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Diving at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

Discussion in 'Trips & Marketplace: Cruises' started by drmark920, May 20, 2021.

  1. drmark920

    drmark920 Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Door County WI
    I have been unable to confirm scuba diving availability at MSC Cruise lines private island called Ocean Caye Marine Reserve. They list "Discover Scuba" as an option. They claim to rent "snorkel and dive equipment". However, after an hour on the phone and multiple emails, no one can answer...
    1. Do they offer one and two tank dives.
    2. Do they rent tanks and weights to certified divers for independent shore diving.
    3. If they are available, what are the prices.
    If anyone has been to Ocean Caye and can help with this information, I'd greatly appreciate it. We use cruise lines to take us to Caribbean islands for diving.
    Thanks for your contribution.
  2. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    I've spent a fair amount of time on cruise ships for exactly the same purpose: they take me to Caribbean islands so I can dive.

    I haven't been on an MSC ship nor to Ocean Caye. But I would be very surprised if they rent tanks and weights to divers so they can go dive on their own. Two reasons: no money it in for the cruise line (even if they charged $20 per tank, the cost of running the program just isn't worth it), and there's huge potential for something to go wrong (divers could get further from shore than they should, lot of boat and jet ski traffic, etc.)

    All the cruise lines have their private island in the Bahamas now, and I've noticed on a couple of them that a two-tank diving excursion used to be an option but no longer is (they were removed a couple years ago... has nothing to do with the pandemic shutdown.) The cruise lines would rather keep you on the beach, buying drinks and renting umbrellas; running a dive operation, maintaining a dive boat, just to take a handful of divers out a couple times a week, isn't part of their business model.

    Best way to tell: see if MSC offers diving as an excursion. If it was available, they would certainly promote it. You mentioned that they offer Discover Scuba; I'm sure they have one small section of water roped off (i.e. no boat traffic) where they would do that. But if they don't mention a two-tank dive as an excursion, it probably does not exist.

    Their island. They'll do what's best for their business.
  3. JMichaelTX

    JMichaelTX New

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Houston, TX (The Woodlands)
    I have just booked a MSC Cruise Oct 16-23 out of Miami. It has two port calls at Ocean Caye.
    I talked today with a MSC rep who said they have no information about diving at Ocean Caye. While it was available in 2019 pre-Covid, there is no new info for 2021.

    To dive at Ocean Caye requires that MSC offer a scuba excursion since no one lives on the Caye, and MSC will have to provide all equipment and dive personnel. She said it is likely that they will not know until after MSC resumes sailing in August.

    So, I hope that by Oct they will have re-established the Caye diving excursion. Time will tell.

    Meanwhile, I am booking my own dive trips for Nassau and Ocho Rios.
    If anyone has dive shops there you would recommend, please let me know.

    For reference, here is the cruise path for the MSC MERAVIGLIA in Oct 2021:
  4. drmark920

    drmark920 Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Door County WI
    JMichaelTX- thanks for your reply. I look forward to hearing your experience and finding out what MCS will offer there.
    As far as Nassau, the government has restricted the island to only having two choices of dive shops. Closer to the port, and diving on that side, is Bahama Divers, Scuba Diving in The Bahamas - Bahama Divers since 1965
    On the other side of the island is Stuart Coves, Stuart Cove's | Nassau Bahamas Aqua Adventures - Stuart Coves - Bahamas Dive Shop & Tours - Stuart Coves - Bahamas Dive Shop & Tours Stuart Coves is the shop that the cruise ships use. Both offer unique diving experiences. Stuart Coves is one of the world class dive experiences. Many movies were filmed using Stuart Coves. I've included the websites for you above. I have dove with both outfits dozens of times. If you want to see sharks and rays, Stuart Cove's is the choice.
    Best wishes
    Dr Mark

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