“Definitely welcome to customers, which is not common at all among cruise ship excursion companies”
This is one of four reviews I wrote after four dive excursions on a Carnival cruise of the Western Caribbean. Each review begins with some general observations that are probably old news to people who go on cruises and take dive excursions. We went on the cruise that stopped at four famed West Caribbean locations because we wanted to find out which dive spots were as good as our favorite haunts in Hawaii. The dive masters and crews don't seem to care anywhere near as much as when you are staying on land and doing more business with the company (the shop in Costa Maya being an exception) and they don't point very much out when you're on the dive. My wife and I couldn't agree why; I thought it was because they were apathetic about cruise divers, while my wife said maybe there just wasn't that much to point out in the Caribbean compared to better locations in Hawaii.
Ether way, the end result is that they got you safely into the water and out in 40-45 minutes regardless of how much air anyone had left or how there was plenty of time to get back to the cruise ship. It cracks me up as I look at my dive computer: 45, 39, 41, 46, 43, 44 and 34 minutes. The crews bothered to help set up the equipment if you asked. Otherwise you were on your own, and I guess that's fine if you haven't been spoiled by better care. The equipment was old, especially in Mexico. Only one site out of four had integrated weight systems. The rest used weight belts. Of all four excursions, the one on Costa Maya did offer us a snack between the dives, a nutrigrain bar. Hey, it was something.
This apathy seemed very strange to me. My wife and I were ready to book a full vacation at any of the four dive shops we saw through Carnival and now, with the possible exception of the one in Costa Maya, I wouldn't go near any of them with a 10-foot pole. This seems like a lost opportunity to me; if I ran a dive shop, I'd ask the crew that takes care of the cruise divers to try to impress them so people want to come back and spend more money.
So with all that background, here's the word on Dreamtime in Costa Maya: these guys were my favorites of the four. They were just so happy to see people and seemed so happy to see us; you get the sense Costa Maya is still recovering from the horrible hurricane that leveled them a couple years ago. Once on the water, it was pretty much a serve-yourself type thing. You sort of got the sense you were being led around as much as conducting underwater exploration. This was the most picturesque stop; a very real Mexican village with housing that you'd never want to live in yet surrounded by breathtaking scenery and beaches. The boats were small, which allowed them to split the divers into small groups but also meant the boats were cramped.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
May 21, 2012
Thank you for your review. We appreciate your comments and are very glad you had a experience worth remembering. If you are still looking for a Mexican vacation spot... we challenge you to come back to Costa Maya. Since Hurricane Dean in 2007, the town has rebuilt and become a very quaint vacation spot. We would love to give you the opportunity to do some more diving. Hope you take the challenge and we see you again soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.