When we booked our trip it was suggested that the tour would be at our direction and we would be able to cruise comfortably, and that the excursion would take into consideration my elderly parents, and pull into shore overnight. Unfortunately that is not how it has transpired – and we were locked into a diving tour, which for my two boys was wonderful but for the others was days bobbing around like slow burning corks in a bath tub with no discernible purpose. The layout of the boat was that we either sat on the deck or lay on our bunks – there was no in between space in which we could relax and entertain ourselves while the others dived.
I cannot dispute that my two boys have had an unexpected diving experience of a lifetime, I had thought that they may get a small single dive as part of a sailing trip not the wonderful opportunity that they had over the three days – however it was at a heavy price. As a party of five we booked a four room boat in the expectation that we would have ample space; not so, as unbeknown to us another person had joined the group, so my 20 year old 188cm son spent the nights cribbing on a luggage rack in a closet. The rest of our party are bunkered into rooms on top of the roaring engines which have run nonstop for almost the entire trip, the best room (that is the one without the 24/7 747 sound track is reserved for the crew) – I can no longer hear myself think let alone sleep and so after three nights of sleep deprivation I left the boat feeling beyond demented.
The expectation of slowly cruising along the cost morphed into the reality of sailing miles overnight to dive spots clearly the purpose of booking had changed.
The food has been wonderful, the freshly caught fish was the highlight. I have to admit that I had some serious concerns when I saw the state of the kitchen, filthy dirty with flies crawling on what was to be dinner and cockroaches that eventually found their way into my toilet bowl - eek.
Overall there have been some nice moments, but when I look back at the price it was not good value – we received no discount for only having two of the party of five dive; and of course equipment rental was an unexpected extra only discovered on departure from the marina. What was supposed to have been a delightful Christmas spent with family on the coast of Cuba was in fact just three days of worse than bush camping as there was no means to escape. Oh, and a word from the wise (or at least a little wiser) if you want anything more than a couple of beers to celebrate Christmas with bring your own.