Considering how much time we spend on the ocean wave during our cruise, we don’t generally get to see much marine life. I’ve already blogged in the past about how aquariums are a great way to experience a wealth of sea creatures, and looked at some of the best ones to visit on a cruise, but what if you really want to get up close and personal with some of the ocean’s mightiest denizens? Here’s a look at some cruise excursion experiences which allow you to do just that.
Intelligent, mysterious and massive, whales have long fascinated us and are the world’s biggest creatures, with the Blue Whale the largest at between 90 and 100 feet long. It’s certainly hard to glimpse this endangered species, but certainly, if you’re Canada and New England cruise calls at Bar Harbour, Maine, you’ll have the opportunity, as the area is sometimes frequented by Blue Whales and excursions from the port are a popular choice. You are however, most likely to see Humpback, Finback and Minke whales in the area, making it the go-to destination if you want to get an up-close look at these magnificent creatures.
Swimming with dolphins
Ah, the old bucket list favourite. It’s the top of the list for many people for a reason however, as dolphins are one of the most friendly, inquisitive and intelligent creatures on Earth and are probably as fascinated by us as we are of them. Whether you’re on a Caribbean cruise, a South American cruise or an Australia cruise, depending on your itinerary, you’ll probably have the option of a dolphin swim experience at some point, as they’re one of the most popular cruise excursions worldwide. The Caribbean islands, however, offer the widest choice and though details and prices differ, you’ll typically enjoy around half an hour in the water with the dolphins for between 50 and 75 dollars.
Meet the rays
One cruise excursion which is certainly growing in popularity is the chance to spend time in the water with one of the ocean’s more unusual-looking creatures, the ray. Closely related to sharks, they look completely different however and the stingray order, of which manta rays are also a member, is the order you’re most likely to encounter on a cruise ship excursion. Again, there is a number of places where you can swim with these intriguing creatures but perhaps the most famous is Stingray city in Grand Cayman. One of the island’s premier attractions, it’s a place where you can swim with, photograph, hold or even kiss the rays (it’s seven years good luck if you do, apparently).
Diving with sharks
Though it’s perfectly safe, this is perhaps one oceanic experience which isn’t suited for the faint-hearted. Let’s face it, largely thanks to that film, sharks, particularly Great Whites, have a bad rep and though attacks do happen, they are relatively rare and in reality, humans are not a shark’s preferred diet. There IS a variety of places where you can take the plunge and see these awesome creatures up close but if you’re on a Hawaii cruise which visits the island of Oahu, you’ll have the chance of a little face time with some of the larger species, as you’re lowered into the ocean in a metal cage, from where you can view them. Sharks are pretty inquisitive, so expect a close encounter!
By Simon Brotherton