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Dive operator in Aruba


hoff624
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Harris has recommended Happy Divers:

 

I'd love to hear back about your experience if you are willing when you return! We are doing our certification now and will dive in Aruba in March.

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22 hours ago, jbrinkm said:

Harris has recommended Happy Divers:

 

I'd love to hear back about your experience if you are willing when you return! We are doing our certification now and will dive in Aruba in March.

Thanks HARRIS

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  • 1 month later...
On 7/27/2023 at 2:42 PM, hoff624 said:

Hello,

My wife and I will be in Aruba on a cruise stop January 2024. Can any anyone recommend a quality scuba dive shop?
 

Thanks

ED

Yes, I definitely recommend Happy Divers Aruba.  Jeffrey will take care of you.

 

Harris

Denver, CO

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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

What's the cost of these dive shops?

I'm looking at just going with Celebrity's ship excursion:  Small Group Dive Tour, with all equip, $156 USD

Also, any recommendations for Bonnaire & Curacao, since there's no ship sponsored dive excursions there...

Thanks,

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@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

 

Edited by omeinv
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I've had good luck with Dive In on Bonaire. They are part of the Dive Friends network. I was the only diver with the DM both times. Cost was about $140.

 

Also had good luck with Scubcao on Curacao. Dived with them 3 times so far.  5 divers each time. Cost was $140-150 I don't remember exactly.We're

 

Dived with Happy divers on Aruba the first time, but he was full the second time I was there.

 

I ended up booking through the ship with Red Sail sports. It was a cattle boat but was pretty cheap, something like $115 for a 2 tank dive. Pretty much the same dive happy divers did for $50 more. They take you to the Perdanales wreck as does everyone else unless you ask for another location.

 

If you do go with Happy divers, book far in advance. Thanks to Harris, they book up fast 😄

 

Edited by mac66
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