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“Saona Excursion / Dive with Cass :)”
Review of Dressel Divers

Dressel Divers
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$133.00*
and up
PADI Discover Scuba Diving in Bavaro
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$49.00*
and up
Bávaro Snorkeling and Natural Swimming Pool in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Quality Scuba Diving Centers WITH 20% Online Discount! DRESSEL DIVERS is the company chosen by the prestigious Iberostar Hotel chain for the last twenty years to run diving activities on the premise of its luxury hotels in the Caribbean, to ensure that this service has the same quality as the hotels.We are dedicated to teaching diving and offer all levels of PADI courses: From beginner all the way to PADI instructor. Other federations are also welcome. We offer boats especially made for diving by a lifelong diver, the owner, who contributed his strong experience to construct outstanding boats for this activity. Our main priority is to guarantee your safety!We organize diving excursions every day for certified divers to the marvelous reefs, that are closest to our hotel, as well as full day excursions for both divers and snorkelers to more remote sites such as Bayahibe and Saona Island.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed December 20, 2013

I've just returned from a nice vacation to Punta Cana (Hard Rock Hotel / 11-18 Dec) with my wife via Las Vegas, Nevada. We like to dive though we are not that experienced but this was a nice easy dive. Unfortunately my wife was unable to attend the dive due to having an infected tooth so I was on my own. The directions while getting there were a little sketchy and I was very uncomfortable because there were hardly any people that spoke English the entire way to the dive area. Once there I was greeted by Cass and she explained to me the ropes real quick. She was also very accommodating to me on the ship to get me ready for the dive. My best dive buddy is my wife, though as a U.S. Air Force Combat Veteran I'd take Cass to war anytime. Dive with her anytime as she is extremely friendly and I am sure South Africa misses her. You'll make it to the Philippines girl, no worries. Promote her now! Contact me anytime (mhulburt@cox.net)

Thank VegasMateo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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426 - 430 of 986 reviews

Reviewed December 17, 2013

We just returned from a wonderful vacation in the Iberostar Grand resort (Dec 8-15). Dressel is the on-site provider of Scuba and Snorkel trips for this (and some other) resorts. My rating really reflects the average of my 2 trips. An all day trip to Saona Island (rate as a 4) and a subsequent dive from the Iberostar resort (rate at best as a 2).

First, the Saona Island. We (my wife and I) bought an all day excursion to Saona Island and had a wonderful time. My wife participated in the Snorkel and I did a two tank dive.

The trip left at about 8:30 and returned at around 6pm. The ride on the minibus took about 1:15 on a smooth highway and included a description of the history, culture and economy of DR by a knowledgeable local.

They sent the snorkle group (most of the mini-bus) on a different boat - to a location better for snorkeling. And, the divers went to a deeper location. A bbq lunch was provided on Saona Island in the middle of the dives and the trip ended with some afternoon drinks while standing in the beautiful natural pool.

The diving was great. I really liked our dive master Mirabel. The first dive about 20m or so and the second, the deepest I ever went peaked at close to 35m.

The water was very calm and visibility was incredible. The coral was stunning and we saw quite a bit of marine life. A videographer dived with us and I bought (and just watched the video). He did a nice job. So, why not '5' for this portion of the trip. I thought they could have done a litte better for the high price of the trip. For example, they could have ...

- Picked us up / dropped us off at our hotel instead of us having to wait for the inter-hotel golf cart shuttle.

- Loaded and unloaded the dive equipment onto the boat. Usually they do this instead of asking the customers to lug the equipment.

- Maybe had some snacks after the dive(s) - like some fresh fruit.

Based on the fun I had on this trip, I booked another single tank dive trip for the Friday afternoon leaving from the resort. This dive was very difficult and was on the cusp of being dangerous. Dressel should have warned me - and perhaps simply cancelled the dive.

This trip left from shore, and again we needed to lug all of our equipment. The dive was just the dive master (Chris) and I. A second group of 4 dive students and their instructor was also on the boat.

The water was very choppy and waves were causing violent rocking of the boat. At the start of the dive Chris warned me that we would need to enter the water using 'giant step' and then swim to the buoy at the front of the boat being careful to avoid getting hit by the boat. Chris jumped in first and rapidly made it to the buoy. I jumped in, but had great difficulty swimming against the waves to the meeting point while trying to avoid the front of the boat coming down on my head. The physical effort was exhausting me and I showed Chris the diving signal for a problem (rocking my hand back and forth). He did nothing other than yelling at me to get to the buoy. Frankly, at this point I was almost panicking.

I did make it to the buoy and we did a line descent. Under the water, the conditions were better than on the surface, but really, there was really very little to see and poor visibility.

Boarding the boat was equally difficult. We did a line ascent and then I had to swim to the ladder - again avoiding be whacked in the head by the front of the boat. Not easy at all. And, I am a Marathon runner - and very fit.

Given the rocking of the boat, one of the students was seasick and never dived. The others looked green.

Upon reaching shore - again had to lug our equipment to the shore and wash it ourselves. I then had the pleasure of Chris berating me for forgetting to put the cap on the regulator connection before rinsing it. The rest of the day, I felt nauseous. Frankly, I thought taking us out on this dive was not professional. They could have said to me, 'look you had a great dive experience at Sanoa - you will be disappointed by this dive - save your time and money'.

4  Thank ScarletKnight81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 14, 2013

We traveled 11/23-28.

We've dove the Caribbean quite a bit, but this was the first trip to the DR for my wife and me; we stayed at the Iberostar Grand Bavaro, where Dressel has a facility onsite. We too were a little disappointed that we couldn't dive the wrecks in the Atlantic, but frankly, I appreciated them being up front with us and telling us that this time of year is iffy on the east side...and in the end, I was REALLY glad we chose to do the day trip to Saona on the Caribbean side. (NOTE - be prepared, it is an all day affair. We met up @ 745 and didn't get back to the Iberostar until shortly after 700)

Our guide Elena did a great job with us on the way to Bayahibe, as well was on the boat and in the water. Our first dive was ~ 70 feet, our second about 40 feet. In between, we went to Saona Island where the folks grilled up a great lunch for us. After our second dive, we spent ~ 30 mins at the Natural Pools, a shallow spot (~3 ft deep) where everyone could get some R&R (rum & relaxation).

We felt the whole staff, from sign in, to transport, to dive and, of course, the boat captain, did a great job. We also dove with Dressel in Jamaica and have enjoyed both excursions with the company. They make it easy, they make it fun!!

Ready to return!

1  Thank Paul W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2013

My husband and I are both certified divers and booked 3 dives with full equipment in advance to get the discount. We had planned to do the Saona full-day excursion which included 2 dives and 1 wreck dive which was a short boat ride from our hotel.

When we arrived in Punta Cana, we visited the dive center (located at our hotel) to schedule our dives, sign paperwork and provide our certs. We then learned that it was not the right time of year for the wreck dives because it is too rough on the Atlantic side. We were pretty disappointed that no one told us that through all of our initial email communication, but they still had options available, so it wasn't a deal breaker.

Saona Excursion
- We went on 2 dives, had lunch and went to the natural pool with starfish. We had an awesome day and I definitely recommend this excursion!

Some comments/things to consider:
- Our instructor was a little difficult and even made me feel a little apprehensive before our first dive. He seemed really flustered with us when we did things differently than what he was used to (ex. he puts fins on first, we have been taught to put them on last), but we were appreciative of how safety was a top priority. I just wish he talked to us more like we were going to have a fun dive rather than feeling like I was a dive student that did something wrong.
- Our second dive was 88 ft. That was not what I was expecting at all and being the deepest dive I have ever done I was pretty nervous. I was actually briefed before the dive saying we would be going 60-80 ft. With that being said, our instructor helped me with our safety stop and made me feel comfortable while underwater.
- It was fun to stop at the natural pool and take some photos with the starfish.
- There is no bathroom on the bus ride to and from the excursion.
- We purchased a video of the day for $85. There was some sort of mix-up and we originally got sent the wrong version which was only about 4 minutes long, so we thought we had really wasted our money. When we questioned it, we were then sent a video with about 20 minutes of footage - much more acceptable!

Local Dive: El Nino (Atlantic side)
This replaced our wreck dive and was about a 20 minute boat ride to the location. This was a fun shallow dive that had some neat things to see and a few small caves to swim through.

My one complaint with this dive was we waited almost 45 minutes for one other diver to arrive at our hotel. We were told 2 different stories by 2 different staff members - 1. there was a miscommunication with the other diver 2. the diver was stuck in traffic... We were told to come up from the dive early when we had a good amount of air left. We never received an explanation, but it was clear when we got back to the dive center that they were rushing to get to a pool session, so I believe they cut our dive short, which is pretty unacceptable considering what we paid.

1  Thank Lauren M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2013

Our first experience scuba diving and now we are hooked ! Truly a beautiful spot and we had a perfect diving experience Thanks to all the helpful , professional staff staff for putting us at ease, training us and just making the bus and boat ride so much fun! Best day ever at any resort! Just do it! Be sure to see Nick or Alvaro to get set up as they are so very patient and helpful!

Thank Rhea C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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