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Dive Review of Aqua Cat Cruises in
Bahamas/Exhumas

Aqua Cat Cruises: "Aqua Cat, September 2015", Sep, 2015,

by Lisa Vitale, TX, US (Contributor Contributor 14 reports with 8 Helpful votes). Report 8368.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments This was the second time I had been on the Aqua Cat and I did have a much better experience than the first time I was on it. However, there are a lot of thing that could be improved to match the competition.

Dive Schedule: The first dive not until after 9am every day and there were times it was closer to 9:30/9:45, which left no more than a 30 to 45 minute surface interval before the scheduled 11am dive. The times when we were doing two deep dives in a row that I took my time getting ready for the second morning dive to give myself a longer surface interval. Most of the time we were not even on the dive site when we were told to get ready for the dive, and we would be waiting anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes all geared up before we actually could dive. After a few times of this I waited until we were in the process of mooring up before I got ready. I have been on over 20 liveaboards and this is the only one I have ever been on that does it this way. Afternoon dives were scheduled at around 2:30 and somewhere between 4:45 and 5:30, night dive after dinner. On the last afternoon dive, you hardly had time to get out of the water before dinner, which was scheduled at 6:30 on most days. Because of the lateness of getting started diving and the dives being so close together, you feel rushed all the time, with the exception of right after lunch.

Food: The first time I was on the boat I thought the food was great, but this time not so much. It was ok, but could be improved. Breakfast was almost the same every day, not much variety. Snacks were left over fruit and muffins from breakfast and cookies made from store bought cookie dough, most time was all gone by the time I got to them, no variety here at all, same thing for the morning and afternoon snack. They do have bags of chips and containers of goldfish and peanuts, but to me that’s just junk food, not what your snacks should be. Dinner was decent and there were a few nights that it was really good. I don’t go on trips for the food, but I certainly notice when it is not great. In recent years, other liveaboards I have been on hire actual chefs and the food is amazing, they are realizing this is an important aspect of the experience.

Dive Crew: Good but definitely could have been more attentive, i.e. helping folks get gear on, helping when get back from a dive to get the tanks in the spaces easier. There would be two dive guides in the water, one “leading” the dive, however this person was taking pictures so there was not much showing things involved, and another one taking video. I would prefer if they were not in the water taking all the photos and instead actually lead dives and find/show cool stuff underwater. They put together photo/video CD that are then sold at the end of the trip. Other boats I have been on give you the photo/video CD and do not charge for it. Last day of diving the crew starts cleaning when we were getting ready for our first dive making everyone feel as though we are in the way. This again is the only boat I have ever been on that does it this way, all the others have waited until we are up from our last dive to start that process.

Camera Table: Small, if have a large group of photographers there would be no where enough room. There is an area to charge your batteries with lots of plugs. There are camera towels, but there were not that many though so if you had more photographers you might need to bring your own.

Room: Nice and roomy, but need more hooks on the walls, towel racks (not hooks) in the bathroom, shelves on the wall in bathroom to place things. Of course this is an issue on most liveaboards I have been on. We were surprised that the towels were well used and really needed to be replaced. Also most of the liveaboards give you two different colors so you can tell whose is who, they did not. The AC will freeze you out if you’re not careful! It works very well. There was plenty of cabinet space for your things. There is a small refrigerator in the room, not sure why, but it’s there. They could ditch it so you had more cabinet space.

Communication: There was virtually no communication with the captain and passengers on what the plans were for the following day. Most days we did not even know what time breakfast would be until that morning around 7:30 when the schedule was posted on the board. The first night no one could even tell me what time breakfast would be so I would know what time I needed to wake up. Turned out it was at 8am every day. On other liveaboards, either the captain or “cruise director” will let us know what the plan is for the next day during dinner so we have an idea what to expect. Nothing like this on the Aqua Cat.

Diving: One day we ended up heading all the way down to see the swimming pigs. In order to do that we gave up a day of decent diving, captain and divemasters said there were not many dive sites in that area. I found out later that it was because one passenger wanted to go there. I’m a bit confused by that, and surprised that we were not asked by the captain about this to see if the majority of the passengers wanted to do this. Again, this goes back to the lack of communication issue. While it was cool, I was on the boat to dive and was not happy that we dove sub-par reefs the entire day because there are not good dive sites in that area. We even “dove” on several reefs that were in less than 20 feet of water, not really diving to me. I know there is some good diving, just did it last year, but we tended to be diving on the inner reefs, not the wall. The first 2 days were very rough due to remnants of a storm, so I understand those days, but after that no excuse….and then there was the pig day with not great diving either. Overall, I was not overly thrilled with the dive site choices on our good days.

I have been on the Aqua Cat twice now, and I’ve been on the competition. The Aqua Cat is more expensive than the competition and the service is not as good. The only difference is the boat/rooms are larger, but that’s not enough for me to go on it again.
Websites Aqua Cat Cruises   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Mexico, Belize, Cayman, Roatan, Turks and Caicos, Sea of Cortez, Galapagos, Hawaii, Flower Gardens, Maldives, Palau, Fiji, Philippines, Lembeh Strait, Raja Ampat, Papau New Guinea, Australia
Closest Airport Nassau Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 86-°F / 30-°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30-60 Ft/ 9-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Area was a little small if more than about 5 or 6 photographers.
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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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