I recently sailed on the Carnival Ecstasy as an invited guest and hosted by Carnival Cruise Line. Although reporting as a Carnival Partner and sailing free of charge, all opinions are my own.
To say I pole-vaulted right out of my comfort zone would be an understatement! At my age I am no longer very adventurous when it comes to physical activity or trying new things. When planning this cruise, my friend and I looked at several different shore excursions to take when the Carnival Ecstasy docked in Nassau. There were approximately 50 different options, each one looked like fun. Each one looked like something we would want to do. In the back of my mind I kept telling myself how much fun this excursion looked like but never mentioned it to my friend until the day before we were setting sail.
Booking Your Excursion On Board
At this point I will say that I was cruising with a life-long friend. We’ve known each other since we were both much younger and much more adventurous. I trusted her with my life. I knew that if I was ever going to try this adventure, she was the person to try it with. We decided that once we were on board we would try to book the excursion. If it was full, well then, it wasn’t meant for us.
Once on board, we headed to the Carnival Ecstasy Shore Excursion desk and chatted with the crew member about the excursion. He was extremely helpful, offering his thoughts and experiences about the excursion and giving us all the information we needed, including where to meet on the morning of our excursion. If you are unsure about an excursion the crew member is extremely knowledgeable and a great resource to help you make a decision.
Meeting for Your Excursion
All guests heading out on shore excursions were told to meet in one of the lounges at 8 a.m. on the morning we docked in Nassau. When we entered the lounge there were sections with signs for each shore excursion where we waited for a representative to come collect us. It was well organized, efficient and quick. After a short wait, a representative from Stuart Cove collected our little group and we were on our way.
The bus ride to Stuart Cove was about 30 minutes through the streets of Nassau. Our shuttle driver was full of information, pointing out different interesting aspects of the homes and areas we passed.
When we arrived we watched a short video on how to operate the sub and were given health questionnaires and waivers to fill out. One of the items they tell you about is the importance of clearing your ears during the dive and they show you how to do it. Again, the process was well organized, efficient and quick.
The boat ride out to the dive area is about 20 minutes and during this time the crew went over the instructions again, last minute tips and funny stories. Each of the crew members turn into “diving guides” when the excursion starts so getting to know them during the boat ride definitely puts you at ease.
We were a fairly large group so we were split into smaller groups since the captain only allows 8 to 10 divers at a time. The captain is patient and helpful when it’s your turn to get into your sub, reminding you of what you should be doing when you first get into the water next to your sub.
I’ll admit to a minute or two of panic when the bubble first went over my head, but within seconds you realize that you are underwater and breathing normally. There are 3 or 4 “diving guides” in the water who lead you to your group and initially have everyone in the group link hands so that you all stay together while waiting for the full group to get in the water. Once everyone is in the water, you un-link hands and the guides begin leading the group. Every few minutes (the dive is 30 minutes long) a diving guide will come to you and check your air valve, remind you to keep clearing your ears, and make sure you are o.k.
The underwater photographer is a blast – he gets great enjoyment out of dropping fish food in front of your bubble so the fish swarm around you and he can get a picture! The diving guides point out colorful fish, sting rays, coral and any other undersea point of interest. It’s amazing how well you feel like you can communicate with the guides underwater.
If you’ll be taking a cruise or vacationing in Nassau soon, I highly recommend this excursion! The captain and all the “diving guides” are wonderful, cheerful, helpful and put you completely at ease. Everyone involved in getting you on this excursion – from the crew member on board the ship to the bus driver who gets you there – is top notch!
The cost for the excursion is $139.99 per person. When you arrive at the boat dock you can add on a wet suit rental for $10.
OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION OF THE EXCURSION
Experience the underwater world without getting your head wet in a SUB. The SUB is like an underwater motorbike with a big bubble filled with a constant flow of air. Your head will be dry and your body will be wet. When you arrive at the shop you will be given a lesson on how to use the SUB and some basic guidelines. Following the orientation our SUB guides will take you on a tour of a beautiful shallow reef were they will feed the fish for you and stop along the way to point out marine life.
Note: You must be 12 years or older and in good health and must not be flying on the same day. You do not need to be a strong swimmer. A photographer will take photos of you on your SUB Adventure, and the photos will be available for purchase following your return to the dock. This excursion is not recommended for pregnant guests or those who are not in good physical health. Minimum age is 12 years old. NOTE: This excursion is not appropriate for individuals with asthma, heart conditions, high blood pressure or diabetes. Guests must complete and pass a medical questionnaire/waiver in order to participate in the scuba dive.