CEXII

Frequently Asked Questions

This page should have all of the answers to your questions about our Saba / St. Kitts / St. Maarten Liveaboard, the Caribbean Explorer II.  If you still have questions, you can contact us.  If you'd like to save a copy of these helpful tips, you can download the Trip Information Sheet

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The Caribbean Explorer II comfortably accommodates 18 passengers in 9 double staterooms, all of which have private bathroom facilities and most of which have queen-sized beds. The semi-enclosed, air-conditioned salon on the upper deck includes dining tables, TV, CD/DVD, video library, light table and lounge area; a large sundeck with lounge chairs is aft of the main salon. The vessel's boutique is located on the main deck, and the photo/video lab is below decks. The large dive deck is equipped with a bathroom, individual gear lockers, camera table with low pressure air hose, recharging station, air and nitrox filling stations, tank racks, and a separate fresh water rinse for both scuba and underwater camera equipment. There are two sets of stairs accessing the dive platform, where two in-water ladders hang for easy access to and from the water. The vessel is also equipped with a satellite telephone for incoming and outgoing calls worldwide.
The majority of dives aboard our vessels are offered at scheduled times, up to 5 times daily. This is to allow adequate surface intervals, provide the option for guided dives on as many sites as possible, and allow the vessel to travel on a schedule to different locations. It also permits us to offer island tours on the island which we visit, and to work within the guidelines of the marine parks in which we dive.
The minimum certifiable age for divers is 10 for most SCUBA certification agencies; normally, the agencies restrict 10 and 11 year olds to a maximum depth of 40 feet. Explorer Ventures Fleet allows children as young as 10 years to participate in our trips, with the following restrictions:
  1. All children under the age of 15 must travel and dive with their parent or guardian, unless undergoing active training with an instructor.
  2. Our itineraries offer very few diving opportunities at depths less than 40 feet; diving opportunities for 10 and 11 year olds will be significantly less than those for older divers. For this reason, a minimum age of 12 for divers is strongly suggested.
  3. A parent/legal guardian will be required to sign the liability release on behalf of a child under the age of 18.
  4. All divers under the age of 18 are required to have dive accident insurance that covers recompression chamber treatment and medical evacuation.
  1. All divers must be certified as scuba divers by an internationally recognized accrediting organization.
  2. We recommend that divers log at least one dive within the 12 months prior to boarding the vessel, or are encouraged to participate in a refresher course on board. Rental/Course Pricing (PDF)
  3. All divers must adhere to the buddy system unless certified, equipped and adhering to standards for solo diving.
  4. All divers must log in and out of the water with a member of the diving staff.
  5. All divers must have a submersible console. In addition, a timepiece must be worn by at least one diver in a buddy team. Dive computers are strongly recommended.
  6. On night dives, a cyalume lightstick or marker beacon must be worn by each diver.
  7. Decompression diving is not allowed under any conditions. The maximum allowed depth is 130' (110' on nitrox).
  8. Diving activities must cease when the consumption of alcohol begins.
  9. Please note that, due to a combination of staff and equipment logistics, insurance requirements and local diving regulations, rebreathers, diver propulsion vehicles (DPVs) and multi-cylinder configurations (except for a small pony bottle) may not be used aboard Explorer Ventures Fleet vessels.
  10. Dive Accident insurance is strongly recommended (and required for divers under 18 years of age). More information on Dive Insurance.
Packing for a liveaboard trip is much easier than packing for a land-based vacation. The climate doesn't require much more than shorts, T-shirts, and swimsuits (you may consider slacks, dress shorts or sundresses for dinner ashore in St. Maarten or St. Kitts). Soft luggage is recommended as it takes up very little space when empty. Sun screens, sunglasses, a visor or hat is recommended. In case of rough weather or if you have a tendency towards seasickness, come prepared with motion sickness medications or Transderm patches from your doctor. If you have favorite CD's, IPod playlist or DVD's, feel free to bring them. All linens (including sheets, comforters, bath towels, hand towels, dive towels, and wash cloths) are provided on board. If possible, pack your regulator, dive computer, mask, a swimsuit, change of clothes and toiletries in your carry-on bag. Having these few items with you will make an unexpected luggage delay far more bearable.
The vessel provides tanks, weights, and weight belts for your use. If you prefer to rent the rest of your equipment from us, we have all of the equipment that you will need. Please indicate on your application form what equipment you will require. Otherwise, the following items are the diver's responsibility:
  • Certification Card
  • Diving Log Book (strongly encouraged; required for solo diving course)
  • Mask *
  • Snorkel *
  • Fins *
  • Booties (if you wear them)
  • Buoyancy Control Device (required) *
  • Regulator w/alternate air source *
  • Submersible pressure and depth gauges (required) *
  • Underwater time piece (required)
  • Dive light *
  • Tank Marker Lights (required for night dives) *
  • For solo divers: pony bottle, whistle, knife, compass, and safety sausage or flag deployable from safety stop depth *
  • Dive computer (recommended) *
  • Wetsuit 3 mm *
  • Repair kit w/ spare parts
*Available for rent on board
Please note that a passport is required of all visitors arriving in St. Maarten or St. Kitts. Please verify passport expiration date requirements for each island if your passport will expire within 6 months of your boarding date. A paper copy of your valid return or onward airline ticket is also required. Through transfers are not included in the package.  You will be met at the airport by a driver; the price is currently US$20-$30 per person each way, depending on the size of your group.  If by chance you miss the driver, simple catch a taxi to either Bobby's Marina (St. Maarten) or Port Zante (St. Kitts) - the vessel will be waiting there.
If your flight is delayed or you miss any of your flights and are not able to make it to the Northeastern Caribbean on schedule, please call the vessel. Notify the crew of your updated arrival time should you have that information, and where you may be reached in the meantime. The vessel will not leave port until after the last arrival on Saturday. If you are delayed and do not arrive until Sunday, all is not lost! It is always possible to get to the boat, either by arranging a pickup with us while still at St. Kitts (St. Kitts departures) or at Saba, as there are several flights daily from St. Maarten on Windward Island Airways (offices at the airport). Simply contact the vessel (see above) and coordinate your pickup with the captain.
Evening meals usually consist of lots of fresh vegetables, rice, pasta, chicken, beef, turkey, pork, and fish. Breakfast is the usual fare of eggs, bacon, pancakes, French toast, muffins, danish and fresh fruits. Lunches vary from soup and sandwiches, burgers, pasta, assorted salads, and quiche. Homemade baked breads, cookies and brownies are offered between dives. If you have any dietary restrictions or requests, please indicate so on your application form. Please note that specific brands of drinks, dressings and foods are often unavailable in the islands, and that it can be very difficult for us to find low-fat, gluten free or soy products, fresh fruit, fish, and other items common elsewhere. While we will do our best to accommodate your requests, please be realistic and consider bringing some of your own foods if the lack thereof may constitute a health risk.
If you are spending additional time on St. Kitts, you may wish to obtain Eastern Caribbean Dollars. The U.S. dollar is widely accepted and preferred on all islands; therefore, it is not necessary to purchase currency before arriving. Major credit cards are accepted widely throughout the islands as well.
The vessel arrives at its final destination port on Friday afternoon at approximately 1:00pm.  Passengers spend Friday night and have Saturday breakfast on board. There will be sufficient time to catch a flight out of St. Maarten or St. Kitts at any time on Saturday. If you have a flight on Saturday afternoon, you are welcome to leave your luggage on board the boat until it is time to go to the airport. There is a departure tax, payable in cash, upon leaving on a flight from either St. Maarten, or St. Kitts.
Though all meals (except Friday's dinner), beverages, transportation between islands, and much more has been taken care of with your trip payment, there are additional items which you may charge to your on-board bill. These include:
  • Port, Immigration and Marine Park Fees - US$115 per person
  • Departure tax
  • Fuel Surcharge: US$30 per person
  • Crew gratuities
  • Incoming and outgoing telephone calls
  • Photographic and/or scuba instruction
  • Optional island tours
  • Dive gear rentals (other than tanks, weights and weight belts)
  • Retail sales (shirts, scuba accessories, etc.)
The bill may be paid at the end of the trip using Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover or cash. Personal or traveler's checks are not accepted on board, and we are unable to provide cash for credit card charges more than invoice amounts.
The vessel has a satellite phone for incoming and outgoing calls. Please be aware that a charge is assessed for both incoming and outgoing calls.
Crew gratuities are not included in your package. The crew works very hard, 7 days a week and up to 12 weeks at a stretch, providing the best possible service for our guests. The industry standard for crew gratuities on dive trips (if, of course, you are happy with the service which you have received) is between 10% and 15% of the package price per passenger. Your generosity will be greatly appreciated.
Packages Include:
  • 7 nights/8 days aboard vessel
  • 3 meals daily, plus between-dive snacks
  • 5 dives daily
  • Use of tanks, weights and belts
  • All alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
Packages Do Not Include:
  • Airport transfers
  • Friday evening dinner
  • Optional Island Tours
  • Rental, instruction and retail charges
  • Crew gratuities
  • Trip Cancellation & Dive Insurance (recommended)
  • Port, Immigration and Marine Park diving fees
  • St. Maarten or St. Kitts departure taxes
  • Fuel Surcharge
  • Current Onboard Charges
The weather in the Northeastern Caribbean is remarkably consistent year-round. The temperatures range from the 70's F or higher in the winter months to the low 90's F during the summer, with nearly constant sea breezes. Water temperatures range from a low of about 76 degrees F in winter to a high of about 85 degrees F in summer. There is normally little appreciable current at the sites we visit, and visibility is generally between 50 and 150 feet. Most divers are comfortable with a 3mm wetsuit in summer, and up to a 5 mm wetsuit in winter. Your dives will be done from the vessel itself, taking advantage of the easy-access dive platform and other on board amenities. Entries are usually made from the side exit gates into the water, a drop of 4 feet or so. Current/live weather for both locations can be found here: St. Kitts St. Maarten

Hotel and General Information:

  • Visit this website to see what the weather is currently like on St. Maarten
  • Visit this website to see what the weather is currently like on St. Kitts
Nitrox is available for an additional charge, as long as the diver is Nitrox Certified. Please read our Nitrox page for more information.
Solo Diving is allowed as long as the diver has proof of certification of "Solo Diver" from one of the agencies that offer this course.   We also offer a Solo Diving course if you'd like to get Solo certified.  Please view our Solo Diving Policy & Courses page for more information.