While visiting Belize from our Carnival cruise, we booked a tour with Coral Breeze. We went to bannister island and snorkeling.
First the staff that met us were NOT friendly.
Then the boat that we thought we were going to get on did not look safe at all. They also had no way to get on the boat besides putting a little wooden picnic table on the dock and then they assist you in hopping from the table until the front tip of the boat! Um....we were told this tour was suitable for any age. They expected us to hop onto this boat with a 1 year old baby, a 6 year old, and 8 year old, and two sets of 70+ year old grandparents. No. We totally chickened out. Then to our surprise this wasn't our boat, this was the boat that went to the shark reef. So we said "good the next boat should be better". NOPE! It was a smaller speed type boat. Still we had to jump from the pier to the boat. At this point we did not want to take this tour. We had heard from the cruise that the waters were a big rough that day because of "Isaac" encrouching and that you should be a strong swimmer in order to do the water activities. We talked the the staff who assured us that it was safe and that the cruises have to say that due to insurance purposes. We eventually hopped on the boat and set off.
It was about a 15 minute boat ride to barrister island. The island itself was ok. We were told by other patrons to not go in the water because there were a bunch of jelly fish stingings earlier. GREAT. Now what are we going to do on this island that is tiny and closed off from anything else? The sand was hard, not at all soft for the kids to play in. We started asking some people that were in the water and they said they hadn't seen any jelly fish in a while so we decided to give it a shot. The water was not clear or the pretty turquoise blue you would expect. But we figured it was due to Isaac. It was calm enough and the kids really enjoyed the floating mats. Then it was our time to go snorkeling.
We decided that the grandparents, infant, and 6 year old should stay behind at the island due to the rougher waters (that the staff still said they were not rough and completey safe). First you have to jump in thew water off the side of the boat. I've been snorkeling a bunch of times and never have had to do this. There were always steps or a ladder. Anyway we jumped in and while there was a lot of life in the water it wasn't at all colorful. The tour guide (mr bigs) was not friendly and not very helpful. Usually on snorkeing tours your guides will offer to take pictures of you with your gear on or while you are in the water. They'll take your camera and take pictures of you under the water. This guy...nada. He was really concerned about finding things to bring to us and was not paying attention to the water conditions. We popped our heads up at one point and the waves were HUGE, HUGE! We were also very far away from the rickety boat. My sil and i were scared at this point. But Mr. Bigs was oblivlious even after our hand signals. WE should NOT Have been out in the water in those conditions.
This tour was expensive for what we got.
If i'm ever on a cruise to Belize again i will stay on the ship! Do not go on this tour. They will encourage you to go out in weather that is dangerous in boats that are dangerous. Find a different tour company or skip Belize altogether!
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