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Dive Review of Red Sail Sports/Marriott on Palm Beach, Aruba in

February, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Barbara Rizzardi, Ut, USA
Report Number 3218
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Bonaire,Curacao,Andros Island, Roatan, Cozumel, St Lucia, Bora-Bora, Grand
Cayman, St. John, Akumal, Playa del Carmen, Lake Tahoe, Monterrey Bay
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 75    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Time and depth limits.   
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
2 stars    
My boyfriend and his son, new divers, selected the Marriott, Palm Beach,
Aruba, primarily for the wind surfing operation located at the hotel. I
flew in from Salt Lake City via JFK in New York on Jet Blue for our week
long stay.  No problems flying down but the return was sketchy due to major
problems with Jet Blue at JFK due to a  major Valentine's Day snowstorm
with some prolonged terminal/tarmac waits in JFK even 4 days after the
snowstorm. We arrived unknowingly during Carnival and all the hotels in
Orangestad were completely full with traffic snarled due to the large but
colorful and festive day-long parade and the marina had several large
cruise ships.  The Aruba Marriott resort is not dive dedicated and is
filled with mostly tourists from NYC, so sometimes you think you are in
Queens.It's beautiful, new but expensive with a great pool, impressive
buffets, and huge rooms on an expansive sandy beach. They have a casino but
that's not my thing so I didn't check it out. Red Sail Sports (RSS) books
dive trips (one, am or pm, or two tank, am only, boat dives) from a desk in
the lobby and you have to take a shuttle(5 minutes)to the Hyatt for the
dive boat. No shore diving available. At the Hyatt they have a small
facility to hand out rental equipment (with moderate wear and some leaky
tanks/BCs) and weights but no dive shop.  Nitrox has to be ordered the
night before ($10/tank)but half the time I arrived at the boat and no
Nitrox was available and I had to have the divemaster scramble to get it. I
could only  get 33 ppm Nitrox tanks. Boats were spacious (48 foot or 40
foot)with head on board,camera rinse tank, water/ice tea, and fruit was
served between dives. Usually there were 8 to 12 divers, mostly divers with
less than 50 dives experience.  Several stops were made to pick up divers
from other resorts/ships. Rides to the sites took less than 30 minutes.
Dive sites were limited to 2 sites on the calm West Coast (Antilles
freighter wreck at 60ft, no penetration allowed, balls of darting
silversides;  and Pedernalis oil tanker wreck in 25 ft with a few
unexploded bombs in the sand)or the captain's selection on the rougher
south side depending on weather conditions. The south side diving is more
challenging with some current and drift dives. Notable dives included the
Jane Sea Wreck, a 250 cement feighter, at 90 ft, Captain's Choice (a drop
off at 100 ft with lots of brain coral and sea fans), Skalahein (25-50ft
drift dive with zillions of schooling creole wrasse, lots of purple eggs
nests from mating sargeant majors, and usual trumpets, damselfish), Sponge
Reef (with many iridescent purple sponges, a few big green morays,
drumfish), and the Sonesta Airplane (a large intact plane you can enter at
80 ft). No pelagics. Larger fish are fished out. Addison and Cierra were
enthusiastic and conscientious divemasters and Osma was a delightful
captain.  However, not the case with Manuel.  He may have just had an off
day but seemed indifferent, swimming far ahead of the group on a  wreck
dive, eventually  disappearing into the murk with one diver, leaving the
rest of the divers at 80 ft to find their own way to the boat/surface, two
surfacing with less than 200 psi and too brief safety stops.  On the next
dive, two novice divers were completely separated from the main group and
spent the whole dive in 25 ft of water while the rest of the group proceded
to dive the reef at 50 ft. The DM seemed unaware he was missing any divers.
Fortunately, this was the only day we had that DM and as I mentioned, the
other DMs were fun and engaged with the divers, pointing out interesting
fish and frequently checking on all the divers. Overall the diving was fair
to good,  Arubans were very friendly, and accomodations superior. I felt
safe the whole time in Aruba and welcome. If you are a serious diver
however, arrange a private boat to visit less frequented sites and dive
your own profile, dive a dedicated Aruban dive resort, or dive nearby
Bonaire, a protected marine park which I have dived numerous times and
highly recommend.   
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