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NCL costa Maya and belize, which one to dive, through NCL or indy

Discussion in 'Cruises' started by john stinson, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. john stinson

    john stinson Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: gainesville fl
    35
    1
    8
    me and my 2 boys 18 and 21 are doing the December 18-23 NCL on the Pearl ship. wanting to do one inland thing (maybe atv's) and one dive. which place, costa Maya or belize for a December dive. we are all three experienced divers in the gulf and off Jupiter drift diving. just trying to get the most bang for the buck (booking through NCL or independently) and make the kids happy since this will be the first time all of us are on vacation post divorce.

    any other suggestions would be great. its their first cruise and my first in 20 years
     
  2. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    955
    737
    93
    Diving Belize from a cruise ship is awkward. I've done it a few times, a different way each time. There is no port in Belize, so you have to take tender boats from the ship to the dock in Belize City. As far as I know (it's been a few years since I've been), there is still only one dive op in Belize City, which is Sea Sports Belize. They are overpriced and their service leaves a lot to be desired.

    I nearly always book my cruise ship diving independently from the ship, and I've never had a problem. The one time I remember booking the ship's excursion was in Belize. The dive op, Hugh Parkey's, picked us up right at the ship (while it was anchored offshore), so we didn't have to take the tender to shore first. The dive op then took us diving out to Turneffe Atoll, which is a little too far out for the shore ops to reasonably take divers. If you have the chance to book this kind of excursion, i.e. the dive boat will pick you up right from the anchored ship, I recommend it.

    I can't comment on Costa Maya. The few cruises I've taken in the Western Carib have stopped at Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Grand Cayman.
     
    john stinson likes this.
  3. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    955
    737
    93
    Just another suggestion, regarding Belize City: most cruise ship stops are very tourist oriented, with plenty of options available after leaving the ship. Most of those "outside of the ship" excursions are much cheaper than what you would pay through the ship. Belize City is the one cruise ship stop I've been to that I've felt more comfortable sticking with what the ship offered. There certainly isn't the touristy feeling there; I would even go as far as to say the town is a bit sketchy and if you book something organized by the ship, you'll likely be glad you did... just for the added peace of mind.
     
    john stinson likes this.
  4. Altamira

    Altamira ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
    1,558
    1,321
    113
    Your decision where to dive may be significantly based on your port arrival and departure times, and the availability of dive op departures that are within those time frames. I agree with @yle that Belize can be difficult to use an off-ship dive op because it is a tender port, meaning you might have problems getting off the ship in a timely manner, there are not a lot of dive operators that are set up to deal with cruise ships, and if it is windy (a somewhat likely event in December), cruise ships sometimes cannot get into the ship tender area. If there is a ship sponsored dive excursion in Belize, I would not hesitate to dive there because timing issues are taken care of by the ship, and the reefs are very good in general. Costa Maya is a very good dive location also, and has the advantage that the ship docks instead of tendering (a major pain in the butt). There are quite a few dive ops within a short taxi ride of the cruise port. If you want a recommendation, I have used Dreamtime Divers in Mahahual on three previous trips to Costa Maya, and will be diving again with them on a cruise stop in September. I can highly recommend them if your arrival/departure times are compatible with the dive boat schedule. If the ship has a dive excursion in Costa Maya, Dreamtime Divers may be the ship's vendor, at least it was on one of my previous visits.

    Personally, I would seriously look at trying to dive both locations. You can ATV anywhere, but you will really like diving in Belize and Costa Maya. If I had to pick only one dive spot on your trip, I would chose Costa Maya because of the increased possibility of not being able to get into Belize in December, and the other benefits I discussed above.
     
    john stinson likes this.
  5. Pat.D

    Pat.D Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    56
    61
    18
    Quick note about Belize!

    Carnival and RCCL sails to Belize City which is a tender port. If you're sailing NCL, it's quite likely you are NOT going to Belize City you'll instead be going to NCL's new private island "Harvest Caye". As far as I know there is no diving offered at Harvest Caye as NCL doesn't offer it and private operators have a hard time getting in (if they can get in at all).

    I'm a frequent cruiser and have done the "western caribbean" run many times (sailing it again in 2 weeks on the NCL Breakaway and diving in Roatan, Costa Maya and Cozumel) and the diving is nice in Belize, Roatan and Costa Maya, very nice in Cozumel.

    My last cruise in that area in Feb the cruise line dive operators were: Costa Maya: Dream Time Diving. Roatan: Athony's Key. Cozumel: Sand Dollar. Belize: Belize Dive Excursions (with a pickup on the Cruise Ship)

    EDIT: I just checked your sailing on the NCL site and in Belize you are indeed going to Harvest Caye and not Belize city. Harvest Caye is an NCL private island and not on the Belizian mainland. The last few times I was there, NCL offered no diving and outside ops were not allowed in. This limits your choice to Costa Maya (which offers nice diving too).

    Pat
     
    john stinson likes this.
  6. jt83

    jt83 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Akron, OH
    39
    7
    8
    I dove while in Costa Maya on a cruise in January of 2012 with Nomad Divers. It is a small operation (just the owner and her husband I believe), but they are fantastic. As it's been 7 years, I can't say for sure that they're still operating out of Costa Maya, but I would encourage you to inquire through their website HOME
     
  7. SusanMarie

    SusanMarie Angel Fish

    15
    6
    3
    Costa Maya- Doctor Dive- Great operation- fun, knowledgeable staff!
     

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