There are 2 Dolphin Coves in Jamaica. The main one is in Ocho Rios on the North East of the island and the one we visited is in Lucea near Negril on the North West of the island. We paid in advance (because we were led to believe places were very limited – this is not true) through Thompson for the encounter programme for my wife and the swim programme for myself. At our welcome talk, our holiday rep told us we could get a free upgrade if we purchased Dolphin Cove tickets. She was able to get an upgrade for me to the ultimate swim but couldn’t get a refund down to the ‘entrance’ price for my wife. Entrance to Dolphin Cove allows you to watch the shark show and stroke a sting ray, but nothing else. There is nothing else to do at Dolphin Cove so it’s all about which programme you choose. The ‘encounter’ programme includes stroking the Dolphins, watching them dance for you and sing for you and having a kiss with a Dolphin. The ‘swim’ programme includes all of the above plus you swim with a Dolphin on its back while you hold on to its dorsal fins – this lasts about 7-8 seconds. The ‘ultimate’ programme includes everything from the ‘encounter’ programme plus you swim with 2 dolphins holding onto their fins and then 2 dolphins lift you on your feet and project you across the sea. Both of these ‘swims’ last about 7-8 seconds. The ultimate swim did NOT include the dorsal fin swim with one dolphin. Swimming with dolphins is on many people’s bucket list and it certainly is something to try – we were both very pleased that we did this and enjoyed every second of it, although very short. Other reviews have mentioned the problem of photographs. You are NOT allowed to use your own cameras and they will not let your partner watch you so the only memories you can take away are those in your head or those you pay for. This is nothing less than extortion and blackmail. Basically, you have to pay if you want the video or photos. The cheapest package is $59 which is for the video and 2 prints for the ‘encounter’ programme. This price is then $69 for the other programmes. To have all digital prints and the video costs over $100. Please bear these additional costs in mind before you go and decide whether you want to pay the extra costs or budget for it in your total price. These prices are not advertised on the website and the sales pitch at the hotel does not mention additional costs of photos. Annoyingly, because we did separate programmes, we would have had to buy 2 separate videos if we wanted them. Had we done the same programme then we could have had one single video because you see everybody on your programme. I tried to reason with the sales person but she was very inflexible and unwilling to help us out. We ended up paying $33 to take away one photograph each. Despite this, the Dolphin trainers were very friendly and showed us clearly what to do with good instructions. Following the Dolphin encounter or swim, we then watched a ‘shark’ show which was actually 5 entertainers dressed as pirates performing a chant. We briefly saw 2 nurse sharks being held before being told that it would cost $55 each to hold the nurse sharks ourselves. The sharks are NOT included in the entrance price – the website is misleading regarding this. Finally we were shown a stingray which we were allowed to stroke. We were not allowed to hold it though, unlike at Stingray City in Antigua where you get to hold the stingray. They did at least let us take photographs at this point. It was a worthwhile experience but it was marred by the additional costs imposed upon us for photographs and the inflexibility of the sales lady who refused to let us have both videos for the single price because we had done different programmes. You will enjoy this experience if you take part, but go prepared with all the prices in mind so you are not disappointed.
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