It could be argued that excursions are the backbone of any good cruise.
I mean, who can dispute the mighty power of the excursion? There are only so many days at sea to be had until you find yourself yearning for adventure beyond drinking mojitos and sunbathing.
Of all the remarkable excursions you can take, perhaps the most rewarding are those where you abandon the teak deck for a look at the wonders of nature. After all, if you’re on a cruise, why shouldn’t you take a look at the local wildlife?
Even in the pantheon of great nature excursions, there are some that are enchanting enough to warrant entry into any cruise itinerary – Whale Watching and Swimming with Dolphins. Of all the thrilling things you can do when you’re not living it up on a cruise ship, these are the pinnacle – take it from someone whose been propelled into the air by a pair of dolphins. Without further ado then, here’s a definitive guide to the best locations to see these majestic creatures in all of their glory.
Lying just across the water from the packed hotels of Cancun, Isla Cozumel is home to spectacular reefs and a world-famous diving tradition.
Since 1961, tourists have flocked to the island in order to enjoy a different side to Mexico, but by far the biggest draw are the eco-themed water parks that lie on the coast. Swimming with dolphins is an incredible experience, but it can be morally muddy sometimes. Many tourists have no idea as to how well treated the dolphins actually are.
Luckily for those who want to enjoy swimming with dolphins guilt-free, there are plenty of places to do so. One of the stand outs is the Dolphin Discovery centre, which is the only dolphinarium certified by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks.
With their dolphin encounters, you can take swimming with dolphins to another level – abandoning all the pretense of watching a trainer order them to do tricks does wonders for the authenticity of the experience. Instead you can enjoy swimming with dolphins as it was meant to be done, which is simply being in the water with them.
The Hawaiian Islands
Predominantly, Humpback whales, or Kohola are one of the largest species of whales to be found anywhere, clocking in at between 40 and 52 feet in length. The warm waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands are a favourite haunt for humpback whales, as they often return to the pacific waters to breed and nurse their young.
You can find great opportunities to watch the humpbacks all across the Hawaiian Islands, but of particular note is the Auau Channel, which is often filled with whales migrating from one point of Hawaii to another. Whether it’s the 10 ft. spouts of water when they exhale, or the sight of their fins protruding from the waves, these gentle giants have entertained the natives for centuries. Many tribes even consider them family guardians, so the utmost respect is paid to them.
Regardless of what your interpretation of the humpback whales is, they remain a striking attraction that everyone should make a cruise excursion priority.
If swimming with dolphins in an enclosed park doesn’t appeal to you, there are actually a fantastic range of places from which you can view dolphins in their natural habitats. In the small peninsula between Picton and Christchurch, you can find a quaint village blessed with a magnificent backdrop of mountain slopes.
The real attraction, however, are the pods of dolphins which circumnavigate the coast by the village for hours on end, all year round. You might need a wetsuit if you want to swim with these amazing creatures, but its well worth it to get to enjoy their company in a completely natural environment.