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September 2012    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 27, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Is a Caribbean Cruise for Serious Divers?

from the September, 2012 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Doc Vikingo, who has written many articles for us over the years, recently embarked on a Caribbean cruise, not so much because he wanted to, but because he somehow won it. Should a serious diver follow his wake?

* * * * *

Cruise ship travel, is seen by many divers, including yours truly, as despoilers of both the environment and culture at their ports of call. Bigger and fancier floating megaresorts are regularly launched and new piers constructed for the vacationing overfed, newly wed and nearly dead at such once-idyllic and hitherto unsullied places as Grand Turk. Despite holding cruising as anathema, some prodding by my significant other and a re-reading of "Taking a Caribbean Cruise on a Ship of Thousands?" (in the July 2005 issue of Undercurrent) resulted in my taking the freebie.

I did learn that cruise ships afford some advantages to the enthusiast. A cruise ship allows groups with non-diving members to vacation together, a number of locations to be cost-effectively screened with relative ease, a nitrogen fix for divers who are not up for dedicated gonzo scuba. And of course, you get to gorge and relax back onboard the mother ship. For the less sedentary, there literally are non-stop activities of one sort or another from early morning to late night, so that you can start with Tai Chi and end with disco.

On the downside, excursion dive packages often involve moo-type ops that are limited to the leastcommon- denominator divers on the boat, and the padding of prices is routine. Where ship time limitations permit, I strongly recommend that the knowledgeable diver select his or her own dive operator (well in advance). The difference between my cost vs the ship excursion cost ranged from $20 to $50, depending upon the port. To be fair, the excursion prices do include transportation from port to the dive shop , and basic gear if you need it, which I don't. Bon voyage.

You can read my full trip report, "Cruise Ship Diving,"which includes reviews of the diving on Roatan (Anthony's Key), Grand Cayman (Off the Wall), Belize (Sea Sports Belize) and Cozumel (Liquid Divers) by going to www.undercurrent.org/blog/2012/09/01/cruise-ship-diving

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