Royal Caribbean cruises are a dream vacation for divers. With our ships sailing to some of the most highly sought-out dive sites in the world, from the largest submerged sinkhole that sits along a UNESCO site to the Western Hemisphere’s largest coral reef, it’s easy for underwater explorers to hit multiple incredible spots on one Caribbean cruise. Even easier? If underwater exploration becomes your new thing, you can become a certified scuba diver during your vacation, thanks to the first and only onboard dive program offered by a cruise line at Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Five Star Dive Centers.
Whether you’re an experienced diver or just getting your feet wet, here are our top five diving adventures you won’t want to miss:
The Great Blue Hole – Belize City, Belize
Located off the coast of Belize and near the center of the Lighthouse Reef is the Great Blue Hole, a giant submerged sinkhole that measures almost 1,000 feet wide and nearly 400 feet deep.The revered dive site is part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef, the largest in the Northern Hemisphere and designated UNESCO World Heritage Site that spans 185 miles of beautiful coastline. Visible from space, the Great Blue Hole is considered the world’s second largest natural formation of its kind. Dive into this underwater world to see giant stalactites, columns and plenty of wildlife, like nurse sharks and giant groupers.
Stingray City – George Town, Grand Cayman
While visiting the capital city of Grand Cayman, you can explore a series of shallow sandbars located 25 miles from shore and “mingle” with some of the locals like the southern Atlantic stingrays. At the aptly named Stingray City, you can wade in the water among the friendly creatures before going deeper to witness their incredible movements under water. Moving to the gentle sway of the waves, the stingrays are easy to spot thanks to the crystal-clear Caribbean waters, and so are the many sea turtles and tropical fish sharing the surrounding waters.
The Great Maya Reef – Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico
Also known as the Mesoamerican Reef system, the Great Maya Reef is one of the largest coral reefs in the world, spanning 600 miles from the northern tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula to the Bay Islands in Honduras. This ecosystem is a diver’s paradise, an underwater museum filled with hundreds of fish species, sea turtles and sharks, not to mention the many different colorful types of coral that make up the reef itself.
Sandy Bay-West End Marine Reserve – Roatan, Honduras
Teeming with octopus, starfish, sea sponges, rays and more, Honduras attracts practiced and beginner divers alike. Sandy Bay-West End Marine Reserve, at the top of the list of world-class diving spots, is home to 38 unique dive sites, all within a 15-minute boat ride from the coast. With caverns, drop-offs, canyons and a shipwreck, you can opt to move from site to site or stick to one perfect spot all day.
Bonaire National Marine Park – Kralendijk, Bonaire
Made up of the surrounding waters of Bonaire and Klein Bonaire, the Bonaire National Marine Park is a major attraction. The oldest marine reserve in the world extends from the high-water mark to 200 feet below sea level, covering more than 6,000 acres, and it’s a prime spot for Caribbean biodiversity. This diver’s dream is home to almost every species of hard and soft coral found in the region. With more than 300 types of marine life—from seahorses to hawksbill sea turtles, to angelfish, to butterfly fish—you’ll have plenty of company when exploring there.
Inspired to dive into your next adventure? These exciting spots are awaiting future travelers, so you can book your next diving adventure with Royal Caribbean here.