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SNORKELING ON OCEAN CAY

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Can you snorkel from the beach on Ocean Cay or must you take an excursion?

If you can snorkel from  the beach on your own, which is the best area ?

Going in 2 weeks !  First time on MSC.

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I'd love to know that answer to this too. We have a cruise coming up in February. 🙂 

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5 minutes ago, lifeasme123 said:

We brought and used our own snorkel on our cruise last month.

Thanks!

Where did you snorkel on Ocean Cay?  Was it good? 

I have my own equipment too.

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First we went to the "family beach".  Most passengers went to that area, but it did not feel crowded.  Due to the reason in the paragraph below, we then moved over to the beach area next to the lighthouse.  We liked that area better...less crowded.  There is a bar and food truck for that area.  To get to the buffet you will need to walk the distance or take the trolley.  The island is still under construction.  Not lots to see underwater.  Our daughter liked it to find shells. 

 

The issue for my DH about this "family beach" location was there was one bar with 2 bartenders to make drinks.  He stood there for 15 min and gave up.  The buffet is near there.  Buffet was pretty good - they serve only wine and beer there.

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Thanks for the info.  I am flying with just a carry on bag and am not sure if I should take up space with my snorkel stuff if there is not much to see.   I will need to rethink this after your report.

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We visited OC the 2nd week when it opened.  It is under construction....maybe they might have added corals and pretty looking fishes?

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When doing some research on snorkeling opportunities at Ocean Cay, I noticed that there's a partly sunken wreck off the North tip of the island (past the wedding cabana). You can see it in the official MSC video at 2.10.  Does anyone know if it's accessible and a good snorkeling destination?

 

 

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We snorkeled at the (what seemed to be) calmer and quieter beach just beyond the Spa area.  We did see a few varieties of fish but not too much else.  I would suggest only taking snorkeling gear if you have room.  What ship are you on?  The Armonia has made it into Ocean Cay every time but apparently (according to the Officer we talked to while strolling on the Cay) the larger ships have missed a time or two due to the higher than usual January seas.

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27 minutes ago, cellfree said:

We snorkeled at the (what seemed to be) calmer and quieter beach just beyond the Spa area.  We did see a few varieties of fish but not too much else.  I would suggest only taking snorkeling gear if you have room.  What ship are you on?  The Armonia has made it into Ocean Cay every time but apparently (according to the Officer we talked to while strolling on the Cay) the larger ships have missed a time or two due to the higher than usual January seas.

Thanks for the info.  We are on the Divina leaving on Tuesday.  I wonder if the only way to snorkel the sunken ship is to take an excursion from the ship.  I am confused as to where the "northern" end of the island is.  I see the spa though.  Is the beach you went to right by the spa or behind it?

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2 hours ago, cruiseathon said:

When doing some research on snorkeling opportunities at Ocean Cay, I noticed that there's a partly sunken wreck off the North tip of the island (past the wedding cabana). You can see it in the official MSC video at 2.10.  Does anyone know if it's accessible and a good snorkeling destination?

 

 

Thanks for the info.  I do see the sunken ship on the video but wonder if you need to be on an excursion from the ship to get there or if it accessible from the beach.

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Funji1, we were at the beach just at/slightly beyond the Spa signs/area, between Spa area and Chapel area.  It is roped off as are several of the beaches, according to what we heard (small) sharks were seen in various areas prior to opening Ocean Cay.  I believe the sunken ship is just beyond the designated Chapel area where people can renew vows.  I do not recall seeing a beach there but perhaps we did not walk far enough.  But that really is the end of that section of the Cay.  Signs are easy to follow.

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Thanks Cellfree !  I looked at the map of Ocean Cay and found the spa area.

Also, the sunken ship can only be seen via an excursion from the ship.  It is a boat ride away 

and then 1 hour of snorkeling followed by rum punch.  No price is listed.  I think  I am going to play this

one by ear.  We are on the Divina one of the larger ships and it seems there have been problems docking

the larger ships at the cay.  I will find out next Thursday !🏖️

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I hope the "winds" will cooperate and all will go well.  It is very nice.  Trees need to grow yet and there is still some construction going on (where you see the equipment is apparently going to be a second buffet section) but we felt they did very good at planning everything out.  The walkways are really nice throughout the island.  Don't miss the Lighthouse Bar if you want to relax in comfortable chairs/couches, have a beverage, and watch the waves and the ocean.  

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2 minutes ago, cellfree said:

I hope the "winds" will cooperate and all will go well.  It is very nice.  Trees need to grow yet and there is still some construction going on (where you see the equipment is apparently going to be a second buffet section) but we felt they did very good at planning everything out.  The walkways are really nice throughout the island.  Don't miss the Lighthouse Bar if you want to relax in comfortable chairs/couches, have a beverage, and watch the waves and the ocean.  

Thanks!  With the forecast of rain (which can change) the lighthouse bar may be our only activity possible.  I hope not!

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On 1/11/2020 at 4:46 PM, lifeasme123 said:

There is a bar and food truck for that area. 

what kind of food did the truck serve, please?

and the buffet?

Edited by Itchy&Scratchy

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6 minutes ago, Itchy&Scratchy said:

what kind of food did the truck serve, please?

and the buffet?

the food truck we ate at had burgers, including veggie burgers, fries, pasta salad, cookies or brownies...I cannot remember which one.


the buffet was very good - compared to the one on the ship.  All different types of salads, baked goods, fish, chicken, ribs, fries, burgers, etc.  

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1 minute ago, lifeasme123 said:

the food truck we ate at had burgers, including veggie burgers, fries, pasta salad, cookies or brownies...I cannot remember which one.


the buffet was very good - compared to the one on the ship.  All different types of salads, baked goods, fish, chicken, ribs, fries, burgers, etc.  

thank you!

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3 hours ago, funji1 said:

Thanks Cellfree !  I looked at the map of Ocean Cay and found the spa area.

Also, the sunken ship can only be seen via an excursion from the ship.  It is a boat ride away 

and then 1 hour of snorkeling followed by rum punch.  No price is listed.  I think  I am going to play this

one by ear.  We are on the Divina one of the larger ships and it seems there have been problems docking

the larger ships at the cay.  I will find out next Thursday !🏖️

 

For our Divina cruise, the price for the Shipwreck Snorkeling excursion is $59 for adults, $49 for kids.

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I snorkeled at Paradise Sands (adult only, very nice and quiet) and at Sunset Beach (more people plus food truck and bar).

 

At PS if you swim out to the sea grass you may see some barracuda and tiny fish, but not a whole lot to see there.

 

At SB the surf made the water a tad murky, but I did see a small ray, more barracuda, a lobster, some schools, and lots of smaller fish near the bits of coral. It's not the best snorkeling ever, but there are things to see.

 

It is not possible to swim to the wreck from shore. Later we heard that one of the beaches (I think the family cove) was closed because of a lemon shark. The lagoon area was the busiest with all the water sports and activities. Bimini Beach looked lightly populated from what we could see from PS.

 

I dont remember seeing any of the cabanas rented on PS or the section of SB we we snorkeled from (the far end).

 

If you choose a beach away from the buffet area, and you don't have a beverage package, I suggest you bring a filled water bottle with you. Getting something other than adult beverages was a bit of a hike from where we were.

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3 hours ago, MJC said:

I snorkeled at Paradise Sands (adult only, very nice and quiet) and at Sunset Beach (more people plus food truck and bar).

 

At PS if you swim out to the sea grass you may see some barracuda and tiny fish, but not a whole lot to see there.

 

At SB the surf made the water a tad murky, but I did see a small ray, more barracuda, a lobster, some schools, and lots of smaller fish near the bits of coral. It's not the best snorkeling ever, but there are things to see.

 

It is not possible to swim to the wreck from shore. Later we heard that one of the beaches (I think the family cove) was closed because of a lemon shark. The lagoon area was the busiest with all the water sports and activities. Bimini Beach looked lightly populated from what we could see from PS.

 

I dont remember seeing any of the cabanas rented on PS or the section of SB we we snorkeled from (the far end).

 

If you choose a beach away from the buffet area, and you don't have a beverage package, I suggest you bring a filled water bottle with you. Getting something other than adult beverages was a bit of a hike from where we were.

Thanks MJC !  i packed my snorkel, mask and vest  but leaving the fins home.  Thank you for the description of the beaches where you snorkeled.  I live in Florida and having sharks swimming with me is not something I enjoy.   Will find out on Thursday what I can see at OC.

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I packed a vest but didn't use it. It wasn't clear to me whether the lifeguards would require one so it was JIC. I have shortie fins that I used for the shore snorkel. I had planned on the catamaran snorkel in Costa Maya, where I would have used their big fins for deep water, but it was cancelled due to high winds. But the shortie fins were just fine for OC. I find fins especially helpful when free diving. 

 

Having a rash guard let me stay in the water a bit longer without getting cold. I think the ocean temp was around 78.

 

There is shark netting for the beaches, but reports are that occasionally a small young one gets through and then the lifeguards give a warning. I am not worried about that size, but I imagine at the family beach with unpredictable children around they would be more cautious about folks in the water with any size shark. 

 

I've been in the water with small sharks before and they don't bother me much.  I would never go on purpose to see tigers or great whites like some people do!

 

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 I was on the Divina Jan 12-17

 

I ended up snorkeling in the cove between the lighthouse and the ship, on the lighthouse end (Lighthouse Beach).  There were some fish to see, but you needed to have patience...I will post a few pics i have, when I download them.  That said, the water was a bit murky, so there may have been more.  Admittedly I stayed here because I liked the beach chairs 🙂

 

A fellow cruiser told me after she snorkeled with me there, she walked past the lighthouse and wrapped around and went farther up that beach (Sunset Beach) and saw much more and didn't want to get out at 4:30 when the lifeguard was going away.

 

At one point I took the trek around the other direction to the other side of the island ( Bimini Beach) and snorkeled there, and highly recommend not bothering there as all i saw was grass and very few fish of interest.

 

I will say I really wanted to go into the crew beach, because it looked like a great place to snorkel 🙂  , but I didn't.

 

I packed a shortie wetsuit, because I have been a little cold sensitive as of late.  I snorkeled without the first time, after that I used the suit.  I had also used it in Costa maya and was very happy i had brought it as an option 🙂

 

As for food, all the food trucks had hamburgers, hot dogs and fries.  They also had veggie salad, and brownies.  I did not go to the buffet, so i can't speak to that.

 

We were wonderfully surprised in that we were only scheduled until 4 or 6 (depending when you looked at the schedule, but day of they decided we could stay until 11.  We were able to see both the Junkanoo parade (8:30) and the lighthouse shows (with beach party between)(9 &10PM).  it was a whole bunch of fun!  I will say the one issue was that the parade was at 8:30, so if you had late dining, you needed to adjust accordingly.

 

 

Edited by barefoot cruiser

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