The myth of Atlantis is an enigma. Is it the Greek island of Santorini? Is it lost forever and sunken to the depths of the ocean? Is it guarded by the Kraken? This is exactly why it’s such an appealing marketing scheme to call a glorified casino by the same name, Atlantis, and pretend like you are going to the end of the world to see the depths of something sunk and long forgotten.
In reality, you are going to the only place in Nassau. Atlantis is the destination. There is nothing else to do in Nassau.
We are notorious for falling for amusement park type hype, and loving every second of it. While we’d been wanting to go to Atlantis for sometime, a short excursion day off our Disney Cruise boat still wasn’t enough to justify paying the hefty price tag for the water park.
Instead, we did something we thought would be really unique and special for the kids, that cost the same hefty price tag! A Shallow Water Interaction with Dolphins at Dolphin Cay at the Atlantis Resort! It was totally worth it!
► Ranking: #cleandiaper
Disney Wonder Cruise Ship
Port Stop: Nassau, Bahamas
Excursion: Shallow Water Interaction with Dolphins
Hours: 9a – 5p
Price: $154 per person | 3 and under free*
We booked our excursion directly through Atlantis, which meant our family of 5 had to make our own way there. It’s only about 10 minutes away and taxi’s are super easy to find in Nassau.
Family Hint: You can find a taxi for half the price if you walk outside the main congested strip where the cruise disembarks. You shouldn’t pay more than $3-5 per person.
Atlantis is a glorified and condensed mini Las Vegas experience. There is shopping, a massive casino, an aquarium – plus a never ending catalog of places to spend exorbitant amounts of money. We shared a taxi with a couple who knew their way around Atlantis, and were willing to help guide us. We appreciated this good fortune because otherwise we would have been totally lost.
We walked through what felt like miles of casino before reaching the beach which is neither convenient, nor all that luxurious. However, this was the public beach portion, and I’m sure Atlantis owns a much nicer swath of land?
We read a few warnings regarding the public beach, and the people that you may encounter there. As it happens, a few days later, when I was at the Senses Spa on the cruise waiting for my appointment, I met a woman who told me about a horrific experience she had at the same beach.
She was coerced into purchasing three drinks from someone whom she thought was an Atlantis employee. She ordered a simple spritzer, but they brought her a liquid that was colored. When she questioned them, they explained it was an Atlantis specialty.
After a few sips, she went to cool off in the water and was pushed under by a very forceful wave. Despite being an excellent swimming, she could not swim to the surface no matter what she tried.
We can attest the water is simply not that deep, and none of our kids had this problem at any point during our swim.
Fortunately someone else saw her struggling and pulled her out of the water. She told me she had never experienced anything like this and it took her a few hours to recover before she could return to her room. Obviously she didn’t drink anything else that day, nor did she go back into the water. The whole story was terrible to hear.
After swimming for an hour or so, we made our way back through the miles of casino to Dolphin Cay for our family adventure. We were outfitted in wet suits and then led into a presentation room where we watched a video learning about the dolphins. It was here we were told we wouldn’t be allowed to take photos, but not to worry because a personal photographer would be there with us.
We were separated into four groups of approximately 10-12 people, with a personal instructor that worked with our family for the full encounter. She taught us a lot about the anatomy and biology of dolphins, complete with hands on instruction.
Shallow water interaction is aptly named. You stand in waist deep water while watching the dolphins, or waiting for the dolphins to come to you for specific behaviors. The dolphins at the Atlantis resort were exceptionally kind and seemed to live peacefully and enjoyable. The trainers were patient and appeared to both love the dolphins and their jobs.
During our interaction with the dolphins at the Atlantis Resort we also had the opportunity to touch and feel their skin and fins, receive kisses and pose with them, and see them perform multiple water jumps and tricks. It was fascinating and intriguing to be up so close to these creatures and to see how talented and personable they truly are.
All the dolphins in Dolphin Cay at Atlantis are rescued dolphins found lost, sick and abandoned after recent Caribbean hurricanes. They are rehabilitated and sent back out to the wild after they are healthy enough to survive.
We loved every second of it. Our kids were absolutely enamored with how playful and interactive the dolphins were. We were able to see and visit with two of the four dolphins at Atlantis from our groups up close, and each had a distinctive personality. Our little three year old was elated beyond containment and couldn’t stop giggling and laughing. She loved when the dolphin came up to her and blew water in her face, and nuzzled up to her. It was so special.
It was worth it at least until we found out how much the accompanying pictures were going to cost our family at Dolphin Cay. On top of the $500 to interact with the dolphins at Atlantis, add an additional $200 just for the professional pictures.
You are beholden to this, because you can’t take your own camera with you. It’s for the safety of the animals, of course…
I had to walk away, I couldn’t physically watch Gabriel pay this exorbitant cost. Bear in mind, it doesn’t matter how many photos you choose, the price is the same. So grab all their professional photos, and photos of any strangers you want too! If we had the foresight, we would have made friends with the people in front of us in line and split the cost.
► For Kids: The Shallow Water Interaction at Dolphin Cay is truly an unforgettable experience they will never forget. It’s expensive, but it’s as much of an enigma as Atlantis itself. The opportunity to come up close and personal with a friendly and trained dolphin is singular experience that will last in your memory for a lifetime.
► What we Learned: Our family learned all about the anatomy of a dolphin and how they live, survive and mate in the wild. Worldschooling opportunities abound in the forms of marine biology, and conservation.
Atlantis has since updated their booking procedure, no longer allowing same day bookings, and a valid cruise/hotel key must be presented in order to participate in activities at the resort.
Their prices have also dramatically increased in the last six months! Pre-payment is required, and any cancellation forfeits the amount paid. The excursion has also been limited to 30 minutes. With these considerations in mind, I’m not sure I would recommend it for a family going forward.
After reading online, it sounds like the Dolphin excursion at Blue Lagoon is a much better option for the price. Bear in mind, we loved our experience at Dolphin Cay. With young children it is a phenomenal experience, but we have nothing to compare it to.