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Hello All!

My Wife and I are leaving for our cruise on Serenade of the Seas in 13 days (woot woot, FINALLY!) and I’m trying to get dive information about the diving excursion in St Thomas. 

Has anyone ever did the diving excursion in St Thomas? If so, was it a good dive? 

 

Any information helps! Thanks in advance!

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25 minutes ago, SaltyNavyCruiser15 said:

Hello All!

My Wife and I are leaving for our cruise on Serenade of the Seas in 13 days (woot woot, FINALLY!) and I’m trying to get dive information about the diving excursion in St Thomas. 

Has anyone ever did the diving excursion in St Thomas? If so, was it a good dive? 

 

Any information helps! Thanks in advance!

Hey Salty,

Did some diving off of St. Johns a few years ago when we were there for a week. Great viz, mild currents and tons of marine life. Be sure to check the restrictions  on the Royal dive excursion. We were on the Serenade last year and one of the ports was Bonaire. Weeks before we sailed I tried to sign up for the dive excursion in Bonaire only to find out that if you are 65 or older you can't sign up. Even with a signed medical release, full dive logs from over 12 years of diving still a NO. So, I went through an independant dive operator and had two fantastic dives for less that what Royal offered. Hope you can do it! :27_sunglasses:

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1 hour ago, rjac said:

Hey Salty,

Did some diving off of St. Johns a few years ago when we were there for a week. Great viz, mild currents and tons of marine life. Be sure to check the restrictions  on the Royal dive excursion. We were on the Serenade last year and one of the ports was Bonaire. Weeks before we sailed I tried to sign up for the dive excursion in Bonaire only to find out that if you are 65 or older you can't sign up. Even with a signed medical release, full dive logs from over 12 years of diving still a NO. So, I went through an independant dive operator and had two fantastic dives for less that what Royal offered. Hope you can do it! :27_sunglasses:

Rjac, 

 

Thank you for letting me know. We are actually pulling into Charlotte Amalie. I'm a healthy US Navy Sailor, so I SHOULDN'T encounter any issues :P if I do, I'll be surprised. 

-Salty

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2 hours ago, SaltyNavyCruiser15 said:

Hello All!

My Wife and I are leaving for our cruise on Serenade of the Seas in 13 days (woot woot, FINALLY!) and I’m trying to get dive information about the diving excursion in St Thomas. 

Has anyone ever did the diving excursion in St Thomas? If so, was it a good dive? 

 

Any information helps! Thanks in advance!

I dove there last week when I was on Allure. I'd be happy to tell you how it went. Allow me to find a little computer time to scribble down the events of that day. I promise I'll get back to you.

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2 hours ago, SaltyNavyCruiser15 said:

Rjac, 

 

Thank you for letting me know. We are actually pulling into Charlotte Amalie. I'm a healthy US Navy Sailor, so I SHOULDN'T encounter any issues :P if I do, I'll be surprised. 

-Salty

healthy US Navy Sailor? I didn't know the Navy had those....I'm retired Army, have fun diving and be SAFE!:3_grin:

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On 3/13/2018 at 9:56 PM, bobroo said:

I dove there last week when I was on Allure. I'd be happy to tell you how it went. Allow me to find a little computer time to scribble down the events of that day. I promise I'll get back to you.

Bobroo still there?! 😬 just trying to gauge what to expect from the dive in St Thomas

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Here is how my diving excursion went in St Thomas last week:

Our excursion met (8:30am)  about 1/2 an hour after the ship docked just outside the gates of the pier. The excursion provider, Underwater Adventures; runs all the scuba, snorkeling, try-a-dive, scubability, and transports the open water students that are taking the Open Water class on your ship. I spoke with the owner Rob a bit when I was signing the hold harmless agreement. He claimed that he is the provider for all the cruise lines that port in St Thomas. I asked him if I could pay to use larger tanks ( aluminum 100's) and he replied "you could have if you would have told me yesterday, we load all our tanks at night. We've got two 72's for you."  "Don't worry, I can dive for 75 minutes on a 72."  Fortunately Rob turned away and had other passengers to sign his clip board. I bet I stared at that iron fence for 5 minutes asking myself "What have I gotten myself into?" "I remember this outfit from a snorkeling excursion about 4 year ago and the crew reminded me of characters in Jimmy Buffett songs from the late 70's" " Why do I care how long someone can dive on a tank of air, It's me that I'm concerned about", "72!???........that's 10% less than 80", and finally "what the hell is an aluminum 72? I've never heard of it......EVER. Great, $139 wasn't enough, so now the dive operator is going to short us on air." If my scuba bag was full of red flags instead of gear---it would have been empty---and little did I know I was soon to need more red flags. I'll continue....

Underwater Adventures picks everyone up close by near the pier, just a short walk away. So our herd made our way to their boat and got on. The boat was full and had members of ALL the fore mentioned groups. It was a quintessential cattle boat operation. UA had four employees onboard, all supposed certified Instructors. No, these are young kids running away from who knows what <cue old school Jimmy Buffett: Havana Daydream'in', Mañana,  (and especially) Cowboy in the Jungle>. The gal who ran the scuba shop on the ship was also onboard and going to be the instructor for her 5 Open Water students. A quick Coast Guard briefing and we are off to......Buck Island. Buck Island is a 15-20 minute boat ride away.

We arrive at Buck Island and there are already 4 boats moored to the 4 available mooring balls. One of them was another UA boat. There are easily 50 snorkelers in the water. There was no discerning of what snorkelers were in what group nor what boat they may have arrived on. They were scattered though out the site. While we were waiting for a boat to leave I though to myself "Why? Why would anybody want to put more people in the water here right now?" A few minutes pass and a boat leaves. In St. Thomas, it is perfectly acceptable to moor your boat in the middle of people snorkeling, if you go slow enough they will get out of your way once they realize the boat will just plow into them if they don't move. We tie off and then one of the crew realizes they forgot to put the drinking water on our boat. So, the lowest ranking crew member puts on a mask and fins and is dispatched to the other UA boat to get our water. Shortly she swam back with a milk jug about 3/4 full of water and put it into the cooler onboard.

I was in a group of 12 certified divers and our dive master was Dave. (mental note: 13, we need 13 returning to the boat) The first dive was a reef they called Wye Reef just off the starboard side of the boat. We splashed. The max depth was 62', the water was 76 degrees and the vis was 80'. We saw a couple turtles, 3 black tipped reef sharks, and a few barracuda came close by. The dive starts out on this reef and it was healthy and I was impressed. Later the dive continues real close to Buck Island and there are these huge round boulders you have to swim around and those were really cool! The dive ends under the boat using the mooring line for accent. Make sure you reach and turn when you surface, you may have to fight off some snorkelers. Despite some buoyancy problems with a couple divers in our group and some time for weight checks at the beginning, I really liked this dive and at the end thought that despite a lot of concerns that dive was worth it. I might even sign up to do it again sometime. My time in the water was 41 minutes. I was the last out of the water and........I counted to 13 once onboard! (interesting: there was never a roll call after either dive)

The surface interval was 1/2 an hour and dive #2 is the wreck called Cartanza Señora off the port side of the boat. It's 51' feet to the bottom, the deck 20' above that.  I was glad to explore this wreck simply because of the memory of seeing it 4 years prior while snorkeling. At that time I though it was stupid and senseless to have people snorkel above wreck that was 30 some feet beneath them. Ok, I see a big black rectangle BIG DEAL. But now able to scuba around it was different. It was the view I wanted earlier. It was satisfying to be able to do that. Actually that made my day. This dive too lasted 40 some minutes. 

After we got all our passengers in the boat we headed back to Charlotte Amalie. The boat captain mentioned something about tipping and the recommended tip was 20% of the excursion price. <cough, cough WHAT????> They took a group picture of all of us for proof we all returned. I think we got back at 2:00 but I had plenty of time to drop my gear off in my cabin, hook up with my wife, and take a bus to Havensight. We wandered around a bit and had a sit down late lunch. We jumped in a taxi and made it back onboard with 45 minutes to spare.

 

All in all, the dives themselves were good. Not spectacular but good experiences; I don't know any other dive sites in St Thomas to be that much better. The dive operator? I have a lot of concerns there. Much too loosey-goosey for my liking. Do I think other certified divers should take this excursion? Only if they are confident in their abilities and know beforehand that they are not getting two aluminum 80's, there are a whole bunch of people on the boat set out to do a bunch of different activities, and the crew may not always be paying attention to the things that they should. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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31 minutes ago, bobroo said:

Here is how my diving excursion went in St Thomas last week:

Our excursion met (8:30am)  about 1/2 an hour after the ship docked just outside the gates of the pier. The excursion provider, Underwater Adventures; runs all the scuba, snorkeling, try-a-dive, scubability, and transports the open water students that are taking the Open Water class on your ship. I spoke with the owner Rob a bit when I was signing the hold harmless agreement. He claimed that he is the provider for all the cruise lines that port in St Thomas. I asked him if I could pay to use larger tanks ( aluminum 100's) and he replied "you could have if you would have told me yesterday, we load all our tanks at night. We've got two 72's for you."  "Don't worry, I can dive for 75 minutes on a 72."  Fortunately Rob turned away and had other passengers to sign his clip board. I bet I stared at that iron fence for 5 minutes asking myself "What have I gotten myself into?" "I remember this outfit from a snorkeling excursion about 4 year ago and the crew reminded me of characters in Jimmy Buffett songs from the late 70's" " Why do I care how long someone can dive on a tank of air, It's me that I'm concerned about", "72!???........that's 10% less than 80", and finally "what the hell is an aluminum 72? I've never heard of it......EVER. Great, $139 wasn't enough, so now the dive operator is going to short us on air." If my scuba bag was full of red flags instead of gear---it would have been empty---and little did I know I was soon to need more red flags. I'll continue....

Underwater Adventures picks everyone up close by near the pier, just a short walk away. So our herd made our way to their boat and got on. The boat was full and had members of ALL the fore mentioned groups. It was a quintessential cattle boat operation. UA had four employees onboard, all supposed certified Instructors. No, these are young kids running away from who knows what <cue old school Jimmy Buffett: Havana Daydream'in', Mañana,  (and especially) Cowboy in the Jungle>. The gal who ran the scuba shop on the ship was also onboard and going to be the instructor for her 5 Open Water students. A quick Coast Guard briefing and we are off to......Buck Island. Buck Island is a 15-20 minute boat ride away.

We arrive at Buck Island and there are already 4 boats moored to the 4 available mooring balls. One of them was another UA boat. There are easily 50 snorkelers in the water. There was no discerning of what snorkelers were in what group nor what boat they may have arrived on. They were scattered though out the site. While we were waiting for a boat to leave I though to myself "Why? Why would anybody want to put more people in the water here right now?" A few minutes pass and a boat leaves. In St. Thomas, it is perfectly acceptable to moor your boat in the middle of people snorkeling, if you go slow enough they will get out of your way once they realize the boat will just plow into them if they don't move. We tie off and then one of the crew realizes they forgot to put the drinking water on our boat. So, the lowest ranking crew member puts on a mask and fins and is dispatched to the other UA boat to get our water. Shortly she swam back with a milk jug about 3/4 full of water and put it into the cooler onboard.

I was in a group of 12 certified divers and our dive master was Dave. (mental note: 13, we need 13 returning to the boat) The first dive was a reef they called Wye Reef just off the starboard side of the boat. We splashed. The max depth was 62', the water was 76 degrees and the vis was 80'. We saw a couple turtles, 3 black tipped reef sharks, and a few barracuda came close by. The dive starts out on this reef and it was healthy and I was impressed. Later the dive continues real close to Buck Island and there are these huge round boulders you have to swim around and those were really cool! The dive ends under the boat using the mooring line for accent. Make sure you reach and turn when you surface, you may have to fight off some snorkelers. Despite some buoyancy problems with a couple divers in our group and some time for weight checks at the beginning, I really liked this dive and at the end thought that despite a lot of concerns that dive was worth it. I might even sign up to do it again sometime. My time in the water was 41 minutes. I was the last out of the water and........I counted to 13 once onboard! (interesting: there was never a roll call after either dive)

The surface interval was 1/2 an hour and dive #2 is the wreck called Cartanza Señora off the port side of the boat. It's 51' feet to the bottom, the deck 20' above that.  I was glad to explore this wreck simply because of the memory of seeing it 4 years prior while snorkeling. At that time I though it was stupid and senseless to have people snorkel above wreck that was 30 some feet beneath them. Ok, I see a big black rectangle BIG DEAL. But now able to scuba around it was different. It was the view I wanted earlier. It was satisfying to be able to do that. Actually that made my day. This dive too lasted 40 some minutes. 

After we got all our passengers in the boat we headed back to Charlotte Amalie. The boat captain mentioned something about tipping and the recommended tip was 20% of the excursion price. <cough, cough WHAT????> They took a group picture of all of us for proof we all returned. I think we got back at 2:00 but I had plenty of time to drop my gear off in my cabin, hook up with my wife, and take a bus to Havensight. We wandered around a bit and had a sit down late lunch. We jumped in a taxi and made it back onboard with 45 minutes to spare.

 

All in all, the dives themselves were good. Not spectacular but good experiences; I don't know any other dive sites in St Thomas to be that much better. The dive operator? I have a lot of concerns there. Much too loosey-goosey for my liking. Do I think other certified divers should take this excursion? Only if they are confident in their abilities and know beforehand that they are not getting two aluminum 80's, there are a whole bunch of people on the boat set out to do a bunch of different activities, and the crew may not always be paying attention to the things that they should. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excellent dive report, bobroo. I’ll make sure to keep an eye out for sure. Very good information. 

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19 hours ago, SaltyNavyCruiser15 said:

Excellent dive report, bobroo. I’ll make sure to keep an eye out for sure. Very good information. 

Get back to us when you get back, I’d like to hear a second opinion.

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On 3/13/2018 at 6:09 PM, SaltyNavyCruiser15 said:

Hello All!

My Wife and I are leaving for our cruise on Serenade of the Seas in 13 days (woot woot, FINALLY!) and I’m trying to get dive information about the diving excursion in St Thomas. 

Has anyone ever did the diving excursion in St Thomas? If so, was it a good dive? 

 

Any information helps! Thanks in advance!

Any update on your diving experience. I am currently signed up for this excursion in July. Thanks!

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