The Best Cruise Destinations for Scuba Diving: Dive into Adventure

Written: The Top Thing Staff | June 16, 2023

Scuba diving enthusiasts know that one of the best ways to have a memorable diving experience is by combining it with a cruise vacation. Fortunately, there are many great destinations for scuba diving around the world, and here are some of the top cruise destinations for scuba based on a list from Cruise Watch.

Top Cruise Destinations for Scuba

Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands

The clear waters and an abundance of marine life make Grand Turk one of the greatest diving spots in the Caribbean. Blue Water Divers is a company that offers trips to the picturesque reef on dive boats. Celebrity Cruises also frequently sends cruise ships to the region allowing for some memorable diving experiences.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands are known for their range of exotic animals and thriving marine life below. There are plenty of larger animals that make an appearance, such as penguins, sea lions, and sea turtles. While there aren’t many coral reefs in the Galapagos, the incredible wildlife more than makes up for it. Silversea Cruises offers regular trips to the islands for a diving experience that you’ll never forget.

Queensland, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the best dive sites in the world, stretching for 2,300 kilometers off the Queensland coast in Australia. There are many different ports along the way with a wide variety of colorful corals, as well as many different species of fish and larger marine life. Princess Cruises offer round trips on the Queensland coast, including stops in places like Port Douglas, Cairns, and Airlie Beach for an incredible diving trip.

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

St. Thomas is the perfect destination for novice scuba divers or those who are not deep diving enthusiasts. The St. Thomas Diving Club is located close to the port where you can explore a remarkable abundance of sea life, including octopuses, lobsters, and eels. Crystal Cruises offers scuba diving excursions in St. Thomas as part of their Caribbean cruise itineraries.

Key West, Florida

The USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg was deliberately sunk off Key West in 2009 to make an artificial reef. It’s the second-largest artificial reef after the USS Oriskany, which is also off the Florida coast but much further out and deeper. Holland America Line is one of the many cruise companies visiting Key West for excursions and this historic diving spot.

Little Bay, St. Maarten

Apart from the planes flying incredibly close to Maho Beach, there are many wonders underwater. The HMS Proselyte is located there for you to explore the cannons and anchors it has. MSC Cruises offer many trips to the region.

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands, and Tortola in particular, provide excellent diving experiences. The Rhone sunk in 1867 during a hurricane and you will be able to explore it fully. It broke in two but the two segments are remarkably intact. Norwegian Cruise Line offers great excursions to see the shipwreck, and there are also many great private dive centers such as Sail Caribbean Divers.

Phuket, Thailand

Phuket is known for its beautiful beaches, but further out, you can see a vast range of marine life. One of the best aspects of Phuket is that it is able to cater to all skill levels with Royal Caribbean being a cruise line that visits the area often, offering unforgettable diving experiences.

Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai, especially the Sheraton Caverns, is the best place in Hawaii for diving. The caverns and landscape of the area, together with the vast range of fish species, will give you one of the most memorable dives ever. Norwegian Cruise Line is a specialist in the area and offers a variety of 7-night cruises to the islands, including Kauai.

Nassau, the Bahamas

Nassau provides the best diving experience in the Bahamas as you will be able to see beautiful coral reefs and encounter Caribbean reef sharks. MSC Cruises and Oceania Cruises are both great options for excursions.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I scuba dive on any cruise?

Not all cruises offer scuba diving trips. Before booking a cruise, make sure to check if there are any excursions or dive packages available.

2. Do I need prior experience to scuba dive on a cruise?

It depends on the dive site and operator you choose. Some dive sites require that you have prior experience, while others offer instruction for novice divers, or certification courses.

3. What should I pack for a scuba diving excursion on a cruise?

You should always pack a bathing suit, sunscreen, and water shoes. Diving equipment is usually provided by the dive operator or you can rent it on-site. You may also want to bring a waterproof camera to capture those unforgettable underwater moments.

So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, there are excellent scuba diving destinations for you to explore on your next cruise vacation. Check with your cruise operator, review the dive sites, and don’t forget to pack those important items for unforgettable underwater adventures.