View Full Version : Snorkelers! What is the best on the Western?
06-15-2004, 11:51 AM
We recently changed our cruise date from a January Eastern to October Western due to school vacations. We have done two Easterns and I feel really stressed to pull a rabbit out of the hat with only a few months till we go. What is the most sublime snorkeling to be had on the Western Itinerary? We dove at Cozumel many years ago, I still remember Palancar as the most fantastic dive ever, and Xel Ha lives fond in my memory. But now, with kids 8 and 11, I don't want them in drifts or tossing our cookies taking the ferry across to the Yucatan, even though they are pretty good snorkelers. There are not many reviews of the DCL shore excusions on the DIS. C'mon, you experienced snorkelers, give me the best places in Key West, Cozumel and Cayman.
06-15-2004, 12:01 PM
We did the Capt Marvin's snorkling tour in Grand Cayman with, of course, the stop at Stingray City.
We were taken to the coral gardens and the barrier reef. We had a very knowledgeable guide and it was perfect for our family of intermediate snorkelers.
The waters there are so beautiful, I'm sure its hard to go wrong!
06-15-2004, 03:00 PM
We've snorkeled in Key West and Grand Cayman.
In KW there is the KW Catamaran Sail & Snorkel - we went out about 8 miles to the 3rd largest barrier reef in the world and snorkeled for about an hour. It was slightly stormy while we were out and still had some really great snorkeling. You snorkel off of the cat in 15 to 20 feet of water. Where we were the coral reefs were like fingers on a hand - long reefs with a sandy bottom between the fingers.
In GC we did the Shipwreck & Reef Snorkeling where you have 2 snorkling stops in the harbor in front of where the Magic is anchored. Before we entered the water the guides told us about the tarpins - a very large nocturnal fish that looks like a shark. I saw them at both stops - had to dive down a ways to get a good look at them "hiding" under the reefs. The first stop is over a shipwreck. Here they tossed out "fish food" and it was like swimming in an aquarium for a while. The fish then dispersed and you could explore the shipwreck and still see a lot of sea critters. We then moved over to a reef and snorkeled there (no fish food here). Both stops in GC were among some of the best snorkeling we've experienced.
Our family has a split decision. I liked snorkeling at St. John's (eastern) best. DW liked it at KW and the kids prefered GC.
06-15-2004, 03:01 PM
Just looked at Captain Marvin's site. Which tour did you do? Does everyone book this independently?
06-15-2004, 03:12 PM
lots of people book these independantly through nativewaywatersports, capt marvins and shoretrips they all get great reviews, we will be doing stingray sandbar and coral gardens snorkelling with nativeway ,they are currently running a special for cruisers at just $25 pp . which date western are you going on ?
06-15-2004, 07:19 PM
We did the half day tour, booked online. Next time would do the longer tour, but my son was only 8 last time and didn't think he could take that much swimming!
Again, it is such beautiful waters there, I'm sure you will be happy with any of the reviewed-by-Disers tours.;)
06-15-2004, 07:42 PM
We are on the October 23 cruise. I worry about missing "docking" because of the weather. Is Marvin's cancellation policy liberal if we cannot tender in time (as happened to us when few Customs Officials showed up when we had to tender in St Thomas, one more missed opportunity to see St John)? Looking at their site, I would like one of the longer ones, we love to snorkel. I want to see the rays, but want extra time on the reefs. What kind of fish did anyone see? Cozumel has always had such an incredible reputation as a dive site that I would hate to miss great coral and fish, too.
06-15-2004, 10:02 PM
We "met" over at the Cruise Meets board (I have the 5 yr old 'pirate')
I am also looking at the Captain Marvin's excursions. We are thinking of the 1/2 day excursion since we should be able to make the 9:15 start time if the "all ashore" is supposed to be 7:00am and it gets us back well before the last tender. There may even be enough time to take a taxi to the turtle farm when we get back if we aren't all exhausted.
Let us know if you decide to do the same tour! I am already working with DS5 at the pool with his mask, snorkle & fins so he will be ready!
06-15-2004, 10:07 PM
We will be going on the 7 night western in a few weeks. We have booked The Fury Catameran Sail and Snorkel in key West and Captain Marvins half day snorkel in Grand Cayman.
We will post when we return home!
06-15-2004, 10:13 PM
We snorkeled with Eagle Ray Divers in Cozumel. The do "drift" snorkeling, which means you drift along with the current and the boat keeps up with you (from a safe distance). This is a much nicer way to snorkel since you do not have to fight the current. The kids in our group were 6,9,10, and 12. All of them are pretty good snorkelers and they had a ball. The staff was excellent and kept a close eye on all of us. We chose the 3 reef trip, which was great. It includes a stop at a dockside resturant for a nice lunch.
We all agreed it was the best snorkel trip we had ever been on. We also did Capt. Marvin 1/2 day trip in GC and it was also fantastic, but in a different way. with Capt. Marvins, at each stop there were lots of other people, which can cut down on the number of fish you see. It was also harded to keep up with where the kids were, since there were so many other kids with masks on!:earseek:
06-16-2004, 10:25 PM
abitjaded-WE HAVE BOOKED FOR 9/25 CRUSIE WITH CPT MARVINS-I TOO WAS CONCERNED ABOUT REFUND POLICY-THIS IS THE EMAIL THAT I WAS SENT:
If your ship is late, we'll do our best to move you to the next trip we
> available. But if your ship is here on time, and you do not show up at
> then you will be charged.
THIER WEB SITE ALSO STATE IF YOUR SHIP CAN'T BE TENDER YOU'LL NOT BE CHARGED. SO YOU'LL ONLY BE CHARGED IF YOU CHOSE NOT TO SHOW UP AND DO NOT CANCEL IN TIME
We are on the October 23 cruise. I worry about missing "docking" because of the weather. Is Marvin's cancellation policy liberal if we cannot tender in time
06-19-2004, 10:10 PM
Thanks all. Hey Rellingtwin, which reefs did you see in Cozumel? We dove the area a long time ago, drift diving, and I was curious about drift snorkeling. Does the boat follow you in this too, is the speed fairly fast and did the kids tend to fight the drift at first or just automatically go with the flow?
Karen, PM me when you post so I don't miss it.
Pamela, maybe we can cab or boat-pool.
06-20-2004, 02:08 AM
Carla, I belive the names of the reefs are on the website. The staff gave us all instuctions on the "drift" snorkeling. Raul (our guide) snorkeled with us and we just followed him. He used hand signals to communicate with the boat which stayed nearby. At one point my DS was getting tired, so Raul just "called" the boat and he (the capt.) moved closer to pick up DS, then moved away and continued following the rest of us.
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