FAQ

Blackbeard’s Cruises offers liveaboard scuba diving adventures to the Out Islands of the Bahamas.  We have two 65′ sloops, the Sea Explorer & Morning Star, designed especially for scuba diving. Cruises that depart from Nassau will explore the Exuma Cays of the central Bahamas. Dive the pristine waters of the Exumas Land and Sea Park. Eco-adventures are included.  The FAQ below should answer most questions you have.

You will be able to dive a large variety of dive sites, reefs, walls, high speed drift dives including the Washing Machine, night dives, blue holes and shark feeding dives are offered each trip.  We offer 19 dives each trip.

We’ll spend the last night in port where you can experience the local island life too. The crew consists of 5 dedicated and personable mates! The captain, first mate, engineer, dive instructor and cook are all more than happy to assist you in any way they can! We look forward to having you join us aboard a Blackbeard’s Cruises scuba diving liveaboard!

Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQ)!

Get Acquainted

There is no fixed schedule, it is an new adventure each week! The Captain will vary the itinerary to take advantage of the best weather and diving conditions. We’ll traverse the northern end of the Exuma Cays in search of great conditions with nights anchored offshore one of the many islands. The last night of the trip will be spent in Nassau where you can explore the big island with your new buddies! Dinner on Thursday is served on board at the dock.

We set sail at approximately 3 pm. The dock gates open at noon on Saturdays so please make travel arrangements that will allow you time to be there around noon, 2 pm at the absolute latest. We serve lunch, get you settled and have our safety briefing before we depart Nassau for the Exumas!

All passengers disembark by 9 am on the following Friday. If you have a flight later in the day out of Nassau, you may leave your luggage in the lobby while you sightsee and return 2 1/2 hours prior to your flight’s departure to retrieve your bags. Your last dive is complete by early afternoon on Thursday. Plan your flight home according to your “NO FLY” standard from your certifying agency.

The best time for sailing is from October to April. During the period from May to September there is normally very little wind. Passenger participation is welcomed by the crew or you may just relax in the sun.

Motion sickness medication should be brought along in the event that we encounter rough seas. We want you to be comfortable. The boat will spend the night in calm anchorages and normally scuba diving will be done on the lee side of the islands. The best thing about a liveaboard diving vacation is that we can flex our schedule to go where the weather and conditions are best!

3 complete meals are served daily, as well as snacks and fresh fish in season, when caught. We serve typical American fare- baked chicken, pork loin, lasagna and meatballs, with all the sides and dessert too! Meals are served buffet and eaten picnic style.There is always a hammock of fresh fruits for those between meals snacks as well as PBJ. A selection of beverages is always on hand, from soft drinks and lemonade to beer, wine and rum punch-all included in the price of your live-aboard cruise!

Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free are pretty easy to work with as well as allergies so let us know upon booking if you require special meals. Please remember that you are participating in an adventure travel vacation that is occurring in a remote part of the world. Many of the modern conveniences, brands and pre-packaged goods we use at home are not available in remote destinations. As such, many special requests that are very specific are difficult to accommodate. Finally, if you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or other special life event please let us know. Our crews stand ready to assist you in making your special day something to remember.

Yes, all the fishing gear is provided and our cook encourages it! Whatever we catch that is edible is cooked for passengers or used for sushi! The rest is saved for the chumsicle and the shark feeding dive. Just keep in mind that we spend a bit of time within the limits of the Land and Sea Park which is a marine sanctuary. There is no fishing or taking of any kind while we are within the park boundaries. Otherwise, we are happy to fish and lobster when in season.

Space is limited on liveaboards and the islands we visit are very casual. Several bathing suits, shorts, long pants, several T-shirts, one shirt, and a wind breaker all packed in soft luggage. Deck shoes or sneakers, sandals, towels, suntan lotion (non-oil), sunglasses, and foul weather gear (pants and jacket) which is a necessity to keep dry from spray or rain. Personal items such as aspirin, decongestants and shampoos are also recommended. We provide all bedding. We have storage at our dock for any empty bags or any bags you won’t be needing. We recommend two towels- one for salt and one for showering. There is a shelf at the end of each bunk where you can store clothes and other personal items and a few hooks to hang your ditty bag on too.

Your BC and reg set will stay on your tank all week. There is plenty of space for your other dive gear in our top side storage compartments.

Yes, there is one shower equipped with both fresh and saltwater taps. Everyone cringes at the mention of a 30 second fresh water shower but it does warrant some explanation! There are two showerheads in the shower: one fresh and one salt. Saltwater use is unlimited so lather, shampoo, shave, etc. with the unlimited salt water and then use the 30 seconds of fresh water at the end to rinse. You’ll feel fresh as a daisy! Bring your own towels-we recommend two- one for topside and one for showering.

Yes, we have regular 110 volt household current outlets.

By all means, yes. There will always be a diving buddy for you. Many of our passengers come aboard as singles and it’s a great way to meet other likeminded adventure travelers who love to dive!

Blackbeard’s Cruises are geared towards diving so the recommended age for children would be 10 for junior divers and 12 for open water divers. Keep in mind that all children under the age of 15 must be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times. While our crew is most gracious and good with all ages, they WILL NOT provide childcare services or supervision at ANY time during the cruise.

For the non-diver there is swimming, sun tanning, beach combing, fishing, snorkeling and just plain relaxing. If they are happy hanging out on a boat with other adventurous souls they will be fine! If shopping and island hopping is on their mind, then remember- our cruises are destination and activity oriented, not amenity based. Casual, outdoor lovers that enjoy the salt air and open seas will be most happy on a liveaboard.

The Exuma Cays offers opportunities to go ashore and explore and enjoy the uninhabited beaches. For these occasions, we highly recommend proper footwear for these eco adventures.

If you cancel your vacation with more than 60 days to departure, a full refund will be issued.  After 60 days there is no refund unless the trip departs full, in which case there is a full refund.

 

It is recommended that all passengers purchase travel protection to help protect you and your trip investment. It is also recommended that all divers have diving accident insurance. You can request a brochure from our office or go to:

Diveassure: Annual combination trip & dive accident insurance.

Divers Alert Network: For annual combination trip & dive accident insurance.

Travelex: Travel protection for a single trip. You may choose the TRAVEL SELECT policy and select the optional ADVENTURER PLUS PAK upgrade which waives the policy exclusions for extreme sports such as scuba diving.

We have compiled a list of hotels that are conveniently located in Nassau. You might even want to check out one of the other out islands!

The hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. The peak period is August through early October. This is also the best time of year for diving! Warm water, calm seas. If a storm were to affect your trip, we will allow you to rebook in the future with no restrictions. If your trip is cut short, a credit for missed diving is issued and has no expiration. We want you to return and get the whole experience!

Yes, each vessel is equipped with an entertainment monitor.

We do not offer internet services on board, sorry, but internet is available with a cell phone in most areas. While underway, there are times with no access as we explore remote dive areas. Unplug and relax while you dive all week!

No smoking is allowed below decks on any of our liveaboards. We ask that smokers step aft to the stern where a canister is kept for butts. Please do not throw them overboard.

If someone needs to get in contact with you because of a true emergency, they may contact the office and we will relay the message. This should only be done if it is a real emergency. The boats travel to remote areas. The only possible way to contact them is to relay a request to return to port so they may call our office. Since the boat is frequently hours from the nearest port, this can cause you and your fellow passengers to miss out on part or all of a day’s diving. This contact should be for true emergencies only for this reason.

Sleeping Cabins 1-4 upper and lower bunks are single bunks with curtains for privacy. There is more privacy here but less space. 5 and 6 upper and lower bunks are double bunks meant for two people to share. This is typically where couples are housed. 7, 8 and 9 upper and lower bunks are in the main salon. These bunks are double wide but usually only sleep single passengers. There is less privacy here but more room. Think camping on the high seas only better- we have Air Conditioning and do all the work!

You will need spending money for an evening ashore (drinks, souvenirs) and crew tips (15% recommended). You might note some of the smaller Bahamas Out Islands do not accept major credit cards. The currency of the Bahamas is the Bahamian Dollar which is on par with the US dollar and is used inter-changeably. We accept Visa, MC, and Discover for boutique item charges and crew tip.

The liveaboard business is a service industry, and although the general public is seldom aware of it, gratuities are a major part of a crewmember’s salary. Few other recreational activities rely so heavily upon the professionals in charge for your enjoyment and safety. A gratuity of 15% is customary, but many leave more when they feel the service was outstanding. If you are disappointed with the service, you should inform the Captain of your feelings right away so he may rectify the situation. Leave no more gratuity than you feel is right.

Just call, email us or fill out our check availability form and we’ll be happy to assist you! A deposit of $150.00 per person is required to confirm a reservation. Balance is due in full 60 days prior to departure. Cancellations are risk free up until the 60 day mark. Within 60 days of departure, the cancellation policy applies.

Get Wet

We host all levels of divers from beginners on their check out dives to seasoned pros on vacation! Be sure to bring your certification card, we’ll need to see it! If not certified, you may take a resort course from our dive instructor for a $125 fee.

Our scuba diving instructor will give you basic instructions. This will allow you to make two dives under the supervision of our dive instructor. This resort course does not qualify you for certification. The BC and regulator are included with a resort course. The fee is $125.00.

Yes, our dive instructor can with prior arrangements. The cost is $15 per dive plus cost of the certification form if not provided. Many new divers choose to make their first dives in the gin clear, warm waters of the Bahamas instead of in cold muddy lakes!

Yes, our instructors can offer specialty courses as well as advanced diver on board. Check with your instructor on board to see what is available. Medical release form is required for all course work on board done by our instructors Download form here.

We’ll be diving up and down the Exuma Sound, an abyss that drops over 4,000 feet to the ocean floor! The Exuma Cays are known for their wonderful reef dives due to the protection they receive from the Land and Sea Park sanctions. Sometimes we dive Eleuthera but that is also weather dependent. Our specific itinerary varies with the winds to obtain maximum visibility for diving. The depths normally range from 20′ to 120′. There are swift drifts between the cays as well as a blue hole that divers will love!

We do not offer led dives on Blackbeard’s. The instructor on board will give you a very in depth briefing before each dive describing the conditions, the current, depth, and it will include a visual aide. The instructor and/or staff will be in the water for all drift dives and the shark feed!

Normally 3 to 4 dives per day, including night dives, as long as weather is not a factor. We generally offer up to 19 dives on a weeklong trip.

Snorkel, fins, mask, regulator, buoyancy compensator, u/w watch, depth gauge and for night dives, a dive light and cyalume stick (may be purchased for $3 each) are required. We provide tanks, weights and weight belts. There is storage on deck for all gear and we have rinse buckets for underwater cameras and regulators.

Yes, anytime the boat is anchored. You need to bring mask, fins, snorkel and snorkel vest (not required but highly recommended). Snorkeling is not supervised.

We are proud of our “top of the line” ADV/BCs, wetsuits, computers, dive lights and regulators with octopus and gauges. All must be rented by prior arrangements thru our US reservations office. If you have not requested this on your trip application already, you can call and add it to your reservation. We do not store our gear at the dock so last minute requests may not be available. We also have cyalumes available for sale.  Everyone should have their own mask, fins and snorkel as we do not carry these items. 

 

The weather and water temperature page will give you a general idea of the water temperatures and what weight wet suit you will need. When deciding what to bring, consider that you will be diving frequently each day and it takes your body a while to warm up after each dive. Air temperature, the wind and cloud coverage, all affect how fast your body warms back up after a dive. Choosing a wetsuit is a very personal decision, some people wear a full suit in the summer and some dive with a shorty in the winter.

There are few wrecks to dive in the Exumas but we do have the famous Norman’s plane to snorkel and the Austin Smith to dive. It is not penetrable but it lies on a great reef and is the site of our shark feeding dive.

Yes, we normally do one shark feeding dive each trip. Sharks are seen on most dive sites throughout the Bahamas. The chum-sickle regularly draws in both reef and nurse sharks.

Our instructor on board will give you a thorough dive briefing so you can plan your dive and dive your plan. We don’t usually have an instructor in the water on each dive, but we have crewmembers that would be happy to act as guides when possible. Solo dive certification is required for those divers who wish to dive alone.

Yes, we have an electric 17 CFM compressor on board. This electric compressor system keeps the noise down compared to the gas powered ones of the past! Tanks on board are typically 80’s. We do have 63’s and 100’s available upon request. Each diver has a dedicated tank for the week with our updated tank benches too!

Yes, but we only hunt lobster when in season.  We follow Bahamian law which limits you to free diving only. No trigger and no tank! We have Hawaiian slings on board. The lobster season runs from August 1 until March 31. We can only hunt outside the park boundaries.

Get There

NAS is the airport code for Nassau’s international airport. Many major carriers fly into Nassau, most of them with very competitive fares.

We begin boarding at noon and shove off by 3 pm on Saturday. Please plan flights accordingly. The latest we recommend landing is noon so you are thru customs and immigrations and can make it to the dock by 2 pm. That gives you time to check in, eat lunch and put your things away and listen to the mandatory safety briefing before we depart at 3 pm.

Travel to Nassau on Friday is recommended when possible. We have hotels in Nassau we can recommend for the night. Also this takes the stress out of same day travel- no lost luggage or missed connections to worry about on the day of boarding!

Taxis are readily available from the airport. The ride is approximately 30-40 minutes travel time from the airport to our docks. We are located at the Nassau Harbour Marina on East Bay Street. We are right across from the Starbucks! It is not that far mileage wise, but you only go around 25 miles per hour, slow down, Mon! You are on island time now ? If you would like us to make ground transfer arrangements for you, we can do so! The cost is 15.00 per person each way per leg. Please call our offices two weeks prior to do so.

All travelers to the Bahamas need a passport. Book your air tickets with your name as it appears exactly on your passport. Check with the Bahamas Embassy for visa requirements if citizenship is not US.

VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS: Most visitors to The Bahamas do not need special vaccinations before entering the country. However, travelers over age one must provide a YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION CERTIFICATE, if they are coming from countries with the risk of infection such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. They must be vaccinated 10 days before entering The Bahamas.

You will need to fill out our trip application and release of liability which can be done online or in print.
Online Trip Application
PDF Trip Application