PDA

View Full Version : Best Caribbean Live Aboards



BobArnold8265
09-15-2007, 22:28
My Wife and I just tried our first live aboard in the Gulf of Mexico and really enjoyed it. It was a short two day trip but a good way to see if we'd like them. Well we really did and now would like to go on a longer excursion around February. Any recommendations on a Caribbean live aboard ??

Damselfish
09-15-2007, 22:56
My Wife and I just tried our first live aboard in the Gulf of Mexico and really enjoyed it. It was a short two day trip but a good way to see if we'd like them. Well we really did and now would like to go on a longer excursion around February. Any recommendations on a Caribbean live aboard ??
Well the ones that come immediately to mind are Aggressor, Peter Hughes, Nekton, Carribean Explorers, Blackbeards (also runs Aquacat and Cat Ppalu), Cuan Law. They're generally all good in their own way and have fans, though you do want to research as best you can the current state of any boat - condition, crew, itinerary - as these things change and can make a big difference. It really depends on your budget, what amenities you want, and where you want to go? You pretty much get what you pay for.

Zenagirl
09-16-2007, 08:17
It's hard to recommend a company unless you give us more information about what you want, don't want, likes, dislikes, etc. Ex. if you want pampered luxury, go with Cuan Law not Blackbeards.....and the list goes on.

We did a 2 week back-to-back on the Nekton Pilot to the Bahamas this summer and had a fabulous time! That was our second Nekton trip with the first one being to Belize a little less than 2 years ago. Honestly, we didn't look farther than the Nekton boat not only because of our excellent experience in Belize, but also because they depart out of Florida and you get to dive all the way through Friday night (if your plane doesn't depart too early on Saturday). Private, ensuite cabins are also a "must" for us.

chinacat46
09-16-2007, 09:08
Without knowing where you want to go,etc... it's tough to really recommend where to go and with who. I've done a number of liveaboards in the caribbean and I think my favorite boat would be the Sun Dancer out of Belize. Very big roomy boat with only 18 divers max. I also enjoyed the Cayman Aggressor and the Turks & Caicos Aggressor.

thesmoothdome
09-16-2007, 10:25
I'm with Chinacat. The Sun Dancer in Belize was the epitome of what luxury diving should be about. I did a write up of our trip there in July. Check it out if you'd like.

http://forum.scubatoys.com/showthread.php?t=1463

Damselfish
09-16-2007, 13:10
I'm also partial to the Sun Dancer in Belize.

csky
09-16-2007, 14:48
I went on the Nekton Pilot to Belize last February and can definitely recommend it. February seems to be a relatively slow season, so you may not have many people on the boat (I think we had about 9), if you are traveling solo you might really luck out and get your own room. Plus, it was cold enough in the Midwest that I really appreciated going to someplace warm like Belize.

The diving in Belize is almost all wall diving and is gorgeous. I had the best dive of my life on the trip, a night dive off Half Moon Caye, and saw turtles, eels, etc on almost every dive. The current on the reefs is minimal, and the walls make for easy navigation. The combination of conditions makes for great photography (which I did not do). Overall I think Belize makes an excellent location for liveaboard diving because, realistically, most day boats will never make it out to the reefs you see on the liveaboard, let alone do 5 dives a day there. Unlike places like Cozumel where most reefs are in easily accessed via day boat, I think Belize is someplace you will have a completely different experience because of the liveaboard.

The Pilot was a great boat w/ a good crew (almost a 1 per passenger ratio!). I have heard it is not so luxurious as others but I felt plenty pampered. I found the cabins and common areas relatively spacious for a boat, and I *really* liked having an ensuite bathroom (which not all of the liveaboards do). The dive deck is well set up and I can't imagine significant improvement. Not having been on other liveaboards, I can't compare. The design of the ship made it extremely stable and despite some stormy weather I never used any of my seasick meds. The downsides of Nekton: they do not dive the Blue Hole (so I've never been -- doesn't bother me but I don't have the basis for an opinion) and if you want alcohol or carbonated beverages, you will have to BYOB (they stop at a grocery store on the way to the boat). This worked out fine for me as I did the night dive every night and did my imbibing afterwards. Fellow divers were off all types and ages -- I ended up diving with every single person on board at some point -- and we all had lots to talk about.

As I said, I don't have the basis for comparison but I did a fair amount of research beforehand. The points that sold me in advance were all as advertised, and the whole trip was even more fun than I had imagined. All the liveaboards pretty much went to the same sites so I think it will come down to what kind of experience you are looking for. I also looked into doing the Bahamas (just too cold for me in February), Turks and Caicos (having dove there via Provo, more expensive and as far as I can tell very similar to Belize except more pricey), and Cayman (ditto).

I hope this helps! Good luck deciding!