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chicken
11-19-2008, 19:18
Has anyone gone on one of the Divers Supply charters? They are advertising a New Years day trip to the Keys and it looks good. I am interested in knowing if the trips deliver on the promises.

Being at the Marietta store at 0500 is going to take a mighty fine company to get me there. Before I set my alarm what is your opinion of this shop's charters?

DMWiz
11-19-2008, 20:34
Florida Keys. These trips are for certified divers, open water students & advanced and specialty divers conducting their certification dives. Trip varies on departure and return. This is a great trip to complete your openwater certification on, or for divers of any level. Let us do the driving, you do the diving! Trip includes bus transportation, air fills and tanks, accommodations, and charter fees. Student certification programs and rental equipment packages available.

For that kind of coin you could drive down here and get a bunch of dives and have some spare change to eat and buy me a beer after :D

Seriously, I couldn't see the details of the trip from the website but you could do that on your own specially if you find someone to split the cost with you and spend a lot less.

It does sound like fun, however, if you do get a large group of people to go with you! They don't mention how many dives or days are you paying for. I would find out before booking.

Wiz

chicken
11-19-2008, 21:01
Sorry, here are the details...trip originates in Marietta Georgia



Trip Schedule:

December 31 - Wednesday

Depart Marietta 5 am

Depart Macon 7 am

Arrive FL Keys 6 pm

Celebration

January 1 - Thursday

2 Tank Boat Dive 1 pm

January 2 - Friday

2 Tank Boat Dive 8 am

Optional Dive Night Dive TBA

January 3 - Saturday

2 Tank Boat Dive 8 am

Depart 2 pm

January 4 - Sunday

ETA Macon 1 am

ETA Marietta 3 am




Trip Fee Includes: Transportation, 3 Night Lodging, 3 Dive Boat Charters (Tanks and Air fills are provided). Your only expenses are your personal entertainment and meals. All taxes are reflected in the trip fees. Due to reservation demands it is necessary to make your trip reservation early, space is limited.
Diver $599 double occupancy
Options:
Single room Add $210
Non Diver Deduct $180
Nitrox fills Add $8 per tank Optional Night Dive Add $60

DMWiz
11-19-2008, 21:21
That's actually not bad when you consider each dive trip average price in The Keys is $50 to $60 w/o tanks and lodging around $80 to $100 a night on the cheap side. And I doubt you could find that rate during those dates!

Best of all you don't have to drive the long boring trip down FLA.
Sounds like a very happy new year party to me.

chicken
11-20-2008, 05:45
That's the point, it sounds great. I was hoping to find someone with experience at this LDS. My last trip through another shop was a "great" deal until I paid and did not get near what was promised.

mike_s
11-20-2008, 09:57
well the benefits of this trip are:

1.) you don't have to drive or fly. they go on bus
2.) no rental car needed compared to if you flew
3.) you get in an extra day of diving because you're not flying. (you dive on your last day there).


for $599 it is a great deal because it includes transportation. my LDS did a Key largo trip a couple years ago that didn't include the bus and we had to fly on our own and it cost $600 bucks. plus a rental car.


of course I don't know what hotel they use. there are some nice hotels in Key Largo and some dumps.

However for $599, if I lived in ATL area, I'd be hopping on this trip.



BTW... there is some other Dive Shop in the north atlanta area that does similar bus trips.... can't remember it's name though.

DMWiz
11-20-2008, 15:59
If you can find out where you will be staying and which dive op they are using I may be able to give you some more info.

There are just too many charters and hotels down there it's hard to tell.

Gumby
11-20-2008, 17:16
I just looked into doing a trip with them (Jacksonville store) over Thanksgiving. They are staying in Taviner Island at either the Tropic Vista or Keys Motel. This particular trip didn't include transportation (cost 399). Was considering this trip with my girlfriend (non-diver), but figured it would be roughly $1500 for the entire trip (gas, food, etc) and the hotels are not that nice. The room rates are $109 and $119 (weekends).

I don't mind sleeping in a not-so-nice motel, but the reviews on the interwebs played a major role since my girlfriend doesn't dive, and would be spending her day lounging around the pool, sipping a daiquiri, and reading a book.

Also, figure in a night dive for an extra $55.

All and all, I would like to take a trip though them, but could easily save a lot of money by adding an extra diver in my car to split the bills, and scheduling my own charters.

Now, If I was single and without a dive buddy to split the bills... I would be in the car lickety-split.

If you do go, let us know how it goes!

Edit: Oh Snap... they driving you from Georgia?!? That's a great deal! I was gonna have to drive from Chucktown all the way there on my own dime. Would cost, what... about $250-300 in gas alone, plus $350 for the room, plus $300 for the charters.... pshhh.... if they drove me, I'd be there with or without my girlfriend :smiley18:

heydn62
12-31-2008, 13:40
Has anyone gone on one of the Divers Supply charters? They are advertising a New Years day trip to the Keys and it looks good. I am interested in knowing if the trips deliver on the promises.

Being at the Marietta store at 0500 is going to take a mighty fine company to get me there. Before I set my alarm what is your opinion of this shop's charters?

If I remember correctly, they stop at some of their other shops along the way (specifically Macon), so anyone who lives south of Atlanta wouldn't have to get up quite so early.

The Macon store is much nicer than the ones in Marietta and NE Atlanta (Doraville?).

Lone Frogman
01-01-2009, 05:06
If your going, your late! I joined a group trip acouple of years ago. The trip was Venice Beach dives and I was working around Brunswick so it was easier to just drive to Venice, then to drive back to Atlanta to catch van to go to Florida. I enjoyed the trip nice group. All range of divers exp to newbies, stayed at nice hotel. I have to say that I was glad that I drove myself. The Diver Supply van was packed full of divers(not the way I like to travel).

Lone Frogman
01-01-2009, 05:08
well the benefits of this trip are:

1.) you don't have to drive or fly. they go on bus
2.) no rental car needed compared to if you flew
3.) you get in an extra day of diving because you're not flying. (you dive on your last day there).


for $599 it is a great deal because it includes transportation. my LDS did a Key largo trip a couple years ago that didn't include the bus and we had to fly on our own and it cost $600 bucks. plus a rental car.


of course I don't know what hotel they use. there are some nice hotels in Key Largo and some dumps.

However for $599, if I lived in ATL area, I'd be hopping on this trip.



BTW... there is some other Dive Shop in the north atlanta area that does similar bus trips.... can't remember it's name though.

Dive Shop 5 on Sandy Plans in Marietta GA

chicken
01-01-2009, 07:09
Have you done any trips with Dive Shop 5? After a few "shakedown" trips with other shops that left me a little bitter, I learned to ask around before signing up.

heydn62
01-01-2009, 15:29
If your going, your late! I joined a group trip acouple of years ago. The trip was Venice Beach dives and I was working around Brunswick so it was easier to just drive to Venice, then to drive back to Atlanta to catch van to go to Florida. I enjoyed the trip nice group. All range of divers exp to newbies, stayed at nice hotel. I have to say that I was glad that I drove myself. The Diver Supply van was packed full of divers(not the way I like to travel).


I checked their web site and they show trips to the keys, boca raton, and checkoff dives to Blue Grotto and somewhere else. However, the only dates given were for the checkoff dives. They say everyone is welcome on the check off dives, but I did my dives in that area and I'd much rather hold out for the keys.

Lone Frogman
01-02-2009, 02:30
Have you done any trips with Dive Shop 5? After a few "shakedown" trips with other shops that left me a little bitter, I learned to ask around before signing up.

No, I'm really don't do to many trips with dive shops. When I go on my own dive trips I find I get more dives in, than going with a dive shop group.





I checked their web site and they show trips to the keys, boca raton, and checkoff dives to Blue Grotto and somewhere else. However, the only dates given were for the checkoff dives. They say everyone is welcome on the check off dives, but I did my dives in that area and I'd much rather hold out for the keys.

What I find about the dive shop trips that go to the keys, are that the trips are so short. Four or five dives is not enough for me. If I make a trip down to the Keys I'm going to dive at least 4 dives a day for 4 days. Than 2 or 3 dives on the way home. I have not found any dive shops offering that many dives in one trip. If I did it would be out of my budget

heydn62
01-02-2009, 20:29
What I find about the dive shop trips that go to the keys, are that the trips are so short. Four or five dives is not enough for me. If I make a trip down to the Keys I'm going to dive at least 4 dives a day for 4 days. Than 2 or 3 dives on the way home. I have not found any dive shops offering that many dives in one trip. If I did it would be out of my budget

I agree. Going that far, it only makes sense to spend more than just a couple of days, but it looks like most of these trips are just for long weekends. Could still be fun if you go with a bunch of friends, but I'm not sure about doing this with a group of strangers. Who knows though; still be better than spending a weekend doing nothing.

chicken
01-03-2009, 06:23
The trip is short but some of us have JOBS and these dive outfits expect some sort of payment. Seriously, for a long weekend these trips are good but when vacation time comes there are longer ones farther south!

I am always looking for two, three, or four day adventures over a weekend to help me get through to my two weeks of vacation each year.

mike_s
01-05-2009, 09:57
Have you done any trips with Dive Shop 5? After a few "shakedown" trips with other shops that left me a little bitter, I learned to ask around before signing up.


I had a discussion with a scubaboard member a couple years ago that did several trips with the other shop that did bus trips... (I'm guessing it was this shop, but I thought it had a slighly different name. maybe they changed names). anyway, he had a favorable opinion of the trips he had done with them on bus trips.

crosseyed95
01-05-2009, 11:59
They are staying in Taviner Island at either the Tropic Vista or Keys Motel.

I don't mind sleeping in a not-so-nice motel, but the reviews on the interwebs played a major role since my girlfriend doesn't dive, and would be spending her day lounging around the pool, sipping a daiquiri, and reading a book.



For the last 3 years in a row, our LDS has gone to the keys and we always stay at the Tropic Vista/Keys Motel. Some consider this hotel dumpy but I've always considered it a divers motel. Rooms need updating but they have started renovating several of them since it was bought and has new owners. The pools are clean, rooms are clean and they have no problem with you hanging dive gear out to dry.

Last I knew, they were charging $100 to $110 per room but would discount $10 if it was a major group (please don't quote me on the prices).

So, it's not the Hilton but you'll get a clean room and can sit outside and drink a beer with nobody bothering you.

crosseyed95

road guy
01-06-2009, 22:11
well I did this trip last week...

Diving was good

Hotel was the Keys Motel, had some "character" but worked. It is an older divers hotel, quiet thats for sure, but it was nice to hang back by the canal and chill... close to dive shop they used (Fl Keys Divers)

One restaurant within walking distance (bad)
Nothing else within walking distance (bad)

I think since we were all stuck without a ride it would have been worthwhile to pay more for a hotel that was a little closer to other shops, restaurants, bars,etc, but with the night dive we didnt really have a lot of free time.

Main complaints with DS is that while I beleive they dont set out to make $$ on this trip and are just offering a service to divers the owners take this "economic plan" to the extreme.

They keep an RV in Macon, they drive you down to the keys and on the way back, you stop in Macon (we were there about 4 AM) they want to offload the RV and load you up in a van to complete the trip to atlanta, and the drivers we had didnt have a clue how to unload the large trailer we had all our gear in. No biggie but they should let the Macon Store employees swap the vehicles out the next day on their time ($).

But in the interest in getting home we do it for them. My son was asleep so another guy and myself did it for them.

Then they want to go ahead and fill the RV up with gas before we leave, did I mention its 4 AM and we had been in the RV for about 12 hours already? I didnt understand why one of the Macon employees wouldnt do this the next day? Why waste our time with it?? Or at least do it while we are unloading the trailer instead of standing around.

On the way up one of the owners called and had them pick up an order for one of their stores, (guess who helped load?) yup,, the "customers" not a big deal, but it wasted more time, everyones crabby and just ready to get home.

The staff from DS did a good job taking folks down, driving, being a tour guide, etc. I dont think they liked all the BS in Macon either, but they were just following orders.

Overall though we as a group had fun on the dives and while we were down there, If I did it again I would arrange to stay an extra day, maybe just pay the full fee and let them haul our gear and provide my own transportation. But no way would I step back into that RV!

mike_s
01-07-2009, 15:20
If you ever go on a large "bus" or other group trip in Key Largo and need a place to stay that doesn't require a car, try the Holiday Inn.

within walking distance are several restaurants, including one or two at the hotel, a convience store, a drug store, the marina where several dive boats are located, a coffee/donut shop, a laundry place, a medium sized grocery store (that might have gone out of business), several bars, McDonals, Wendy's, BurgerKing, etc. all within walking distance.

I know you might not have a choice where to stay on someone elses trip, but if you do a group trip on your own, something to consider.

the Holiday Inn isn't grand, but the rooms were clean, the AC worked great, had a mini-fridge in the room and a decent pool and pool bar.