If you are serious about scuba diving, take a week to sail the blue waters around the out Islands of the Bahamas. Every day ... More
If you are serious about scuba diving, take a week to sail the blue waters around the out Islands of the Bahamas. Every day of the cruise, offered by Blackbeard's Cruises is a pleasure. The captain guides the ship to the dive site that has the best conditions. Popular sites include the Rainbow Reef, the wreck of the Hesperus, and some of the world's best shark diving sites. Although conditions are not plush, true adventure enthusiasts enjoy the close quarters and informal dining arrangements.
They allow divers to stab and kill the lobsters or like in most cases- they get away and are left to suffer in horrific pain. No diving ethics what-so-ever. We LIKE seeing the lobsters. We LOVE taking their photos on night dives. Maybe allowing tourists to massacre the wildlife isn't the image you want for your operation.
I have read other reviews and can't understand if they are talking about the same boat or crew. We are from a dive shop that takes four or five trips per year and this was by far the most reasonable and best bang for the buck. Crew is polite, professional and the live aboard is a special experience that can not be replaced by an all inclusive resort. We did four or five dives every day and were only limited by water temps and divers who ran out of gas physically. Food is above average for any all inclusive environment and only limited by space available to serve it. If you live to eat you may be unhappy with live aboard dining. This food was as good or better than food on several Agressor trips with a fun more informal feel. We did budy groups and were allowed to dive our own profile and manage our daily dive limits. Crew was helpfull in sugesting best profile and path of travel for the dive. Most of the time they were spot on. This system works well and although I love Cozumel most of the operators dive in larger groups and when some air pig sucks his tank dry this is usually the beginning of the end for the rest of us. With air fare, tip extra hotel night and taxes I was under $1400.00 for twenty four dives in six dive days. Consider this probably the best deal on live aboard diving I have found in 27 years of diving. We also go to Cozumel almost every year and spend $1,000.00 per diver more than this for seven days and end up staying at spots like Allegro and half the group misses half the week of diving because they got some bad Mexican something to eat or drink. I'll be back by myself or with a trip from the shop, this is a great experience.
Got there, we only had 1/2 the boat booked. Didn't do a single dive until the shark dive over 25'. I freedove all the dives. We got yelled at for spending too much time underwater by this garden gnome of a divemaster named Red. He was a jerk. The crew was fighting with eachother and didn't want to be there. The Food started off awesome and as moral changed, so did the quality of the food. Finally things started looking up, we got to dive the Nodules, a great wall that you can pick your depth, but with the other 1/2 of the divers being inferior to the quality of divers that we produce, they were a disaster. Things got worse when 2 divers (father and son) decided to drop down to 140' and run out of air shooting to the surface. This prompted immediate action from me and another divemaster, who assisted them in and performed a 5 minute neurological exam to make sure they weren't badly bent. The garden gnome at this point started blaming my divers who were at 140' doing an approved decompression dive by the other divemaster, as we brought decompression cylinders on board specifically for this dive, which was a favourite of ours in years past.
The gnome and my divers started arguing and things started to escalate, so I interviened and moved the 2 groups away from eachother.
Diving was cancelled for the rest of the day. So out of about 15 dives thus far, only 2 deeper than 25'.
The reefs were dead, the divers were crap, and later that night in port, we had a poor lobster cook out, as no one else spearfished but me and a couple of my guys.
At the bar we all came to a head after a few too many beers and we demanded the crew return us back to port (Miami at this time). After getting into a fight with someone on the boat, I was confined to quarters, my other divers were asking for a refund and the captain had no choice but to return to Miami.
We left 2 days early, didn't tip the crew and I vowed never to come back on this trip unless I had full run of the boat with my divers.
The only saving grace was I had driven down in the first place, so I grabbed a few of my divers and we went back up to Northern Florida where I took my divers for a couple of days of fresh water diving in the crystal clear springs of High Springs area. They loved Ginnie Springs so much that we did 5 dives there and came home.
The worst dive trip I have ever had, the worst crew I've ever had and the most arrogant little troll I have ever met.
Do yourself a favour and ask what level of certification is on the boat and what dives they have planned before hand.
Make sure the people you're going with are in an age range you can relate to.
We never got a refund or any restitution from the company, despite sending over 110 people on this trip over the last 20 years.
Tornados and strong winds prevented us from leaving home to board the Blackbeard's ship in Freeport Bahamas. When we called to let them know and asked about rebooking, we were told there are no refunds. Their website plainly states there are no refunds and tells clients to buy trip insurance (which we thought we had, but turns out it didn't cover this since it was not a named storm). However we thought that since they already had our $1758, that they would let us rebook on another date that had open spots. Their policy is to do so on a stand-by only meaning we must call on a given Friday to find out if there are open spots for the following Saturday departure. If there are available spaces, we must then use those 7 days to schedule time off work, get dog sitters lined up, buy airline tickets and so forth. All we asked was if we could reschedule and confirm for October 3 (or original trip was supposed to be June 13) since they currently have four open bunks.
They told us they would not lose the revenue they could get from selling those spots if they could avoid it, so the answer is no, we must wait until Sept 25 to know if we would be allowed to board on Oct 3. They asked me if I truly felt it was fair to have them lose $1758 just because our airline could not get us to them on time.
I told them I didn't see how they lost revenue when they already have our $1758 and have not serviced us in any way other than to insult us via e-mails that insinuate we are trying to get something for free.
We understand not bumping other paying customers with reservations. We would even understand a 10% rebooking fee. We do not understand the condesending manner they have nor their unwillingness to book us for a date that is during their admitted slow time of year when they have the benefit of our entire payment already in hand.
Be aware that DAN and Dive Assure cover trip cancellation due to medical emergencies or "named" storms so our trip insurance was not the coverage we thought. And Blackbeard's office attitude is that they have no reason to be accomodating or courteous for that matter.
I wish we had found this review prior to booking because I too wondered why the diving was 3-4 times per day instead of 4-5 times per day. Reading others' reviews sounds like we would have wasted our $1758 even if we had been able to go.
I found Blackbeards charter to be disapppointing for several reasons. One : the crew was more interested in partying than in diving. We averaged 3 dives a day when easily 4 or 5 dives could have been done on this liveaboard. If you are interested in partying with minimal diving this would be the boat for you. If you are a hardcore diver and want to dive....I wouldn't recommend it. Two: there were safety issues on the boat. I do not consider letting a brand new diver dive a 90ft dive in a ripping current by himself while the master diver sat on deck very safe....ect.. Three: the food was barely edible and there weren't any snacks to speak of between dives. The diving itself was so-so. The visibility wasn't what I expected with most dives having 40ft viz but apparently this is average for Bimini in the winter. The actual dives we did were wrecks with coral reefs being minimal. There are other places to go in the Caribbean with better diving that are not as expensive. I would not dive with Blackbeards again. I also dove a day with Unexso out of Freeport and they were excellent.
I just got back from an amazing week of diving and fun in February 09. The crew were simply outstanding, the food was excellent. It was absolutely clear to all of us that Captain Pancho's mission was to ensure that we had the absolute best time we could and the crew delivered.
I was a bit skeptical at first because there were some negative reviews here and there but in my opinion, the negative reviews probably came from spoiled customers that were expecting a luxury liner. It's a sail boat, don't expect a chocolate mint on your pillow at night. The crew went above and beyond the call of duty to serve us and I can't think of anything they could have done to improve on what they already did.
As for the dive sites, it is simply spectacular and the shark dive, well all I can say is that you have to go and see for yourself because it cannot be described in words.
So is it worth the money... Absolutely and I will be back in 2010.
Its amazing how many fun things Blackbeard's gets into one week! The diving is amazing....we got 23 dives done in one week! On top of the diving, we got to go spearfishing for lobster, fishing, snorkeling for sand dollars, have a beach party on an uninhabited island, visit Bimini for an afternoon, and much much more! The staff is very friendly. The food is great! Especially when you catch fresh fish or lobster...they cook it for us! Best deal in diving!
If you want a luxury trip, don't go on this trip. Its definitely not luxury, but if you're adventurous, and love diving and fun, this trip is for you!
Seasickness is not a problem most of the year, especially now that they don't cross the gulf stream from miami.
Blackbeards was at one time the best deal ever but in the past 5 years the price has increased by as much as 700.00, this includeds all travel related expenses i.e. rooms in freeport, extra flight(freeport instead of Miami), extra parking time, plus several hundred dollar increase in the price, and now they short you time diving by getting into freeport thursday morning. I love Blackbeards but it's not worth what it cost today. I can and will goto cozumel for 10 days, make the same number of dives and stay all-inclusive for the same 6 day blackbeard trip. I'm not trying to badmouth BB's it's just to truth.
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