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“Company taking advantage of customers.” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Dolphin Discovery Cozumel

Dolphin Discovery Cozumel
Chankanaab National Park, Cozumel, Mexico
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Ranked #42 of 144 things to do in Cozumel
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Alto, Michigan
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“Company taking advantage of customers.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2014

My family of 6 participated in the Dolphin Royal Swim on Jan 7th. The cost was $149 each person that we had pre-paid and no refunds would be given so we choose to participate even in questionable conditions. The adjoining beach had a RED FLAG and no swimmers were allowed, but the paid experiences all continued as scheduled. The weather that day was cold, windy, raining at times, and the waves were so big we had trouble even hanging on to the fence and staying on the platform in the water while waves came up from behind over our heads. The dolphins were great and we did complete the experience, even though the waves forced us to swallow sea water a few times and I injured my hand trying to hold onto the fence in the rough conditions.
I knew the photos would be expensive, and with the unfavorable weather most of the shots were not great pictures to begin with. The photographer did not take enough time to even be sure you were looking at the camera as they hurried each of us though the promised experience. We did not get any "free time" to swim with the dolphins as stated in the program. But of course, everyone wants pictures of this once in a lifetime experience that has already cost our family $900. They charged $250 for the photos for the 6 of us and acted like we were getting such a great discount. (Interestingly my sister got the same exact amount of pictures on a CD for her family for just $78 just an hour earlier) These are not professional quality pictures by any means. I could have easily taken the same shots with my own DSLR camera if I was allowed the opportunity. They would not include the additional photos (about 10 shots total) of us with the sea lion on the CD for the $250, stating they wouldn't because it was a different photographer, and we would need to pay another $16 per photo to get those. I agreed to pay for the dolphin pictures but passed on the sea lion pictures so the experience is now totaling $1150 for one family for less than one hour.
So we left the park with a bit of shell shock from the photo prices, but overall glad we did it. Unfortunately on the way home after our cruise, my vehicle was broken into when we stayed at a hotel. All of my camera and computer equipment was stolen, including the photo CD from our experience that was stored in the camera bag. I contacted Dolphin Discovery the day we got home and explained the situation, hoping that we could get a new CD or have the photo's e-mailed to us if they still had them on file. They did respond and stated that they could look up the photos, but that there would be a $35 reprint fee. I have no problem with this since I was so grateful to be able to get back a little bit of what we lost in the robbery. So a few days later I get the link to the photos, and put them in my shopping cart to find that the fee is listed as $350.00. I e-mailed back thinking there must have been a mistake with the link, and was told that they would now cut me a deal and let me have all my pictures for just another $250.
I am sure nearly everyone reading this is able to copy and paste photos onto a CD or into an e-mail and knows that is doesn't cost anything to do that except a few seconds of your time. The desire of this company to profit a second time from our misfortune is just disgusting. If they are not making enough money to support the program, then I would recommend charging more money up front for the experience and include the photos in the price. I think most customers would appreciate knowing up front what the real cost will be.

Visited January 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Lake Jackson, Texas
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
140 helpful votes 140 helpful votes
“Great Dolphin Experience Takes The Edge Out Of Hefty Price Tag”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2014

The goal of my review is to share our direct booking experience as Carnival Triumph passengers with the Dolphin Discovery Cozumel folks. I want to share the things that I was wanting to find in the previous reviews.

We took the 4 day Carnival Cruise from Galveston to Cozumel in early January and my 18 year old daughter and her friend really wanted to swim with the dolphins instead of going back to Paradise Beach for a third year in a row. We booked by phone directly with Dolphin Discovery. I had read that they may not book Carnival passengers directly due to contractual obligations to Carnival, but the operator never asked where we were coming from and we booked the Dolphin Swim Adventure for about $75.00 per person.......a far better price than Carnival offered, which I believe was $159.00 per person. Granted, the Carnival bookings included transportation and a buffet......nothing close to an $84.00 value.

The moral of the story is to book directly with Dolphin Discovery if you can. We booked the 10:00 a.m. Swim Adventure and were a little worried about getting off the cruise ship, catching a cab and getting to Chankanaab Park before 9:30 a.m. Our emailed instructions said to be at the park by 9:30 a.m. for instruction by the dolphin trainer. We got there at about 9:15 a.m. and were told to come back at 10:00 a.m., so we hurried out there for nothing. The cab ride is a short one......six or seven minutes.....and costs $11.00 per car load each way. There are lots of cabs waiting for the cruise passengers at the taxi stand on the other side of the markets, which, for us, was about an eight minute walk from just off the cruise ship to getting in the cab.

One extra added value is that any dolphin program includes admission into Chankanaab Park for the day, a $21.00 value. We got out of the cab with our email confirmation and were sent to the Dolphin Discovery desk at the park entrance. The two men were well organized and looked our party up. They put on a park wrist band and pointed out the Dolphin Discovery information desk inside the park. At that desk, we got the Dolphin Swim Adventure wristband (all programs have a different wristband). We met back at 10:00 a.m. and our girls were put with other direct booked customers. They ended up with about 10 people in their group.....the Carnival group had about 20 people.

There were three groups participating at a time. The fenced areas separated the dolphins from the other dolphins and one manatee. Our girls hit the water at about 10:30 a.m. They were in for about an hour, which included a bonus trip into a different area to interact with the manatee. There favorite parts were the dancing with the dolphins, the foot push and the belly ride.

The photographer did not take any pictures of the group with the manatee. The girls loved it and my daughter said it was a much higher end experience than she got in Cancun, where she only got the dolphin kiss. The dolphins, Luke and Leia, seemed to love their jobs and were very gentle, friendly and well trained. The dolphins were the highlight of the trip.

We studied the reviews and were trying to figure out if we could get our own photos. Even with a strong zoom, you just can't capture the magic on your own camera from the shore. The fencing creates an obstruction and just not having any angle to photograph the area means no chance to get a quality photo.

We knew that the photo set would be outrageously priced. We talked to the slick talking Leticia who told us that the package for two usually costs $150.00.....a CD with all the photos of our two girls. However, if we bought the CD before they went in the water, she could take $131.00 cash or $125.00 by credit. We asked if there were any better deals and she told us that she could include a 6" x 9" print photo of each girl.......an $80.00 value. She also told us that if we purchased before the girls went in that she could tell the photographer to take extra pictures.

I don't know if we struck the very best deal we could, but we took the offer. The woman did pull aside our photographer and asked to take a lot of pictures of the girls. We ended up with a 110 photo CD that we are thrilled with. However, it is obvious that the pricing turns a lot of people off because a bunch said "no thank you" to the full photo set. I don't see Dolphin Discovery changing its business model any time soon.

You can pay a few dollars....$5.00 I believe....and go to down the pier to watch your group without your camera or phone. We chose to wait at the shoreline.

We would recommend the dolphins to anyone......but we know there are a lot of fun things to do in Cozumel that will not set you back almost $300.00. To us, it was worth the premium price tag.

Visited January 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lakewood, Colorado
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Interesting to say the least.........”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2014

Well be forewarned this company does not cancel your excursion even in questionable weather. My kids and my husband did the Manatee Encounter in hurricane strength wind and waves. Not very safe, but they did it anyway. We were late because the ferry from Playa del Carmen was late, and they allowed us to go to the next section; however, it should have been cancelled. I love the Manatees and wish that my kids would have been allowed to do it on another day when the weather was better.

Visited January 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
saint louis
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“Lots of up close time with dolphins!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2014

Thouroughly enjoyed our visit to dolphin discovery. Did the royal swim which was great and then added on the manatee visit as well. Would have given it 5 stars except for the ridiculous price charged for photos. It is really rude to tourists to charge so much for that.

Visited December 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Price of the photos are ridiculous!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2013 via mobile

We did the Royal dolphin packages and it was awesome! The Dolphins are very well treated and very sweet! We wanted to get a picture of us with the Dolphin but they wanted to charge us aroun 150 dollars for the photos which I thought it was ridiculous!

Visited December 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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