My mom booked this manatee tour for myself, a friend, and our kids (ages 14, 10, and 6). Our GPS took us to the wrong place TWICE. I would recommend giving yourself plenty of extra time to find it if you're using electronic navigation. After some other reviews I've read on here, I was kind of afraid that we would be fussed at for arriving late. I did call and let them know what happened, and our approximate arrival time (22 minutes late, 6:52 am). The staff were not rude to us, and seemed very accommodating. We watched the video and they helped us pick suits and snorkels quickly so we could all leave on time. There were 15 people on our tour, and ours were the only kids of the group. Capt. Ned talked about the area and wildlife and gave details on the manatees and their habits. He also advised everybody again about how to behave in the water with the manatees so as not to disturb them, and also to ensure the best interaction with them. We pulled up to the entrance to Three Sister's Spring and he gave advice on how to make our goggles fit best, then had us snorkel out into the spring so that those of us who had never snorkled could get used to it before we saw any manatees. The spring was beautiful, I'd almost book this trip again just to go back in there and snorkel for a while. When we came out of the spring area and back into the canal. there were three manatees: a mama, a baby, and another adult. After what happened next, I'd like to come to Capt. Ned's defense. I've read reviews stating he was irritable, mean, etc. I can totally understand why. We had all been instructed several times prior how to behave. Unfortunately, my kids were more well behaved than some of the adults in the area. How many times should a grown-up have to be told: do not splash, please be quiet, put your feet up, if you put your face down in the water your feet will automatically go up, don't chase them, be calm and they will come to you...It was ridiculous. People were swarming like they had paid a thousand bucks for the tour and it was the last manatee left on Earth. I got kicked in the face twice, had people swim over me, and had hands pushed in my face several times. In spite of that, it was still a wonderful experience! My son and friend's son got out of the water kind of early, they are 6 and 10 years old. Capt. Ned told us that he would watch them on the deck and they would be fine. He was kind to them, and they enjoyed just standing up there and watching the manatees swim. My friend and I and my 14 yr old daughter remained in the water. If you just float, don't kick/splash/flail, they will come right up to you. An adult manatee swam right underneath me, less than two feet away. I finally got out because I was getting a headache. My daughter remained in the water floating and a manatee came up to her, face to face. It checked her out and swam away, she was pretty amazed. After a while some other tour boats had come up and it was getting pretty crowded so we left the area, this was around 9:00. It started to rain, but Capt. Ned still drove us around to some other areas that manatees and dolphins frequent. We didn't see any more, but I think we were all pretty satisfied with our interaction. I have recommended this company to several co-workers. I would love to come back, we were thrilled with the service and how we were treated. Thanks, Capt. Ned!
If you own or manage Sunshine River Tours - Crystal River Manatee Tours, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.