Scuba, Sail and Surf On Your Next Cruise
By Jacques Botty, Senior Cruise Consultant, The Cruise Web, Inc.
Ever since I was a young child, I grew up fascinated by both water and world travel, and this is why I chose to work at The Cruise Web. It all started when I took my first leap in a pool. I was 4 years old and at a pool party. There were a ton of other children, the sun was blazing hot and the water perfectly cool; the kids were swimming and they looked like they were having so much fun. So I thought, “hey, why not just jump in without telling my parents!” (I figured this way they couldn’t stop me.) Well I jumped into the deep end and quickly sank to the bottom of the pool. I looked up and noticed the sun gleaming down and that I was quickly out of breath. Fortunately, my dad saw me and I was lifted out and escorted to the shallow side. On that thrilling afternoon my love for the water was born.
Now I don’t go on any vacation without researching what opportunities there are for water sports and shore-side activities. For instance, sailing and kayaking are two of my most favorite activities. As an American Sailing Association member, I am entitled to rent keelboats up to 30 ft all over the world. The great thing about sailing, as opposed to boating, is no need to fuel up. You can travel all over using the wind and you will find this to be an enjoyable and engaging activity, and it’s eco-friendly!
Kayaking is also great because it can get you places faster than a raft (or swimming) and will keep you dry, for the most part. Almost every tropical port offers kayaking nature tours. This is a fabulous way to view the local flora and fauna because sea kayaks are quiet and don’t scare away wildlife. Every time I take a sea kayak out, I get to see all sorts of things I would have never seen in a noisy motorboat.
Another super fun thing to do while in port is taking a fishing trip with a local guide. Destinations like Costa Rica, Bermuda and the Bahamas are well known for their offshore sport fishing and inshore fly-fishing.
I also enjoy going under the water. With the name Jacques, many people jokingly ask if my last name is Cousteau. Although we’re not related, we do share an interest in the exploration of water! Well, keeping true to my name-sake, I took on SCUBA diving, which quickly became one of my favorite hobbies. On my first SCUBA trip, I realized the importance of Jacques Cousteau’s life work; the underwater world is simply too beautiful to go unseen. And thanks to Jacques’ invention of the Aqua-lung, which led to modern day SCUBA gear, even novice swimmers can see beautiful landscapes of coral reefs and schools of fish in their natural habitat.
I recommend that all cruise travelers with interest in marine creatures take a PADI (Professsional Association of Diving Instructors) learning course to get the most of their cruise vacations.
Many Caribbean ports also offer mini-sub adventures. This is a great way to see the reef if you don’t like getting wet, or are unable to swim on your own. If you’re lucky, you may even see some of your shipmates underwater on SCUBA!
But exploring the water doesn’t mean you have to be in an ocean or on a beach, in fact, some cruise ships offer you the chance to explore other water based sports, like surfing on Royal Caribbean’s FlowRider®. Some see surfers as beach bums (as though that’s a bad thing, c’mon!), I see them as some of the most physically well-balanced and impressive athletes. If you have tried the FlowRider®, you know it is not easy. Could you imagine if the 5 ft waves were 50 ft? Some surfing thrill seekers see no other way.
What water sport thrills you?