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Royal Caribbean Cruise Diving - Roatan and Cozumel

Discussion in 'Cruises' started by BlowBubbles, Dec 22, 2018.

  1. Altamira

    Altamira ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
    1,437
    1,191
    113
    The cost of dive excursions offered by the ships often appear excessively high until you factor in dive equipment, except wetsuit, and any transportation to/from the dive op is usually included in the cost of the dives. Sometimes dive excursions are offered in two options, one with equipment and one without. I always travel with my own gear, and the last time I was in Roatan, it was actually cheaper to dive with the ship's op, AKR (one of my favorites ), than one of my other favorite ops (Barefoot Divers), after including transportation costs.
     
  2. mac66

    mac66 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: SE Mich
    15
    3
    3
    Have you found ship dive excursions to be crowded? The knock I hear is that they tend to be cattle boats.

    I don't have my own equipment (except for a wetsuit) but I've heard both good and bad about ship offered dive excursions. I'm doing my first certified dive in St. Maarten while on a cruise this April. I booked privately. In December I'm doing another privately booked dive in Roatan (West End Divers) but only because they take a small group and let my wife come along to snorkel, something the ship excursion doesn't do. We are also going to Coz, haven't decided whether to go with the ship, because of port times or go privately in the afternoon.
     
  3. Altamira

    Altamira ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
    1,437
    1,191
    113
    @mac66. If you a looking for dive options that also accommodate snorkelers, you will likely have to go with an off ship vendor. When using off-ship vendors, I will caution you to be absolutely certain you are aware of ship time and local time for ship departure, and you and the dive op are on the same page on times. I have seen divers miss their dive boat departure time because of misunderstanding time differences. I almost got bit in the butt on my first cruise to Roatan because of my lack of understanding there was an hour difference in time between local and ship time, and came close to missing ship departure time. Also, if you use an off ship vendor, make sure you look at alternate game plans to catch up to the ship if dive boat return timing could be close to ship departure time. Most of the time, if you do not have a lot of buffer, the penalty for missing ship departure far outweighs any cost savings/better dives you might have with an off ship vendor. Of course, that is just my opinion.

    Most of the dive boats I have been on (both ship and off-ship vendors) have not been the "six packs" favored by some on this board. What I typically see is 10-18 divers, split into 2-3 groups with groups separated by experience level as much as possible. The often maligned "cattle boats" are larger, more comfortable, often with a marine head, and do not seem overly crowded to me. My comments earlier had to do with the ship excursion costs vs off ship vendors. From my observations, most of the ship excursions include gear except wetsuit and any transportation required, so those expenses need to be factored into any comparisons. Also, on ship excursions, not having to worry about getting back to the ship in time is not a cost factor, but it is certainly a reduction is stress.
     
  4. Anthony A.

    Anthony A. Barracuda

    448
    113
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    I've done almost 50 dives from cruiseships in the past 10 yrs and they are always cattleboats. Nothing wrong with that as sometimes there were less than 10 people on the boat and the DM took us to really nice sites. On the other hand, they never go out very far from shore due to time constraints, so take that as the biggest drawback.
     
  5. Damselfish

    Damselfish Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
    8,723
    1,262
    113
    In my mind cattleboat is not about the size of the boat, as much as how the diving is run and people are treated. Big boat with some space where we can do our own thing or have the option of diving in a small group without undue restrictions or crowding underwater, vs a smaller boat that is full where they make me follow a racing DM and come up in 45 minutes or some such thing - I know which one I would pick.
     
  6. MEmersonC

    MEmersonC Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Charlotte, NC
    5
    6
    3
    I just signed up with Deep Blue in Cozumel. Their boats leave at 9AM which is perfect if you get off the ship first at a 8AM port call. We're on the MSC Armonia. Prices were $88 for a two tank dive. Gary was my contact and asked all the right questions before accepting our registration, such as cert, number of dives, last dive, and overall exp. Safety seems paramount which is expected but not always followed when using dive shops, especially in the Caribbean.

    We're going to Roatan too, but are only there for 12-7. I don't think that's enough time:(
     
  7. Altamira

    Altamira ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
    1,437
    1,191
    113
    @MEmersonC. Barefoot divers has a 1 tank boat dive that goes out at 2PM. I have used them, and they are an excellent dive op. Also, the ship may offer a two tank dive, but I have never been on MSC, so I do not know who their dive op might be, or even if they have one.
     
  8. mac66

    mac66 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: SE Mich
    15
    3
    3
    This forum has been very helpful. I am an experienced cruiser so I get the difference between ship time and port time. I also understand the difference between ship sponsored excursions and private ones. We occasionally still do ship excursions but mostly book our own. I have no problem booking through the ship for scuba as I am new to the game.

    Having said that, I did book a private scuba excursion in St. Maartan in April because the dive shop is a half mile walk from the port. Going to be in port from 8am-5pm. Check in is at 8:30, dive boat leaves at 9. I checked it out when I was in St. Maarten in February and is a 10 minute walk. It was cheaper than the ship's dive. It also gets very good reviews.

    Going to be in Roatan in December and booked another private. Will be there from 7am-3p. Pick up at the dock is 8am and we should be done by noon. It's the only shop I could find that allows snorkelers on the boat with the divers.

    Going to be in Cozumel on that December cruise as well and still debating whether to dive at all. Been to Coz a bunch of times already but never dived there.I don't want to leave my wife alone in every port (she doesn't dive). I am sure we will be back many more times in the future. On the other hand anything can happen and I might not get another chance. Oh well, first world problems. LOL.
     

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