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Dive Review of UBS/Celebrity cruise ship in
Virgin Islands/Tortola

December, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Hilary S, WA, USA
Report Number 1713
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
26-50 dives
Where else diving
Hawaii, Bahamas, Keys, St. Thomas
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 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):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
5 stars    
We chartered a private boat with UBS to dive the RMS Rhone on our short
stop while cruising the E. Caribbean.  I had explored many options other
than chartering our own dive boat, but found that none of the other
operators could guarantee us to be back to the cruise dock by 1pm. 
Although UBS was expensive for two of us, I went ahead and booked it since
we wanted very much to dive the Rhone.  As luck would have it, we met up
with another couple who wanted to share our charter with us.  Because there
were 4 divers, the cost was below what any other dive op in Tortola would
have been.

The boat was a 6-pack and with 4 divers and a DM/Captain, we had plenty of
room.  The trip out to the Rhone was a fairly quick ride, and we quickly
moored to a ball to dive the bow first.  Our captain was also going to act
as dive guide and show us the highlights of the Rhone.  We geared up and
descended to the wreck at 80 feet.  The bow is in amazing condition and
basically intact, and it was fabulous to look around inside and see the
structure of the ship as well as coal that was sitting on the ground
waiting to be shoveled into the boilers.

Unfortunately, although the couple who joined us were AOW certified,
apparently they hadn't dove in about 4 years.  The gentleman was a major
air hog and within 25 min. had sucked his tank down and they needed to head
for the surface.  The DM told my husband and I that we could stay and
explore for a few minutes, but had the other couple both go to the surface
as they were buddies.  We enjoyed another 10 min. of bottom time before
heading to the surface and our safety stops.

Our DM/Captain provided us with drinks and ginger snap cookies during our
SI and we had a good time chatting about diving around the world. 

The second dive was shallower at about 50 feet (max) and consisted of the
rear of the Rhone.  The stern is totally broken up, but you can still
clearly see the propeller, the mast, a couple of boilers, and an anchor. 
Unfortunately for us, our camera chose to seize up and we got very few
useable pictures of either the bow or stern. <argh!>

Again our charter-mates sucked their air quickly, so headed back to the
boat early.  We stayed and looked around some more, but realized that we
were getting short on time (not air), and had only an hour to get back to
the ship before sailing.  This time we both surfaced with over 1100 psi in
our tanks, and felt a sense of disappointment that both dives couldn't have
been a little longer.

Once back on board, we stowed our gear and readied ourselves for the trip
back to the dive shop.  Our DM then broke out another package of cookies
and opened the cooler to reveal BEER!  We all enjoyed a few Heinekens on
our way back to the dive shop, and once back they provided us with
transportation back to the ship.  We were dropped right at the pier and had
a very short walk back to the ship.

One thing is sure from our experience with UBS and Tortola....we WILL
return one day and definitely will do another private charter with UBS. 
Tony and Kate (the owners) were amazing to deal with in planning our
charter and Kate was a hoot when we got back to the shop after our dives.
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Other dive reports on UBS Dive Center

All Virgin Islands Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Virgin Islands
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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