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Dive Review of Aggressor / Dancer fleet/Carib Dancer in
Bahamas/Tiger Beach

Aggressor / Dancer fleet/Carib Dancer: "Good diving, shame about the boat & Dancer Fleet's refund policy.", May, 2015,

by Phil Johnston, Bayswater, AU (Contributor Contributor 16 reports with 19 Helpful votes). Report 8282 has 4 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 1 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments THE GOOD: Carib Dancer undertakes 7-10 day cruises around the western part of the Bahamas from May-July, focusing on Tiger Beach & other sites where tiger shark encounters might occur. No shark feeding occurs, but a scent box holding fish parts are lowered in the water at most sites to encourage visits from various species of sharks. The main objective was to see Tiger sharks, some patience was required however as none were seen until the 6th & 7th days of a 7 day cruise. Best sighting was at site called Shark Paradise, where a full grown Tiger made a number of close passes in water shallow enough (6-7 metres) to allow natural light photography. Another 10 foot Tiger was seen the next day at Tiger Beach, although visibility was much poorer - this site is quite close to the Gulf Stream, with resultant higher levels of plankton life in the water.
Full-grown lemon sharks (6-7 foot average) were seen on almost every dive, including night dives, & Caribbean reef sharks & nurse sharks were also regularly seen. Fish life was generally good, being particularly pretty on the "Sugar" wreck.
Reefs were covered much more by sponges than occurs in the Indo-Pacific, little good hard coral was seen. Other than some interesting small crab life on a night dive, there wasn't much in the way of macro life.
Strong currents were occasionally experienced.
Facilities on the boat were generally good although cabins were a little cramped - hot showers were available on the duck board, there was a jacuzzi on the top deck, not sure if this was working or not as none of the passengers seemed interested in using it.
The boat's staff were pretty good, although one of the the divemasters missed the mark on a couple of drift dives, resulting in some uninteresting dives over sand & seagrass areas rather than the intended sites. Food was of high quality & plentiful - almost too plentiful at times, with between-meal snacks being provided after most dives. Hot chocolate also awaited after all night dives, soft drinks & sodas were provided free of charge. An on-board washing machine ensured dry towels post dive.
Lastly, dive gear such BCs & regs were provided at no charge to guests.
Now for the not so good:
THE BAD: The Carib Dancer superficially appears to be in good condition, on closer inspection it appeared to actually be quite an old boat (one of the other guests told me the boat was originally designed to ferry workers to oil rigs, if this true it might have had quite a hard life).
The air conditioning never fully worked at any stage of the trip - technicians were working on it when I arrived to board the boat but obviously weren't able to fix it. Once at sea, the conditions in the cabins became intolerably hot, as a result I spent a couple of nights sleeping on a banana lounge on the open top deck, as did some of the other guests. Eventually, it was decided to return to port to try & fix the problem, as a result a day of diving was lost, with no benefit as the a/c remained unfunctional for most cabins. Further, the ship's water supply failed sporadically, so regularly no water from taps or ability to flush lavatories. At times, there was a foul, sewer-like odour in the main salon & in the guest's cabins - one of the staff advised me that plumbers had been arranged to service the boat at the end of the cruise, so I assume the smell arose from some sort of plumbing/ventilation problem.
Lastly, the Nitrox system never really worked despite efforts by the boat engineer to fix it. Because of these problems the next cruise scheduled was cancelled.
At the end of the cruise, the captain apologized for the various technical problems, & stated that he had spoken to the head office & was able to advise us that Dancer Fleet would "give us a $1000", & that we would be e-mailed the details. Upon receipt of the e-mail, I found we had actually been offered a $1000 discount on any future Dancer fleet cruise, not a refund as such.
I e-mailed Dancer fleet advising that as I live in Australia, I would have to spend thousands in airfares, as well as pay the balance of the cost of another cruise, in order to take up their offer. I asked for a straight refund, but a week later have not received any response.
To sum up:
* no air-conditioning during a 7 day cruise in the tropics
* 1 day's diving lost
* malfunctioning plumbing/ventilation
* no Nitrox
* but no refund, only a voucher that will cost me $1000s to use.
For those interested in Tiger (& Lemon) shark sightings, & diving on very healthy & undisturbed Caribbean reefs, I would recommend this area of the Bahamas. I would not recommend this liveaboard, or this operator for such a trip.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Australia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia/Bali, Cocos, Cozumel, Tonga, Galapagos, Tahiti, Maldives, Mozambique, Cat Island in the Bahamas.
Closest Airport Freeport, Grand Bahama Island Getting There Daily direct flights from Miami

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy
Water Temp 27-29°C / 81-84°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 70-80 Ft/ 21-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions The usual sort of limits - no deco diving, solo diving not really policed other than on drift dives.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Fresh water tank at back of main deck, reasonably sized table for cameras. Deck staff were very helpful with handling of cameras as divers entered/exited the water.
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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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