My wife & I are cruising in May & will snorkel at two ports. We were wondering of the quality of rental equipment.. should we buy masks at a local dive shop before we leave or are the masks at the excursions suffecient?
Masks are not necessarily expensive, and the help in fitting you get from a pro dive shop is well worth the effort. leaky, ill fitting masks can spoil an expensive excursion. If you wear glasses or contacts, tell the dive shop. There are many options available.
Mask fit is important, as mentioned above ,as are vision options (if that is an issue). To me, the snorkel is the issue. Using a rental or excursion snorkel to me, no matter how well sanitized , is the equivelant of using a communal toothbrush. I won't do it.
We bring our own masks (a vision issue for me, mine are fitted with corrective lenses) and snorkels and sometimes, depending on where we are going, our own fins. Most often we just use the fins provided by the excursion. The mask and snorkel take up no room and we usually just wedge them in a corner of our carryons.
We have our own,because we snorkel at lot. Mask & Snorkel, rent the fins. We have found that its easier and sometimes cheaper and you get better quality equipment if you rent on the ship. Our friends did just that on the Golden Princess - 5 days rental for $25.00 per person. You can purchase inexpensive masks and snorkels at KMart or WalMart just to give it a try.
Walmart has a nice US Divers set right now, Purge mask (meaning if you blow air out of your nose it will clear itself of any water inside the mask), purge/dry snorkel (same thing, blow and any water clears out of the bottom and top seals when you submerge your head) and nice full foot snorkeling fins, oh yeah and a bonus water proof money holder, all for 23.00, they had the same set at Sports Authority for $57.00. I would say buy your own if you have the room, for the same price as a rental and you know its clean, safe, etc.... mask that are used alot tend to warp and dont seal well, and used snorkels... yuck! Thats just my opinion, if you may use the set again you could buy better quality from a dive shop... however the only REAL difference is the mask's ability to go to deep depths. Snorkeling sets the mask is not made to go 100+ feet deep... otherwise everything is the same... and the fins for SCUBA are not meant for snorkeling as they are much harder to swim/snorkel in as they are harder plastic meant for pushing through deeper water (underwater of course, not on the surface). Your legs will tire quickly snorkeling in these (ussually open heel, that you wear booties with)... go full foot/snorkeling fins. Any other questions, ask away....
I was going to rent snorkle equipment but my sister and brother-in-law who are professional cruisers loaned me their gear. They said the rental equip they had on previous cruises was junk. So they went out and purchased some good gear. They even gave me a mesh diving backpack to store the gear in. More stuff to take on the plane and boat but what the heck, I will save some money and won't have a leaky mask.