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“Captain Mark's Dolphin Watch” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Dolphin Watch Nature Cruise

Dolphin Watch Nature Cruise
Dock C, Shelter Cove Harbour, Hilton Head, SC
843 785 4558
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Rydal, GA
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Captain Mark's Dolphin Watch”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013

We went on Captain Mark's morning dolphin cruise this past Saturday. It was a little hard to find reviews because of the discrepancy in names. The flyer we received at our hotel specifically called this "Captain Mark's" but I couldn't find that listed when I searched for reviews. This was a 1 hr 45 minute nature cruise on the Holiday ship. There was plenty of seating on the ship and everything was in good condition. The waters were calm and we saw many, many dolphins. The weather was perfect, sunny with a nice breeze, but I imagine in the summer the upper decks would be quite hot since there isn't a cover. I recommend taking a hat and wearing sunblock or trying to ride on the lower deck. Captain Mark gave commentary through the first half of the cruise, pointing out dolphins and stopping to idle so everyone could get a good look. He also gave some island history and pointed out interesting points along the cruise route. The return back to port was quiet and relaxing without commentary. Captain Mark did point out dolphins on our return trip, though. For the price, this was the best deal on the island. We didn't want a private cruise or the cost that goes along with that type of excursion, and if that's what you're expecting, keep looking. For a nice couple of hours with good information and plenty of dolphins, this was a great choice. We especially liked the timing because we were able to walk around the shops and restaurants in Shelter Cove Harbor after our cruise.

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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37 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
southeastern US
20 reviews 20 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Sunset Dolphin Cruise”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2013

About 2hrs on the Holiday. Left on time. Ship in great shape with plenty of seating. Good clear sound system. Nearly all the tour is at no wake speed in the marsh area. A few interesting bits of info about the tidal marsh, the expensive estates, privately held Bull Island. He did fine for what little he had to work with since the dolphins really don't come all the way up Broad creek. Got lucky and saw 3 loners.

As soon as we hit the sound he turned the ship around and headed back. Didn't even wait to give us the full sunset.

Don't know if you'll see more dolphins on the tours leaving from the Sea Pines marinas or not but they would give you more time in the sound at better speeds for attracting dolphins who already come in behind the shrimp boats.

Not ad. Not great. Don't regret the money for it but would not do it again.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ocoee, Florida, United States
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Affordable Family Fun”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013

I'll be honest. We mainly picked this dolphin cruise for two reasons, it was slow moving and the price was the best we could find on the island ($16 for adults, $8 for children). I was 7 months pregnant and traveling with a 2-year-old. I expected a crowded boat with a poor sound system and no shade. I was wrong. The top deck is open air and has no shade, but it was pleasant while the boat was moving and there were plenty of places on the lower deck to find shade. No one in our party had a problem hearing the narration which was both amusing and informative. Captain Mark spoke a little about the history of the island, the development, pointed out interesting homes, and of course, discussed wildlife including the dolphins. I would estimate there were 30 (no more than 40) passengers aboard and it in no way felt crowded. Once the dolphins were sighted, most people rushed to that side of the boat to take pictures and ooh and ah, but even then, there was plenty of room. Bottom line, for the price I was more than satisfied with the experience. Be aware the boat never moved very fast which was fine for me, but was slightly disappointing to several of the kids in our group. If you are considering this cruise, remember it's cash only and enjoy!

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Nice Tour”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

I wasn't super excited about this tour - my family was going mostly because my niece wanted to see dolphins. However, I ended up being pleasantly surprised. The tour lasted approximately two hours and included some history and little tid-bits about the island and, of course, dolphin sightings. If you're concerned about getting seasick, don't worry. The entire cruise is on the intracoastal waterways through mostly "no wake" zones.

You pay at the dock for the cruise (no reservations necessary), and be sure to have cash since Captain Mark doesn't accept credit cards. There are also snacks and drinks available for purchase during the cruise.

If you do one of the afternoon cruises - be sure to pack your sunscreen! I got a little red sitting on the top deck of the boat.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Castle, Indiana
Top Contributor
138 reviews 138 reviews
35 attraction reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
“Fun, scenic, informative Dolphin Watch”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

Took a chance with a Living Social 50% off coupon before leaving home for this 1 hour, 45-min. cruise out of dock C in Shelter Cove Harbor aboard the 80' Holiday. During their peak summer months, Cap't Mark advertises parting times at noon, 2:30 and 5:00 p.m. Along the way our family learned about HHI tides, area wildlife, expensive plantation residences and some low country cultural trivia. Just about the time we turned around to head back to harbor we had almost given up hope of spotting any dolphins when, "There she blows!". From that point on, several bottle nosed dolphins of various sizes were spotted on our return trip. There were no restrictions for bringing your own pop or snacks on board although there's a snack bar on board. Giving this one a thumbs up.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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