We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Dolphin Encounter at Willemstad

Georgia
Level Contributor
4 posts
4 reviews
Save Topic
Dolphin Encounter at Willemstad

We will be in Willemstad in early March on a HAL cruise (about 8 hours). Considering the Dolphin Encounter (husband does not swim)but wonder if it is worth the money - $130 each and probably more with pictures they make. I read that the time spent with dolphins is 20 minutes. ALSO considering the Curacao Beach Express offered by HAL. Has anyone does this? We are in our 60's, but very active. We are not comfortable renting a car and exploring on our own, but we can certainly walk around town if there is something not to miss. We just do not want to waste any of our precious time at this port!

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
1,342 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Dolphin Encounter at Willemstad

This is what you wiull get for your money -

1. transport to and from the Seaquarium - 20 minutes from your arrival pier

2. admission to the seaquarium - it is not a gran diose place but has some interesting displays and program - hopefully th tour allows you time to wander

3. The dolphin encounter - this is not swimming with the dolphins - see below.

The Seaquarium offers three programs:

1. General admission - you get access to the aquarium - not ranking among the worlds best but an interesting one nonetheless. You'll see a sample of most tropical fishes in the area, be able to watch a dolphin show and a sea lion show - get the schedule of events at admission, see the Turtles and Nurse sharks be fed, get a chance to feed a nurse shark in a shallow pool - you hold a large horseshoe-shaped apparatus with a fish s-speared through the end. The shark sucks it as a vacuum cleaner would and you're done - great photo ops for a friend who can be one yard away. You can also get kissed by a sea lion (10 spectators are chosen) they get an opportunity to buy the photo.

2. The Dolphin Academy is as good as any other such facilities - it operates on site at the Seaquarium and offers different opportunities -

----DOLPHIN ENCOUNTER - you stand in waist deep water and get to pet and interact with the dolphins.

----DOLPHIN SWIM - wearing a life vest and flippers in a small group you spend 30 minutes with the dolphins, pet them, get a kiss, give other commands watch them breach over your group etc.

-----SNORKEL OR SCUBA WITH THE DOLPHINS - available on selected days to very experienced snorkelers and Scuba divers with good buoyancy control. YOU go into the open sea beside the Seaquaruium and their captive dolphins are let out to join you and interact with you. A great experience.

NOTE - the price of general admission is included in Dolphin Academy admission - give your name at the box office - they will let you in. Make reservations by phone a few days in advance is safer. The Academy will photograph and film your event and offer you the opportunity to buy the results.

3. ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS like the Dolphin Academy operates as a separate entity at the Seaquarium. You get three choices:

----- Snorkel or dive with the sea lions. Snorkel is disappointing, as you won't keep up. If you must - dive.

----- Snorkel or dive and feed the fishes/sharks. Select dive. You do not need to be qualified, the instructor will accompany you - it will be like an introductory dive. That is the one to select (great enhancement over the snorkel which is also interesting). Accompanied by a dive master, you get a basket of fishes and get in a large pool with debarbed sting rays, 400 lbs. goliath groupers, many other fishes and you get to hand feed them. On two sides of the pound you will find glass walls with small slits. Through these you get to feed lemon sharks, giant sea turtles and nurse sharks - I rank this one high. See http://www.narin.com/curacao/ (bottom of the page - Curacao - feeding the sharks) for some photos - NOTE that web site is full of useful information for you. You will be photographed.

Don't know about the beach express that HAL offers - do you know the beach?

The Netherlands
Level Contributor
348 posts
78 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Dolphin Encounter at Willemstad

When making reservations for the Dolphin Encounter at the tourist desk of the Mariott, they adviced me to take the Dolphinencounter instead of the Dolphinswim because you have more interactions with the dolphins.

At first I thought this would be dull but it turned out to be great! My 2 children loved it. They make great pics while you get a kiss of the Dolphin and you spend all the time (in a little group)together with the dolphin.

After this I watched the dolphinswim and you just got a very limited time to really touch and swim with the dolphins.

I don't know the exact prices but I know the encounter was much more value for money.

Have fun!

KVR
Odessa, Texas
Level Contributor
1,608 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Dolphin Encounter at Willemstad

Question about the animal encounter. We decided to do the swim/dive non-certified. How far does it go down? I'm in the process of buying a prescription mask so I can see them. I usually use goggles and a nose clip. Can I take my underwater camera? If not, do they provided photos and at what price?

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
1,342 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Dolphin Encounter at Willemstad

It is a great experience

You go down about 12 feet - not a great challenge

The instructors are very good and the dive is safe.

This year it is a bit more orchestrated than before - the instructor will have you approach the major animals one by one (so the photo op is better!)

My daugfhter and her friend - both non divers - went last wek and had a ball.

enjoy

-------------------------------

re dolphin encounter vs swim.

we did the swim and had a lot of contact - of course we lucked in - there were only 5 of us in the water - all the same family - everything being equal I personally would select the swim but the encounter is a very good experience as well.

KVR
Odessa, Texas
Level Contributor
1,608 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Dolphin Encounter at Willemstad

I was looking on the Aquarium website and the price is conflicting. On one page it states the price is $99 p/p and on the reservation page it's $54 p/p. I want to make sure I book the right one, the dive and not the snorkel.

6. Re: Dolphin Encounter at Willemstad

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 05 October 2009, 13:52