Belize City by cruiseship, any shop recommendations?

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BigDaddyGlad

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I've got a cruise coming up in mid-November, with a scheduled stop in Belize City. I had booked a two-tank excursion through the cruiseline (being a tender port, I was sensitive to the potential timing issues), but that excursion just got cancelled today.

There don't seem to be any shops in Belize City proper, other than Sea Sports Belize. They seem well-reviewed and I've reached out the them, but they won't run a boat unless it's full, and I want to secure a seat somewhere.

Any other recommendations I should contact? It would be a real shame to miss out on this opportunity. I've never been to Belize before, and it's very high on my target list! It appears as if the cruiselines aren't messing around with diving due to COVID protocols, since they've also pulled the Cozumel excursion on this sailing.
 

Downing

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Sadly, I think you're out of luck. Afaik, as you noted there aren't any other dive shops in BZ City other than Sea Sports and I don't believe any other dive ops cater to the cruise ship crowd.

So... you'll just have to make do with a bus tour to the Cave Tubing/Zip Lining destination or the Altun-Ha Mayan ruins.

There's always next time.
 

living4experiences

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I will also be on a cruise in November and Celebrity cancelled my diving in both Belize and Cozumel. I've checked into alternatives but have found none. The closest diving to the ship is Ambergris Caye, which is a 45-minute ferry ride. That's after a 30-minute tender ride from the cruise ship. Too little time to make it worth the hassle.
 

Downing

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Hugh Parkey's Dive Connection on AC used to pick up divers directly from the cruise ships, but I think they closed down years ago.
 
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BigDaddyGlad

BigDaddyGlad

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I was fortunately able to find two other divers on my ship through the Roll Call on Cruise Critic. We did end up booking with Sea Sports Belize, which is the only dive shop I could find in Belize City, and since the three of us are coming off the ship, they'll wait for us. It is costing an extra $45 to cover the missing fourth diver, but I'll gladly pay that. I don't know when I'll get the chance to be back in Belize.

I asked if they would pick us up off the ship to save the tender, but they said no cruise lines allow that anymore since 9/11.

Hey @living4experiences, if you're on the Nov 13 Apex sailing, ping me and I'll give you the contact info at Sea Sports and you can get on our boat!
 

living4experiences

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I was fortunately able to find two other divers on my ship through the Roll Call on Cruise Critic. We did end up booking with Sea Sports Belize, which is the only dive shop I could find in Belize City, and since the three of us are coming off the ship, they'll wait for us. It is costing an extra $45 to cover the missing fourth diver, but I'll gladly pay that. I don't know when I'll get the chance to be back in Belize.

I asked if they would pick us up off the ship to save the tender, but they said no cruise lines allow that anymore since 9/11.

Hey @living4experiences, if you're on the Nov 13 Apex sailing, ping me and I'll give you the contact info at Sea Sports and you can get on our boat!
@BigDaddyGlad, Bummer, I'm on the Nov. 27th sailing on the Apex. The last time I was in Belize by cruise ship was 2014, and Hugh Parkey's picked us up right from the cruise ship and whisked us away to Turneffe Atoll for some awesome diving. A very memorable 2-tank dive. Not only was the reef blooming with colors and fishes, our dive guide speared a lionfish, brought it on board, and made ceviche as we watched. A first for me. Here's a video of the experience.
 

Pat.D

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The last time I dived Belize was off a cruise ship (I believe it was the Carnival Dream out of New Orleans) in 2019 and the excursion was booked thru the cruise line. Carnival used "Belize Dive Excursions" as their provider and they did pick us up at the tendered ship (but from what I understand ship pickup is only allowed for Cruise line provided excursions) .
 

bilboinsa

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I checked w Sea Sports, and they are hungry for business. Made my reservation for 3/1/22 while my cruise ship is anchored. Not as good as Hugh Parkey was (RIP, Hugh), but better than snorkeling!

 

Downing

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My first time in Belize, I was staying at The Great House in Belize City while waiting for the Turneffe Island Lodge, now Turneffe Island Resort, transport boat to the island. That morning, I wandered down to the area of "Tourism Village" and saw a coffee stand right across the street from the Swinging Bridge, which is just past Sea Sports. I decided to get in line.

While I was waiting, right behind me was this big, kind of scary looking dude with dreadlocks and lots of tatoos. The scene was a little intimidating because I was the only non-Belizean in a fairly rough area of town. He asked me what I was doing in Belize, and when I told him he smiled and said he was the Boat Captain for Sea Sports. We ended up hanging out together for a few minutes, drinking coffee and talking diving. Great guy and very knowledgeable about boats and diving.

This was years ago and he's probably moved on, but if he's your Boat Captain then you'll be in good hands.
 

bilboinsa

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Great news for cruisers! I was contacted on another thread by the manager at Jaguar Adventure Tours and Dive Shop. Barrier Reef Snorkeling & Diving — Jaguar Ventures of Belize Ltd.

Three great things about Jaguar for cruisers:
1. They pick up and return right at the tender pier. I have found no others that do that. Although, Sea Sports Belize is only about a ten-minute walk from there.
2. Although not as cool as getting picked up from the cruise ship directly (like Hugh Parkey used to do), the owner (Javier) worked for the Parkey shop for many years. In fact, looks like a relative, Joel Parkey, gives a great review of the op on Facebook.
3. Unlike some other ops, Jaguar requires a minimum of only 2 divers to head out! The best I found elsewhere was 4. Another shop that requires 4 divers (and hence may not go out to the reef) keeps trying to book me onto a Hol Chan Dive and Shark Ray Alley Snorkel trip—which is only a one tank dive.
 
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