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I've did the BOB tour 2 years ago. It was pretty cool.
You are on the scooter for about 20-30 minutes out of the tour, where you follow divers along with 6-8 other people. The divers with our group were great, they took a lot of pictures for us with our underwater camera. There were a lot of sea turtles, colorful fish and a barracuda that hung around under the tour boat.
When not on the scooter, they had snorkeling equipment to use.
Just to give you some perspective, I'm a 'fluffy' 40 something years old, absolutely no athletic ability at all and not usually quite this adventerous (sp?). You do need to get in the water and 'duck' into the helmet, but once there you can breath easily. They have you keep holding your knows and popping your ears as they block (like on an airplane).
We had a great group of people and a great crew on board, which can make or break any excursion. Be sure to bring a waterproof camera with you, they sell them on board, but they are more expensive than if you bring your own.
Check out my cruise report (Carnival Destiny) but at $109 pp, it's expensive and while the experience is unique, we felt cocooned and herded. My husband hates being herded! Since you're only tethered to be about 8 feet deep, you can see just as much snorkeling (which you do for 2/3 of the time you're on site since only 10 BOBs can go at a time). Because the headgear is curved, your view of the underwater world is distorted (I saw a barracuda and had no idea it was 5 feet long!). It was an experience though, and that's what vacations are about!
Margot and Nick
Big Red Boat 1995 (Bahamas w/family)
Carnival Glory 2004 (W Caribbean w/family)
Carnival Destiny 2005 (S Caribbean w/family)
Carnival Fantasy 2006 (girl-trip Bahamas)
Carnival Spirit 2006 (Alaska-southbound w/son)
NCL Pride of America 2007 (Hawaii w/son)
Carnival Sensation 2007(w/first-timer cruiser bf Nick)
Carnival Glory 2008 (E Caribbean w/son)
Carnival Sensation 2008 (girl-trip Bahamas)
Carnival Inspiration 2008 (Cozumel Xmas w/Nick)
Carnival Sensation 2009 (Bahamas girl-trip)
Carnival Freedom 2009 (western Caribbean w/son)
Carnival Fascination 2010 (Key West and Bahamas w/Nick)
Disney Dream 2011 (community leaders w/Nick for Boys and Girls Club)
Carnival Valor 2011 (eastern Caribbean with our WEDDING in St. Thomas)
Carnival Sensation 2011 (Bahamas college gal-pals)
Coral Princess 2012 (Panama Canal, my grandma's girlhood home)
Island Princess 2013 (Vancouver to SF, 2nd anniversary with Nick)
Pacific Princess 2013 (Rome to Ft. Lauderdale with Nick)
Carnival Pride 2014 (Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay w/college gal pals
Carnival Miracle 2014 (Alaska, 3rd Anniversary with Nick)
After my family and I took the BOB Underwater Adventure tour in St. Thomas, we all agreed that it would have been better and cheaper to take a snorkeling tour instead. Thatís mostly what you do in the BOB tour, anyway. The actual ride is quite nice once you are in the scooter, but the tour program is poorly thought out. As there are far more people than scooters, three groups have to take turns on the BOBs. The ride in the scooter lasts only 20 minutes, hardly enough to go a hundred yards from the boat and back. Also, the scooters are past their prime and some people find them hard to control, bump into each other, or go in circles. Itís hard to watch and enjoy the marine life when you are busy trying to steer and operate a vehicle you are not familiar with UNDERWATER, with divers communicating with you in diver sign language the rudiments of which you have just been told along with many other instructions. Itís not for children of any age, but some adults could not get into the scooter either, for it requires a fair amount of dexterity underwater. A lengthy briefing on how to enter, exit, and operate the BOB scooter and the deployment of the scooters takes much time, and getting the people in and out of the scooters takes as long as the ride itself if not longer. Itís a tall order for many, but even if you manage to assimilate the instructions, by the time you have figured out how to ride the BOB straight and you are getting into it, itís over.
St. Thomas has excellent spots to snorkel but the one chosen for the BOB experience was not one of them. The water was murky and neither the fish nor the vegetation was what I expected to see in a Caribbean coral reef. It was nothing to write home about. In better tours the crew puts food in the water to attract fish often with spectacular results, but that was not the case in the BOB tour.
In sum: donít bother. A snorkeling tour without gimmicks is much better value for money and more and easier fun.