leaves much to be desired as far as shopping goes.

    Take this from someone who has been to Belize over forty times and has seen people left behind while the others are sipping margaritas in the bar watching Belize disappear behind us.
     
  2. claxorn

    claxorn Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Sicily Italy
    8
    0
    0
    Sorry if I take advantage from your experience, I'll treasure all your counsel. Since you are familiar with cruise, do you suggest to book in advance? Since you said that the number of divers are limited. it would be better to book in advance? What about diving in Cozumel?
     
  3. Aquatic Eagle

    Aquatic Eagle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Euless, TX
    894
    0
    16
    Definitely book in advance. Then when you get onboard go straight to your cabin and make sure your tickets are there. If they aren't then go to the Shore Excursion desk and inquire. If you wait and your reservation did not go through then you're SOL. Don't be lazy! :)

    Every week on a cruise it's the same thing. Tons of people don't book in advance and then go to the Shore Excursion desk the day before a port and find out that every tour they want is full and have to sign up for some historic bus tour instead. Tons of other people book in advance and then don't bother checking when they get onboard. Little do they know that their reservation never went through and since they did not double check, they are out of luck. Don't be one of those people! Take responsibility for your vacation and make sure everything is in order before you go and once you get on the ship.

    Cozumel is a lot different. There is a lot of shopping you can do there. Typically the ships dock so it's very easy to get on and off the ship. Diving here is easy as there are lots of operators in the area that will take you for a shore dive or out on a boat. Yucab Reef is a popular dive and good for newly certified and experienced. It's mostly patches of coral and reef fish. I saw some white tip sharks here. It is not necessary to book through the cruise ship for diving but for the same reasons I mentioned above, it's always advised.
     
  4. rickdean

    rickdean Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Merritt Island, Florida
    27
    0
    0
    I have done diving with Carnival and Royal Caribbean, both in the last few months to Belize. I booked on the ship (easiest and safest, from a "you won't miss the ship" standpoint). They both went to Turneffe Atoll through the same operator, which was good. Rob Parsley's Dive Belize (or something like that).

    I will undoubtably do a dive cruise again in the next few months as it is EASY! LOL! Plus, I can almost walk to the cruise ship from my house.

    The Carnival Dream, out of Port Canaveral was great as you hit 4 world class dive spots in 4 days. . . Cozumel, Roatan, Belize and Costa Maya, Mexico. Only one day at sea, coming and going. . .makes for a great little dive trip.
     
  5. rickdean

    rickdean Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Merritt Island, Florida
    27
    0
    0
    Forgot to mention. . . a dive cruise is nice because:

    1. You don't have to fly there and worry about the off gassing nitrogen issues of flying

    2. You don't have to personally clear customs all the time

    3. You don't have to worry about food

    4. You don't have to find a hotel to stay in or move heavy luggage all over the place each time

    5. It's pretty much a fixed cost trip, except for the diving. That CAN get rather expensive.

    6. You can set up all your dives, pre-trip, if you like. The dive operator handles all transportation issues to and from the ship

    7. The ship won't leave without you (but you MUST book through the ship).

    8. You can rent equipment if you like.


    I just got back from Stuart Cove's on a Royal Carib. trip and booked it separately and everything worked out fine. They won't sign you up unless you have a certain amount of time leeway to spend with them. We got into Nassau at 7AM and left at midnight. I got in 4 great dives that day!!!
     
  6. rickdean

    rickdean Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Merritt Island, Florida
    27
    0
    0
    The correct name of the operator I mentioned two posts above this is "Hugh Parkey's Belize Dive Connection". . . just in case anybody wants to get in contact with them. They are a great operation.
     
  7. Aquatic Eagle

    Aquatic Eagle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Euless, TX
    894
    0
    16
    Yes, Hugh Parkey's is definitely a top-notch operation.
     

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