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Dive Review of Ocean Encounters Diving/Hyatt Regency in

December, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Gary Lindenbaum, PA, US (1 report)
Report Number 6832
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Fiji, PNG, Thailand, Puerto Rico, USVI, BVI, New Jersey, North Carolina,
Belieze, Australia, California, Indonesia, Galapagos, Cocos, Hawaii,
Africa, Cayman, Jamaica, Antigua, Curacao, Cozumel, Honduras, Costa Rica
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

choppy, surge  
Water Temp
70   to 80    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
60 ft depth limit and 45 minute dive time strictly enforced regardless of
experience. Must stay with group.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
1 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
1 stars  
Shore Facilities  
If you are any sort of serious U/W photographer do not dive with Ocean
Encounters. They make no allowances for photographers whatsoever. Their
boats are not in any way equipped to handle cameras. The divemasters
scolded any diver who stopped to take a picture.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
1 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars    
3 stars   
1 stars    
I've been a diver for over 45 years and have worked in the industry as
well. We stayed at the Hyatt which was wonderful, but when we return we
will take our dive business elsewhere. Here are but a few of our
experiences with Ocean encounters:
1-Guests were treated with disrespect by the boat crew. For example after
one dive in rough water a guest remarked that he had had some difficulty on
the dive. The dive master he spoke to replied that he thought that was a
piece of cake and didn't know what the guests problem was.
2-The dive guides were in such a hurry to finish to dive and so focused on
keeping everybody in a tight ball that between the swimming speed and all
the tank banging by divemasters these guys did to keep everybody above 60
feet and all together they could have run over a pod of whales and never
seen or heard them. Take time to point out interesting creatures? Able to
stop and take a photo? Forget about it.
3-The seas were rather rough that week and the driver drove the boat at
what in my opinion was an unsafe speed. Gear, cameras, and guests were
flying around the boat. It was a miracle a guest was not injured. On one
rough day, after the first dive, four guests demanded to be returned to the
dock and taken off the boat. I spoke to one couple after we got back that
day and they said they had just "had it".
4-Speaking of miracles. This operation has a unique approach to recovering
divers in rough water.Their version is to gather all the divers right
behind the boat at times close to a rocky shore in a heaving sea. Again a
miracle that the boat didn't come down on someones head. Again obviously in
a big rush to get everyone on board and finish the dive.
6-This operation is extremely passionate about divers not touching the
reef. That's OK, but having their divemasters take out a few sea fans with
their safety sausage lines during a dive didn't seem to bother them one
7-We dove for four days with these guys. On the fourth day the divemaster
told us they had "run out of dive sites". This was interesting
since we had repeated two sites already in the prior three days. So this
dive operation has only four dive sites? Really?
8-If you are a serious photographer this is definitely not the operation
for you. The boats have NO accommodations for camera rinse tank big enough for any sort of serious kit. Divemasters
did not point out anything of interest and did not allow divers to stop and
take photos. 

Look. The dive industry is tough and every operation has a bad day or two,
but what I saw in my four days with Ocean Encounters was in my opinion over
the top and unprofessional. In the future, we will use another dive
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Subscriber's Comments

By franks402 at Dec 18, 2012 06:49 EST  
Wow - I'm so sorry you had such a bad experience. Perhaps you should try
the other end of the island, if you don't mind not staying at a resort. We
stayed at the All West apartments and used Ocean Encounters West, and we
were well taken care of and thoroughly impressed with both. (I heard
recently that All West apartments had been sold, but I haven't confirmed
By galindenba at Dec 18, 2012 09:20 EST  
Thank you for your suggestion. We dove the west end in 2002 and just loved
it. That's why we came back. It's really a shame because the Hyatt Regency
was just First Rate.
By galindenba at Dec 18, 2012 09:24 EST  
I think I should also point out that while Ocean Encounters is very close
to the Hyatt, they are an independent contractor.....not part or owned by
the Hyatt. The resort itself was fantastic.
By lyndad2 at Dec 20, 2012 12:49 EST  
I stayed at the Marriott (short walk from the Hyatt) in Oct 2011 and dove
with the on-site shop, Caribbean Sea Sports.  Very friendly, and your
morning dive payment includes free tanks for the afternoon for shore
diving.  One day, I was the only customer, and they still went out (didn't
cancel).  See my review.
By woodca at Dec 22, 2012 14:56 EST  
Hi Gary, Sorry you had a bad time, sounds dreadful. My wife stayed at Lodge
Kura Hulanda and dived with All West Diving (previously Ocean Encounters
West). Accomodations were excellent as was the diving. The house reef,
Playa Kalki/Alice in Wonderland, is great day and night. Many of the boat
dives were excellent. Looks like All West Apts and All West Diving are
under the same ownership, I've heard good things about the apts. I'd love
to return to Curacao one of these days
By galindenba at Dec 23, 2012 12:24 EST  
I was referred to Kura Hurlanda, but we wanted more of a beach with it
sounded like Kura Hurlanda was somewhat lacking of. We will strongly
consider it next time we go there. Thanks.
By galindenba at Dec 23, 2012 12:27 EST  
Lynda. Thanks for your message. We stayed at the Marriott in 2002 and dove
with the on site operation. Loved it!!! However, the resort was a bit run
down back then which is why we chose the Hyatt which other than the dive
operation (An independent contractor not affiliated with Hyatt.) was really
wonderful. How is the resort now?
By lyndad2 at Dec 23, 2012 12:44 EST  
Gary.  I think it had undergone a renevoation prior to my stay in Oct.
2011.  The fitness center had just reopened.  I had a beachfront corner
room right next to the dive shop.  Of course, I'm a Marriott Rewards
Platinum member, so maybe that's why I got such a good room, although I was
staying on rewards points.  By contrast, the Hyatt didn't look so appealing
from the public areas, which were pretty dark at night when I walked over
from the Marriott.
By galindenba at Dec 23, 2012 12:57 EST  
Thanks Lynda, but I think you we're at another Hyatt. The Hyatt Regency
where we stayed is quite far from the Mariott even by car. The resort is
quite lovely. 
I think we'll go back to the Marriott next time. That was our first
vacation together when my wife and I started dating so a lot of good
memories and we did adore the diving. My main reason for this trip was to
dive my new D800 U/W system before we head to Asia in the spring for some
photo shoots. I also discovered a minor leak in my back up U/W photo
housing. So mission accomplished despite the efforts of the Divemasters.
One DM at OE told me he could "teach me everything there is to know
about diving". He didn't know I was an instructor. I bit my tongue.
:-) Thanks for your great advice.
By rskuhn at Dec 23, 2012 21:40 EST  
Curacao 9 times last visit Dec 2012.  Ocean Encounters at the Hyatt charges
a 10% premium over regular rates and has no shore diving, they use the boat
from the main Ocean Encounters dive shop at Lions Dive Resort and pickup
divers at the Hyatt. Its a cattle boat often with 12+ divers.  If you want
serious diving do not stay at the Hyatt, go to the West End of Curacao. 
All West apartments has same owners.
By galindenba at Dec 24, 2012 16:28 EST  
Robert!!! I could not have said this better!!!! Thank you.
By rskuhn at Dec 29, 2012 14:45 EST  
Its a shame about the Hyatt and Ocean Encounters, they could be diving
virgin Curacao eastend dive sites and promoting it as a luxury resort with
virgin dive sites but they don't.  They could bundle it with a Golf
package.  The best diving and Golf resort in the Caribbean for divers and
non divers.  What a money maker.  They just don't get it.  I know many
people that travel with non divers or also dive and golf, and the golf
course is pretty good. Dive the morning and golf the afternoon - Yee Ha -
My kind of vacation.  So sad.
By lyndad2 at Dec 29, 2012 17:25 EST  
I agree with Robert.  I stayed at the Marriott because I needed to use a
7-night award certificate, but opted to go with the house dive shop (CSS)
vs. Ocean Encounters, though it would have been a short walk to the Hyatt. 
The dive sites north of the Marriott & Hyatt up to the Mushroom Forest
were great, and I don't think we saw another boat on any day on those
sites.  Did the Superior Producer wreck/deep dive, and the tugboat (what a
waste of time, lots of algae, cruise divers from OE, BORING!) Passed the
golf course on the way to the northwestern dive sites.
By galindenba at Dec 29, 2012 19:43 EST  
Robert as the Hyatt management does not hesitate to point out, OE at the
Hyatt is an independent agent and in no way affiliated with the resort. So
I'm not really sure what the relationship is. Is OE leasing space from
Hyatt or from the adjacent Marina in which case their proximity to the
Hyatt is coincidence? I don't know. We did dive Klien Curacao at that was
pretty nice.
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