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Southern Cruise Scuba Recommendations


Travel-Diva
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I'm copying and pasting myself here.  🙂

 

As far as picking one island as the "best" to dive, that's almost impossible.  Most people would say Bonaire should be your first choice.  I would not disagree, but I would also dive more than one port.  The best for you depends on what you want to see, your level of experience, and also the conditions on the day of your visit.

 

For Bonaire, I recommend VIP Diving.  Their price is (I believe) $150.00 for two dives.  However, their level of service justifies the cost.  They provide port pick up and return, personalized selection of dive sites, and no more than 4 divers in a group.  The price also includes a nice lunch, beverages and an overall great experience.  The first step is they sit down with you, and discuss all the site options, and come up with two sites that meet your desires, and your level of experience.  Nitrox is included in the price, but only if you also have your nitrox certification.  Your local dive shop can get you nitrox certified, and it's well worth having that certification if you do not already.  Also, while they normally use standard 80 cubic foot tanks, they have 100 cf tanks available for the asking, so ask; and you'll get more bottom time for the same price.  One thing with VIP is they require full payment in advance, and do not offer refunds for no-shows, even if the reason is the ship didn't make port (they will switch days for you if itinerary changes).  So make sure you have travel insurance (you should anyway).  Sine you can literally select any dive site on the island, and there is never any rush, plan for your day there to take the entire time you're in port.   (https://www.vipdiving.com/)

 

Aruba is  distinctly different than Bonaire, in that there' isn't so much of the drop off/wall appearance to most dive sites.  That leads to it having the reputation as not being as "Good" as the other islands.  I disagree, as there are plenty of reefs with abundant life, and one of the most interesting wreck dives in the Caribbean, that is also very well suited to a new diver.  The Antilla Wreck (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Antilla_(1939) ) is in about 50 feet of water, and sank in the early days of World War II, in the intervening years, the shallow depth has resulted in its breaking up in storms.  So now, its interior is quite visible with no penetration, and that depth means even new divers will be able to explore the wreck well on one tank of air.  The operator to use there is Jeffrey Kost, of Happy Divers Aruba.  Again, he provides port pick-up and return, a reasonable price, and no more than 6 divers on the boat (usually less).  I don't believe nitrox is available here.  He's a smaller shop, so can take a couple days to reply to emails.  Also, He will always show up for the port pick up, but a few minutes late isn't uncommon, so don't panic.  (https://www.happydiversaruba.com/wp/)

 

For St. Kitts I'd recommend Pro Divers St. Kitts.  They're based out of the marina immediately adjacent to the port, so there are no issues with transportation cost or time.  Auston at Pro Divers does a great job with cruise customers, and the sites are fun, yet fairly shallow, so divers of all levels can enjoy.  (https://prodiversstkitts.com/).

 

For St. Maarten, Octopus Diving, the shop I've used in the past is no longer reliable. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

 

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I used Dive Adventures through Aqua Mania on St. Maarten and everything went smoothly.  Their shop was a short 10 min walk from the port.  Aqua Mania is Dive Adventures booking agent.

 

https://www.stmaarten-activities.com/en/scubadiving

 

They are what the ships use. When I went I booked directly with them which was cheaper. The boat I was on had only 5 divers, the ship's excursion had 10 or 12.

 

Edited by mac66
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