Every picture I see of snorkelers on Carnival excursions shows them wearing life vests. Is this just for the ads, or does Carnival require life vests on all water excursions? 4 of the 6 in my group are certified divers (3 of us rescue certified) and will be totally miserable wearing life jackets to snorkel. We will definitely book through an outside agency if Carnival makes you wear life jackets!
Its all about liability. I don't know if its law but all tours, independant or not that involve you going into the water require you to wear life vests, i know they are a pain in the neck, but you don't have to inflate them, you just have to wear them, that's what we do.
When we went snorkeling in Grand Cayman we booked through a private operator. Life vests were available for those who wanted them but were not mandatory. We went with Soto's cruises. I would check with the independent companies for the ports you're going to and ask ahead of time.
Celebrity Century 1/09
Carnival Destiny 10/07
Carnival Destiny 9/06
Monarch of the Seas 3/06
Carnival Inspiration 8/05
Carnival Miracle 4/05
Carnival Inspiration 4/04
Sovereign of the Seas 4/03
I'll definitely be checking on some independent tours for snorkeling. I usually float well enough in salt water to be able to rest if I need to. Especially if I'm wearing fins. I like to dive to the botton to get a closer look at the reef life -look for eels and octopi etc that you can't see from the surface. Hopefully I can get a private tour and skip the life vest.
It must not be manditory for Carnival because I went to Dominica on the Destiny. No life jackets were required. However, in Barbados they were. Both booked thru Carnival. So it seems likely it's the policy of whom you book with.