Say you want to dive but more importantly is not a diver and would rather do other activities such as shopping. If you both decide to go on a Caribbean cruise vacation, is it still possible for you to go scuba diving? The answer is yes. It would be a big help to all certified divers are going on a cruise trip which includes goals such as scuba diving is great as Cozumel and Grand Cayman. After all, as a certified diver, it would be a shame to go to the ports and not dive.
Many cruise ships offer scuba diving as part of their available shore excursions. Some ships even have small dive centers on board for those who want to take an introductory session on the pool board. These cruise lines will often have business contracts with local dive operators at each port that has scuba diving. These local dive operators will take certified divers on a boat trip in the name of the cruise line. Booking and payment will be made via a cruise ship than a local dive operator. Cruise lines claim that if for any reason scuba trips run late, the cruise ship will not leave port until all passengers from cruise ship visits held back on board. They will not wait for passengers who decide to take their own excursions not booked through the cruise ship. This is how the cruise ships try to convince divers to take their excursions even if the cost is usually at a premium compared to what local dive operators would normally charge directly.
Another way to get some scuba diving in for a cruise vacation is to make arrangements and book in advance with local scuba dive operators at each port you are interested in diving. Although there is always the risk of missing your port departure if your own outing runs late, but make sure you plan your own dive trips so you better get back on the ship before departure port. Usually if your cruise ship arrives at the port in the morning, you can book the morning dive trips with local operators and still have the rest of the afternoon to shop or do other tours. For arrival later where you will miss the morning dive trips, it is still possible to take a local operator afternoon dive trips but in this case, it is important to ensure that you confirm what the estimated time of return to the dock. If you can get back to the pier at least two hours before the scheduled departure of the cruise ship, than you will have ample time even if the dive boat back rather late. It was only an hour or less, the time may be too tight. See if the dive operator has a shorter single afternoon tank trip that might get you back to the dock early.
Some local dive operators even have special pick up and drop off services to and from the cruise terminal to their dive shops. This business is diving obviously make an effort to take some business away from the dive cruise ship organized excursions. This particular local dive operators would be ideal if you could find them before your cruise vacation. If not, you may have to take a local taxi to the dive shop if it is not within walking distance from the cruise terminal. Of course, this is usually not a problem either and even with the additional cost of a taxi, the overall cost would be with a local dive operator may still be lower than the cruise ship organized dive trip.
Some cruise passengers have managed to get a local dive trips without booking in advance. These divers just walked into a local dive operator once at port. While this is certainly feasible, it is not recommended especially in the destination that fills dive trips quickly. With the internet, it's easy to make agreements with many local dive operators before your cruise vacation. Tell them the day of your cruise ship will arrive and the expected time of both arrival and departure. Some ports like Cozumel have more than one cruise ship terminal so it's important to let them know if it is possible that one of your ship will be docked in. They will then give you the best option for some scuba diving for a particular day.