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Old 04-30-2013, 09:21 AM   #1
mandykaye
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Excursions?

Which is the best excursion for my family, it will be me and my husband and our 2 daughters they are 8 and 4 yrs old. I am trying to decide between the Atlantis beach day or the blue lagoon beach day.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:47 AM   #2
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We LOVED the Sea Lion encounter at Blue Lagoon and then got to enjoy the island the entire day. My mom doesn't snorkel or swim anymore, and she would still love to go back. The dolphin encounters looked great too. If you didn't do an animal encounter, you could still swim in the lagoon (very crowded and a lot of red necks fighting over lounge chairs, but definitely shallow and toddler safe, lots of little cuties swimming) sit in hammocks, eat nice conch fritters, and pay $15 if you want to play in the inflatable park. It is fun. However, if I didn't have my amazing Sea Lion experience that we shared as a family (the 3 of us girls did the encounter while Mom & Dad videotaped and took pics from the observation deck and then watched the dolphins for as long as we wanted), I'm not sure it would have been the same fabulous day. The ferry ride there and back is nice too. I have to be mindful of the kind of boats Mom gets on because of her back (it has to be able to take waves smoothly and she can't have to step real far down or up on to it, and she did fine.)

I think if I get an opportunity to cruise back to Nassau, I would prob bring my husband back (he and bro in law ran around Nassau that day themselves) and prob spring for the dolphin encounter next. The sea lion isn't a lot of swimming, the dolphin is a lot more swimming. You probably have seen some of my photos that I have posted from the encounters (just look for the last few days of Blue Lagoon threads and you will find them.)

My parents loved their island day ($69 thru DCL) but that was because we were all together as a family and had the funniest most entertaining sea lion encounter ($115 thru DCL and very hard to get reservations for any other way, cuz I tried! But I still loved it and it was worth it and i'd still do it again.) but I'm not sure that it would be worth $69 if all you did was take a ferry, sit on the crowded beach, take a dip (you can snorkel on the reef side, but it's VERY remote and I don't recommend it for youngsters. I think the lifeguard thought we were the bravest swimmer's he had seen in a long time because we climbed over the rocks and then went all the way to the buoys. It's VERY hard to get to, but you can do it) sit in a hammock, eat some nice food... well if that's what you like, you will probably love it then.

But if you are looking for an incredible family experience (or the 8 yr old with one parent etc) then I recommend one of their animal encounters for a very special day!

Can't comment about Atlantis, but I have been to Nassau twice in 6 weeks and didn't go to Atlantis. It just screams really touristy, really expensive. Blue Lagoon is like a mini water park in a very remote and natural location. It's a good mix of beach tourist and a good mix of very natural, remote island.

The first thing we were greeted with when we walked onto the pier was a dolphin coming to say hello! That's a nice start to the day...
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:52 AM   #3
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Please do not consider a "Swim With Dolphins" activity! The horrors of the captive dolphin industry are heartbreaking. If people were only aware of how these dolphins are obtained for our entertainment I’m sure it would not be as lucrative as it is. Watch the academy award willing film "The Cove" or go to seashepherd.com or savejapandolphins.org for more information. The young dolphins are chosen for their beauty and ripped from their families. The older dolphins are slaughtered, tied by their tails to the killers’ boats and stabbed in the spine, for their meat. If there are any survivors they must swim in the bloody waters of their family members. All for our amusement.
Dolphins are very large wild animals. When in captivity they can and do become neurotic. I would not put myself or God forbid, my children in a tank with several wild 600 pound animals that may have questionable temperaments. The smile is deceiving, they are not happy!
If you visit a dolphinarium, swim with captive dolphins, go to places like Sea World, you are funding the dolphin trade in places like Taiji,Japan. Please do not support any facility be it hotels in Vegas, Sea World or Swim With Dolphin facilities that promote this cruelty....
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:05 AM   #4
mandykaye
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Originally Posted by TwinPrincessMermaids View Post
We LOVED the Sea Lion encounter at Blue Lagoon and then got to enjoy the island the entire day. My mom doesn't snorkel or swim anymore, and she would still love to go back. The dolphin encounters looked great too. If you didn't do an animal encounter, you could still swim in the lagoon (very crowded and a lot of red necks fighting over lounge chairs, but definitely shallow and toddler safe, lots of little cuties swimming) sit in hammocks, eat nice conch fritters, and pay $15 if you want to play in the inflatable park. It is fun. However, if I didn't have my amazing Sea Lion experience that we shared as a family (the 3 of us girls did the encounter while Mom & Dad videotaped and took pics from the observation deck and then watched the dolphins for as long as we wanted), I'm not sure it would have been the same fabulous day. The ferry ride there and back is nice too. I have to be mindful of the kind of boats Mom gets on because of her back (it has to be able to take waves smoothly and she can't have to step real far down or up on to it, and she did fine.)

I think if I get an opportunity to cruise back to Nassau, I would prob bring my husband back (he and bro in law ran around Nassau that day themselves) and prob spring for the dolphin encounter next. The sea lion isn't a lot of swimming, the dolphin is a lot more swimming. You probably have seen some of my photos that I have posted from the encounters (just look for the last few days of Blue Lagoon threads and you will find them.)

My parents loved their island day ($69 thru DCL) but that was because we were all together as a family and had the funniest most entertaining sea lion encounter ($115 thru DCL and very hard to get reservations for any other way, cuz I tried! But I still loved it and it was worth it and i'd still do it again.) but I'm not sure that it would be worth $69 if all you did was take a ferry, sit on the crowded beach, take a dip (you can snorkel on the reef side, but it's VERY remote and I don't recommend it for youngsters. I think the lifeguard thought we were the bravest swimmer's he had seen in a long time because we climbed over the rocks and then went all the way to the buoys. It's VERY hard to get to, but you can do it) sit in a hammock, eat some nice food... well if that's what you like, you will probably love it then.

But if you are looking for an incredible family experience (or the 8 yr old with one parent etc) then I recommend one of their animal encounters for a very special day!

Can't comment about Atlantis, but I have been to Nassau twice in 6 weeks and didn't go to Atlantis. It just screams really touristy, really expensive. Blue Lagoon is like a mini water park in a very remote and natural location. It's a good mix of beach tourist and a good mix of very natural, remote island.

The first thing we were greeted with when we walked onto the pier was a dolphin coming to say hello! That's a nice start to the day...
I was actually considering this I really think both of my girls would love this, I have been watching some of the sea lion encounters on YouTube and they look so friendly!!
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:17 AM   #5
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I'm with you, lexandme. No dolphin swims or Sea World for us. My DH saw "The Cove" and that changed his perspective and he educated me. We are Sea Shepard advocates as well. I also am adamantly against petting or swimming with tiger cubs and housing wild animals as pets.....

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Old 04-30-2013, 11:36 AM   #6
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You can say what you want, but I am a very avid animal lover. I can tell you that the Dolphin Encounter program is a really nice situated place for these guys. They are 'ambassadors' for awareness. The Sea Lion program has an educational component, and they have a stunning, beautiful habitat. Several of the ones they have on hand (at least for the Sea Lions) were rescued from Hurricane Katrina. They were so eager and so enthusiastic. I know it sounds funny, but they are like the dogs of the sea. She did tricks off of verbal and signed command and was very eager to do so. It's like my Gracie (rat terrier/poodle mix.) Yeah coyotes and dogs live in the wild, but she is much happier with me! She is cared for every day and knows I love her and her brother to pieces!

I have been in a dolphin program too where the dolphin that day just didn't want to to do it that day, so they got us one who was happy to participate. They don't 'make' them to anything. These are incredibly intelligent and curious animals. Seriously, have you ever seen the size of a dolphin? I Know *I* wouldn't be able to 'make' it do anything!

Not saying that all of these treat the animals with care, but I can vouch for this particular one. They were all very happy and healthy and in a natural environment (no tanks) that is built in to the natural island and lagoon landscape (with a few modifications.)

We donated toward the sea lion puppy rescue while we were there. I don't think it's fair to generalize every program. It's like Disney with their Castaway Cay fish (they can go out to sea any time they want, but why would they? They get fed and live a life of luxury with very few things that can get at them...once they leave the snorkel cove, it's basically open season for them) or with the Safari animals. They have a beautiful environment and are thriving and some of them need the conservation.

So should you choose not to participate, that is up to you. I don't think you should criticize others if they want to interact with an animal. I on the other hand absolutely loved the chance to shake 'flippers' with Maggie. She was VERY enthusiastic with her hugs and couldn't wait to to do the trick for all the nice fishies she got, and we got to feed her too. Any time you can see these cuties and interact with them, it makes you appreciate them even more and so it motivates me and I"m sure a lot of others to do our part too and contribute towards conservation programs. The donation box was stuffed full, which shows that the programs are working.

That is all I have to say about it. I love my animals and would never exploit them, but the opportunity to hug one in a safe setting is something that I enjoyed and was completely opposite of exploitation or abuse.

My own personal thoughts.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:11 PM   #7
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It is cruelty. Pure and simple. It may look like a "nice environment" to you but then you are not a dolphin. The only environment for a dolphin is the open sea. These animals are trained to do tricks for their food. They do not want to swim with you. They do not want you to grab their dorsal fin or flippers so they can drag you across the water. They do not want to kiss you. They do not want to be ripped from their families or to be born into captivity. They are extremely intelligent creatures that deserve better.
Humans are arrogant creatures that believe it's ok to enslave any species for their pleasure,entertainment and for a profit.
I have been an advocate for cetaceans for 40 years. There is no excuse for these facilities to exist.They are not safe for the animals or the humans. They are not "educational". We know a lot about the large whales (Humpback, Blue, Right, etc.) without ever keeping them in captivity!
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
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It's like Disney with their Castaway Cay fish (they can go out to sea any time they want, but why would they? They get fed and live a life of luxury with very few things that can get at them...once they leave the snorkel cove, it's basically open season for them).
Those stingrays got out during Hurricane Sandy and found their way back to CC on their own - you are right about them; they are better off there than in the wild!

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Old 04-30-2013, 12:17 PM   #9
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Those stingrays got out during Hurricane Sandy and found their way back to CC on their own - you are right about them; they are better off their than in the wild!

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They are better off at CC because their defense - their barb- has been removed!
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:28 PM   #10
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They are better off at CC because their defense - their barb- has been removed!
Right.

I live in Tampa and have been to Big Cat Rescue several times - they take in big cats that were previously exploited at circuses, roadside zoos, or people's pets; either they grew too big, or they 'turned' mean, or started marking all over. This is NOT a zoo; it's a rescue facility. They are there to educate people not to house big cats and to get laws made. Anyways, there are big cats there that were declawed. It's so sad. A declawed Tiger. And to think a vet did that!!!

Anyways, off topic I know. I'll put a plug in for Big Cat Rescue - if anyone comes to Tampa, I highly recommend a stop there. The tours are amazing. Your admission goes directly to feed the big cats; it's a 100% volunteer organization including the vets that see them (donated time). It's eye opening.

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Old 04-30-2013, 12:30 PM   #11
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Well I wasn't even talking about stingrays although that is interesting, I was talking about the hundreds of fish. They don't get barbs to protect themselves. So they either get the nice safe barrier Disney has made for them or the open ocean. Anyone who has seen them or my photos knows which ones they chose.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:35 PM   #12
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Right.

I live in Tampa and have been to Big Cat Rescue several times - they take in big cats that were previously exploited at circuses, roadside zoos, or people's pets; either they grew too big, or they 'turned' mean, or started marking all over. This is NOT a zoo; it's a rescue facility. They are there to educate people not to house big cats and to get laws made. Anyways, there are big cats there that were declawed. It's so sad. A declawed Tiger. And to think a vet did that!!!

Anyways, off topic I know. I'll put a plug in for Big Cat Rescue - if anyone comes to Tampa, I highly recommend a stop there. The tours are amazing. Your admission goes directly to feed the big cats; it's a 100% volunteer organization including the vets that see them (donated time). It's eye opening.

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Nope, according to the other poster, all of these care facilities are BAD!

....I have been to a rescue facility in Mobile, AL that has taken in 'declawed' circus lions and cougars...it deforms them because you can't declaw them. I have seen the good that these rescues do. They have a place in my heart! Just like the trainers that I met in Nassau.

That's all I have to say about it because I enjoyed my experience and because of my contributions, there will be conservation efforts, and because there will come a time when no animals anywhere are mistreated (or people) and that is the hope that I have. I do the best I can to care for my animals (My dogs have had health insurance since they were puppies!), I buy only natural or cage free eggs (because I can't think of them stuffed in those cages) and I do my best to live my life in a way that won't contribute to their harm.

I can honestly tell you, I have a very clean conscience about the dolphin encounters programs. So I have nothing more to say on the topic.
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:08 PM   #13
mandykaye
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lexandme View Post
It is cruelty. Pure and simple. It may look like a "nice environment" to you but then you are not a dolphin. The only environment for a dolphin is the open sea. These animals are trained to do tricks for their food. They do not want to swim with you. They do not want you to grab their dorsal fin or flippers so they can drag you across the water. They do not want to kiss you. They do not want to be ripped from their families or to be born into captivity. They are extremely intelligent creatures that deserve better.
Humans are arrogant creatures that believe it's ok to enslave any species for their pleasure,entertainment and for a profit.
I have been an advocate for cetaceans for 40 years. There is no excuse for these facilities to exist.They are not safe for the animals or the humans. They are not "educational". We know a lot about the large whales (Humpback, Blue, Right, etc.) without ever keeping them in captivity!

I simply just asked what the best excursion was for my family!
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:14 PM   #14
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I simply just asked what the best excursion was for my family!
Yes, but you asked the DIS.

A lot of cruisers just stay onboard the ship on Nassau day.
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:25 PM   #15
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Which is the best excursion for my family, it will be me and my husband and our 2 daughters they are 8 and 4 yrs old. I am trying to decide between the Atlantis beach day or the blue lagoon beach day.
I have not done either so take this for what it's worth. If I only wanted a beach day then I would probably do the Blue Lagoon beach day. We were going to do this on our upcoming cruise but they offer certain return times and we were afraid they would conflict with some other activites we plan to do. Instead we plan to take a taxi over to Paradise Island and play on the free beach over there for a couple of hours and check out parts of Atlantis and then head back when we are ready. Alot of the resorts offer a day pass that includes use of their beach and pools. I know the Sheraton does because we had looked into it also.
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