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Researching tours for an ABC Freedom Cruise in May.  For those familiar with Calabaza snorkeling with turtles tours in Barbados, are their comomparable tours in any of the ABC islands, preferably Bonaire? My DH no longer enjoys snorkeling so I’m looking for an on the water experience that can be enjoyed without getting in. Nice boat with shade and comfy place to sit, some beers, nice views. I think we paid $115 for Calabaza and he said it was worth it even without snorkeling.

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5 minutes ago, iluvit! said:

Researching tours for an ABC Freedom Cruise in May.  For those familiar with Calabaza snorkeling with turtles tours in Barbados, are their comomparable tours in any of the ABC islands, preferably Bonaire? My DH no longer enjoys snorkeling so I’m looking for an on the water experience that can be enjoyed without getting in. Nice boat with shade and comfy place to sit, some beers, nice views. I think we paid $115 for Calabaza and he said it was worth it even without snorkeling.

 

Best snorkeling on Bonaire:  https://www.woodwindbonaire.com/

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5 minutes ago, TBone2K said:

If you are interested in third party tours and not just specific RC tours, you might get better answers from the ports of call forums.

I did, but the info was mostly old.

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I’m considering this one, but the boat doesn’t look like it has much shade. Plus it takes up to 25 people, so idk if it’ll be crowded. Was looking at Bonaire Tours and Vacations “Champagne Fun Snorkle” on a yacht, but cannot find many reviews.

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4 minutes ago, iluvit! said:

I’m considering this one, but the boat doesn’t look like it has much shade. Plus it takes up to 25 people, so idk if it’ll be crowded. Was looking at Bonaire Tours and Vacations “Champagne Fun Snorkle” on a yacht, but cannot find many reviews.

 

The actual snorkeling part is not crowded.  They split our group up into 3 groups of 8 people, each group with a guide.  So it was not crowded at all once in the water.

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10 minutes ago, iluvit! said:

Researching tours for an ABC Freedom Cruise in May.  For those familiar with Calabaza snorkeling with turtles tours in Barbados, are their comomparable tours in any of the ABC islands, preferably Bonaire? My DH no longer enjoys snorkeling so I’m looking for an on the water experience that can be enjoyed without getting in. Nice boat with shade and comfy place to sit, some beers, nice views. I think we paid $115 for Calabaza and he said it was worth it even without snorkeling.

I totally second Windwood Bonaire Tours.  My husband snorkels and I do not.   I dislike those catamaran snorkeling tours where they cram people in so tight that you are stuck in the same spot for hours.  Windwood was amazing.  Their new boat is beautiful, the staff is so helpful and the food they served was delish.  The stir fried chicken was great as was some truly yummy cake.  They even asked for food allergies and prepared my husbands GF.  They limit their tours to 20 people and there was ample room.   My husband is also a scuba diver and he was impressed with the quality of snorkeling equipment offered.  They even have prescription lens masks.  It is a short five/ten minute walk down the pier thru a hotel.  Very safe and easy to get to.  We formed a group from our Roll Call as one of the members had used this company many times.  It cost $65.00 per person for a four hour trip.  Well worth it.  We made the reservations by e-mail and payed in cash the day of sailing.  It was perfect...(They had great beer, wine and mixed drinks as well as punches).  Definitely a five star experience.  They do sell out quickly as they are known to many cruisers.  

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Just back from Bonaire last week, second time there and this time we did Woodwind.  Hands down it is not only the best excursion I have ever been on it might just be one of the best experiences of my life!  Next time I am in Bonaire I would seriously consider doing both the morning and afternoon tour with Woodwind.

Edited by mishelly76
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1 hour ago, iluvit! said:

I’m considering this one, but the boat doesn’t look like it has much shade. Plus it takes up to 25 people, so idk if it’ll be crowded. Was looking at Bonaire Tours and Vacations “Champagne Fun Snorkle” on a yacht, but cannot find many reviews.

Passing on Woodwind Bonaire would be a big mistake in judgement, IMHO. Best tour operator in the ABC's. I went last December and I remember lots of shade available, plus you can wear one of their rashguard shirts along with your sunglasses. They group by experience level and will keep the groups spread out. 

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If you want cheap, the ferry over to Kline Bonaire can be booked either through cruise or independently.  You walk down the beach as far as you want, carefully cross reef and drift back the the beach.  DW just enjoyed the beach and sandy water area while I went.  Ride is short, some shade in the scrub trees and they sell drinks for cash.

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We're also booked with Woodwind in May, largely because of the glowing recommendations here.  One of our party is not really interested in snorkeling but may want to put her face in the water.  Woodwind promised that they would make her feel very comfortable, whether she wants to snorkel or not.  We also looked at the glass bottom boat option but it had mixed reviews.

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Woodwind is FANTASTIC. Have gone with them twice and they are, by far, the best snorkeling excursion I've been on. They go out of their way to make sure your equipment is fitted properly, they split you into groups based on experience so those who might need extra help/attention get it (although they don't split families/groups up), and they actually point to things underwater and talk to you on the boat about what to look for and things you should expect to see. Plus they have a photographer who takes really great photos underwater so you can just enjoy the excursion without having to worry about taking your own pictures, although you are welcome to do so. They even have both full-face and traditional snorkel gear (I encourage you to try full-face if you haven't). And the snorkeling is the best I've experienced in the Caribbean. They take reservations 2+ years out and they always fill up because of their well-deserved reputation.

Edited by ravensbad
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1 hour ago, bobmacliberty said:

We're also booked with Woodwind in May, largely because of the glowing recommendations here.  One of our party is not really interested in snorkeling but may want to put her face in the water.  Woodwind promised that they would make her feel very comfortable, whether she wants to snorkel or not.  We also looked at the glass bottom boat option but it had mixed reviews.

 

We had someone on our excursion that was very nervous and not a good swimmer. They actually had her hold on to the guide who carried her through the water. They are amazing!!!

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We sailed with Calabazza while in Barbados in Oct. 2017 on the Adventure of the Seas and loved it.

 

Due to recommendations, we recently booked with Woodwind Bonaire for their 12-4 p.m. tour in early August 2019 while sailing on the Freedom of the Seas. We're looking forward to it.

 

Please be sure to write a review of your recent experience with Woodwind on the Bonaire forum of CruiseCritic or on TripAdvisor.

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10 hours ago, iluvit! said:

so I’m looking for an on the water experience that can be enjoyed without getting in. Nice boat with shade and comfy place to sit, some beers, nice views.

 

10 hours ago, iluvit! said:

I’m considering this one, but the boat doesn’t look like it has much shade

 

No one has addressed your specific concern even though you clearly asked twice... This is obviously of importance to you... and you are right, it does not have any shade whatsoever. Doesn't matter if this is the greatest excursion in the world (and it truly is one of the best in the entire Caribbean in my opinion as well), if you have major health reasons/concerns being in the sun, then this snorkel trip is probably not good for you.

 

 

P8232875.JPG

Edited by Hoopster95
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11 hours ago, Hoopster95 said:

 

 

No one has addressed your specific concern even though you clearly asked twice... This is obviously of importance to you... and you are right, it does not have any shade whatsoever. Doesn't matter if this is the greatest excursion in the world (and it truly is one of the best in the entire Caribbean in my opinion as well), if you have major health reasons/concerns being in the sun, then this snorkel trip is probably not good for you.

 

 

P8232875.JPG

This is not the new boat.

the new catamaran has shade, we just were with them in February..

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28 minutes ago, Denise Ann said:

This is not the new boat.

the new catamaran has shade, we just were with them in February..

 

Agree - New boat has a whole section of shade at the back.  On a 3.5 hr tour we were on the boat for about 1 hour total, most of your time is in the water.

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Another option which we did

Rent a golf cart at port and go on your own

You can rent the gear there and they give you a map 

Just riding around the island is fun 

BoniareCruisers.com

Wicked fun  😊

Edited by janetz
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On 3/6/2019 at 11:56 AM, janetz said:

Another option which we did

Rent a golf cart at port and go on your own

You can rent the gear there and they give you a map 

Just riding around the island is fun 

BoniareCruisers.com

Wicked fun  😊

Are there good places that you can snorkel that you can reach on the golf cart?

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Another BIG supporter of Woodwind!!  My wife is not a very strong swimmer and has always had problems snorkeling.  When we went last month, the crew took special care with her and one other "rookie" snorkeler" and made the day perfect for the two of them.  This was the first time that my wife EVER had a pleasant day in the water.  The equipment the Woodwind uses is first rate and if you have prescription needs for lenses, they have facemasks that can accommodate that as well.  I would not snorkel with anyone else in Bonaire!!

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