Frequently Asked Questions
Dolphin Encounters Limited offers answers to frequently asked questions about its programs, the company, and other services. Click on a subject heading below to view questions and answers relating to your selection. Links throughout the answers will guide you to further information on our website or from other sources. Should you have any further questions, please consult our contact page.
Timid or non-swimmers
Worried that your lack of swimming skills will keep you from meeting a dolphin or sea lion? DON’T BE!!! Our Dolphin and Sea Lion Encounter programs take place in shallow water where you will stand on a platform. The animals will swim up and over the platform where you can meet them one-on-one. We want you to feel comfortable and to enjoy the program as well. We welcome all timid and non-swimmers and encourage you to make your dolphin and sea lion dreams come true.
How large are your boats?
Our catamarans are large, double-decker vessels that can each carry well over 100 passengers. Each boat has a captain and mate, is equipped with life vests and is fully licensed and inspected. The ride is approximately 20-minutes and you never lose sight of land or venture far out to sea. Sit back, relax and enjoy as we cruise through Nassau’s historic harbour, past Paradise Island and over to Blue Lagoon Island. The boat ride is very picturesque and worth the trip!
How do I get from the cruise ship to the island?
You would be required to catch a taxi (automobile and not a water taxi) from the cruise ship pier to the Paradise Island Ferry Terminal for check-in.
IMPORTANT: If you have purchased the Close Dolphin Encounter, Sea Lion Encounter or the Dolphin Swim directly with your cruise ship (either online or on board the ship), you are asked to meet our representative at the gangway at the time specified on the ticket that will be distributed to you on board the ship. This would allow for a direct transfer from the cruise ship pier to our facility. If you have booked your program directly with Dolphin Encounters Ltd., or a travel or tour agency, you are required to check in at the Paradise Island Ferry Terminal at the time specified for your booking.
*** If you are visiting Dolphin Encounters Ltd. as a part of your cruise vacation, please remember to bring along a towel and cash/credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and AMEX only) for any purchases that you may require while at our facility.
What programs are sold aboard the ship?
The participating cruise ships sell the Encounter program, and most cruise ships also offer the Dolphin Swim program. If any program is not offered by your cruise line, and you wish to participate in one, you can book directly with us in advance by calling (242) 363-1003or toll-free at 866-918-9932 or send a request via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also have an opportunity to upgrade to the Swim program once you are on Blue Lagoon Island.
Do you operate in bad weather?
We operate 365 days a year, rain or shine. Dolphin Encounters Ltd. will NOT refund for inclement weather unless we cancel the excursion. In such an event, we will contact you as soon as possible. If there is extreme weather in the area, we suggest that you call reservations (242-363-1003) regarding the status of your boat departure.
What is your cancellation policy?
Due to limited space availability, Dolphin Encounters will not allow cancellations or rescheduling less than 24-hours before program time (longer for groups). In the event of no-show or cancellation within 24-hours, no refunds will be made.
Is it true that several of your dolphins starred in Universal Studios’ movie “Flipper”?
Yes, three of our dolphins were featured in the movie that starred Elijah Wood and Paul Hogan..
Are you affiliated with any hotels?
No. Dolphin Encounters Ltd. is a private, family-owned and operated company and has no affiliation with any of the hotels. You may find this webpage useful in finding a Hotel: Nassau Paradise Island, Bahamas Where to Stay
What is the water temperature?
Water temperatures range from 72° F (22° C) in the winter to 85° F (30° C) in the summer.
What is the average temperature in Nassau?
Mean daily temperatures (in Fahrenheit) are as follows:
Is the Bahamas independent and what language is spoken?
The Bahamas became independent in 1973 and is a member of the British Commonwealth. English is the official language.
Is smoking permitted on Blue Lagoon Island?
Smoking is permitted in designated areas only. This is for the safety and comfort of our guests, staff and animals.
Can I smoke on the boat?
Smoking is NOT permitted on any of Dolphin Encounters’ boats.
Can I bring a metal detector to use on the beach?
Metal detectors are not allowed on Blue Lagoon Island.
Location and Facilities
Where is Blue Lagoon Island located?
Blue Lagoon Island is located 2 miles northeast of Paradise Island and Nassau. Blue Lagoon Island is approximately 2.2 miles long and features a gorgeous natural lagoon near the eastern end where our facility is located. The beach scenes in the movie “Splash” were filmed on Blue Lagoon.
Are Blue Lagoon and Salt Cay the same island?
Yes. Blue Lagoon Island’s official name is actually Salt Cay.
Are there lockers, changing areas and showers on the island?
Yes. We offer lockers free of charge to all of our guests that are participating in an animal interaction. There are lockers for rent at the beach. We also have indoor and outdoor showers.
Are there food and beverages available on the island?
Yes. We have a snack shop on the island which sells snacks, and drinks. On the beach lagoon side we have a full service grill and a bar.
Do you sell souvenirs?
Yes, we have two well-stocked gift shops which sell Dolphin Encounters and Blue Lagoon Island logo apparel, T-shirts, books, jewelry, toys, towels, etc.
Do you sell photos and videos?
Our onsite state-of-the-art photo/video lab sells great personalized pictures of your interactions with the dolphins and sea lions. They come in a variety of styles ranging from key chains and refrigerator magnets, printed photos as well as digital images. We also sell DVDs of your Encounter or Swim program, which includes a pre-recorded section with highlights of Paradise Island, Nassau/Bay Street, and Blue Lagoon Island.
What’s the difference between the “Dolphin Encounter” and “Dolphin Swim” programs?
In the “Swim,” you are completely immersed in water with life jackets (for easier interactions with the dolphins), while in the “Encounter” you interact with dolphins from a special waist-deep platform. The “Dolphin Swim” has additional behaviors and more interaction time than the “Encounter” but both programs bring you face-to-face with dolphins in a fun, educational interaction.
Will there be other people in our program?
The maximum allowed in each “Dolphin Swim” and “Sea Lion Encounter” is ten persons and the maximum for the “Dolphin Encounter” is 30 persons although only ten people at a time are in the water interacting with the dolphins.
How deep is the water in the “Dolphin Swim” program? Do you provide wet suits and life vests when it is cold?
The water is 10-25 feet deep in the “Dolphin Swim” program. Wet suits (short type) are available at no cost, while life vests are mandatory in the swim program which help participants interact more freely with the dolphins by eliminating the need to tread water.
Can paid participants bring friends or relatives to watch their dolphin programs?
Anybody can observe our programs by paying the observer fee, which includes round-trip boat transportation to and from Blue Lagoon Island.
Do you accept physically challenged or handicapped persons in your programs?
Absolutely. Dolphin Encounters caters to the physically challenged. When making a reservation, it is important to let our representative know the details of your disability. After our representative speaks with management, a decision will be made as to how to proceed. The dolphins are trained to interact with each person regardless of his or her size, shape, gender, or abilities. Foldable wheelchairs can used on our boats and the island is wheelchair accessible. Motorized wheelchairs are not suited for our boats and our staff are not able to lift them for safety reasons.
What are the age requirements?
Guests age 5 or younger are not allowed in this program. Guests ages 6 to 12 must be accompanied (in the water) by a participating paying adult (parent or guardian must be at least 18 years of age).Guests age 13 to 17 must be accompanied by an adult (Observer ticket is accepted) who needs to sign the liability waiver.
Guests age 3 or younger receive free admission if accompanied in the program by a participating paying adult (parent or guardian at least 18 years of age).Guests ages 4 to 12 pay normal price and must be accompanied (in the water) by a participating paying adult.
Sea Lion Encounter
Guests 8 years of age or 48 inches tall may participate in the program. Guests 8 – 12 must be accompanied by a responsible, paying adult (parent or guardian of at least 18 years of age), with a ticket for the Sea Lion Encounter. Guests age 13 to 17 must be accompanied by an adult (with any paid ticket) to sign the liability waiver.
Can I participate in the programs if I am pregnant?
You can participate in the Dolphin Encounter, but not in the Swim or Sea Lion Encounter.
Do I need to be a swimmer?
You do not need to be a swimmer to participate and enjoy the Dolphin or Sea Lion Encounter program – we make sure that you may also realize your dream of meeting and interacting safely with our dolphins. You will be wearing a life-vest in the Swim Program. However, we strongly recommend that you have at least basic swimming skills for the Swim Program.
How many people are allowed on the platform?
A maximum of 30 people are allowed on the Dolphin Encounter platform but only ten people at a time will be in the water interacting with the dolphins during the program, and a maximum of 10 people are allowed on the Dolphin Swim or Sea Lion Encounter platform and in the water with the animals.
Reservations & Payments
How far in advance should I make my reservation?
For the “Dolphin Swim” program, you should inquire about reservations 3-6 months in advance. Our schedule is released in 6 month intervals about 3 months in advance. For example, reservations for January through June 2016 will be open for booking by September 2015. Please remember that the “Dolphin Swim” and “Sea Lion Encounter” program can be sold out weeks in advance, especially around U.S. holidays or during busy Spring and Summer seasons. The “Dolphin Encounter” program can be booked upon arrival in Nassau, but for short visits to Nassau we do recommend advanced reservations. It sells out an average of 1-3 days in advance.
Is there a waiting list when sold out?
We do not provide waiting lists or take “stand by” guests, even though interested persons can wait at the Paradise Island Ferry Terminal for last minute cancellations or no shows.
What type of payments do you accept?
Dolphin Encounters accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Travelers Checks and Cash. The Bahamian dollar B$ is on par with the US $ and both are accepted in The Bahamas. Due to limited availability, pre-payment is required for the “Dolphin Swim” program. After booking, this can be done with a credit card through our payment agent, Treasure Cay Services, Inc. on (800) 327-1584, (800) 327-1584 FREE or (954) 525-7711, (954) 525-7711.
Do you accept hotel charge/rooms cards?
No, Dolphin Encounters Ltd. is a separate private company and does not accept hotel charge cards.
How many people do you consider a group and who do we contact?
Any combination of 10 “Swims” and/or 15 “Encounters” is considered a group. You should contact our Sales department if you have a group.
Can I book a private platform?
Yes. We offer private platforms. The cost of the private Swim platform is $1,650. To book a private Encounter platform please contact the Sales & Marketing Department for price and availability
Rules and Restrictions
Please review the restrictions for The Dolphin Swim Program:
- Guest age 6 to 12 must be accompanied by a responsible, paying adult with a ticket for the swim. Parent or guardian must be at least 18 years of age.
- Guest age 13 to 17 must be accompanied by an adult (with any paid ticket) to sign the liability waiver. Guest must have the ability to swim to participate.
- Guest must have the ability to go up and down ladders to access platform.
- For your safety, pregnant women are not allowed in swim program.
- For your safety, guests age 5 or younger are not allowed in swim program & may observe for free if attended on the dock by a responsible parent or guardian with an observer ticket.
Please review the restrictions for The Sea Lion Encounter Program:
- Guests 8 Years of Age or 48 inches tall may participate in the program.
- Guests 8 – 12 must be accompanied by a responsible, paying adult (parent or guardian of at least 18 years of age), with a ticket for the Sea Lion Encounter.
- Guest age 13 to 17 must be accompanied by an adult (with any paid ticket) to sign the liability waiver.
- Guest must have the ability to go up and down ladders to access platform.
- For your safety, pregnant women are not allowed in Sea Lion program.
- For your safety, guests age 7 or younger are not allowed in Sea Lion program.
- No photo or video cameras allowed.
Please review the restrictions for The Close Encounter Program:
- Guests age 3 or younger participate for free if accompanied in the program by a responsible, paying adult with a ticket for the encounter. Parent or guardian must be at least 18 years of age.
- Guests ages 4 to 12 may participate at full price & must be accompanied by a responsible, paying adult with a ticket for the encounter.
- Guests wishing to upgrade from the Encounter to available Swim spaces may apply the value of the encounter ticket toward the purchase of the upgrade.
Please review the restrictions for An Observer:
- Guests age 4 or younger may observe for free if accompanied by a responsible, paying adult with an observer ticket. Parent or guardian must be at least 18 years of age.
- Guests ages 5 and 12 may participate as a paid observer on the dock as long as accompanied by a responsible, paying adult with an observer ticket.
- Observers wishing to upgrade to available Dolphin Encounter or Dolphin Swim spaces may apply the value of the observer ticket toward the purchase of the upgrade.
Check-In and Departures
Where and when should I check-in?
You must check-in at the Paradise Island Ferry Terminal. It is the only building between the two bridges on Paradise Island. We recommend that you arrive 30-minutes before your boat departure time. This gives you enough time to check-in at the ticket booth and get your wrist band.
How long is the tour?
Our tour is approximately 3 hours long including a 20-minute scenic both ride to and from our facility, an educational lecture, program and time to shower, change, view your photos and make purchases in our snack and gift shops.
What times do the boats depart?
Our boats depart from Paradise Island Ferry Terminal at four regularly scheduled times: 8:30am, 10:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm.There is also a 12:30 p.m. departure.
Can I walk from Atlantis to the ticket booth?
Yes. The Paradise Island Ferry Terminal is located directly across the street from Atlantis by the Marina Village and Marina. Our check-in window is located closer to most of the lobbies than some of the hotel’s own attractions. We are only a five minute walk from the Coral, Beach and Royal Towers lobbies.
How big are your boats? Are they safe? Are they wheelchair accessible?
We operate large double-decker, high-speed catamarans that are made to hold more than one-hundred people each. Each boat has life vests and is overseen by a licensed captain and two mates. They are very safe and are wheelchair accessible for collapsible wheelchairs.
How long is the boat ride?
The boat ride to Blue Lagoon Island is approximately 20-minutes. It is mandatory that our boat captains go slowly while cruising through Nassau Harbour. Once they have passed a certain point, the boat increases speed.
Is the boat ride to Blue Lagoon included in the price?
How big are your boats?
Our custom-built catamarans range from 53ft. to 70ft. They are registered with the Government of The Bahamas and inspected on a regular basis.
Are there life jackets and restrooms on the boats?
Do you provide a shuttle service from the hotels and is it included in the price?
Upon request, we can arrange for a privately owned bus service to pick you up at your hotel. The pick-up time for all Cable Beach hotel guests is one hour prior to boat departure. For Paradise Island, it is 15-minutes prior to your boat departure.
What To Bring
What should I bring to the island?
You should bring a towel, sunscreen, change of clothing, jacket or windbreaker for the boat ride (during the winter time) and cash/credit card for souvenirs. Please bring all necessary medications with you.