An extremely popular shore excursion for cruise ships in the area of Paradise Island, Bahamas, is Atlantis Bahamas Dolphin Cay. It offers several different dolphin encounters at different price points – there is the shallow water interaction which allows for 10 people at a time. There is the Deep Water Swim with small groups of no more than 6 people at a time taking part in the programs. There is also an experience as Jr. Trainer for the Day or Ultimate Trainer for the day. But if dolphins aren’t your thing, there is an option for a stingray experience or an interactive program featuring a California sea lion.
All encounters include access to Atlantis Beaches after your experience ends though no swimming is allowed. Or, you can pay to access the waterpark, which includes 18 water slides. Among them is The Abyss, with a 50-foot drop into complete darkness before being hurled into an underground cenote of giant aquariums filled with sharks and other fish. The Leap of Faith slide sends you down a 60-foot vertical drop, via a transparent tube that glides the riders through a shark-filled lagoon.
At The Dolphin Centre, guests are given a mask and snorkel (which is yours to keep after the experience ends), as well as a wetsuit and a locker.
The experience begins with an educational orientation, where the trainer explains the program, discusses expectations, and warns everyone of all the dos and don’ts. Of interest is that sixteen of the original dolphins housed at Atlantis were rescued from Hurricane Katrina, after their original home at Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi, was destroyed and they were swept out to sea.
The next stop is the beach to meet these flippered friends, accompanied by a photographer that captures your entire experience in pictures so you’ll have memories to last a lifetime.
Guests are led to waist-deep water where dolphins immediately swim up to say hello with kisses and high fives. They handshake using their flippers and hang out a while so guests can get to know them. Then, with a giant splash of their tails, it’s officially swimming time as guests are led to deeper waters.
A big thrill includes a boogie board, which signals to the dolphins that it’s time to launch the silly humans with an adrenaline-filled surf back to the beach.
Afterward, there’s plenty of time to enjoy the waterpark where you can easily spend an entire day wandering through its 141 acres filled with beaches, pools, restaurants, a children’s play area, and private cabanas, with change rooms and locker rooms for convenience. And don’t miss the ‘Lazy River’, which sends riders through several rapids. Around every corner awaits a new surprise, including a tidal wave generator and wall of water, which may cause you to question the name of ‘Lazy’ River.
All in all, it’s a fantastic and fun-filled way to spend a day, and you don’t need to be a guest of the Atlantis Resort in order to enjoy it. This Bahamas Day Pass experience is open to ALL cruise ships docking in Nassau. Atlantis is only a ten-minute drive from the port area, with shuttles available every half hour to take you to the resort and back to your ship. Everything is made easy and can be booked online or through your travel agent. So if you’re heading to Nassau, set some time aside to make a new friend or two in the sea.