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What's the diving like on cruise excursions?


wozswoman
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Hubby and I will be PADI open water dive certified at the end of this week and I was wondering how are the dive excursions from RCL?  Next month I have Nassau then in January 23 we will be doing 12 day Southern Caribbean, USVI, St Marteen, Antigua, Barbados, St Kitts/Nevis.  I had one diver/cruiser say the places that they take you isn't real colorful because the ships have cleared the aquatic life for the most part.  

 

Thoughts?

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Congratulations on your SCUBA certification.  I have only done 1 diving excursion with Royal and it was really disappointing but I don't blame the excursion.  The conditions were just crappy.  It was on St. Maarten and the visibility was awful.  We putted around down below for a while and then came up and stayed up.

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21 hours ago, wozswoman said:

Hubby and I will be PADI open water dive certified at the end of this week and I was wondering how are the dive excursions from RCL?  Next month I have Nassau then in January 23 we will be doing 12 day Southern Caribbean, USVI, St Marteen, Antigua, Barbados, St Kitts/Nevis.  I had one diver/cruiser say the places that they take you isn't real colorful because the ships have cleared the aquatic life for the most part.  

 

Thoughts?

I do not agree with the one diver/cruiser comment about cruise ships messing up the dive sites. I have over 20 dives in the Caribbean and all were great. The dive operators are going to do their best to get you colorful dives with lots of fish/aquatic life. If they don't they get lousy tips and bad write ups which will lead to them being terminated by Royal. USVI(Tortola), the Rhone is great, Barbados has an area called "Champagne" where bubbles from deep underground/water seep up through the coral/sand, USVI (St. John,s) Dog Island, French Cap and Calf Rock were unbelievable dive sites. The ONLY bad dives I had were in  Nassau the week after Hurricane Sandy had passed through. White caps, pitiful viz, wicked currents and NO fish! This was not with Royal, it was a private sail boat turned into a neat dive pllatform. Where exactly are you planning to dive??

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@rjac Were all your dives from excursions with cruise ships?  I think that is the info I would like to know.  As long as all goes well this weekend with my open dives in the quarry I hope I can get what I would consider a practice dive off of Cocoa Cay, Bahamas.  It would be my first without the instructor present.  I'm still struggling with my ears, I hit 8' and its a constant blowing of my nose. 

Hubby and I hope to be able to dive during out 10th anniversary in April/May next year.  We are planning on flying out of FLL to Turks/Caicos and staying at a VRBO house.  Heard the diving is great.  Our dive instructors are also planning a week long dive to Cozumel in Feb, I'm going to look into it since it will be six months from certification.  After that we have nothing planned unless we dive in Jan 23 on our 12 day Southern Caribbean sailing. 

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1 hour ago, wozswoman said:

@rjac Were all your dives from excursions with cruise ships?  I think that is the info I would like to know.  As long as all goes well this weekend with my open dives in the quarry I hope I can get what I would consider a practice dive off of Cocoa Cay, Bahamas.  It would be my first without the instructor present.  I'm still struggling with my ears, I hit 8' and its a constant blowing of my nose. 

Hubby and I hope to be able to dive during out 10th anniversary in April/May next year.  We are planning on flying out of FLL to Turks/Caicos and staying at a VRBO house.  Heard the diving is great.  Our dive instructors are also planning a week long dive to Cozumel in Feb, I'm going to look into it since it will be six months from certification.  After that we have nothing planned unless we dive in Jan 23 on our 12 day Southern Caribbean sailing. 

I love your enthusiasm, good for you! The ear squeeze is a problem that you can overcome. Practice, practice, practice. Any chance you can get in water deeper than 8'?  Have you told your dive instructor about the problem? I would. Yes most of my dives were excursions with Royal. We did do a couple of dive trips to some of the Caribbean Islands and they were a blast and expensive. But, we are all very good friends and  couple of us(men) spent a lot of time diving. Our wives, however, made us pay for it by jewelry shopping! When you do go on a Royal dive excursion next year, be sure to tell the dive master you're newly certified divers and he will probably assign one of his assistants to tag along with you, if he doesn't personally go with you. And you can always link up with other "newbie" divers. Just stay away from the guys with fancy camera gear, technical equipment or rebreathers. They can be a...holes. I know, I used to be one of those guys with the camera gear! By the way, Cozumel is a great place to dive, snorkel ,shop and eat. Just not sure what is going on currently with the covid. ?

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48 minutes ago, rjac said:

I love your enthusiasm, good for you! The ear squeeze is a problem that you can overcome. Practice, practice, practice. Any chance you can get in water deeper than 8'?  Have you told your dive instructor about the problem? I would. Yes most of my dives were excursions with Royal. We did do a couple of dive trips to some of the Caribbean Islands and they were a blast and expensive. But, we are all very good friends and  couple of us(men) spent a lot of time diving. Our wives, however, made us pay for it by jewelry shopping! When you do go on a Royal dive excursion next year, be sure to tell the dive master you're newly certified divers and he will probably assign one of his assistants to tag along with you, if he doesn't personally go with you. And you can always link up with other "newbie" divers. Just stay away from the guys with fancy camera gear, technical equipment or rebreathers. They can be a...holes. I know, I used to be one of those guys with the camera gear! By the way, Cozumel is a great place to dive, snorkel ,shop and eat. Just not sure what is going on currently with the covid. ?

The pool we've been diving is 12' I've made it to the bottom but it takes some time.  We will be in the 20' and deeper range in the quarry on Saturday and Sunday this week.  Cocoa Cay is in 30 days so I may do that one on my own, hubby is not cruising with me.  Just mom and I.   The instructor does know I have trouble, so I am taking ibuprofen the night before as well as antihistamines to try and keep things open.  I've been "popping" my ears every day trying to get them acclimated. LOL

Thanks for the encouragement! It has been a dream to dive for nearly 30 years.  Finally had the money and someone to do it with. 

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I have been on many diving excursion from cruise ships over the years.  It's a great way to dive the Caribbean since you can't fly between islands day after day when not on a cruise if you have been diving.  Diving and cruising is a natural fit because of no-fly rules for divers.

Cruise ships are not causing the demise of reef systems.  Chemicals in sunscreens and so many other sources is one way in which reef systems are being negatively impacted.  PADI has recommendations about reef safe sunscreens for this reason but that has nothing to do with cruise ships, anyone swimming in the ocean or spending a day at the beach should follow these recommendations including fly in tourists.  

As far as visibility if a tropical storm has passed it's not uncommon for the sea to get turned up and visibility to suffer.  It doesn't take a tropical storm or hurricane to cause visibility to drop.  Winter storms and currents can cause the ocean to have lower visibility on some days.  That's just the way the ocean is.  The Caribbean sea and the Atlantic can often have rougher winter sea conditions compared to the summer which many don't realize because of the focus and attention paid to tropical summer storms.  

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5 hours ago, wozswoman said:

LOL nope.  Mom has no interest in going under the water.  She plans on staying on the beach.  I may just do one of the one hour dives they have on Cocoa Cay.  If not I will just snorkel. 

Woz,

If I were you, I would not back out of a dive in the Caribbean. Talk to the dive master, explain your ear issue and I'm sure he will take care of you. I would be very surprised if the dive site is deep (30-50'). If you try and you just can't do it, then go snorkeling. Time to get your feet wet! ?

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Thanks for starting this thread, @wozswoman.  I've read the responses with great interest, as I'm hoping to dive in St Thomas (and maybe St Maarten) this Nov/Dec.  I'm hoping for some feedback from anyone who has (a) dived in St Thomas on an RCL excursion, and (b) anyone who made their return to scuba on a cruise ship.  I got certified long, long ago -- and then dove with my daughter in Australia in December 2016.  I haven't dived since then -- and am planning on doing a refresher "check-out" with a divemaster from our local dive shop.  Hopefully this will satisfy RCL's requirement to have dived within the last two years.

Congratulations on your upcoming certification!

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Hi there,

My husband and I have over 400 dives each. Most have been in the Caribbean. At first, I used to book all excursions with the cruiseship, but when I got wise and found out how much more the cruiseship charged, we started doing our own research and booked independent tours with dive shops. Many have links on their websites for cruise passengers with pickup. Do a little research and you may find you're saving over $50/pp for most excursions.

Also, never do the scuba excursion they have at Cococay. As I said, most of our dives have been in the Caribbean, but we have also dove in Europe, Hawaii, Great Lakes, Australia, and Africa. The operation on Cococay is the worst one we have seen (no boat, setting of the equipment on the floor so that sand gets in everything, a long and uncomfortable ride to starting point by laying on a plastic stretcher by jetski, having to show your c-card multiple times on and off the ship, no water, etc.).

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On 10/4/2021 at 7:02 AM, Hoonga said:

Hi there,

My husband and I have over 400 dives each. Most have been in the Caribbean. At first, I used to book all excursions with the cruiseship, but when I got wise and found out how much more the cruiseship charged, we started doing our own research and booked independent tours with dive shops. Many have links on their websites for cruise passengers with pickup. Do a little research and you may find you're saving over $50/pp for most excursions.

Also, never do the scuba excursion they have at Cococay. As I said, most of our dives have been in the Caribbean, but we have also dove in Europe, Hawaii, Great Lakes, Australia, and Africa. The operation on Cococay is the worst one we have seen (no boat, setting of the equipment on the floor so that sand gets in everything, a long and uncomfortable ride to starting point by laying on a plastic stretcher by jetski, having to show your c-card multiple times on and off the ship, no water, etc.).

LOL, that is funny you mentioned the jet ski.  I just snorkeled around the rocks at Coco Cay but I noticed the divers walking into the water then later being pulled by jet ski.  I wondered what that was all about! 

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Hoonga is correct.  Researching and finding a local dive operator is the way to go.  I just booked two local companies on my upcoming cruise.  I just posted a question on a couple of message boards then looked up the suggestions.  

I had decided against diving at Coco Cay and you just made me thankful I decided to skip it.

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Diving without the wife has become way too expensive. The bride goes shopping while I am underwater. Fixing the issue now, as my wife is in the process of doing the PADI open water course, so we can dive together. Slowly got her interested with pool and a couple dives with a master diver in the ocean, and she loves it. Now we can hunt for the pearls underwater, instead of shopping. Money well spent and with all the saving, we can go on more cruises, yeah. 

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