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Cozumel...what to take?

Discussion in 'Cozumel' started by Jayfarmlaw, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. Mike

    Mike Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Denver, Colorado
    What you do is ultimately up to you. Ultimately what you need is information to help make a decision, so..

    Cozumel and being left behind - Cozumel is a huge dive destination, the diving has and is going on every day with hundreds of dive boats going out every day to diving locations that are basically all on the safe leeward (sheltered) side of the island within view of land at all times and at dive sites where you'll never be alone. In other words, if the worst case scenario happened and your boat sank or disappeared while you were diving, you'd be picked up in about 60 seconds from another boat and brought back to the dock. The dive times are very routine and scheduled. The dive community there is huge and everyone knows each other and works with each other and the diving is busy. So in short, Cozumel is the last place you should be worried about diving with the cruise ship dive operation in regard to being left behind. If you want a more personallized catered dive experience than the ship will offer, Cozumel is the place to get it of any of your stops. With 4 people already in your group there are some independent ops who will give you your own boat.

    Equipment - the worries of reg failure is so highly over rated it's not even funny. First off you have two on you. Secondly you have three if you follow proper buddy procedures. The chances of a regulator failing are about the same as one of your fins failing, it's just not a worry. Secondly, again this is a huge dive destination, the equipment and those who maintain it are top notch. Dive with a reputable, highly reviewed dive operation and the equipment should not be a problem. I've dived all over the world with nothing but a pair of fins, a mask and a dive computer. About every 5 years I start thinking those same old devil thoughts... I wonder if I should buy a regulator and a BC...be nice to have my own on dives, something I'm familiar with and confident on the quality.... then I snap out of it and come back to my sense that diving is not about the equipment, you can dive without most of it, we used to dive with nothing but a set of fins, mask, some weight and a tank strapped on your back with a web harness with no BC.... too many people too worried about things that are irrelevant in the big picture. Nobody needs to drag all that stuff around to do dive travel, the dive operators have you covered.

    If it was me... 1st ocean dives with 4 people I would contact some of the highly rated dive operations in Cozumel, tell them when you will be there and set up a private dive master for just you and your family, leave most of the gear at home and travel light and enjoy the experience. That will be a night and day different family experience than getting onto Sand Dollars' cattle boat operation.
  2. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    We dove with scuba with Alison as raw beginners. She often had cruisers on the boat. Her rental equipment was in top shape (I loved her regs!) and she easily switched out for my husbands AI computer.

    We we brought our own computers but her regs feature a consule mount one.
    I highly recommend her op. Very safety conscious and she takes good care of newbies. I don't think we ever waited more than 30 seconds to be picked up after a dive- her captain is great too!

    We we also brought our own fins and mask, but I saw some cruisers use her rentals for that too. She will accompany you to your safety stop, so I never needed my SMB (mine is only surface deplorable) but I'd reccomended every diver has one, just in case.
    Diver Kat likes this.
  3. ASA400

    ASA400 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Nevada

    While I agree with everything you said, I think you misunderstood what the OP means by "being left behind." I don't think they are concerned with an "Open Water" scenario, but worried that they might get back late and be left behind by the ship. By being on one of the ship's own excursions, the ship will not leave until they are all back. Going with an independent dive op, which I agree with you would be the thing to do anyway, there is no guarantee that the ship will wait for them.

    That said, with all the cruise people on Coz doing dives, I'm sure that the dive op chosen will get the group bcd to the ship on time.
    bilboinsa likes this.
  4. jbark

    jbark Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Michigan
    I just want to mention that my family and I did a snorkeling excursion from a carnival cruise with Sand Dollar. I can say nothing bad about them. I would dive with them in your situation, but I am the only diver in my family.

    If however you want to go first class then you should call one of the "boutique" type ops and book a private charter for your family. The cost will be a bit more than diving with sand dollar on the excursion but you can arrange diving and services/times that suit your family. I looked up to find that the excursion with sand dollar is $86 per person, Dive with Martin charges 400 for a private charter for 4 divers, just sayin' $60 for custom service sounds good to me

    Good luck and enjoy your trip.
    Mike likes this.
  5. fire_diver

    fire_diver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NW Oklahoma, USA
    He wasn't talking about being "left behind" in the ocean, he was referring to the cruise ship leaving port with them on board. It happens, but if you are booked through a ship excursion then the cruise company will pay for you to fly to the next port.

    My recommendation being a new diver to Coz is to book through the ship and leave the worries behind. The next time you cruise to coz you will have a better understanding of the distances, and how things work so that you can book your own dives.
  6. Mike

    Mike Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Denver, Colorado
    I did know what he meant, but maybe my example wasn't the best as I was referring to a worst case scenario when I said "if the worst case scenario happened" as the example of getting back to the ship late, so thanks for the clarification.:)
  7. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    I think Cozumel is one of the easiest ports to book on your own. Belize, book with the ship, maybe. But there is no need in cozumel.

    As beginners, especially, I'd want the attention a valet op can provide. Find an op with reccomendations on cruisecritic (that's how I found Alison). Part if their business is getting you back to the ship on time.
  8. gopbroek

    gopbroek Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Lewisville TX
    I will second the remarks of others. Every boat out there knows the ship schedules and you will get back in time.I would also always bring my personal computer. It is best for familiarity and it helps you gain experience with it plus most Cozumel dives are multi-level. You would probably be happer with one of the numerous boutique ops for a more personalized dive especially with a newly minted teen diver.
  9. Jayfarmlaw

    Jayfarmlaw Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tuttle, Ok
    I Have a quote from Martin and an email to Allison for our own boat with modern equipment. For less than $100 more than Sandollar, with wetsuits included, it seems like a no brainer. Drink a little less on the boat and have a first class first ocean dive experience. By the way, the response from this forum has been great. Thanks to everyone who has replied. I'll post pics in late October!
    Thanks again.
    bilboinsa, PhilaDallas and Sue Sue like this.
  10. Sue Sue

    Sue Sue Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Hi Jay,

    -You and your family are newly certified, one being 13 years old
    -This is your first ocean dive
    -You own your dive equipment,however, it is new to you

    I recommend that you contact a Boutique dive op and inquire about hiring a private boat for the day. These dive ops typically have what is called the 6 pack boat. They generally seat 6-8 divers, they are fast and many are covered. In addition to small groups, the Boutique ops will usually offer Surface interval snacks, water, towels and tank set up assistance. I also recommend that you hire and additional divemaster. This way both you and your 13 year old as well as your your wife and older daughter would have individual attention. You also would have the advantage of having the opportunity to dive at sites that are away from the cattle boat crowds as well as sites that are better for the newly certified diver. Your divemster(s) and captain will be able to choose the best spot. Now the cost of this may be more than the Carnival ship excursion, however, after considering that the ship excursions are a tad more expensive , the cost could turn out to about the same.

    I also understand the concerns about missing the ship departure time if using a non-ship vendor. Fortunately for Cozumel, it is only a short distance from the Cruise ship piers to the dive boat pick up points, plus, the Cozumel dive ops are VERY familiar with the cruise ship schedules. Your pick up location could be at a hotel pier or perhaps the Caleta Marina. The Dive op you choose will let you know where the pick up point is. How it usually works is that you will most likely need to get a taxi at the cruise ship pier to take you to your meet up point. The boat ride to your first dive spot, will be around 10 - 15 min. You will dive at 60-80 feet for 45-60 min. You will then have a 1 hour surface interval at a beach club or pier. Your second dive, usually in the 40 -60 foot range will be a bit more north. After your second dive you will return to the Marina or hotel pier where you met your dive boat earlier in the day. I usually commission the taxi for a round trip so I know that my group will have transportation back to the cruise ship pier. You can easily set the time within a 15-20 min window. For a group of four, with equipment, the cost, Roundtrip, total should be in the $30.00 to $40.00 range. Of course, the concern here is that the taxi driver will not return, however, I will say for Cozumel that it would be unlikely. Regardless, do jot down the taxi number and driver name. This way, if you need to call you know who and what taxi you made your deal with.

    I also would recommend you take your own equipment. No need to have totally unfamiliar gear to add to your newly certified status. However, since you mentioned that you are getting equipment together, perhaps you and your family may want to take the gear for a try in the pool to get a feel for it prior to your trip.

    Now for the dive op. Well, there are many.... Blue XT Sea diving, Diving with Alison, Liquid Blue, Tres Pelicanos, Living Underwater...just to name a few. Regardless, I recommend to first read the trip reviews and discussions here on the Cozumel Scubaboard forum. Then, make a list of the top 3 -5 dive ops that are of interest to you. Contact the first on your list to inquire if they can accommodate you and your family. If you can get a confirmation, then you are set to go. Otherwise, if not, move on to your next choices. Your inquiry should include:

    Date you are in port
    Ship Name
    "Ship" arrival time
    "Ship" departure time
    Your names, ages, diving experience
    Equipment needs and questions

    Also, please consider connecting to on board email access. This way, the dive op will be able to contact you at sea should there be any changes to the dive plan prior to your arrival. Do let the dive op know you will be checking your email the night before as well as the morning of arrival prior to leaving the ship.

    Regardless of who you dive with, I wish you the very Best. Have a wonderful vacation !!

    Best Regards, Double S

    PS: Don't forget the DAN insurance.

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