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  1. I wanted to start this blog by sharing our Open Water Diver Certification process on board Harmony OTS, Nov 2019. Hopefully this will help answer any questions or concerns. This will be partly live since we are still on board; if you have any questions you want me to relay, let me know! (We disembark on Nov 16, 2019) We signed up for the excursion about a week prior to the cruise. I asked a bunch of questions, and THAT same day the excursion team reached out to the dive team. All my questions were answered that same day (appreciated the quick responses!). They also included copies of our medical questionnaire (see pictures) and asked us to send them back. The same day I sent them back, they responded with my PADI redeem key so I could start my eLearning modules. I HIGHLY recommend getting them done early (obviously...) this was a last minute decision (largely thanks to @twangster and noting some advice he posted. I owe you a beer on our next cruise...provided I get certified... ??) Since it was a last minute decision, we spent most of the morning of our embarkation (both before and after we were on the ship) frantically trying to finish ?? Ultimately it didn’t seem like a huge deal if we hadn’t, since all open water stuff was going to be done the following day. They didn’t seem too concerned that some of our modules appeared as not complete (even though they were), they just softly reminded us to finish them and encouraged us to get them done ASAP. There are NUMEROUS glitches with the PADI eLearning app (known as “PADI Library” in the Apple store). We found the iPad to be WAY easier to use vs. just an iPhone. Even with the large screen of the iPhone 11 Pro... it still was difficult to navigate, watch videos, take exams, etc. Once on board, we showed up before 3:pm to prove all our pre-cruise requirements were completed, our medical questionnaire, doctors note (if needed), and PADI folder were all filled out. I would HIGHLY suggest you review the medical requirements and get all issues signed off by your MD well in advance. We had to show back up at 6pm to fit our gear (and buy what we didn’t have). They (Francois and Kelly) seemed really friendly, and probably would have let us borrow equipment had we pressed the issue, but we wanted to just buy our own anyway. If you’re smarter than we are, I would suggest going to your local PADI (or dive) shop, try on products there, and buy them in advance. Ultimately the masks they offered ranged in price from $20-120 , but they had limited options for colors, styles, brands etc. This is like going into your local bowling alley and seeing all the pretty, fancy pro gear, and then going online and seeing about 8 million different options than what was offered. You may not only save some money, but also have something that fits better or you like more. That was it for day 1!! They were supposed to have us do our confined water dives on Perfect Day, but the pool was down for maintenance apparently. This meant we got a free day in Cocoa Cay! BUT it meant we had to use the on board pool (and NOT the aqua pool like I’ve heard they used in the past) for our initial confined dives. This meant our first sea day was an almost all day practicum day and only in 4.5 ft of water ? Day 2 (our 3rd cruise day and first sea day). We met at 6:30am at the dive shop. We grabbed our gear (prepared and fitted previously) then prepped it like they taught us, and went into the pool. There are 7 in our class and they said that is about typical for on board certification. People ranged from having previous dive experience to having none. Overall our class went until about 10:30am. At that time one of our classmates apparently gagged on something and threw up in the pool ?? Whatever, lol ? happens. Rolling with the flow of the ocean is what cruising is all about. They did have to clean out the pool which meant lessons were over for the morning. This was kinda a hindrance since we need to come BACK this/that evening at 4:30pm for more training. As of writing this (I’m sitting in the hot tub in the solarium relaxing until evening class), things haven’t been too crazy difficult or hard. Super basic skills (removing mask and regulators, practicing emergency procedures etc) were all we completed. (But according to our instructors we are doing relatively well!) I’ll keep you all updated with the thing that happen next and relay any lessons learned I thought might be useful!
  2. Taking a cruise on liberty of the seas in July 29 2018 and I was looking at doing a couple of dives. One in Rotan, Honduras with Anthonys Key and the one in Cozumel does not say the provider but its in the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Marine Park. Just wondering if anyone else has done a dive at these locations or with the providers and found it worthwhile? and any tips on what to expect are appreciated as well.
  3. My husband dives, I snorkel, was wondering if there is an RCL excursion that offers both? If not, has anyone used a local dive shop in Bonaire that offers?
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