FAQs - Question and Answer
Home > FAQs > Shark/Ray Alley Snorkeling and Caye Caulker Questions
If the cruise ship cancels its tours because of rain, should I assume that my tour is cancelled as well?
Not necessarily. Rain showers in Belize tend to pass fairly quickly. In some cases, we may be able to conduct your tour even if your cruise ship cancels its own shore excursions. If you have any doubts, please call our Belize office.
What is the difference between cruise ship time and Belize time?
The time issue is often a source of confusion for cruise ship passengers. The time in Belize is easy to figure out. Belize is on central time (CST), just like Houston and Chicago. Belize does not observe daylight saving time. (Our web site displays a Belize time clock in the sidebar.) The start times for our tours reflect Belize time.
During daylight saving time season, Florida is two hours ahead of Belize, while Texas and Louisiana are one hour ahead. (In other words, if it's 10 am in Miami, it's 8 am in Belize.) During standard time season, Florida is one hour ahead of Belize, while Texas and Louisiana are on the same schedule as Belize. (In the United States, daylight saving time begins the second Sunday of March and ends the first Sunday of November.)
Carnival cruise ships almost always remain on the time of their home ports throughout their travels, even when they cross into a different time zone. During standard time season, ship time aboard the liners based in Florida (including the Carnival Breeze, Conquest, Magic, and Miracle) is one hour ahead of Belize time. During daylight saving time, ship time aboard the Florida-based liners is two hours ahead of Belize time. On liners sailing from central time zone ports (including the Carnival Dream, Freedom, Glory, Valor, and Vista), ship time is the same as Belize time during standard time season and one hour ahead of Belize during daylight saving time.
In contrast, Norwegian Cruise Lines ships generally adjust their ship clocks to reflect the time zone in which they are sailing. (NCL ship clocks also take into account that Belize does not observe daylight saving time.) The ship clock policies of the Royal Caribbean and Holland America cruise lines vary by ship.
The itinerary that your cruise ship distributes to you and your fellow passengers will generally reflect ship time.
From your perspective, the time issue should not be a source of anxiety. Our business is based almost entirely on serving cruise ship passengers and part of our job is to closely monitor cruise ship schedules. Our departure times are set to fit within the port times of ships calling on Belize.
|CRUISE SHIPS SERVING BELIZE CITY
Where do we find our tour when we reach Belize?
The meeting location for your tour is at the Belize Tourism Village, the site at which all cruise ship tenders drop off their passengers. We are only steps away from the tender docks.
Will I miss my ship if I take your tour?
Our business is based almost entirely on cruise ship passengers. As you might expect, our tours are scheduled to fit the schedules of the cruise ships. Rest assured that we have never failed to return a passenger to his or her cruise ship in time. Our reputation depends on it.
Can I change my reservation?
Our online reservation system is designed to enable you to update your reservation as needed. In most cases, you may change the date and/or time of your tour and add or subtract group members almost up to the day of your excursion.
Can I wait until I arrive in Belize before I decide to take your tour?
We require advance reservations to adequately address our staffing and equipment needs. If you're reading this, you're only a few clicks away from reserving online.
Do I need to present a ticket to you at the time of the tour?
If you wish, you can bring a copy of the email we will send you after you make a reservation. However, it's really not necessary. When you book your tour online, the details of your reservation are safely stored in our database and will appear on the manifest used by the tour operations staff. When you arrive for your tour, we'll be ready and waiting to show you the best of Belize.
Do you charge for infants?
Infants under three years of age are free. Keep in mind, however, that on several of our tours, such as cave tubing, there is an age minimum to participate. In these cases, safety concerns prevent us from including infants.
How far in advance should I make my reservation?
You can make a reservation through our online reservation system several months in advance of your tour. By the same token, you can book a tour, if space is available, almost up to the time you board your ship. In general, it's wise to make your reservations a few weeks ahead of time.
How is my deposit processed?
We require customers to make a deposit payment to guarantee their reservation. (The deposit payment is generally 18 percent of the total price of the tour.) If you are charging the deposit on a credit card, the charge is applied immediately.
Your deposit is fully refundable if you cancel your reservation at least 3 days before your tour. In addition, you will receive a full refund if your cruise ship does not stop in Belize for any reason, or if weather conditions or other factors force us to cancel your reservation.
If my ship is late or skips Belize altogether, do I lose my deposit?
You will receive a full refund if your cruise ship arrives late, does not stop in Belize for any reason, or if weather conditions or other factors force us to cancel your reservation. In short, if events beyond your control prevent you from participating in your tour, you are entitled to a full refund.
Is the reservation process secure?
Our web site employs industry-standard encryption and is PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant to protect your personal information when you make a payment. The information we collect on the checkout form is required by financial institutions to verify your identify. We do not record your credit card number.
What form of payment do you accept?
You may pay your deposit by credit credit through our secure online reservation system with Mastercard, Visa, or Discover. If you make your reservation well in advance, you may mail a check to our U.S. address.
In Belize, the balance due must be paid in cash with U.S. dollars. We do not have credit card processing facilities available at the Tourism Village in Belize.
If you wish to pay your balance in advance by credit card, a surcharge of 4 percent of the payment amount will be charged to your credit card.
What is your cancellation policy?
Your deposit is fully refundable if you cancel your reservation at least 4 days before your tour. In addition, you will receive a full refund if your cruise ship arrives late, does not stop in Belize for any reason, or if weather conditions or other factors force us to cancel your reservation. In short, if events beyond your control prevent you from participating in your tour, you are entitled to a full refund.
Why haven't I received an email confirming the reservation I made?
Our reservation system automatically sends out a confirmation email when you complete your booking online. Unfortunately, overzealous spam filters often misdirect automated emails. If you can't find our email in your "inbox", you probably need to check the "spam" folder of your email account.
if you have a Hotmail, MSN, or Live email account, delivery was probably blocked by Microsoft's SmartScreen. You will need to adjust the options of your email account to add coralbreezetours.com to your list of "safe senders". Once you have made the change, please email us and we will be happy to resend your confirmation email.
Will I be charged extra fees when I make my reservation online?
No. We do not charge you so-called "convenience" or "service" fees when you make your reservation. The amount you see on your browser screen is the amount your credit card will be charged.
Will I receive confirmation of my reservation?
When you place a reservation through our online booking system, you will automatically be sent a confirmation email. (Please check your "spam" folder if you do not find it in your "inbox".) In addition, we will email you a reminder notice with meeting instructions about 10 days before your tour. (If you make your reservation within 10 days of your tour date, you'll receive the "instructions" email that night.) The "instructions" email will also notify you if your tour start time has been changed to accommodate cruise ship schedules.
Your online reservation system is not working. Can I call someone to book a tour?
Unfortunately, using the Internet is not without frustration. If you're having difficulty making a reservation online, you might want to check the privacy and security settings of your web browser. Your browser must accept "cookies" if you wish to book your tour online. There are other technical reasons, such as firewalls and anti-spyware programs, that may interfere with your ability to use the online reservation system.
Of course, we'd be happy to handle your reservation by telephone. Please call our customer support office in the United States at 401-946-4544.
How long is the tender boat ride to the meeting location?
The tender boats that take passengers from the cruise ships to the Tourism Village generally take 15 to 20 minutes to reach the village. The ride is very scenic as you approach the mainland of Belize.
What does it mean that Belize is a "tender port"?
Cruise ships calling on Belize do not come all the way to shore. To do so would require them to cross the Barrier Reef and cause immense damage to the coral ecosystem. Instead, they anchor just beyond the reef and offload their passengers onto high-speed "tender" boats. The operation is very efficient and the boat trip takes only about 15 minutes. The tender boats dock at the Tourism Village, which serves as the meeting location for our tours.
Will I be able to board a tender boat in time if I don't take cruise ship tour?
The cruise ships generally allow passengers who bought the ship tours to tender first. We take the ship policies into account when scheduling the start times of our tours. As a result, you should not have a problem getting from ship to shore in time for our tours. When you board your cruise, please confirm the tendering instructions provided by your cruise ship. Follow the tendering guidelines, and we'll be at the Tourism Village waiting for your arrival.
Can I bring my own snorkel gear? Is there a discount?
Our snorkel tour includes all the gear you'll need. Many guests bring their own gear for comfort. Some just bring their own mask and snorkel, and use our fins. The price of the tour is the same regardless of whether you use our equipment or your own.
How do you deal with different skill levels within a snorkeling group?
We generally maintain a ratio of one tour guide for every 10 guests. Without being heavy handed, we make an effort to distinguish snorkelers by skill level. Experienced snorkelers and swimmers are given more freedom to explore while we provide novices with extra attention and instruction.
How long is the boat ride to Caye Caulker?
The boat ride from our meeting point at the Tourism Village to Caye Caulker is about 40-45 minutes. The ride itself is scenic, and our tour guides take the opportunity to offer insights about the history and ecology of the islands (or cayes) along the way.
I can't swim. How will I be able to snorkel?
Strangely enough, you don’t need to be able to swim to snorkel. The fins take all the effort out of swimming. In addition, we have life jackets available for everyone on board.
With your fins and your life jacket inflated, you should have no problem staying afloat. The only requirement is that you feel comfortable in the water. Keep in mind that you will be snorkeling in water that is well over your head.
Is the snorkeling tour appropriate for children?
The snorkeling locations we have chosen are meant to be accessible to participants of all skill levels. Being a strong swimmer is helpful. Although we do not impose an age limit on participation, we assume that parents will keep a watchful eye on their children, especially if they are under 12. Even small children who are not able to snorkel can enjoy the sights of the sharks and stingrays. They may also swim near the side of the boat with parental supervision. Life jackets must be worn.
What activities are available on Caye Caulker?
Caye Caulker is a small resort island with beaches, shops, and plenty of open space to explore. Your tour guides will point out the mangrove stands and other areas of the island that attract marine life and exotic birds. You may also choose to browse the shops (both indoor and outdoor), relax on the beach, or swim. Golf carts are available for rental if you'd like to see more of the island.
What is the maximum capacity of the snorkel tour?
The maximum number of guests is about 50. However, the numbers vary widely from day to day and season to season. The average size tour consists of roughly 20-30 guests. We generally assign one tour guide for every 10 snorkelers.
What is the minimum age to snorkel?
Cruise ship tours generally do not allow children under the age of 6 to participate in snorkeling tours. We allow children of all ages to participate in our tour but assume that parents will take responsibility to ensure the safety of their children. Life jackets are worn for safety. Practicing snorkeling in a pool prior to your cruise is recommended.
What is the skill level required for snorkeling?
Our tour is geared toward beginner and intermediate skill levels, although advanced snorkelers will certainly enjoy the experience. Our tour guides are professionals and place the highest priority on safety. They provide the supervision and instruction necessary to ensure that even beginners enjoy the tour in a safe environment. We also require that our guests wear life jackets for safety reasons.
What is the water temperature in Belize?
The water temperature in Belize ranges from 78 to 83 degrees F.
What should I wear for the tour. Is there a place to change?
We suggest that you wear a swimsuit and a cover-up, as well as comfortable shoes or sandals for walking around the Tourism Village and Caye Caulker. A changing facility is available, but wearing a cover-up should enable you to avoid carrying extra clothes.
Why do you offer a "tour observer" option?
In some cases, there may be members of your group who do not snorkel but still want to take part in your tour. The tour observer option allows non-snorkelers to join your tour and see all the sights at a discounted rate. Observers may opt to stay behind on Caye Caulker or remain on the boat while others are in the water.
Will we see dolphins or manatees on the excursion?
We occasionally see groups of dolphins and manatees during our boat ride to and from Caye Caulker. If our captain spots them, he may stop the boat for a moment so everyone can enjoy the sights.
Is there a place to keep our stuff while we are tubing?
The van which is used to transport you will be locked while you are tubing. Anything you bring with you that you do not want to get wet (change of clothes for instance) may be securely kept inside the van.
What is the maximum number of participants in a Cave Tubing group?
The maximum size of a cave tubing group is limited by the capacity of the vans we use to transport our guests to the starting point of the tour. Our largest standard vans have a capacity of 12 guests. For groups larger than 12 people, we assign multiple vans so everyone in your group will be able to enjoy the tour together. Occasionally, we may use an 18-passenger van and assign two guides to the tour group.
How can I learn more about Belize?
Our web site includes a page featuring general information and travel tips about Belize. Please visit our Belize fact sheet
What is the difference between the Port of Belize and Belize City?
There is no difference. Cruise ship companies use the two names interchangeably to identify Belize City.
What kind of currency is accepted in Belize?
U.S. currency is widely accepted in Belize, along with Belize dollars. It's often wise to carry a few U.S. dollars in small denominations for tips, souvenirs, and other small purchases. U.S. currency is not readily available in Belize so breaking a US$20 bill for a small purchase may leave you with more Belize dollars than you would like.