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Dan83

Roatan diving and the "cruise ship effect"

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I'm looking for more diving options for our stop in Roatan next month.  We use a private driver for the day with Bodden Tours.  2 of us would like to dive in the morning while the rest of our party hits the beach and maybe snorkel.  Last time this worked out just ok.  We used Coconut Tree divers and they were great.  The problem was the travel time between the ship, there, and west bay beach.  Too much riding in the van and not enough fun time.  So I started looking at dive shops on or very near west bay beach.  It seems there is a reluctance of many of the dive shops to take cruise ship passengers.  They either won't take us at all or will only take a special group of cruise ship passengers and they need a minimum number to make the trip. So can anyone recommend a dive shop or any ideas for our situation?  I've done ship sponsored dive excursions in the past and don't prefer them at all.  The dive masters always seem nervous as cats when they have a boat full of ship passengers.  Even Coconut tree divers apparently separated out the ship divers from their land based divers.  On previous land vacations to st lucia, jamaica, and cozumel there was a noticeable difference in diving in the absence of this "cruise ship effect"

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We booked with West End Divers for our cruise to Roatan in Dec. They pick up and drop off and will allow snorkelers on the boat with the divers. They were very responsive to our inquiries.

 

Unfortunately the cruise line canceled the stop in  Roatan so we don't get a chance to try them.

 

https://www.westenddivers.info/

Edited by mac66

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Talk to coconut divers. Im sure they would take snorkelers out as well, and if not we did see people snorkeling on the left end of half moon bay. The beach there in front of the shop is also not bad, and super empty.   When we dove with them it was my daughter and i and a group of land based divers. 

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Check with Roatan divers, first rate operator,small groups. The dive sites are very close to their dock so they go back to the shop between dives ,so you can do one or two dives,time permitting. They had a taxi meet us at the port and had one ready for us to go back. Great dives ! Awesome service. I can’t wait to go back.

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Barefoot Divers, Subway, and Bananarama to name three I've dived with multiple times.  I never do the ship's dive excursions.

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We visited Roatan last week. Ended up going with Blue Planet Divers.  It was the perfect choice for us.  We caught them on a slow day and it was just our group on the boat for the morning dive.  Snorkelers got to come along as well.  Excellent diving operation.  They made lazy divers out of us, took care of everything.  For our next trip to Roatan I won't consider diving anywhere else.  

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On 9/12/2019 at 10:54 PM, Laurie S. said:

Barefoot Divers, Subway, and Bananarama to name three I've dived with multiple times.  I never do the ship's dive excursions.

At Bananarama, there most by at least 4 divers to book with them. It not they will put you on a waiting list. Great company though.

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On 9/13/2019 at 1:28 PM, Dan83 said:

We visited Roatan last week. Ended up going with Blue Planet Divers.  It was the perfect choice for us.  We caught them on a slow day and it was just our group on the boat for the morning dive.  Snorkelers got to come along as well.  Excellent diving operation.  They made lazy divers out of us, took care of everything.  For our next trip to Roatan I won't consider diving anywhere else.  

 

Good to know.  We booked a cruise to Roatan next Dec. Hopefully we'll actually get there this time.  We were going to go with West End Divers again but will give Blue Planet a look. Does Blue Planet transport you to/from the ship?

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46 minutes ago, mac66 said:

 

Good to know.  We booked a cruise to Roatan next Dec. Hopefully we'll actually get there this time.  We were going to go with West End Divers again but will give Blue Planet a look. Does Blue Planet transport you to/from the ship?

They could probably arrange a taxi, but I doubt that would be included. There are a few dive shops that offer transportation, but I don’t think blue planet is one of them. We are definitely returning to blue planet next time. We always get a driver for the day through one of the local tour companies. The prices are very reasonable and you have transportation for the whole day in port. Our driver just chilled out on the beach while we were on the dive boat. And after we finished diving, there was plenty of time to get some other activities in before returning to the ship. For a small group of people, it’s really not much more expensive than a couple of taxi rides. 

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46 minutes ago, Dan83 said:

They could probably arrange a taxi, but I doubt that would be included. There are a few dive shops that offer transportation, but I don’t think blue planet is one of them. We are definitely returning to blue planet next time. We always get a driver for the day through one of the local tour companies. The prices are very reasonable and you have transportation for the whole day in port. Our driver just chilled out on the beach while we were on the dive boat. And after we finished diving, there was plenty of time to get some other activities in before returning to the ship. For a small group of people, it’s really not much more expensive than a couple of taxi rides. 

Just weighing the choices. West End provides pick up and drop off at the port. Going to have to see what the difference in prices are.

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I can still say I recommend the dive op with Anthony's Key Resort.  They are the one that the cruise ships use.  We have used them twice and thought they were excellent, and its only 20 min ride on bus to and from their facility.  When we used them we had small group, I think 10 divers first time, 5 divers second time.  First time they split us into 2 groups, each with 2 DMs.  And with the reefs right off the resort, it was only 5 min boat ride out, then surface interval back at pier, then back out to another site.   Quick and easy.  Their boats are rally nice also, all covered and roomy.  

I know most people don't like to use the cruise ship dive ops, but at Roatan it really isn't a negative.  AKR is a 2 thumbs up for us.

 

2017_Roatan064-XL.jpg

 

2017_Roatan070-XL.jpg

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Do you have to go through the ship to book AK or can you book them privately?

 

I don't see an option for private booking on their website.

 

 If you book AK privately do you get a better price than going through the ship?

Edited by mac66

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9 hours ago, mac66 said:

Do you have to go through the ship to book AK or can you book them privately?

 

I don't see an option for private booking on their website.

 

 If you book AK privately do you get a better price than going through the ship?

 

You cannot book privately....  you have to be staying at the resort OR book thru your cruise ship.

 

 

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I did a cost analysis of all the places mentioned.

 

Roatan Divers     

Conconut Tree

Blue Planet

Barefoot

Subway

Bananarama

West End

Anthony's Key

 

They all varied in price from $35/tank to $50/tank or from $70/2 tank to $95 (two tank discount).  Equipment rental ranged from $5-$20.

 

In some cases the prices included taxes and in some taxes were extra.  In some cases it included the reef park fees ($10) and some it didn't.  

 

None of the dive ops included transportation to/from the port.  Transportation from and back to the port is $20-30. Some ops will offer discounted transportation hence the $20.

 

The price of the cruise ship excursion (Royal Caribbean, which uses Anthony's Key) is currently $119 for a two tank dive. This includes transportation, rental and all other fees.

 

Surprisingly, It looks like the best/cheapest option if all you want to do is drive is through the ship.  

 

If you have snorkelers that want to tag along the cruise ship excursion is not for you however.

Edited by mac66

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Unless it has changed in recent years, Subway doesn't charge for transportation.  Barefoot is one of the closest, yet they charged $20 for transportation when I was there.  I would pay more to avoid a cruise ship dive.  Cattle boats are not my cup of tea.

Edited by Laurie S.

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13 hours ago, Laurie S. said:

Unless it has changed in recent years, Subway doesn't charge for transportation.  Barefoot is one of the closest, yet they charged $20 for transportation when I was there.  I would pay more to avoid a cruise ship dive.  Cattle boats are not my cup of tea.

 

As I said...the cruise ship op in ROATAN is AKR and we did not feel it was a cattle boat at all.  It was first class service on newer boats and rental equipment looked brand new.  We always take our own gear but everyone else used rental.  We have used them twice on cruises, and my DH is using them again on our cruise in Feb (I am not diving this trip).  The convenience and service are well worth it, plus you don't have as long a bus ride or worrying about if they will cancel for not enough divers.  

 

 

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14 hours ago, Laurie S. said:

Unless it has changed in recent years, Subway doesn't charge for transportation.  Barefoot is one of the closest, yet they charged $20 for transportation when I was there.  I would pay more to avoid a cruise ship dive.  Cattle boats are not my cup of tea.

 

 

Subway has a 2 tank dive package that includes transportation for $100. It also includes access to their beach club and one drink. It does not include the park fee or equipment rental.  I couldn't find rental costs on their website. 

 

You can't book it directly through Subway's website. It is special package available through roatanexcursions.com

 

Blue Planet has a two tank dive for $80 which includes equipment and taxes. It doesn't say if it includes the park fee or not.  It does not include transportation.

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Just some more info...

 

West End Divers has a package that includes a 2 tank dive, equipment, taxes, transportation from/back to port and all other fees for $140.  They can accommodate snorkelers on the dive boat and will accommodate cruise ship arrival times.

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On 1/15/2020 at 6:34 AM, ABQrobin said:

 

As I said...the cruise ship op in ROATAN is AKR and we did not feel it was a cattle boat at all.  It was first class service on newer boats and rental equipment looked brand new.  We always take our own gear but everyone else used rental.  We have used them twice on cruises, and my DH is using them again on our cruise in Feb (I am not diving this trip).  The convenience and service are well worth it, plus you don't have as long a bus ride or worrying about if they will cancel for not enough divers.  

 

 

Wow, everyone but you using rental gear would be a big red flag for me.

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