Number of Dives/Site selection:
We plan between at least 36 dives subject
to weather conditions and security/safety issues. Dive site selection detailed in the published itinerary is subject to change by the Captain or Cruise Director without prior notice. There are numerous fantastic sites and our objective is to take you to the best of the best and to enjoy the opportunities offered to conduct some real exploration dives !
What diver certification level is needed for diving in the Andaman Islands ? :
All divers are welcome on board Mermaid Liveaboards, no matter what level your certification. Dive groups and site selection will be chosen to meet your safety, comfort and diving ability – and is subject to the discretion of the Cruise Director.
Dive Guides and Diver Safety:
Our experienced dive crew would be delighted to assist you. Divers are welcome to dive with their buddy on sites deemed suitable by the Cruise Director. For diver safety the use of individual dive computers is mandatory for all divers. Nitrox fills and courses are available on board to enhance your diving safety. Please allow 24 hours between last dive and flying. Guests are requested to show diving certification cards on checking in and dive medical/evacuation insurance is considered mandatory for this cruise (Padi, Dan or equivalent).
Departure and Arrival Times: We will commence boarding from 14:00 hours.
Guests are strongly recommended to arrive at least 1 day prior. Allow some time either before or after the cruise to explore this fascinating region or simply relax on some of the pristine Please liaise with Mermaid Liveaboards on your arrival times. Guests will disembark on Thursday 17th April – times to be confirmed. All times are subject to reconfirmation.
Transfers: Transfers from/to the airport or hotels anywhere in Port Blair are free of charge. Guests arriving from outside Port Blair are required to make their own way to the New Vehicle Ferry Jetty at the Causeway to Chatham Island in Port Blair. Port Blair is the capital of the Andaman Islands and to get there you need to fly first to Kolkata (Calcutta) or to Chennai (Madras) using domestic Indian carriers.
Pick up times : Start at 14:00 hours
Water Temperature and Wetsuit recommendations:
Water temperatures are a very comfortable 27-28 degrees – long wetsuits are recommended – atleast 3mm and for those who feel the chill - a 5mm long wetsuit.
Equipment on board:
Full rental equipment is available including a good range of long wetsuits and a few open heel fins. Please advise your rental equipment needs including sizes when you book. MV Mermaid I carries mostly 12 litre steel tanks with a few 15 litre steel/aluminium tanks available. Tank valves are international and some DIN adapters are available on board. Any dive equipment failure or loss will require you to rent a replacement from Mermaid Liveaboards at our published rates. If Mermaid Liveaboard equipment is lost/damaged, full replacement cost will be charged at the discretion of the Cruise Director. Published equipment prices are available on board.
Camera Stations :
There is a large camera table on the dive deck with several rinse containers catering for small to super large camera/video setups. There are several power points in every cabin plus throughout the saloon area for charging. Each table in the saloon has an electrical outlet for your laptops. Usually our dive crew will have a laptop available in case you experience any problems with yours. As possible, we also offer a DVD burning service in case you cannot bring your laptop with you.
Electrical current and plugs :
220 volts is standard throughout the boat. 110v adapters are available. Please ask the Tour Leader on boarding if you are not sure what to use. The standard pin type is the US twin rectangular prong or twin round prong. Please bring an international adapter if you are not sure. We have a few available on board.
Our Thai cook is excellent, preparing a variety of Thai and Western dishes. Please advise any special meal requirements on the guest information form.
Luggage and what should I bring :
Please make sure all your luggage is clearly name tagged. All luggage will be taken on board. If you have large bags you do not need on the trip, please arrange to leave at your hotel or we can store it at Mermaid’s office. Please bring your passport, diver certification card and insurance details. Please bring at least 4 passport pictures, your passport plus 1 colour copy of the photograph page of your passport. Other items you may need on board are bathing suits, shorts, t-shirts, sunscreen and a light weight jacket or sweater.
Can I be contacted while on board :
Yes you can be contacted on our satellite phone which will be on 24 hours a day.The satellite phone number for Mermaid I is +66 2001713. Please note the charge is US$3 per minute for outgoing calls and US$1.50 per minute for incoming calls.
Insurance : Dive Insurance with adequate evacuation coverage is mandatory for this cruise.
You need 2 types of insurance when planning your dive holiday – 1) Diving insurance is mandatory due to the high cost for you should you have a diving accident and require hospitalization and/or hyperbaric chamber care. Please contact www.diversalertnetwork.org to check which Dan area can cover you. Click on About Dan for links to all the Dan organizations around the world.
2) General travel/cancellation insurance. There are several companies around the world that can assist and we suggest you look at www.worldnomads.com for reliable and professional service recommended by The Lonely Planet. If you are unable to make your dive trip and the date has past our cancellation terms and conditions we are very sorry but regardless of the circumstances we cannot refund or transfer to another date.
Medical Assistance :
There is a local hospital and recompression chamber on the main island. As necessary evacuation would be arranged to either the mainland or nearest suitable facility. Our dive crews are first aid trained and we have an extensive first aid kit on board plus loads of emergency oxygen. Please bring any of your own medications that you may need. You can help as well by making sure you are in good condition for diving – prevention is always better than the cure. Please remember to dive safely and to make sure your Dan or other dive insurance is up to date.
Immigration Matters : Guests are required to scan mail a colour copy of the picture page of their passport to Mermaid Cruise at least 4 weeks prior to departure.
Guests are required to obtain a Tourist Visa from the Indian Embassy or Consulate in their own country. Guests are recommended to only list their arrival city eg Kolkata or Chennai or you will be required to obtain a special permit. The special permit for the Andaman Islands is available free of charge on arrival in Port Blair – an easier solution for you.
Hotels and Travel Agents :
There are a number of hotels and resorts in Port Blair.2 sites to help you are www.agoda.com or www.andamanisland.com. Or if you wish to stay at Havelock Island (home of the famous swimming elephants) www.barefootindia.com is well recommended for their resort Barefoot at Havelock. Holidays@milesworth.com is a suggested local agent based in Chennai that could handle domestic travel arrangements including ground transportation in Chennai, accommodation and land tours.
Keep checking with Thai Airways as the return of the flights from Bangkok to Port Blair is anticipated. In the meantime, you need to fly into Kolkata (Calcutta) or Chennai (Madras) and take a domestic flight from there to Port Blair. There are 4 methods of flying into Port Blair – contacting in Madras to arrange it for you or contacting the following :- Indian Air www.indian-airlines.nic.in , Jet Airways www.jetairways.com or the budget carrier www.airdeccan.net
On board payments are accepted in US dollars and Euros. We suggest you also have some Indian Rupee available for souvenir and small item shopping. There are a variety of places to arrange cash near our embarkation point. There are ATM machines allowing up to US$500 per day withdrawals and travelers cheques and cash can be exchanged at Money Changers.
Our Boat and Dive Crews will try very hard to deliver a high level of service, safety and professionalism tempered with lots of fun to optimize your holiday. Many of our guests use 5-10% of the cruise price as a tipping guideline. Tipping is voluntary and most appreciated !
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