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Dive Review of Aldora Divers/Coral Princess in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Cozumel

Aldora Divers/Coral Princess, Feb, 2012,

by Kevin Munson, IL, US ( 1 report). Report 6440.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving Grand Cayman, Hawaii (Maui), Puerto Rico, Florida (Key West and West Palm Beach), Epcot (divequest), Quarries (IL, OH, MI), Great Lakes, Bonne Terre MO.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas currents
Water Temp 77 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100 to 250 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Because I dove Nitrox the entire trip, the limiting factor was MOD, which I only exceeded once at the Devil's throat for 5 ft and 20 seconds. Stayed with the DM most of the time; had to stay within direct line of sight unless in a swim through.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments I only used a SeaLife Mini II without external lighting, but was able to use it easily without any issues. Took so many photos and videos that I ran out of batteries during each dive day.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Aldora's stated brand promise is "Only the best of Cozumel". I haven't done much comparing (having only been with one other dive operator in Cozumel), but I can certainly say that almost every element of my experience was "the best". They were "on-brand" at every opportunity to impress me.

As other divers have commented here on Undercurrent, diving Steel 120's is the primary differentiating factor for Aldora. I had bottom times averaging around 1 hour 15 minutes, with a few shallower dives approximating almost two hours. This was the first diving I have done with EANx where I actually had to pay attention to my no-deco time, yet I usually surfaced with more than 1000 psi on every dive.

Boats: We only dove the larger, 44' boat named Felicity twice, but it was really fast, with goof space available and easy to dive. The rest of the time we went out with the smaller, faster boats, which did the trick although I would have preferred a marine head.

Aldora Staff: The level of service and professionalism was an unexpected delight for me. I got to know Memo, Guillermo, our DM Julio, DM trainees and most of the boat captains. Each of them paid careful attention to our satisfaction with the experience at any crucial moment- adjusting as needed to any feedback that we gave (which was - of course - mostly positive). I would say that customer service is a key part of the overall experience diving with Aldora.

Diving: We pretty much had our choice of dive sites on any given day, and Aldora accommodated our requests as much as they could. We saw Cantarell (eagle ray dive), Chankanaab (night dive), Columbia (Deep), Palancar (Caves and Horseshoe), Paso de Cedral (twice), Punta Sur (twice), Tunich, and a few others I can't remember. The corals were all in good health, and there was plenty of life to see each day. Not many big critters, but really enjoyed the 12 Eagle Rays at Cantarell and probably 15-20 turtles (mostly on Paso de Cedral). Also saw about 7 nurse sharks and 4 black tipped reef sharks. We also went over to Playa del Carmen to visit the Chac Mool cenote, which was really a neat dive as well.

Surface Interval: I didn't know whether I would like the daily routine of a surface interval at Mr Sancho's Beach club, but I really enjoyed it. They had good food, fast service and nice facilities. Memo would often meet us there and check in to see how things were going. That was another unexpected delight.

Hotel: Staying at the Coral Princess was a bit of a hassle in terms of showing up at the Aldora docks each morning. Next time I would choose a hotel that Aldora picks up divers at. Nevertheless, Guillermo parked our car for us every morning in the lot near the Aldora shop, which we really appreciated. The accommodations at the Coral Princess were average at best, although it was nice to be able to do some night snorkeling easily from the waterfront (saw some neat reef squid there as well as a bunch of other life). Comparatively speaking, I would say the quality was almost as good as a Hampton Inn in the US.

Overall: Without reservation, I would highly recommend diving with Aldora Divers. For the kind of divers we were, they were the perfect outfit for Cozumel. The Coral Princess was only "OK" and I would probably pick somewhere else next time.
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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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