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Old 10-11-2012, 08:51 AM   #1
MISSREBECCA76
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Dolphin Discovery or Dolphinaris?

We have three children, 4, 6 & 8 and we want to do a dolphin encounter with them. We plan to do another excursion in Grand Cayman, so these are the two we are left to choose between. I am sure there are other "non Disney sanctioned" options, but I am too much of a chicken to try one.

I have searched this topic ALOT but most of the information I find is old. Has anyone done either of these excursions lately?

Thanks!
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:31 PM   #2
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So what you all are saying is I should flip a coin??? LOL
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:00 AM   #3
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I wish I could help. The Dolphinaris reviews are terrific, so that's what I'm leaning toward.

I'm getting hung up on the requirement that the kids have an adult accompany them for the swim. I have an 8 and a 9 year old. Does that mean I need another adult with me to do the swim or am I sufficient for both?
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:07 AM   #4
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Please consider ethics of dolphin swims...

Repeat of a previous post but I feel strongly enough about this...

I really hate to be a downer but please everyone, please do some research and reconsider dolphin swims. Even the best run ones are not in the best interest of these amazing animals. Here are some links to articles:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...5/ai_81790110/

http://www.rekindlingthewaters.com/?page_id=11

Dolphins are highly intelligent and sensitive creatures. The more I learn about dolphins, the more uncomfortable I personally am with even keeping them in captivity much less using them as "entertainment' (yes, I realize most captive dolphins in the U.S. are cared for beautifully and the research they help us do is hugely valuable but even the best facilities are like jails compared to the open ocean - I'm really struggling with this actually...) Please, please hold any company you patronize to the highest standards. Outside the U.S., you can't be assured that they are treated well - in some cases, its heartbreaking what they do to the poor creatures. The websites will assure you the animal are cared for but I can't find a single marine biologists that approves of these programs.

And please consider donating the money you save by not doing an excursion to the various organizations that are trying to end the Japanese slaughter... (just google it - you'll be horrified.)
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:34 AM   #5
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I understand people have very strong feelings about Dolphin Swims. IMO doing an educational excursion with my children, teaching them to love and respect these beautiful animals, does not make the problem in Japan any worse. Zoos, Circuses, etc. etc. all take animals out of their natural habitat and this is not much different. I do not want to get in an animal rights debate- we obviously have different views. So let's just agree to respectfully disagree!

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Old 10-12-2012, 09:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havaneselover View Post
I wish I could help. The Dolphinaris reviews are terrific, so that's what I'm leaning toward.

I'm getting hung up on the requirement that the kids have an adult accompany them for the swim. I have an 8 and a 9 year old. Does that mean I need another adult with me to do the swim or am I sufficient for both?
Oh crap! I had not thought about that part- there are three kids and only two of us! Ugh!!!
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:46 AM   #7
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I did a lot of reading about Dolphinaris vs. Dolphin Discovery, and the biggest difference I've seen is that Dolphin Discovery is actually in a fenced off area that is basically in the ocean. So you get tides and fish and such while you're doing the excursion. Whereas Dolphinaris is in a completely separate pool area, so you aren't affected by wind, waves, fish, etc.

Also, Dolphin Discovery allows you to bring a waterproof camera with you, while Dolphinaris doesn't allow you to bring anything but your bathing suit and yourself.

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Old 10-12-2012, 12:28 PM   #8
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We went to Dolphin Discovery in June with my extended family. We had a 9 year old boy and a 6 year old girl.

It is true that you are in the ocean, and waves are the biggest factor. While they may not affect your swim, they could! The sectioned off area was huge, and although there were 4 to 6 groups doing swims, you didn't notice the other groups. The vastness of the pool and standing on a grate scared the 6 year old and she did not really participate in the swim. I honestly think that for the kids, Dolphinaris would have been better.

I can only compare Dolphin Discovery to Blue Lagoon in Nassau. It was a large group of people (10 to 12) with ONE dolphin. At Blue Lagoon, we had 2 dolphins and 8 people, with 2 trainers.

On a positive note, the park that Dolphin Discovery was in was gorgeous, with great snorkeling, especially for kids or adults just starting off.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhello View Post
I did a lot of reading about Dolphinaris vs. Dolphin Discovery, and the biggest difference I've seen is that Dolphin Discovery is actually in a fenced off area that is basically in the ocean. So you get tides and fish and such while you're doing the excursion. Whereas Dolphinaris is in a completely separate pool area, so you aren't affected by wind, waves, fish, etc.

Also, Dolphin Discovery allows you to bring a waterproof camera with you, while Dolphinaris doesn't allow you to bring anything but your bathing suit and yourself.

Sayhello
Now I'm even more confused. The camera issue makes me think Dolphin Discovery makes more sense. But the pool setting of Dolphinaris would be better for my children.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by havaneselover View Post
Now I'm even more confused. The camera issue makes me think Dolphin Discovery makes more sense. But the pool setting of Dolphinaris would be better for my children.
I know. There are pluses & minuses to both.

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Old 10-12-2012, 09:54 PM   #11
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We did the Dolphin Push, Pull, and Swim at Dolphin Discovery, and we're booked for the Dolphin Encounter with them for next month.

We had our 7 year old with us. He's a pretty good swimmer, but we were put in the huge central area (you stand on a grate, as was mentioned), and he was really intimidated by the large and deep ocean area. In the end, he was not willing to do the two really deep swimming activities, the push and the pull (you hold a kickboard, and the dolphin pushes you across the water for the push; for the pull, the dolphin swims upside down and you grab his fins and do a sort of belly ride.) My DM, my DH, and I all enjoyed the push and pull, and DS enjoyed everything else. He still got to do a "hug", a kiss, and a dance with the dolphins. We all really enjoyed it.

I will say, they were picky about which cameras were allowed. Some kinds they worry about scratching the dolphins. They take a LOT of photos of the session, then try to sell them to you at a crazy high price. Many of their photos of us were great, and we did end up buying them and didn't regret it.

Here's what is particularly great about Dolphin Discovery. It is in Chankanaab, a national park, and admission to the park is included in the dolphin encounter. It is a gorgeous park, with gardens, beaches, loungers, a sort of tidal pool/cove area that my son fell in love with because he could see a lot of fish without being a strong snorkeler, and a sea lion show. We loved Chankanaab so much that my DM said she's never going anywhere else when she goes to Cozumel ever again, whether or not anyone in the party is doing the dolphin encounters. (DS, of course, wants to do the dolphin encounter again. And try the manatee encounter, and the sea lion encounter.) There was also a restaurant on the premises, which surprised us by being really good. I don't know if we got lucky with what we ordered, or if it really is generally good. It was slow, but tasty.

Anyway, we chose Dolphin Discovery because of its location, and the location is a destination in itself. (It costs 21 a person to get into Chankanaab, which is included in your cost, and you get to hang out there for a couple of hours after the swim.) Honestly, I can't say enough good things about our experience. The only negatives were the grate you have to stand on and the cost of the photos.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden Rose View Post
We did the Dolphin Push, Pull, and Swim at Dolphin Discovery, and we're booked for the Dolphin Encounter with them for next month.

We had our 7 year old with us. He's a pretty good swimmer, but we were put in the huge central area (you stand on a grate, as was mentioned), and he was really intimidated by the large and deep ocean area. In the end, he was not willing to do the two really deep swimming activities, the push and the pull (you hold a kickboard, and the dolphin pushes you across the water for the push; for the pull, the dolphin swims upside down and you grab his fins and do a sort of belly ride.) My DM, my DH, and I all enjoyed the push and pull, and DS enjoyed everything else. He still got to do a "hug", a kiss, and a dance with the dolphins. We all really enjoyed it.


So, if your child backs out, do they still charge you? I'm guessing yes, but just wanted to know for sure

I will say, they were picky about which cameras were allowed. Some kinds they worry about scratching the dolphins. They take a LOT of photos of the session, then try to sell them to you at a crazy high price. Many of their photos of us were great, and we did end up buying them and didn't regret it.

Do you happen to remember what kinds of cameras they allow, so I can purchase to bring with us on the trip?

Here's what is particularly great about Dolphin Discovery. It is in Chankanaab, a national park, and admission to the park is included in the dolphin encounter. It is a gorgeous park, with gardens, beaches, loungers, a sort of tidal pool/cove area that my son fell in love with because he could see a lot of fish without being a strong snorkeler, and a sea lion show. We loved Chankanaab so much that my DM said she's never going anywhere else when she goes to Cozumel ever again, whether or not anyone in the party is doing the dolphin encounters. (DS, of course, wants to do the dolphin encounter again. And try the manatee encounter, and the sea lion encounter.) There was also a restaurant on the premises, which surprised us by being really good. I don't know if we got lucky with what we ordered, or if it really is generally good. It was slow, but tasty.

Anyway, we chose Dolphin Discovery because of its location, and the location is a destination in itself. (It costs 21 a person to get into Chankanaab, which is included in your cost, and you get to hang out there for a couple of hours after the swim.) Honestly, I can't say enough good things about our experience. The only negatives were the grate you have to stand on and the cost of the photos.
I think we are going to go here on our Fantasy cruise in 3 weeks. If I book today, I save 25%. But I'm wondering if I should wait until we get to the park and see if my kids still want to do it - maybe better to wait and pay full price once they see how it works, versus saving money up front but then they both back out...
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:00 AM   #13
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We r going to be on the fantasy in 3 weeks with our 4 yr old and we decided to do the one right at port since she is only 4 and we are not swimming with them only interacting. Our daughter is to young to swim with them. My husband and I did do discovery cove in Florida and really want her to be able to experience being with dolphins too.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:02 PM   #14
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We actually just got back from our second trip to the dolphin discovery at Chankannaab. My DD and I missed the port because she was sick the night before and we didn't want to risk taking her off the ship. My DS, DM, and DH went as planned.

DD, not yet 2, was actually booked (for free, directly with Dolphin Discovery) . Children under 5 can definitely do the Dolphin Encounter where you stand on the grate with an adult and pet and kiss dolphins. We saw kids do it the previous trip, and we were booked for it this trip. We only missed it because DD and I stayed on the ship to be safe with her health.

We booked directly with dolphin discovery, just said we were staying at a hotel. We booked both the dolphin encounter and the sea lion encounter for the same price as booking just the dolphin encounter through DCL. DS absolutely loved both, and also spent a lot of time in the sort of shallow tide pool area wading and watching fish, crabs, and sea urchins. He was so enthralled that they almost missed the boat.

As far as money goes, we paid in advance, and I'm sure they wouldn't have given us our money back. They didn't have a problem subbing out who was doing what, though. We'd paid for me, DH, and DS to do the dolphins and me, DM, and DS to do the sea lions, but since I wasn't there, they just let DM, DH, and DS do both.

I don't know what kind of cameras they will allow you to take in the water. We just decided to buy their overpriced packages both times. Their photos really did come out great, and we decided it was close enough to a once in a lifetime thing to just go ahead and get them. I know the family next to us last time was able to bring theirs, but I know I've talked to people who weren't allowed to bring theirs. I know that isn't any help. I know you have to have a waterproof camera, but I don't know why they permit some and deny others.
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:36 PM   #15
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We actually just got back from our second trip to the dolphin discovery at Chankannaab. My DD and I missed the port because she was sick the night before and we didn't want to risk taking her off the ship. My DS, DM, and DH went as planned.

DD, not yet 2, was actually booked (for free, directly with Dolphin Discovery) . Children under 5 can definitely do the Dolphin Encounter where you stand on the grate with an adult and pet and kiss dolphins. We saw kids do it the previous trip, and we were booked for it this trip. We only missed it because DD and I stayed on the ship to be safe with her health.

We booked directly with dolphin discovery, just said we were staying at a hotel. We booked both the dolphin encounter and the sea lion encounter for the same price as booking just the dolphin encounter through DCL. DS absolutely loved both, and also spent a lot of time in the sort of shallow tide pool area wading and watching fish, crabs, and sea urchins. He was so enthralled that they almost missed the boat.

As far as money goes, we paid in advance, and I'm sure they wouldn't have given us our money back. They didn't have a problem subbing out who was doing what, though. We'd paid for me, DH, and DS to do the dolphins and me, DM, and DS to do the sea lions, but since I wasn't there, they just let DM, DH, and DS do both.

I don't know what kind of cameras they will allow you to take in the water. We just decided to buy their overpriced packages both times. Their photos really did come out great, and we decided it was close enough to a once in a lifetime thing to just go ahead and get them. I know the family next to us last time was able to bring theirs, but I know I've talked to people who weren't allowed to bring theirs. I know that isn't any help. I know you have to have a waterproof camera, but I don't know why they permit some and deny others.
I was not allowed to bring mine, but I'm not upset about it. I'm glad I was able to simply enjoy myself, and not worry about taking pictures or video. We did buy their photos and they all came out great. In fact, they reviewed them while we were in the water and had my daughter and son retake photos, so they each got to do one thing twice.
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