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Cruise Ship Tourist Questions

Discussion in 'Bonaire' started by CapsFan22, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. CapsFan22

    CapsFan22 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Arlington, VA
    My wife and I will be making our third annual trip to Bonaire March 21-28. Due to scheduling constraints, this is the first time that we won't be going the first week in July, which is a fairly sparse time for cruise ships (maybe one or two, at the most). Checking the cruise ship schedule for this upcoming trip, it looks like there will be 1-2 cruise ships in port 5 of the days we're there. Fortunately, the ships are not there the entire day; most of it, but certainly not all day. From the schedule we found, 1 day a single ship is there from noon to 8 PM, while the rest of the days generally have the ships there from 7/8 AM to between 5 and 7 PM. Such is life, we knew it wouldn't be the "secluded" island that we are used to, but I do have some general questions.

    1) I imagine the place to avoid most is going to be centrally-located around Kralendijk, but was curious if those who have experienced multiple heavy tourist days have noticed how far north and south tourists generally go along the west coast? We've learned over the past two visits that scheduling out our dive sites and times is fairly pointless, but would still like an idea of where we should be heading to avoid most of the kerfuffle. It seems like the southern sites would be the least busy, but that is purely conjecture on my part. Based on a recent trip review post, Thousand Steps was pretty busy with cruise tourists. Not sure I want to be stuck on that narrow road with hundreds/thousands of people going back and forth. Those with experience have any suggestions?

    2) Are a large amount of the cruise ship tourists diving, or is most of the congestion top-side?

    3) Having never been on a cruise, I'm not sure how strict they are about arrival/departure times. Should we expect the island to fill up around arrival times and empty right around departure times?

    4) Similar to question 1, for those who do a lot of early morning dives, do you have specific spots you like to go where you can get in 1 or 2 dives before being overrun?

    5) Any other things we should consider? Seems like a whole new experience going a few months earlier.

    6) Lastly, am I overthinking this? :wink:
  2. Altamira

    Altamira Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
    2. Not that many divers on the four cruises I have been on stopping at Bonaire. Last time there, DM and I had reefs to ourselves.
    3. Sched arrive/depart times usually pretty accurate.
    4. See 2 above. You will see a lot more divers staying in Bonaire than from the ships.
    6. Yes
    woodcarver and darook like this.
  3. NDL_Diver

    NDL_Diver Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Wichita
    Here now and 2 cruise ships almost daily. Avoid town, loop around the waterfront by the cruise ships (Google map it) and it is a non issue (except the golf carts). We have a detour around the choke point in town that cruiser don't impact drive time. If you take the waterfront road, Maya Grandi, just by the cruise ships, it is slooow.

    We loop up to the supermarket (from the south going north) Van Dan Twell from gas station, take rotary 3/4 to the next rotary and then head to the water on Kaya Gerharts back to Kaya Grandi. If you aviod the area around the Cruise ship, the only other issues are tour busses, and golf carts. Cruisers are not geared up for shore diving. They fill the boats and go to some sites closer to town to save fuel.
  4. homerdoc

    homerdoc Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: South Carolina
    1. I never have any issues with town if I loop around it. They actually close off some of the streets if I remember correctly. NDL_Diver's directions there are spot on. Plan on if you go to 1000 steps (no cruise ships you can turn around and come back) to go the long way back through Rincon. I also would say even towards the salt pier keep your head on a swivel watching for golf carts etc.
    2. I would say most are not diving
    3. They appear to leave and get in when they say they will
    4. I would say salt pier and hilma hooker can get crowded. My take on other sites is move down till you find one not crowded but a lot of folks pick those two in particular out to dive
    5. No real difference in my opinion, just avoid driving directly through town and watch out for golf carts and scooters. We have been in both scenarios (lots of cruise ships, few cruise ships)
    6. yes
  5. RIHappyDiver

    RIHappyDiver Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Rhode Island
    5. Be aware of arrival and departures when planning dives just south of town. We were doing either Windsock or Bachelor's Beach as a ship was leaving and the sound, and pressure, was almost overwhelming. Otherwise,
    6. yes

  6. CapsFan22

    CapsFan22 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Arlington, VA
    So the consensus is that I am overthinking it :). Would not be the first time I've done that!

    Thank you for your responses. I know exactly what you are talking about regarding the route that loops around town. Thanks again!
  7. JoeFriday

    JoeFriday Photographer

    Agreed on #5. I once felt and heard a departing cruise ship while diving off the Divi dock. Not fun.
    RIHappyDiver likes this.
  8. tkaelin

    tkaelin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: CT
    We will be down in June and same thing. Ship in a couple of days. Will likely stay at at resort those days and boat and shore dive.

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