The team at VIP Diving was a pleasure to work with! Our group came mid-November on the recommendation of a friend who'd previously dived with VIP. We had a group of 8, 7 taking the Open Water course, and 1 taking the Advanced Diver course, and VIP was incredibly flexible with the variety of skill levels present. We did the coursework online through the PADI e-Learning option and did the skills on site.
- Bas was very easy to work with; always providing prompt feedback both before and during our visit to any questions we had about the course, the equipment, the reservations, the island, and anything else we came up with. He consistently went above and beyond normal service, whether that was individual training (see below), hand-drawn maps for recommended dive sites, or deals at local restaurants.
- Chris was a great instructor: he took the training very seriously and made sure we were well-prepared, while keeping the whole experience entertaining. He was able to keep both the faster and slower learners engaged and challenged without making anyone feel like a hindrance. We all enjoyed learning with him (and quoting him). :)
- VIP's focus on personal touch really stood out for me when I freaked out the first day of the course and didn't complete the scheduled training. The VIP team rearranged things to give me a second chance, with both Bas and Menno working with me the next day to work through things at my own pace. Although this created an additional diving group and put a strain on VIP's human and vehicle resources, they were unfailingly accommodating and happy to help.
Menno continued to work with me one-on-one so I was able to finish the course along with the rest of the group. He was an excellent instructor: always supportive and patient, even when a skill took a long time to achieve; always encouraging and as pleased about our successes as we were (if not more!); very invested in teaching well and helping his students get the most out of not just the course, but the experience of diving.
- Tom was a fun part of the team; he wasn't as directly involved in our training, as he was still working on his Divemaster training, but like everyone else there, he made us feel welcome and at home, and helped keep the shop running smoothly.
The V in VIP stands for Value and they really went overboard here - it felt like we were cheating them for how much we got out of the trip and how little they charged for it. I'd say it's worth coming to Bonaire just to dive with this group - too bad you can't bring them along to other parts of the world!