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Scuba: Turneffe Atoll w/ship OR Ambergris Caye independently


txsmiles

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Please help! We are totally torn about choosing 1) the timing and lack-of-need to tender in to port of the ship's scuba excursion to Turneffe Atoll versus 2) the "skip the long boat ride" and fun of the 15 min. flight to San Pedro and dive with an independent dive op out of San Pedro (probably to be arranged through Shore Trips).

 

I'd LOVE and APPRECIATE both opinions on the logistical pros & cons... and EVEN MORE personal experiences with the actual dives at one location versus the other. We'd probably classify as "advanced beginners" (if there is such a thing) with regard to scuba - certified for about 18 months, around 30 dives, half of them in Bonaire during a week long trip last summer (which was Fabulous!!!).

 

We definately don't want to miss the ship because of the excursion... either choice is pretty pricey - so we also definately want to have a "wow" experience. I'm a little nervous about independent arrangements for being so far from the ship... and also not crazy about the potential "cattle boat" possibilites of a ship excursion.

 

Thanks for any and all feedback!!!!! I'll be glad to get this choice made any move on to thinking about other things!

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Please help! We are totally torn about choosing 1) the timing and lack-of-need to tender in to port of the ship's scuba excursion to Turneffe Atoll versus 2) the "skip the long boat ride" and fun of the 15 min. flight to San Pedro and dive with an independent dive op out of San Pedro (probably to be arranged through Shore Trips).

 

I'd LOVE and APPRECIATE both opinions on the logistical pros & cons... and EVEN MORE personal experiences with the actual dives at one location versus the other. We'd probably classify as "advanced beginners" (if there is such a thing) with regard to scuba - certified for about 18 months, around 30 dives, half of them in Bonaire during a week long trip last summer (which was Fabulous!!!).

 

We definately don't want to miss the ship because of the excursion... either choice is pretty pricey - so we also definately want to have a "wow" experience. I'm a little nervous about independent arrangements for being so far from the ship... and also not crazy about the potential "cattle boat" possibilites of a ship excursion.

 

Thanks for any and all feedback!!!!! I'll be glad to get this choice made any move on to thinking about other things!

 

Hi there!! There is a thread regarding the Fly/Dive to Ambergris Caye through www.shoretrips.com over on the Scuba and Snorkeling board. It discusses a lot of the issues you ask about, so you might want to check it out. Hopefully it will have some info that will help you make your decision. The original poster of that thread has decided to do the Fly/Dive to Ambergirs Caye and is going to give us a review when she gets back from her cruise around Thanksgiving. I think we've pretty much already decided to do Ambergris Caye also. The biggest factor for us is that the surface interval time for the Turneffe Atoll tour is spent on the boat whereas, the SI time on the Fly/Dive to Ambergris Caye can be spent shopping and having lunch in San Pedro. I think we'll be okay on time since the Fly/Dive tour is 5.5 hours and our ship (the Carnival Legend) will be in port for 9 hours.

 

Good luck on making your decision. I think either choice will give you a couple of great dives.

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We did the Turneffe Atoll trip. Very relaxing boat ride out, Got picked up at the ship and half way out stopped at the dive shop on a small island. While others got their equipment we watched the dolfins in the lagoon. When we took off the dolfins swam with us for a couple miles. Had a couple great dives at Turneffe Atoll. Must have seen half dozen huge green moray eels in the first 10 minutes of the dive. They split us up according to skill levels so our dives went until we ran low on air and used our computers. Found lots of small stuff right under the boat at the end of the dives. Nice dive boats and weren't too crowded.

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jcpelly -thanks for your information! what time of year did you go (high season or low season)? do you remember how many divers were "assigned" to a DM? Since you were split into skill-level groups, did that help avoid chaos & crowding? I really appreciate your insights!

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I have done the Turneffe Atoll trip offered through Carnival and also did a week long dive trip to Ambergris Caye, so I can help you. In all honesty, the diving at neither location is spectacular. If you can arrange to go diving at Hol Chan Marine Park from Ambergris Caye, that is an outstanding dive! Other than that, much of the diving at Ambergris Caye offers dead bleached coral and few fish (although you might get to see nurse sharks). The diving at Turneffe is a little better, but in my opinion is not worth the steep price that Carnival asks for it. The diving there is not as good as Cozumel, Grand Cayman or Roatan. The really good diving in Belize is out at Lighthouse Reef or the further areas of Turneffe where they won't take cruise ship passengers. So, where does that leave you? Well, I think the better experience for your money is to do the Ambergris Caye trip because you will get to see at least a little of the island and if you're lucky maybe they will take you to Hol Chan Park. But in reality, if your cruise is also going to Cozumel, Roatan and Grand Cayman and if you were to take a day off diving somewhere, I would take the off day in Belize and go to a Mayan ruin or go cave tubing instead.

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... If you can arrange to go diving at Hol Chan Marine Park from Ambergris Caye, that is an outstanding dive! Other than that, ...

 

 

2112: Thanks for the input! Just out of curiosity... what did you love about Hol Chan Marine Park? The operator we are looking at on Ambergris Caye has that as an option (with the $10pp park fee) but the reviews we've seen seem to mostly focus on it being very shallow dives with lots of sharks & rays because they've gotten fed there.

 

I appreciate you sharing your experience!

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2112: Thanks for the input! Just out of curiosity... what did you love about Hol Chan Marine Park? The operator we are looking at on Ambergris Caye has that as an option (with the $10pp park fee) but the reviews we've seen seem to mostly focus on it being very shallow dives with lots of sharks & rays because they've gotten fed there.

 

I appreciate you sharing your experience!

 

 

Hol Chan itself is a cut in the reef. You dive down one side till you are outside the reef then swim across to the other side of the channel and dive back. The coral here is in very good shape and there is a lot or marine life there. Lots of fish, rays, lobsters, etc. It is the only "local" dive at Ambergris Caye that has lots of fish and healthy coral. Usually for the second dive they will take you to Shark Ray Alley which is also in the park (that is what you were referring to). This is a very shallow site that has stingrays and nurse sharks. It is absolutely worth the extra $10 to dive Hol Chan. I would make sure you get to dive the cut and not just Shark Ray Alley however.

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