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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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May 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 45, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Got any Tales of Unexpected Dive Travel Bills?

from the May, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Some years ago, I went to the Bahamas with Chris Boardman, an Olympic gold medalist in cycling, and we spent a week at Bluff House on Green Turtle Cay in the Abaco chain. The rooms were prepaid, thanks to Diver magazine, my employer at the time, but I planned to cover the cost of our meals in the excellent, but expensive, restaurant. What I was not expecting was an additional charge of $1,000 for "Use of the Facilities." Because we were out diving with Brendal's Dive Center every day, the boardwalk between our rooms and the restaurant was the only "facility" we ever used. But I paid without making a fuss -- I was on assignment and using Diver's expense account, so it didn't hit my pocketbook, but still, it was an outrageous amount. Then I settled down outside the hotel's reception to see reactions of other guests as they went to pay their bills. The shocked look on the face of a father of four as he stumbled out of the lobby told me this was not a cost expected by any guest.

To be honest, it's the only time I've encountered such nonsense, although the restaurant bill for four people over seven days at Cobbler's Cove in Barbados 20 years ago was worth framing -- $8,000 just for food.

Today, every hotel seems to have a charge for any number of things, such as using the pool, staring at a sunset, or just staying at the hotel. And you can't assume that "complementary" means free anymore. (Ben Davison learned that the hard way after being told quietly by a staffer that the free fruit and cheese basket he received in his room upon arrival at a high-end Arizona hotel actually came out of a mandatory service charge. The money didn't go to people who served him -- part of it went to pay for his goody basket and, according to the staffer, each of the service personnel received $1 from one's stay, no matter how long.

What unexpected, and maybe unfair, additional charges have you been subject to on a dive trip? How did you handle it? And did it get resolved or not? We'd like to know. Send your tales of unexpected dive-trip bill shockers to, and include your town and state.

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