Scuba Diving Do’s & Don’ts
For many serious divers, cruise holiday’s and scuba diving just don’t mix. And to some extent, that’s for good reason. There’s no doubt you’ll dive more on a live aboard than a large cruise ship, but cruise vacations are also one of the most popular and affordable ways to travel, and taking a cruise doesn’t mean you have to nix the possibility of great diving altogether. To get the best dive experience from your next — or first — cruise, consider the following five tips.
1. Don’t Dive Every Port
Most cruises visit a handful of ports on a week long itinerary, but not all of those stops will be worth a dive trip. For example, Cozumel’s cruise port sits just minutes from world-class dive sites that deserve a place of honor in every diver’s logbook, but at another stop your time might be better spent on a shopping trip. Research each port ahead of time to pick one or two stops with the best diving, and plan topside activities for the rest.
2. Do Compare Ship-Sponsored and Independent Dive Operators
On most cruise ships, you can book scuba-diving excursions on board, through ship-sponsored operators that have contracts with, and get a cut from, the cruise company. Booking on board is more convenient, but it almost always costs more and might not provide access to the best dive sites. An independent dive shop might offer more dive flexibility, but you’ll sacrifice convenience and be on the hook for coordinating your schedule. Do the research to decide which is right for you.
3. Don’t Forget Departure Times
At many stops, the ship only stays in port for a fixed amount of time. If you’re late while diving as part of a sponsored excursion, the ship will wait for you. If you’ve gone out with an independent dive center, the ship will leave you behind, and you’ll have to make your own travel arrangements to the next port.
4. Do Consider Diving Classes for Yourself or Your Family
If you’re an experienced diver, you might not find the adventure fix you crave while diving on a cruise vacation, but easy dives in port can be the perfect opportunity to take a specialty course or introduce your family to diving through a Discover Scuba Diving class. Putting your expectations for advanced diving on hold can help you inspire new divers to be your dive buddies for years to come.
5. Don’t Bring a Full Set of Gear
Most ship-sponsored dive trips cost the same whether you rent gear or bring your own, and the total amount of diving you’ll do on a cruise isn’t enough to justify lugging a full set of gear on board. Pack compact items with personalized fit or function — such as your mask, fins, wet-suit and dive computer — in your luggage, and leave the bulky dive bag at home with the rest of your gear.