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RCCL Scuba Aruba, Bonaire, St. Thomas

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Hi Everyone,

I'm traveling on RCCL Adventure of the Seas for a 12 night South Caribbean Cruise in May.  Our stops are Oranjestad Aruba, Willemstad Curacao, Kralendijk Bonaire, St John's Antigua and Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas.  My wife and I are avid divers but have not gone scuba diving at these locations and this will be the first time we've considered booking through RCCL excursions.

 

We are considering the following:

Aruba - two-tank  2 wreck dive through Royal Caribbean AR51 (Excursion Link)

Bonaire -  Marine park dive BO20 (Excursion Link)

St. Thomas - two-tank wreck and coral dive ST68 (Excursion Link)

 

What are your past experiences, thoughts, opinions?

 

Thanks in advance!!!

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Posted (edited)

My limited opinion...

 

Just got back from the ABCs on the Freedom. I dove in Aruba with Happy Divers (actually it was my final two OW certification dives but there were two certified divers aboard who dove the same wrecks we dove and the same wrecks the RCI excursion goes to.  Might want to check to see if there is a price difference.  I was picked up and dropped off at the port.  The Antilla wreck (one of the dive sites) is worth it.

 

We snorkeled on Bonaire, Klien drift. We saw divers while snorkeling but I was with family so couldn't do it there.

 

Since you are going to be in Curacao you might want to consider diving there in addition to or instead of somewhere else. The diving there is very good. I did my first two OW dives there.  I used scubacoa.com for my dives but there are plenty of others.

 

On the other hand diving through the ship excursions is not a bad way to go.

 

 

Edited by mac66

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Just an FYI - the entire west side of the island of Bonaire is part of the Marine Park, so the dives could be most anywhere, that isn't a particular dive site.  Bonaire is some of the easiest and best diving you can do in the Caribbean, as far as fishlife it is like diving in an aquarium.  If you are a diver who likes seeing fish, this is your place.  We have done week-long land vacation trips to Bonaire twice...it really is spectacular and easy.  The reefs are for the most part all just a sloping wall, not much high profile structures (like Cozumel for instance) but still pretty.  Klein is the island off the coast and has a steeper wall with a bit more structure, but you really can't go wrong with any of the dive sites there.  You will see fish, tons of fish.  No big fish though, sharks and such are very rare, but all your regular tropicals are there.  10 yrs ago there were tons of frogfish and seahorses but I was told by friends that the numbers have declined.  If you can, ask your dive op about it.  They are such a treat to find.

 

 

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I don't know that you would want to go witha ship's tour in any of these ports, although I will say the RCCL prices seem reasonable there.

 

For Aruba, I know the cruise lines use Red Sail, and they aren't well thought of.   I've seen their "cattle boats", and I know you can do better.  I'm a big fan of Happy Divers Aruba.  It's a much smaller operation, so you will have no more than 6 divers on the boats, and Jeffrey is a great guy that does a lot for diving in Aruba.  It's a business that you feel good about supporting, and that always provides great value for price.  (www.happydiversaruba.com). 

 

I notice the ship's excursion in Bonaire is a boat dive, which is unusual for Bonaire.  I usually don't like shore diving, but Bonaire is an exception.  I like VIP Diving there, and they provide a super service.  (www.vipdiving.com)

 

For St. Thomas, if you want wreck diving, I'd go with Blue Island Diving.  They pick up close to the ship, and get to all the wreck dive sites.  If you're interested in the reefs, I'd recommend Aquamarine St. Thomas.  They provide transport to the port to their shop, and get you to some nice reef dive, that generally have fewer divers on the sites.  (https://www.diveaquamarine.com/ and http://www.blueislanddivers.com/)

 

Harris

Denver, CO

 

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Thanks for the help everyone.  I've sent an e-mail to Happy Divers in Aruba, hopefully they respond.  I booked with RCCL for Bonaire and St. Thomas in an effort to ease the planning.

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In Aruba, I recommend Clive with Dive Aruba.  He has a small 6 pack boat and knows the dive sites inside and out.

 

In Bonaire, an option is to go to one of the resorts, rent tanks and shore dive.  There is very easy shore diving at Captain Don's.

 

I would also recommend diving in Curacao.  We always take a taxi to Dive Bus, rent tanks and shore dive.  The entry is just a short walk across the street from their shop.  They have a site map and are happy to give an excellent dive briefing.  I can't speak highly enough about their service.  If you are not comfortable going yourselves, you can also hire a guide to go with you.  Curacao is always one of our favorite and inexpensive cruise dive days.  We also usually have to go back to the ship for a quick change and venture into town for a couple of hours.

 

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On 3/26/2019 at 5:03 PM, KJHorton said:

In Aruba, I recommend Clive with Dive Aruba.  He has a small 6 pack boat and knows the dive sites inside and out.

 

In Bonaire, an option is to go to one of the resorts, rent tanks and shore dive.  There is very easy shore diving at Captain Don's.

 

I would also recommend diving in Curacao.  We always take a taxi to Dive Bus, rent tanks and shore dive.  The entry is just a short walk across the street from their shop.  They have a site map and are happy to give an excellent dive briefing.  I can't speak highly enough about their service.  If you are not comfortable going yourselves, you can also hire a guide to go with you.  Curacao is always one of our favorite and inexpensive cruise dive days.  We also usually have to go back to the ship for a quick change and venture into town for a couple of hours.

 

 

Thanks for the info!  I've sent Dive Bus an e-mail requesting a quote.  Do you normally reserve ahead or just show up?

 

I will also check into Dive Aruba, because I have not received a response back from Happy Divers in Aruba.

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I have spent a week in Bonaire and Curaçao diving. 

On a cruise, I went in January. 

It was cold. 

I booked privately Bonaire and Curaçao. I didn’t get to do the wreck in Aruba. It wasn’t offered by any five ship the day I was there. 

The diving was pitiful. No vis and went with the ship. No way, ever again. Only way I would dive in Aruba again is if it was November and I could do the wreck. 

I loved diving in Curaçao. Small dive operator. They pick you up and take you to do a shore dive. They video it as part of the cost. Only take 2 divers unless you are a family. More expensive, so worth it. 

Over 125 dives, finally got to see 2seahorses in Curaçao.  I’ll try and look up the name. 

Went on a boat dive in Bonaire. 

Awesome, though cold in January. 

I spotted a shark under a ledge. I guess it was a big deal.  When we got back to the shop, the owner said he had only seen 10 sharks in 10 years. 

No biggie for me, I’ve seen many sharks, especially in Cozumel. 

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