Western Caribbean Dive Sampler by Cruise Ship // Diving Four Countries in Four Days

, Western Caribbean Dive Sampler by Cruise Ship // Diving Four Countries in Four Days

Western Caribbean dive sampler via cruise ship turned out to be a great way to experience several different dive locations. Even if weather shut us out from one country; there always was another country to dive the next day. The ability to have a quick experience in each, then choose our favorite dive spots for future exploration is certainly worthwhile.

, Western Caribbean Dive Sampler by Cruise Ship // Diving Four Countries in Four Days

The Quick Version

Here’s the brief on where we went and what we saw on a seven-night cruise ship dive trip. Coming up next are in-depth articles about the experience and each of the dive sites. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the upcoming articles! We cruised with Royal Caribbean on the Rhapsody of the Seas, the Western Caribbean Route.

How we chose the dive operators, how to organize a cruise ship dive trip, benefits and drawbacks of cruise ship dive trips – it’s all on or coming to the blog next!

, Western Caribbean Dive Sampler by Cruise Ship // Diving Four Countries in Four Days

Cozumel with Blue XtSea Diving

The first dives were in Cozumel with Blue XtSea Diving by boat to Palancar Gardens and Cedar Wall. The six of us divers had the boat all to ourselves!

When we got on the boat, everyone received a personalized multi-use ice cold bottle of water – how smart!

This was beautiful, clear, warm diving well south in deep water. We saw enormous sponges and healthy reef plus spectacular swim-throughs. Lots of fish and even nurse sharks followed us. Our guide Martin was exceptionally thorough. For this dive, we skipped wetsuits and used only rash guards.

Last time in Cozumel, we went with another operator – there are dozens. This time, we got it right. Martin was the perfect DM for our first dive of the trip. He went through some refresher material, some breathing and neutral buoyancy techniques, and careful observation of everyone’s skills.

Between dives, we rafted with another Blue XtSea boat at the beach. We could stay on the boat in the shade, stroll the beach, or sunbathe on a floating raft just off the beach.

Surface interval snacks were fresh-baked pastries and fresh-cut pineapple. Even towels were provided – attention to detail is paramount with Blue XtSea who even emailed us post-dive with a follow-up.

, Western Caribbean Dive Sampler by Cruise Ship // Diving Four Countries in Four Days

Belize City with Sea Sports Belize

The next day’s dives in Belize City with Sea Sports Belize were absolutely beautiful. The ride out to the reef was fairly smooth – it was far choppier last March.

We’ve dove with Sea Sports Belize and Paul before, and loved the experience. Before we headed out, owner Linda even checked on us. We went by boat to two sites just outside the barrier reef; Triple Wall and The Lounge. 

As we descended, we saw three gorgeous spotted eagle rays. Then we saw morays, fish, a turtle, and a lot of lion fish viewed through canyons and fingers of the reef. 

For the surface interval, Paul and Emi served chicken wraps, chips, cookies, and fruit. For drinks, we had water in bags or real soda in bottles with real metal caps.

Upon return, we rinsed ourselves and our gear at their dock. Linda came out to see us off, and Emi and captain Paul ferried us back to the ship pier so we didn’t have to walk back. 

, Western Caribbean Dive Sampler by Cruise Ship // Diving Four Countries in Four Days

Roatan with Wikkid Divers

Dives for the third day were in Roatan with Wikkid Divers and Ecologic Adventures from a private 50′ sailing catamaran “Infinity.” We are officially spoiled celebrities now. Boats packed with snorkelers and divers gawked at our good fortune!

First dive was at the rather famous Mary’s Place. I had not even dared to hope we would make it there, then Soguey, the DM, said that’s where we would go. It turned out to be even more wonderful than I had imagined. The beautiful coral overhangs, volcanic cracks, schools of fish and soft coral gorgonians were breath-taking.

Everyone especially enjoyed the safety stop – still diving at 15′ over a beautiful coral reef right up to the boat. Conditions were flat calm.

The second dive spot was at bouy D2T closer to Coxen Hole. Again, absolutely beautiful coral formations, fish, eels and sea fans. Another dive to the very end with the last five minutes of diving in 15′ over full reef.

DM Soguey and Mike and crew Paul and Freddie were wonderful. They served fresh watermelon and cereal bars for the surface interval. On the way back, they put out a meat and cheese platter, chips, and offered a cooler full of local beers as well as open bar.

Resort owner Kendall offered us the use of the freshwater pool while we rinsed our gear and waited for it to dry. We toured one of the rooms at the resort, then the kitchen and dining room, and watched dozens of hummingbirds at their feeders. They allowed you to come within inches of them!

Of all my diving so far, Roatan is one of my very favorite spots, rivaling Cuba in the beauty of the fans, sponges, and corals. I can’t wait to return!

, Western Caribbean Dive Sampler by Cruise Ship // Diving Four Countries in Four Days

Costa Maya with Alux Divers

A fourth day diving was planned for Costa Maya with Alux Divers, but we chose to cancel. After three full days, the younger crowd was a bit weary of diving and the conditions were windy. Although it was not necessarily a safety hazard; the wind and waves would have made the boat exits and entries a bit challenging and possibly uncomfortable, so we opted to relax on the beach. 

Owner Alex was completely understanding, and even allowed us to store our dive bags in his shop while we explored the area. He issued a full refund before we had left Mahahual.

We walked the beach-side, marveling at how boutique hotels lined the land side, but the sea side was reserved for everyone to see and enjoy the beaches, unlike in Tulum where beach access is pretty much blocked.

For lunch, around the corner from Alux Divers is Nohoch Kay, which I had heard about for years reading Cruise Critic posts. It’s a great restaurant on the beach that also offers a day pass with full open bar, lunch, chairs, palapas, umbrellas, and even use of kayaks, snorkeling gear and beach toys.

We ordered $2 fish tacos which are actually double tacos. The medium mixed ceviche is enough to feed six people, and the drinks are reasonably-priced. I even indulged in a 45-minute massage at $30, and it was excellent.

, Western Caribbean Dive Sampler by Cruise Ship // Diving Four Countries in Four Days

What We Learned

We learned more about dive planning, gear, buoyancy, air consumption, and efficient dive gear packing and transportation.

The younger divers learned it was better to call a dive rather than push through when they don’t feel comfortable. The older divers learned that about three days of intensive diving equaled dive saturation for our younger set.

Overall, we experienced a great Western Caribbean dive sampler.

We all decided Roatan was amazing and we all want to return for a land-based week of diving and exploring to fully enjoy the ability to dive either protected shore.

, Western Caribbean Dive Sampler by Cruise Ship // Diving Four Countries in Four Days

Dependable Mask Defog

We continued our test of the best mask defog I’ve ever used; Stream2Sea’s Mask Defog. We had used it in Venice, Florida while diving for shark teeth with dive times of an hour and a half. It performed beautifully then, and when you need an ironclad defog; this is the one!

It has the perfect balance between sticky and smeary. A dot about the size of the free-floating clear nosepiece on a pair of glasses is about right – just enough to put a film over the lens.

I’m still amazed at how well this performed when we needed it the most. For 10% off, use my code KimW at Stream2Sea. They produce all reef-safe products; biodegradable, and safe for you as well.

Under that blazing Yucatan Peninsula sun, I was glad to wear my Stream2Sea. I never burned, and my eyes didn’t hurt from my sunscreen.

What to Read Next

What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally

Venice Villas Studio #57 // Venice Florida // Airbnb Review


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