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ficserv01

Snorkeling, STUARTS COVE or PEARL ISLAND?

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Anyone been to either place so we can compare and decide which may be better? Also, anyone know where to book pearl island directly instead of going through the cruiseline? Thanks!

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Don't know anything about the pearl island snorkle but I can tell you Stuart Cove has real good snorkle and dive trips, including a shark feed. Only problem with Stuart Cove is that the trip times are not real compatable to most cruise passanger schedules.

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Pearl Island tour via the YellowBird, can only be booked thru the cruiselines. I'm pretty sure the Treasure Hunt is also for Cruisers only. I've never seen an advertisement for it open to the public.

Pearl Island is a bit hokey. but the snorkeling is pretty good if your doing the Treasure hunt, otherwise, it's non-existent. But it's a beautiful little island with a tiny beach.

Is you're into snorkeling, you can't beat Stuart Cove. Sportsterjohn is right, though, the trip times rarely coincide with Cruise schedules.

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If you sail on Holland-America Stuart Cove's offer a special excursion. It's more money than booking on your own (what else is new?) but the timings coincide with the ship's schedule. This was on Zuiderdam.

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Did the Stuart's Cove snorkel excursion from ship last August and it was the pits. It all depends what you are looking for, but we have been on 14 cruises and when I go snorkeling I am expecting a lot. Just my opinion, but here's how I felt about it.

 

1. Waited for over 1/2 hour at gangway in 90 degree temperatures for last minute stragglers on the excursion.

2. Over one hour ride on NON air-conditioned bus both ways to Stuart's Cove.

3. Large two-story boat holds over 50 people. Not my idea of snorkeling. Spend too much time getting in and out of water.

4. Waited almost one hour before leaving Marina while someone hand printed a list of people on the boat. Since the shore excursion desk has all this on a computer, couldn't they just print a copy and give it to the excursion guide.

5. Two story boat started rocking as soon as we stopped. Not the right kind of boat for snorkeling. My wife and I both got sick and we have never gotten sick before on 14 cruises and numerous small boat excurions.

6. Snorkeling was on so-so.

7. Only beverage on boat was water. Another poster indicated that they ran out of water on his excursion.

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If your just looking for a great day of snorkeling, any of the snorkeling tours that go to the Sea Gardens. Rose Island or Pearl Island (treasure hunt) will do. Stay away from Blackbeards Cay or Blue Lagoon if your looking for a snorkeling tour. (although both have great beaches and are fun, they don't have good snorkeling)

Stuart Cove is top notch when it comes to Scuba Diving.. but not necessary for snorkeling.

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My expereince with Stuart Cove was much different than Giorgi-One's. Yes you have to take a ride to get there but they provide the transportation and it didn't take an hour. We actually enjoyed the ride. It was a good thing we were on the other side of the island as Nassau was very windy that day but we didn't experience the winds on the other side. The first place we snorkeled was by a reef and there were tons of fish. One of the crew was diving and feeding the fish so we saw lots. The second spot was by a wreck. Water was deeper and not as many fish but it was an interesting experience swimming over the boat. Lastly, came the sharks. I didn't go in the water but I saw plenty of them when everyone was back on board and the feed bucket was raised. I enjoyed the entire tour. Mine was booked on board Zuiderdam. As I posted before, they offer a special excursion for HAL passengers so there was no scheduling problem.

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Scubagirl, we will also be cruisin with Ficserv on the Carnival Valor, am just now hearing about Rose Island? Would you compare the snorkeling to Pearl Island? We have 2 boys, who I think would like the Pearl treasure hunt, but we also really love to see lots of fish, perfer colorful fish! I think I read one post that said you might also see sea turtles on the Pearl tour?? Anymore info would be great! Thanks!

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Pearl Island is a very small - very touristy island with a tiny sandy slip of beach. The Treasure hunt is a seeded area off the rocky back of the island. It' s not a "walk in" kinda thing. The schools of fish are plentiful.

 

Rose Island is a much larger private island.. very native and laid back with long stetches of white sandy beaches, inlets, coral formations and a nice reef that you can reach from the beach.

You can sit on the beach and watch the kids in the water, or grab a hammock and take a nap. Much different day.

 

I haven't seen sea turtles at either of them.

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Are tourists allowed on Rose Island? How do you get thiere?

 

You have to be on a tour boat to get to Rose Island. Sea Island Adventure and Robinson Crusoe both do full day tours, Flying Cloud and Barefoot Cruise do a 1/2 snorkeling off the reef at Rose Island.

There may be others -

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Has it been everyones experience that Royal Caribbean does not dock in time to make the 12noon pickup?

Stuarts Cove said they would hold the reservation for us with no deposit in the hope that we make it on time. We really want to snorkel with them but if we dont make it - then what do we do?

Been there-done that enough times in the Bahamas that we really want it to be a beach/snorkel day.

helppppppppppppppp:o

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Has it been everyones experience that Royal Caribbean does not dock in time to make the 12noon pickup?

Stuarts Cove said they would hold the reservation for us with no deposit in the hope that we make it on time. We really want to snorkel with them but if we dont make it - then what do we do?

Been there-done that enough times in the Bahamas that we really want it to be a beach/snorkel day.

helppppppppppppppp:o

 

What time is your ship supposed to dock? On our itinerary it says a 7am arrival in Nassau (Sovereign 4 night cruise) and we don't leave until 1am. If you're on the same schedule as us, I don't see how you wouldn't be able to make it to the noon pickup. :)

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When I went with Stuart Cove, I did it on a Sovereign 3 day cruise. The ship docked at 11. By the time I got through customs it was 11:50 so I made the noon pick up. Just go down to the gangway early so you are one of the first people off of the ship. If you have boys, I am sure they will totally get into the shark encounter at the last snorkle stop.

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We are on the 3 night cruise so like sportersjohn we dock at 11AM. Ten minutes is tight to get across the street from the terminal bldg. but I guess if we are downstairs waiting it should work.

 

PS: we have "girls" who cant stop talking about the sharks!:D

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Donna, I notice you're in Clearwater. I assume you're driving to Port Canaveral? We're flying into Tampa the day before the cruise (we have a post cruise wedding in St. Pete Beach) and were curious what to expect from the drive, timewise?

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Laura,

 

Lets see - from St. Beach Beach to Orlando and the Bee Line Expressway exit takes me 1.5 hours..from the Bee Line exit to Port Carnival is about another 45 minutes. So depending on how you drive, I would say about 2.5 to 3 hours.

(I am a displaced New Yorker so I tend to drive on the fast side..lol)

 

It is a fast drive from Tampa to Orlando and there are plenty of places to stop if you need to. Gas, food etc.

 

BeeLine is a straight line with nothing directly on the expressway. You have to get off an exit for gas etc. It is also a toll road.

 

Parking for the ship is directly across the street and it costs $10.00 per day. Very safe.

 

If you need any more info - just give a yell!

 

~Donna

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Thanks for all the help Donna! It gives me a great idea of what to expect for drive times. And I just found out there's a Banana Republic outlet in Orlando, so stopping there after the cruise may become a necessity ;)

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No problem Laura - glad to help. We will be on the SOS over fourth of July. Will be curious to see your review and how your first cruise went!:)

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