Okay, so you’ve traveled the world enough to be over the traditional tours that are offered at each different country, and are probably in need of something a little different on your next adventure. Growing in popularity among travelers is submarine tourism, which isn't a new concept per se, but has picked up speed in the last few years. The first underwater tour dates back to the ‘60s and was more fully realized in the ‘80s with changes to the structures and more safety methods being put in place.
Today, Atlantis Submarines has the largest fleets with 12 under its belt in Barbados, Aruba, St. Martin, Curacao, Grand Cayman, Guam, Cozumel, Kona, Maui and Waikiki. Many other tour companies have jumped aboard (pun intended) and are also offering their own unique trips. (In all honesty, this is more than frightening to me—claustrophobia already setting in—but if you are a thrill-seeker this is probably just right for you).
A few things to look into when booking a sub tour are:
- Dive Site Quality - (e.g. visibility, depth, features)
- Dive Site Logistics - (e.g. currents, sea state)
- Passenger Facilities
- Dock Site Facilities
- Storm Refuge Plan
Here’s a list of six submarine tours in pretty sweet locations that will allow you to experience something new this year.
Puerto Calero, Lanzarote
Sitting off the coast of Spain, the region of Lanzarote was formed by volcanic activity and is the fourth largest isle of the Canary Islands. This is one of two locations that Submarine Safaris offers on its tours. Taking guests to over 100 feet below the Atlantic’s waters, their subs take to the sea four times a day, six days a week. During the one-hour trip, 48 guests will get to view the marine life through 22 large viewports (800 mm diameter) and two very large ports (1,600 mm diameter). Each of their submarines cost over USD $4 million to build, and since their inauguration have carried over a million guests during 30,000 dives. Also, because the cabin is maintained at normal atmospheric conditions, pregnant women, heart patients and persons with ear problems will not be affected. Must book at least 8 weeks in advance.
Price: $75/adult, $44/children
Where to Stay: Playa Blanca (private, self-catering villas)
Port Louis, Mauritius
Blue Safari Submarine began giving tours in 1998 with their vessels finding their home in the Indian Ocean. Only six months after founder Luc Billard—participant in the World Sailing Race (Whitbread 1976-1977)—started this venture, the company had so much success that a second sub was added to their fleet. Navigating the waters of Mauritius, Blue Safari 600 (the smaller of the two) is a smart choice for those looking for a more exclusive experience. The 600 series sits five and offers panoramic views, diving deep down around 130 feet below sea level over the course of an hour. A cool aspect to this adventure is the Underwater Wedding package that allows couples to tie the knot in a truly unique way.
Price: USD $152/adults, $95/children
Where to Stay: Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel
If you’re the leading owner of commercial passenger submarines, you must be doing something right. The next two destinations (next slide) are both part of the Atlantis Submarines family, and the first is located in Cozumel. The island is already popular among scuba divers and snorkelers for its wealth of marine life and coral reefs. During the 1.5-hour tour, guests will get the chance to get even closer to the Caribbean’s most beautiful and fascinating residents at around 100 feet below the water’s surface. Keep an eye out for Atlantis’ mystical mermaids that will scurry by as you descend.
Price: USD $119/adults, $79/children
Where to Stay: Secrets Aura Cozumel All Inclusive
Atlantis Submarines has three locations in Hawaii (Waikiki, Maui and Kona), but for the sake of honing in on one experience, we’ve chosen the Maui submersion. Over a total of 1 hour and 45 minutes, the 48-passenger vessel takes guests to a depth of around 100 feet below sea level. This tour was also featured in National Geographic television specials. To give travelers a better experience, the company sunk the aged Carthaginian replica of a 19th century supply vessel in 2005 and passes by its remains on the journey. This is a great tour for families.
Price: $109/adults, $45/children
Where to Stay: The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas
You ever wonder how Jonah felt when he was swallowed by that gigantic whale? This is the kind of thought that runs through my head when I read about plunging down 3,000 feet below sea level while stringing along a dead animal as shark bait. You feel me? Housing two courageous travelers at a time, Submarine Idabel—the brainchild of American Karl Stanley—takes adventurous spirits into the depths of the Caribbean Sea where light ceases to exist. Stanley has had over two decades worth of experience in subs and loves to invite roaming gill sharks to the party with his frequent use of dead carcasses attached to his vessel. The full hour lasts about 3.5 hours and offers a 30-inch diameter viewport for her passengers, 11 powerful lights, nine viewports for the pilot, comfortable bench seating and a built-in sound system.
Price: Around USD $400/person
Where to Stay: Palmetto Bay Plantation
Various Locations, Caribbean
Couples, this one is exclusively for you. Lover’s Deep is a private luxury submarine that considers itself the perfect opportunity for travelers to join the Mile Low Club (see what they did there?). Guests get the option of being picked up at their set location in the Caribbean for a two-night (minimum) stay under the ocean’s dark, dark waters. Venturing to depths of around 650 feet, the submarine wades through marine life that can be seen through many wide viewports. The vessel only has one bedroom fit for two and to make it even more romantic, couples can opt for a package that include Champagne, rose petals, the sultry sounds of Barry White and an aphrodisiac-inspired meal. While the sub is fully staffed with a Captain, chef, and butler, their quarters are completely separate and…ahem, soundproof.
Price: $294,000/night per couple
Where to Stay: Lover’s Deep (obviously)
Nicolle is an award-winning writer and Travel Editor using her expertise in the industry to write about luxury travel around the world. You can find her daily searching the web for the latest trends, best new hotels and most beautiful destinations to visit and share with her readers. She's been featured on The Huffington Post, Hard Assets, AMD Entertainment and Remy Martin. In 2014, she was v...(Read More)