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Old 06-04-2012, 02:03 PM   #1
GoofTroop
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Grand Cayman or Costa Maya Dolphin Encounter?

We are trying to decide between these two locations for the Dolphin Encounter.....

Is one place better than the other?

I thought I read somewhere that in Grand Cayman it takes place in a pool?

Also, in Costa Maya if only going to observe, isn't it free for the observer? Where as, we'd pay for an observer in Grand Cayman?

Any information you could give me would be great, pros and cons to either place.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:47 PM   #2
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I cannot speak for the experience on Grand Cayman - but we (dad and twin daughters age 7) did do the Dolphin Encounter in Costa Maya.

The whole encounter from checking-in, the pre-encounter briefing and walk to the enclosure took about an hour. During the encounter itself, each person in the group was given the opportunity to "dance" with the dolphin (hold flippers); get and give a kiss to the dolphin and have the dolphin touch the palm of your hand held above your head. So the actual individual encounter lasted about 2 minutes. In between these individual encounters you did have the chance to pet the dolphin a few times as she swam by - which was interesting in that a dolphin's skin is extremely smooth and supple due to the frequent "molting" they do (something I never knew about a dolphin).

And while they do assign a photographer to take pictures, the cost for those prints is quite expensive. We relied on the video that my wife took from a short distance away as our "souvenir".

All in all - it was a good experience - especially for the kids. But for $227 for the three of us - we most likely will not be doing it again on our next cruise.

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:56 PM   #3
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I don't recommend the Dolphin Adventure on GC simply because it was a long day of "hurry up and wait!" We waited on a very long line to get our tender number... then another long line to get on a tender... then we had some time to kill in the port area... then a line to get our excursion "sticker" and towels... then on line to get our bracelets... then another line (after walking a little bit) to get on the "bus"... then a line to get instructions and meeting time info... then we finally got to the turtle farm (and had approximately 25 minutes there)... then back to the other side of the street to the dolphin area... and what did we do there for the next hour plus... yep, you guessed it... WAIT ON LINE! there were a bunch of groups ahead of us (and we were the only boat in port!) and then finally, into the stingray tank... then on line to the dolphin side... then, finally, *hours* later the dolphin event began... it was over so quickly, only to get on line to look at pictures, and then on line to get back on the buses, then on line to get back on the tender... sigh... we were exhausted from all that *waiting!!* (and i had a 4yo with me! fortunately, the waiting area/snack bar near the dolphin swim had a small backyard playground which kept him somewhat occupied)

I would definitely try another port next time
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:23 PM   #4
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I did the dolphin encounter in Grand Cayman at Dolphin Cove. It was great! They have a special for Disney cruise guests too which made it very cost effective. They picked us up from the pier and then dropped us back off (It was about two hours total)! Just a thought if you would rather keep it is short and sweet and have time to shop and what not.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:00 PM   #5
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Gigi, I'm assuming you didn't do the dolphin encounter through DCL? Since "mom of pirate's" experience is much different than yours?

My DH is now thinking it might be fun to do the bus tour in Grand Cayman. It's a 2 hour tour, with a stop at Hell and the Turtle Farm....Then we'd do the dolphin encounter in Costa Maya. I'm not sure how well my boys would sit through a two hour bus tour though. I'm worried they'd get bored......

Ugh....Decisions, decisions.....
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:31 PM   #6
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My dd did dolphins with her friend in Costa Maya this past week. It was a quick walk to the area, right at the end of the pier. They got to do the things mentioned above and also got to swim by holding on to the dolphin fins. It was a lot of fun and they enjoyed it. I liked that it was easy to get to and free to watch. The photos offered to us were both girls on a CD for $80. I took plenty of pics though, so we didn't get the CD.

We did the dolphin experience at Blue Lagoon in Nassau in December and thought it was really nice, but this was definitely better - and cheaper!
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modisneychick View Post
My dd did dolphins with her friend in Costa Maya this past week. It was a quick walk to the area, right at the end of the pier. They got to do the things mentioned above and also got to swim by holding on to the dolphin fins. It was a lot of fun and they enjoyed it. I liked that it was easy to get to and free to watch. The photos offered to us were both girls on a CD for $80. I took plenty of pics though, so we didn't get the CD.

We did the dolphin experience at Blue Lagoon in Nassau in December and thought it was really nice, but this was definitely better - and cheaper!
I love the fact that it's free to watch. As an observer, were you pretty close to where your family was in the water? Was it easy to get good pictures? I also like the fact that you don't have to board anything to get to the dolphins.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoofTroop View Post
Gigi, I'm assuming you didn't do the dolphin encounter through DCL? Since "mom of pirate's" experience is much different than yours?

My DH is now thinking it might be fun to do the bus tour in Grand Cayman. It's a 2 hour tour, with a stop at Hell and the Turtle Farm....Then we'd do the dolphin encounter in Costa Maya. I'm not sure how well my boys would sit through a two hour bus tour though. I'm worried they'd get bored......

Ugh....Decisions, decisions.....
We did the extreme dolphin swim thru DCL also... They provided the transport, but it just seemed like a lot of work... And it's a good thing it was thru DCL because we were on the last tender back, and it was about half an hour late! (which caused me additional anxiety)
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:27 PM   #9
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Costa Maya Dolphin Swim May 2012

Here are some pics from our excursion. The area around the "pools" is roped off, so as an observer, you are about 4 feet away at the most.









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Old 06-05-2012, 09:54 PM   #10
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I have never done Costa Maya. That said, our experience at Discovery Cove in Orlando was better than anything we've ever experienced on any of the islands. I'd save my money from a dolphin excursion while cruising and add a day to my vacation (now or another trip) to do Discovery Cove.
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modisneychick View Post
My dd did dolphins with her friend in Costa Maya this past week. It was a quick walk to the area, right at the end of the pier. They got to do the things mentioned above and also got to swim by holding on to the dolphin fins. It was a lot of fun and they enjoyed it. I liked that it was easy to get to and free to watch. The photos offered to us were both girls on a CD for $80. I took plenty of pics though, so we didn't get the CD.

We did the dolphin experience at Blue Lagoon in Nassau in December and thought it was really nice, but this was definitely better - and cheaper!
So can you bring a water proof camera to take pictures? My son and I are the only ones doing it, can my husband get close enough to take pictures and video?
Thanks in advance!
Lesley
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:14 PM   #12
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My family just returned yesterday from a Disney cruise to Grand Cayman. We visited Dolphin Cove while we were there. They were excellent! They transported us from the port, took us straight to the facility and we were almost immediately in the water with the dolphins! It was very clean and the view was beautiful. All the dolphins seemed happy and healthy. We were able to kiss, rub bellies, and dance with the dolphins. My daughters (4 and 7) loved it!! They also took us to Sting Ray City to feed and mingle with sting rays...my daughter said "best day ever!!!" Would highly recommend!
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:30 PM   #13
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Family had a great time at Dolphin Cove in the Grand Caymans

Our family loves the ocean and reveres the wonderful creatures that live in it. I have many reservations about seeing beautiful dolphins in captivity, but know there is an irresistible market for this type of tourism, often in the name of education and conservation... I researched and read hundreds of positive reviews about Dolphin Cove (also check out tripadvisor.com) before booking this excursion for our Disney cruise. My children (10 and 7) were so excited and, yes, so was I. Our encounter with Luna and Sally was shared with two other family groups and lasted 30 minutes. Everyone had thrilling opportunities to touch, kiss and dance with the dolphins. A sense of awe is inevitable. Later, I spoke with our trainer who reassured me the dolphins were not captured from the wild. They were bred in Jamaica and would not be able to hunt enough food to survive without humans. Sally was a rescue dolphin who washed up after a shark attack at age one and a half. The six dolphins formed a tight family unit. The staff at Dolphin Cove were very pleasant and helpful, from our driver Ashton, to our booking agent Neisha, to the trainers especially Riana. Dolphin Cove impressed me as a well-kept natural setting sheltered from the open seas, a special haven for us humans to share a brief moment with these majestic creatures.
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoofTroop View Post
I love the fact that it's free to watch. As an observer, were you pretty close to where your family was in the water? Was it easy to get good pictures? I also like the fact that you don't have to board anything to get to the dolphins.
The pictures provided a few posts above this are an excellent depiction! You are very close and have more than 180 degrees of access to station yourself and take photos. You can easily stand on 3 of the 4 sides of the enclosure outside the ropesI took shots of my family of 6 from the deck chair and umbrella area while my husband took video and we didn't need to pay for anything extra. The price cannot be beat!
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