Going on a cruise is always a great experience, from the excitement of living aboard a ship packed with indoor and outdoor entertainment, to visiting new cities in new countries practically every day. These can leave you with some wonderful holiday memories (not to mention beautiful photos), but after a while, you may find that you have had a taste of nearly everything on board your ship and in the ports, they dock in.
If you love cruises, but you would like to try something different while you are on holiday as well, why not try embarking on a new, underwater adventure by booking a scuba diving session? Of course, make sure that you have completed your PADI Open Water Scuba Diving course first and you will be all set and ready to go!
Wouldn’t it be thrilling to go diving one sunny morning on your cruise, and spend hours surrounded by gorgeous coral or rainbow-coloured tropical fish, only to return to the ship later that day and gaze out at the water, knowing that just a short time ago you were exploring a very different world just below it? You may not even have to travel far to make memories for a lifetime. Many ports around the world welcome in cruise liners, and some of them also double up as the perfect place to take a dip beneath the waves.
Below are seven of the best places around the world for amazing cruises, that also make fantastic scuba diving experiences.
This Carribean island is famous for its scuba diving opportunities, and as it has crystal clear water and is teeming with all kinds of wildlife, it’s a little wonder. Diving spots and opportunities are rife, with practically the entire west and southwest sides of the island being marked out as great destinations for your dive. From small sharks and rays to eels and turtles hiding in among the underwater flora, there will always be something to grab your attention. There is even a purposefully sunken Mexican navy ship, the Felipe Xicotencatl, ready and waiting to be investigated!
Ponta Delgada, the Azores
Often used as a stopover point on Transatlantic cruises, the capital of this autonomous region of Portugal boasts warm summer waters that make excellent scuba diving sites, as do the other island ports that take cruise ships (and potential divers). Expeditions will be available with all sorts of wildlife sights in mind; dolphins and sharks are commonly spotted, as are whales, rays and numerous species of tropical fish. All are typical for the Atlantic ocean, but how often does one get to see any of them up close, in their natural habitat?
According to many expert divers, including those hired at PADI, the Philippines has some of the finest diving sites you will ever see. As the country is an archipelago made up of well over 7,000 islands, there are plenty of places where you might be able to take a dip. All of these places will have their magical offerings, but the tourist-attracting port city of Cebu is proud to play host to some of the most unspoiled underwater hideaways, as well as those with some of the most history behind them.
Whale sharks and rays are common here, but so are the wreckage sites of ships and planes that were sunk or shot down during the Second World War. If you love your history as much as your cruises and your wildlife, why not consider a dive here in the Philippines?
Nicknamed “the Garden Island”, visiting the oldest formed island of the Hawaiian archipelago is worth it simply to see the tropical rainforests turning the mountains green and the scenic waterfalls that run throughout. However, the true gem lies in the water beneath the island, in the form of the Sheraton Caverns.
This is the most popular site for diving in the area, and a vast range of wildlife live in the waters, up to and including moray eels and all different kinds of sharks. If you’ve always wanted a dream trip to Hawaii that you will never forget, why not dive the Caverns to cement an unforgettable experience?
Grand Cayman, the Cayman Islands
The largest of the three Cayman Islands host some of the most beautiful and geographically varied coral reefs in the Caribbean, with hundreds of dive sites spread across them. As all three islands are the exposed top of a submerged mountain, wall diving is especially popular ‒ that is, diving down to explore underwater cliff faces and reef edges that face out onto the open ocean. Taking a diving tour here will feel like a real adrenaline rush, as you examine the colorful coral and fish, and turn to see the endless blue of the ocean stretching out in front of you!
Key West, Florida
Situated in the Florida Keys, this city-slash-island is also the state’s southernmost point and is famous for its reefs, both natural and artificial. Discover the wonders to be found there, from the hard and soft corals (there are over 100 species here!) and crustaceans to the turtles, sponges, and sharks. All live together in peace, along with over 500 varieties of tropical fish.
If you are interested in history, or just want to see something magnificent, take a dive tour around the sunken USNS General Hoyt S. Vanderburg, perhaps the most famous artificial reef in the area. It is also the second-largest artificial reef in the entire world, so you will be able to impress your friends and family with your photos!
Crete, Greek Islands
With its dramatic coastline and clean, clear water, the largest and most popular of the Greek Islands boasts some of the most spectacular diving sites in the Mediterranean. There is an abundance of wildlife, with moray eels, octopi and blackfish all regularly being spotted there. If you are interested in something a little more ancient, why not dive the coast of the ruins of Itanos, where there is an entire submerged city? This magical sight is the perfect way to round off the holiday of a lifetime and will be something to remember long after you’ve packed up and left for home.
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