We went to Dolphinaris at our first port on a Carnival cruise. We signed up for the Dolphin Training program and were afraid that it would be mainly children (I was 23 and was with my mom). We ended up being with 2 teenagers and their mom--small group! The entire facility is open and FRESH saltwater. It doesn't feel like a zoo or as if the dolphins are in captivity which was very important to us.
The tour starts out with each person getting a t-shirt that says "dolphin trainer". We then go to a office and have a 30 minute class to learn about the dolphins and how they train them. This may sound boring, but it was really interesting! The trainers believe in positive reinforcement which is so nice to hear.
After the class, we got to sort fish that the dolphins were going to be fed. We saw first hand how meticulously clean and pure the food the dolphins get fed is. Then we snorkeled in a small area that had different fish and stingrays. The workers pulled up fish for us to see and it was so fun to get so close to that type of wildlife!
After snorkeling, we got into one of the dolphin pools. This is where we got to meet 3 of the dolphins. At this time, the trainer works with us and the dolphins--doing different commands and showing us what they can do. Then each person got a chance to ride with them and then kiss them. A photographer is taking pictures (two pictures are complimentary with the excursion).
After this, we went to another dolphin pool where we learned to train the dolphins. We actually got to do commands and the dolphins did what we commanded! It was AWESOME. We also fed them and got to interact with them as the trainers do.
We then were given lunch, drinks, and got to talk to the trainer more about the dolphins over lunch. The whole trip was a once in a lifetime for me. I have always wanted to swim with the dolphins and Dolphinaris gave me more than that. The most important thing for us was to see that the dolphins were well taken care of and safe. I could not have found anything to complain about if I tried. The trainers truly love and care for those dolphins. Every ailment or scratch gets inspected. In fact, while we were there one dolphin was getting medical treatment. If they are ok doing it in front of a large crowd of people, then I knew it was legitimate.
This is a must do! I strongly suggest the Dolphin Training!
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