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Everything posted by omeinv

  1. @Bobroo had great advice. The best mask for you is simply the one that fits best. Ideally the shop you buy from will have a pool, where you can try the mask in the water. Expect to pay somewhere between $85.00 and $150.00 for a mask. Snorkels are required for your Open Water course in the pool and for the four certification dive. However, once you're certified you'll likely not wear a snorkel while diving, so I wouldn't spend much money on one. Good snorkels range from $30.00 to $80.00. I'd borrow one, or use what's provided. For fins, a lot of people don't buy fins early because they're a hassle to pack. They're bulky and relatively heavy. Also new divers almost always buy fins based on price, and then end up spending the same money again when they replace those fins with good one. If you decide to buy fins now, look for an open heel fin, with a bungee strap. These work with a dive boot. The bungee strap provides in essence a perfect fit every time, versus an adjustable rubber strap that is (a bit) more effort to put on/take off, and is easy to over tighten. The boots are nice because they provide a buffer between your foot and the fin, so they're much more comfortable, for walking on the beach, and even on the boat. If you buy boots, get the boot height with a zipper, rather than the ankle height. The ankle height - while they don't seem like they would - will get sand and rock in them. I use the Scubapro Delta 5mm boots, and have for years. They're as good as any I've found. They're about $80.00 For fins my favorites are the Scubapro Seawing Novas. They are $260.00. Add your fins and boots, and you can see you're well over $300.00, which is why I'd rather see you wait, use what's provided, and then buy when the value of the good fins is clear. When a new diver asks me what to buy, I say mask first for sure, make a decision on fins second, and then look at a dive computer. There are a lot of good computers in the $400.00 to $500.00 range, and a computer is now just about a base piece of equipment. In fact none of the training agencies mandate teaching the dive tables as part of the Open Water Diver course, as computers have become ubiquitous. They definitely make diving safer, and allow you to get more out of each diving day. Harris Denver, CO
  2. Costa Maya is great. You won't be certified yet, which is a shame, there's great diving there. Even so, don't just stay at the port, take a cab into the town of Mahahual. Nice beach. Yes, it's all done electronically now. You should have the PADI app. Once everything is done, the instructor should be able to go online, upload your completion record, and your certification processes immediately. Once it does, your C-Card will be visible in your app. You should receive access to your E-learning materials prior to the cruise. It's very important that you and your daughter (you'll each have your own accounts, each with materials) complete the E-Learning prior to the beginning of your training. If you don't you'll be at a disadvantage during the class and pool sessions on the ship. You will also need a medical sign-off. The form asks several questions, and if certain questions are answered "yes" you'll need a doctor's sign-off. Needless to say you'll want this done in advance. It's disheartening when someone cannot be in a class they've signed up for because they failed to get this form completed. Your correct to establish a relationship with a local dive shop. Once you're certified, you'll want that source for further training and equipment. Please e-mail me (the link is below), as I have a diving friend in the Dallas area, that can probably suggest which shop is best. Harris Denver, CO
  3. @Nike4000 Several things: First, it sounds like you've done this, but please make sure the course is the Open Water Diver course. At one time RC also offered a Scuba Diver course on board. Scuba Diver and Open Water Diver are not the same, and you definitely want Open Water Diver. Second, Hopefully it would be the first two ports, but I've never heard of either Royal or any other line doing a diving excursion in Mahahual (Costa Maya). For this reason I suspect your third port will be where the second two dives take place. You didn't say, but I'm pretty sure that will be Cozumel. I believe the instructor you have aboard the ship will also be the instructor conducting your open water dives; the alternative is the dives will be conducted by the staff at the contracted dive operator (Anthony's key Resort in Roatan, and Sand Dollar in Cozumel). If the dives are not done by the instructor from the ship, be absolutely certain you get the paperwork called a referral form, completed by the instructor after the first two dives. if weather or something else causes a cancellation of the second two that paper becomes critical to getting your certification completed after your trip. Finally, presuming all goes to plan, and you gel all your dives, the instructor ont he ship should be able to process your certification before the end of the cruise. If not, please get absolutely everything so that if there's a problem you can try to get it resolved. You'll need the ship board instructor's PADI number, as well as the instructor numbers of any other instructor that conducted the open water dive. This is critical because if anything happens, where the instructor doesn't process the certifications, you'll need every detail to try to get it resolved. A friend did his course on a Royal Caribbean ship, and weather knocked out one day of his dives, and since he didn't have any documentation of what he'd done, he had to start all over. Harris Denver, CO
  4. @danilija If you put in the postal code 80222, everything else will probably automatically populate. If not enter the following: (ship's name) Bali cruise terminal, Jalan Dermaga Ii, Pelabuhan Benoa 80222 Denpasar Bali. Harris Denver, CO
  5. @danilija You must do it in advance. Make sure you're on the proper site, and applying for the proper visa. There are many sites that are not the true government site, and charge fees atop the visa fee. If you're being asked for bank statements, you're not doing the correct visa. You want a B1, Tourist Visa. Here is the right site: https://molina.imigrasi.go.id/ The process of uploading the passport photos can be a bit daunting, but otherwise it's pretty straight forward. Once you have the visa, you'll also need the landing card, whcih can only be done withing three days of arrival. Harris Denver, CO
  6. To get any of the Captain's Club discounts, you have to call Captain's Club on the phone. (800) 760-0654. Harris Denver, CO
  7. You will need internet access - I've always had Premium Wi-Fi - to complete the visa application. As far as assistance from Celebrity, the staff would likely try to help, but you should expect they would not be able to do anything you cannot. The Indonesia visa process was simple on its face, but presented some technical issues as far as uploading an acceptable passport photo. I'm not sure why you would unable to do this before embarkation, but you should. Then, when on board, you'll need to also do the Indonesian landing card, which can only be done within 3 days of arrival. Harris Denver, CO
  8. @mac66 For one person, you’re correct that you’re likely better off just going with a dive operator resolving all issues. Bonaire certainly has sites, like Salt Pier, where navigation is eased by landmarks. Bonaire is generally easy to shore dive, hence the popularity of shore diving there. However, if your underwater navigation is not on, you end up making unnecessary ascents, and swimming on the surface. If you can find friends that are in Bonaire and will let you join for a day that would be ideal. Good luck with that! 😁 Harris Denver, CO
  9. @mac66 Absolutely you can do it. However, Diving independently while is port for a day requires a lot of planning, and unguided diving from shore means you are taking responsibility for everything that you're usually getting from your dive operator. For example, last time I was in Bonaire on a cruise, four of us rented a truck and then rented tanks, and dove ourselves. It's important to note, all of us had dove in Bonaire before; I have guided many dives, and specifically many in Bonaire, and know most of the dive sites there. Issues: You must rent a vehicle. It took some doing to find a single day truck rental. Most of the rental companies want at least a three day rental. In my instance, I dealt with a company I'd used when on previous week-long stays on Bonaire, and they still wouldn't commit to the one-day rental until a few weeks before the date of the trip, as they woudl have rented to a longer term customer if they had one. Picking up and returning the rental truck takes some of your time. Presuming you have your own equipment, you'll still need tanks and weights. This is pretty easy on Bonaire, harder most other places. In Bonaire Dive Friends has 6 or 7 locations, one right by the port, where you can pick up and drop off tanks and weights, at a reasonable price. Navigation on shore dives is a bigger issue than most people realize. The typical shore dive, you submerge as soon as you're able, follow a compass course straight out to depth, then either make a loop from initial depth out to maximum depth, then continue your loop back to the point where you reached initial depth, then follow the compass course back to the entry point. If there's much current, then it's compass navigate to maximum depth, dive against the current until you reach half air, then let the current bring you back to the starting point, where you compass navigate back to the entry point. Since there's current, you have to account for that in your compass navigation legs. In either case your ability to return to your exact entry point is not as easy as it may seem using underwater landmarks. That being said, Bonaire in particular seldom has much current, and there are excellent guides to shore diving there (the best is the Reef Smart Guide to Bonaire, which is worth buying anyway. It's available on Amazon. https://a.co/d/hH5wSpd) The advantages to diving on your own are that you choose your sites, and you can get a bit more diving in the day, and you may (or may not) save money. With four of us, our cost for the truck (about $100) was split, and the tanks/weights were about $25.00 per person total. And we were able to get 3 dives in, and still get back to the ship for a relatively early departure. Compare this to VIP, where you 2 guided dives with air, weights, a guide and lunch, at a cost of (last time I checked) $150.00 per day. Even if you had just two people, your financial benefit would be there, as long as you're willing and able to take on the tasks you're typically paying a dive operator for. Curacao is another Island with a fair amount of shore diving, but the traffic, and locating the dive sites make it a losing proposition in my eyes. Especially since Hans at CURious2Dive will come get me at the port, and take care of all the hassles. Harris Denver, CO
  10. For Cozumel, Humarine is best if you're a serious Diver. Salty Endeavors is quite good as well. Dive Paradise has the advantage that they're known to run a later boat, but since you're arriving at 7:00, you don't need that. They run larger boats,a nd don't go to the better sites far south. I don't have anything better for either Roatan or Belize. Harris Denver, CO
  11. @VLAD2727 It was malfunctioning last night when you replied, but it's back now. If you still need a new confirmation, call that number and use option 1. Harris Denver, CO
  12. Yes, the same reason. Once it’s updated, you can call (888) 307-8413, and use the automated system to get an updated confirmation, which will say “booked”. Harris Denver, CO
  13. It takes several hours for a deposited cruise fo move from "offer" to "Booked" status. When it does it will move from the "Courtesy Hold" to "Upcoming Cruises". Look at it in the Courtesy Hold section, and you should see your deposit credited. Harris Denver, CO
  14. For Puerta Vallarta, all I can give is a place to avoid, Vallarta Adventures. Otherwise, there are may operators there, but I haven't dived there myself. I was scheduled to dive in Huatulco in April of 2020. Something came up to cancel the trip, but I was very impressed by the communication with Huatulco Dive Center (https://huatulcodivecenter.com/). In several trips to Puntarenas, CR, I've learned there's really no diving close enough to the port to be feasible. In Cartegena, I was very pleased with Buzos de Baru. They arranged to meet us in the boat at a dock close to the port, so it was super easy. The diving was better than I expected there. (https://buzosdebaru.com/en/) Harris Denver, CO
  15. @NavyCruiser In all these ports (and almost everywhere), you're better off booking your own dives than going through the ship's excursion. Even if the price were the same (Spoiler: the ship excursion is more expensive), the experience is better booking directly. The ship excursion is always paying the operator less than a private customer would pay, and you're paying more. The difference is the cruise line's share. Consequently the operator is going to run the dives in the least expensive way possible, meaning choosing sites that are close, and time-limiting dives. They then hope to recover profitability by volume - booking a lot of divers. This generally means large groups. Finally the dives have to be geared to the poorest diver. Aruba is a perfect example of this. The cruise lines use the operator Red Sail, which is the very definition of a "cattle boat" dive operator. Happy Divers Aruba is $140.00 for the two tank boat dive with all equipment provided. Maximum 6 divers on the boat. (https://happydiversaruba.com/) For Bonaire, go with VIP Diving (https://vipdiving.com/). They're not cheap (Their "cruise passenger package" is $199.00, for 2 dives including all gear), but you really do get a lot for the price. If you're nitrox certified it includes nitrox, and you'll get to choose which sites you want to dive. You'll also see a good portion of the island Because of the time they take, allow all day for this. You'll get the most for your money if you do some looking in advance at what sites you would be interested in There is a ton of information on line about Bonaire's dive sites, or for about $20.00 you can get the Reef Smart Bonaire Guide which is excellent (https://a.co/d/b1eH8vv). The guide at VIP will ask if you have sites you'd like to dive, and if you have choices, they will take you there. If you don't they'll do their best to find you good sites based on your stated interests and abilities. Be aware, that due to Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease, they are strongly discouraging divers from diving both the south and north sites on the same day, so you'll be asked to choose either both sites north, or both south, of Kralendijk. Pro Tip for VIP: the 100 CF tanks are available, and they don't charge extra for them. Ask for them, and get 20% more air=20% longer dives. For Curacao, go with Hans Pleij at CURious2Dive (https://www.curious2dive.com/en/). For a very reasonable price you'll get two dives out in the Caracasbai/Director's Bay area. He offers port pick-up and return; and will take you lionfish hunting if you desire. Nitrox is available, for an extra fee. Likely worth it depending upon which sites you dive. Harris Denver, CO
  16. Puerto Rico is a special case. Puerto Rico is a named exception written into the law. Puerto Rico is a US territory so San Juan is a US port but the PR exemption allows a cruise line to sail from the US mainland and end in Puerto Rico (or vice versa) and not violate the PVSA. This is the only US port to US port itinerary that is excluded from the PVSA (no distant foreign required). Harris Denver, CO
  17. While it was a perhaps an interesting diversion for those aboard Harmony, you and your ship are considered heroes right now in Cozumel. The fishermen and their dog had been the subject of a broad search after being overdue. This is the automatic translation from the Cozumel News FB post: Harris Denver, CO
  18. No, this usually happens. They show up in the points history before the total gets added. Probably later tonight or tomorrow. It will reflect the correct number of points and adjust your tier if necessary. Harris Denver, CO
  19. I concern myself with the points (obviously) and there's no chance they'll increase my tier. Celebrity successfully "Gamified" this promotion. I can't imagine any type of advertising that would get more successful engagement for the cost to Celebrity. Witness this 329 page thread that lights up every time a new webinar is released. Harris Denver, CO
  20. I've often noticed that a lot of the people that have nothing good to say about Celebrity are certainly anxious to get the extra points. Harris Denver, CO
  21. It looks like they're coming today (Friday, Jan 12). The five points are showing in the points history on my account, but not yet in the total. This has happened before, and usually updates after a few hours. Harris Denver, CO
  22. You were advised correctly. During the sailing, the accounting transfers to on-board, and shore side can't access any of it. This continues until a few days after to conclusion of the sailing, when the ship closes out the sailing, and the records go back to shore-side. There is no reasonable way for a party not on the ship to add OBC to a passenger's account mid sailing. Harris Denver, CO
  23. @tnm6217 Yes, those sites list ships without regard to any actual effort to sell ships. It’s not an actual case of the ships being offered by Royal Caribbean Group, and nothing to concern anyone as far as their cruise plans. Harris Denver, CO
  24. I imagine Celebrity's legal team is quaking at the thought of going up against an attorney who's clients have decided to file their case in the District Court of Cruise Critic. Harris Denver, CO
  25. I’m a scuba diver, so I’d I’m going to take over on a cruise ship stuff has already gotten pretty real. 😁 Harris Denver, CO
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