Bruno and his team are good professionals focus on safety, quality and confort of their dive... read more
Bruno and his team are good professionals focus on safety, quality and confort of their dive... read more
First time scuba diving and couldn't have asked for a better experience. Our instructors were thorough and patient, we felt very safe diving with them. The dive spots that we were taken to were excellent, the boat was lovely and there are shower facilities back at their office. Would definitely dive again and highly recommend to anyone who wants to dive in this area.
Bruno and his team are good professionals focus on safety, quality and confort of their dive guests.
The Portofino area is a nice area to dive with variety of fish and sea life.
I really enjoyed the few dives and will definitively come back !
I have over 50+ dives of experience across multiple continents. I went on three dives with Portofino Divers over two days.
Pros: New and large boat with plenty of space. New and clean equipment and facilities. Freshwater showers at the shop. Organized cubbies at the shop to leave your stuff during the dives. Professional and knowledgeable dive masters. Small diver to dive master ratio.
Cons: Equipment rental does not have depth gauge meter. Bruno and Suzie argued a lot and that was off putting to me and other people on board. Sometimes they'd bicker right before we went underwater, so that increased anxiety levels of some of the newer divers with us. During my three dives, I was asked about how much air I had only twice and if I was OK only twice as well. One less experienced couple who went diving on the same day with me ran out of air and had to come up to the surface alone, without a diving watch, or dive master.
I recommend Portofino Divers for only intermediate and advanced divers who are more independent, used to monitoring their own air levels, and takes initiative to communicate to the dive master leading. Once my air levels got below a certain level, I communicated that to the dive master. I didn't have a diving watch, so I followed the dive master closely for safety stops. If you're looking for a dive operator who'll baby you and hold your hand throughout the dive, look elsewhere.
Additionally, beware that if you put down a deposit for diving reservations, you are expected to pay for the dives, even if you need to cancel because you're sick. On the second day, I had terrible motion sickness and threw up on the side of the boat. I couldn't go for a 4th dive even though I reserved for it. Bruno wouldn't give me a refund. Fair enough, he's got a business to run.
Dear Melissa, thanks for your honest feedback.
We take care of our customer satisfaction and we are aware that there is always a wide margin for improvements.
Our outstanding dive boat, our super cool diving equipment and the professionalism of our staff is not enough to run a good dive dive center. We also want to be the best underwater ! I appreciate your comments. For sure we will take care of your suggestions.
You are totally right about my arguing with Susie. This is something that should not happen and I apologize for this.
We offer dive computers for rent. Our regulators does not have an integrated one because we do not like bulky consoles. It is quite uncomfortable to manage an ascent while holding a console and a buoyancy device at the same time. That's why 95% of the dives have their gauge meter / dive computer at their wrist (should be at the right one :) ).
Why you did not ask us a gauge meter after the first dives ? We are not happy when divers does not have one. One reason is because we do not have a proof of their dive profile in case of accident.
About your gas consumption, during the pre-dive brienfing we ask our guests to signal the half-gas and the reserve. We assume a certified Open Water Diver is aware of his/her gas comsuption. In 18 years of Portofino Divers we have never registered an accident or someone complaining about our lack of attention on this matter. In that case the dive master's job is to guide divers to discover the best route and to ensure fun and safe diving for the whole group. During training, or if we guide non-certified divers (DSD), of course we put more attention to monitor the gas of the divers, but normally we only ask once or maximum two time during a dive and ONLY if we do not know the divers or/and we suspect a super gas consumption due to obvious lack of skills.
About the situation you described of the less experienced couple who had to come up alone without our supervision. Honestly I should avoid to comment because I do not remember this episode and becasue I did not get any report. I know our dive masters do mistakes sometimes but I also trust them because I have trained them personally in many years and I have to say their are the most professional staff in Portofino. Maybe you are right, maybe there was a potential room for a problem. Or maybe this was just your impression, maybe they were already approximately to the end of the dive and near the surface when the dive master asked them to surface in order to do a bit longer dive with you and the rest of the group. In other words maybe everything was under control but you had another impression. I will investigate.
You wrote "If you're looking for a dive operator who'll baby you and hold your hand throughout the dive, look elsewhere."
Thank you for this comment because there is 50% of truth in it :)
We expect that certified Open Water Divers does not need / want a baby sitter but they are looking for fun and safety. They are certified to dive alone ! They need a dive guide because in the marine park they are not allowed to dive without some one with an higher level of diving certification and because they are looking for more fun and safety.
If someone is looking for a baby sitter should be honest with himself / herself and to inform us. Then we will offer to hire a private instructor in order for him/her to get the best enjoyment from the dives and to do not risk to ruin the dives to other guests.
The big problem is that most of the divers do not realize they have very poor basic skills and they think they can dive in a group because the dive master will watch them. UNFORTUNATELY THIS IS A VERY COMMON THINKING AND AT THE SAME TIME A VERY BAD BEHAVIOR !
In most case their instructor did not do a good job with them. In my vision, he stole money to his trainees.
The incredible thing is that when we suggest to hire a private instructor often the customer has the impression that we want to "steal" money to him ... that's really disappointing for us.
Finally, our cancellation policy are very clear. Most of the divers who did a bad report to us is because in the end they did not get a refund as a result of their last minute cancellation. In some cases we offer a voucher. It sounds to me we did not offer it to you as well. But this is just to keep a good relation with the customer. Anyway you are correct, if someone book a dive and do not show up, or he feels bad because of seasickness or other events not attributable to our responsibility will not receive a refund. I know this could look rude but this help us to guarantee the highest level of services to our guests by limiting the number of divers per trip to small numbers. Otherwise we will become like most of our "competitors" , a scuba diving supermarket carrying lots of divers back and forward.
In reverse, as you underlined in your comment, we take only small groups of divers because we try to do our best to offer a more exclusive and personal dive experience to our guests. Unfortunately the downside is that we do not have room for discounts.
founder and owner of Portofino Divers since 2002
Portofino divers is by far the best dive company I have experienced. The shop is well organized gear is properly maintained and Bruno is an excellent guide!
The dive guest house is perfect if you’re doing a quick stay! It is affordable and well kept! Would recommend!
I booked 2dives in the morning from 9am to 13pm, perfectly on time.
Booking was super easy thanks to a well built website and transparent prices with no surprises.
The equipment is incredibly well kept, with a full set of HALCYON BCDs, the wetsuits were perfectly maintained and looked brand new.
3/4 divers per instructor (Edoardo - fluent in english and knows where to find octopus/muray eels and sunk World War equipment).
The boat is fast and comfortable and NOT a tiny rubber dinghy and well equipped with water and second filled tanks (no nedd to go back to the shop and re-fill).
During surface interval time we also toured Portofino harbour.
I ONLY recommend diving with them, it is more expensive but the experience is unique and worth it.
My wife and I have been diving for the past 3 years in Florida and Hawaii with about 20 dives under our belts. So we felt confident that we could handle the marine park in Portofino. We did OK, but there were some struggles along the way.
First, the Italian guide used signals that were completely different than the ones we have grown accustom to in the US. Not their fault, but if you are planning to dive in Italy, you really should do your homework and learn the signals that will be used on your dive. Also, we are so used to PSI and depth in feet that the switch to meters and Bar of air was disorienting.
We did a two tank dive and we got better throughout our time under the water. This was the coldest diving we have done and that had effects on our breathing and buoyancy that took some time to get used to. If we were going to plan a trip here again I would want to do two full days so that I could really feel comfortable.
The equiptment that we rented and the boat we were on was all very good. I had an issue however with my primary 2nd stage on my first dive and had to use my backup. When I got back on the boat we started to look at the broken regulator and a small piece of metal fell out of the exhaust port. yikes. Later they told me that this was a brand new regulator and even showed me the box that they had just opened to install this into service. That is why we use a backup I guess.
In some of the reviews, the owner Bruno gets some bad wraps for being rude. While not the warmest coat in the closet, Bruno is definitely knowledgeable and I think that is what matters most to me. For example, when we came back from the dive and I told him about the bad regulator he told me it was brand new and then for some reason decided to add that it was made in America. I just smiled and admitted that not all of us can be perfect. LOL. It seems this defensiveness on his part is what irks some folks, but I just let it slide off. All in all they did a great job getting us outfitted and in the water which is what we wanted.
As for the dives themselves, to be honest, we were underwhelmed. The water was pretty clear, with about 20 feet visibility so I was really expecting to see more sea life. We saw some grouper and quite a few small schooling fish but perhaps I have been spoiled by Hawaii and the Keys. The wreck was fun though.
I would recommend Portofino Divers to others and would use them again if I came back. But I would also be better prepared next time as well.
While traveling through Italy I decided to do 2 dives in Portofino. The staff was Amazing. Well knowledgeable & helpful. Franco was my instructor for both dives. He is very comfortable in the water and lead the dives with confidence and ease. The underwater life and topography was really unique, I would definitely dive with this team again!
Excllent service overall, worth the premium. Bruno knows his business inside out and knows how to run it smoothly. He is the benchmark in the area.
We came from Australia to dive here and booked in advanced specifically requesting to do the wreck dive. I paid a deposit and provided our certifications it was confirmed in the email that we would be doing a wreck dive.
On the day when we arrived we were told they had already done the wreck dive that day so would be taking out group on a reef dive and the Christ of the Abyss. When I told the owner that we had booked for a wreck dive he said "if we wanted to see a bunk hunk of metal" then that is the dive we could do. Which is what we confirmed we wanted to do, even though he made us feel as though we were totally inconveniencing him.
While we were preparing to go out and getting geared up we found Bruno and his team to be super unfriendly (except for a nice young girl!). We actually felt really uncomfortable like we were putting Bruno out majorly.
We then went out onto the boat which was a really nice boat! New and big and spacious. The actual boat trip was lovely and it was a beautiful day! Seeing the coastline of Italy from the water made the day for me.
We dived the first site which was the Christ of the Abyss. It was cool to see the statue but nothing really special.
When we were headed to the second site they actually just decided not to go to the wreck and to go to the reef. I was never given an explanation about what happened to wreck dive we booked so decided I wouldn't be diving the second dive on the reef, it was not what I was there for and have been lucky enough to dive many beautiful reefs before.
My partner went on the dive and was disappointed, not seeing anything exciting. He was actually told by Bruno on the boat that the reason we couldn't do the wreck dive was because we didn't have a technical license. However this was never mentioned before we got onto the boat nor was it mentioned when I booked and paid a deposit.
When we got back and went to settle the bill it was astronomical and I was charged for a second dive even though I didn't do it, and that I only booked for the wreck dive which I was never taken on.
To be totally honest this was the worst experience I've ever had with a dive company anywhere in the world. They were not friendly, they deceived me on what I was booking and paying for, it was the most expensive dive experience I've ever seen and I left feeling totally ripped off.
If I could go back in time and cancel I would.
Hi Kylie, your negative comments are a vary bad surprise for me because you didn't look disappointed here.
I invite you to read our email exchange more carefully, unfortunately I cannot publish here, TripAdvisor does not allow me to do. I have never said that we were going to dive a wreck, even if we always do our best to satisfy special requests of our guests. We have only one wreck in the marine park which is not the best place to dive, especially for OWD since it starts at 20 meters. We always try to provide the most professional service in terms of safety and fun to our guests. Unfortunately sometimes we fail or our intentions are not fully understood by the customer, like I guess in this case. We are aware of the fact our guests spend a lot of money to dive with us and we want to do the best to meet or to go over their expectations. Again, sometimes this is not fully understood, especially from divers with few experience, but on the other hand we have to accept the fact that we can not make everybody happy.
Our rates are very clear on the website and we ask the deposit by sending a detailed pro-forma invoice , so you should know how much you are going to spend before you the confirmation of your reservation. The bill should not be a surprise if you read the price list first and the offer afterwards.
Our cancellation policy is also very clear. You can find it in any email we sent you and in the offer you got for paying the deposit.
Moreover, If you order a pizza at the restaurant but you only eat half pizza do you expect to pay just for half of it ? We reserved a spot on board for you, which are very limited, this is what you pay for. If you decided to not make a second dive it is not for our fault in case.
I hope you will be able to explain your disappointment also directly to a person in the future and not just hided behind a screen where you can say whatever you want even if it is not completely true.
All the best,
I dove 6 times with Portofino Divers. In general you get what you paid for. Prices are a little higher than other diving centers, but:
- Boat if very good, well adapted and the groups are limited, which gives you a lot of space on the boat and during gearing up.
- Although I used my own gear, their gear is very professional and high quality.
- Facility is well equipped and really divers oriented
- Facility-boat-dive-after dive cycle is well organized
Accommodation they can provide is nice and clean, with shared kitchen and bathroom. It is quite noisy, but also the price is very reasonable considering the area.
The only unpleasant experience I had was the one with the owner Bruno. All the time I get the feeling he is rude and he cares only if I pay him for the service. Instead of explaining why we proceed like this, not like that he just gives dusty answers, do as you wish, its on your own responsibility etc. During departure time we had small argue, but at the end he offered free half day accommodation. I perfectly understand he is the owner and its his job to take care of business, but sometimes its more beneficial to cool down or simply delegate some tasks to others. It would be much better reception if I could remove Bruno’s attitude from the equation.
On another hand his crew is excellent! All of them are very nice, professional, helpful, informative and happy. And they are good divers.
Overall it is a good, professional diving center and I can recommend it
thanks for your review.
I'm glad you find a very professional service at our facility.
Unfortunately I know I could look rude to whom does not know me or especially to whom is rude with me. I have to admit since the first minute you entered the dive shop I had quite some difficulties in dealing with you. You know some people does not like each other since the first approach and, like you said, I'm not good dealing with guests. Some people hates me, other loves me. For sure I'm not the kind of person who makes a lot of smiles and then treat the customer like he is always right. I need to improve on that aspect but I do not think will be never my best quality. My main responsabilty is to guarantee safety and fun to our customers. I'm aware of the fact they spend a lot of money to dive with us and I want to do the best to meet or to go over their expectations. Sometimes this is not fully understood but we can not make everybody happy.
About our small argue in the end ... you cancelled the last night accommodation at the last minute and you where pretending to leave the room in the evening ... No comments on this.
In July I spent two days diving with Bruno and his team at the Area Protetta di Portofino. This is a very nice place with many dive spots to discover. Many thanks to Susi, she guides me very well, Bruno for the quick response and easy booking and also to Edo and Nico for help with the equipment. They all are really professionals and all time I felt to be in good hands. I am sure I will come back again, maybe next year.