Disclosure: The following post is in collaboration with my #BayouTravel series. Although my admission was complimentary, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Please refer to this sites disclsoure section for additional information.
A little over a week ago my family returned to Orange Beach, Alabama for another #BayouTravel experience. If you think my family get tired of visiting the beach, you are mistaken. In fact, we are always searching for new family experiences. With Orange Beach being a booming travel destination, it is hard to narrow your families attraction and activity choices.
I learned very quickly that the Alabama Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism website offers prospective travelers the opportunity to learn about various narrow their attraction selection with a few clicks of a button. Since I wanted to take my family on a dolphin cruise during our recent visit, I found out that Cetacean Cruises in Orange Beach offers a 2 hour dolphin & nature cruise that takes you from local dolphin ponds to the creeks and swamps for a unique experience.
During my travels I have had the fortunate opportunity to experience a dolphin cruise but never with my family. We arrived and checked in at 4:30p.m and departed at 5p.m at Wolf Bay. Wolf Bay. My family along with 35+ other passengers boarded Cetacean Cruises newest boat, the Explorer. The Explorer is a 40-foot pontoon boat and can comfortably accommodate up to 49 passengers.
The beautiful fall weather makes for a perfect time to enjoy a dolphin cruise. Even more so was the timing! I initially thought a morning cruise might be the best time to spot dolphins but I was definitely mistaken. We saw numerous dolphins! In fact, they were fast! It may have been dinner time because I saw at least a dozen different dolphin sightings. The hardest part of a dolphin cruise is being quick enough to pull your camera out.
My husband is new to using my camera so I had him practice during our dolphin cruise. He manage to get a few pictures of 2 different dolphins but they were lightning fast.
Educational travel is very important to me, in between dolphin sighting our captain educated us on local bottlenose dolphins and local dolphin pods. Bottlenose dolphin in the Gulf of Mexico rarely travel over 10 miles their entire life so the dolphins we spotted call Wolf Bay home.
More than 19-30 dolphins live in the local dolphin pods. Cetacean Cruises and locals have named more than half of them. We learned that the local dolphins are distinguished by their unique dorsal fins and can be spotted by the notches and shapes of their dorsel fins.
Once we left the dolphin pods, we headed to the creeks and swamps of Wolf Bay. I’m a Louisiana girl so my family was in their element. There you can find red-tailed hawks, herons even a bald eagles. We were hoping to spot an alligator but alas, we will have to save the gators for our swamps in the pearl River.
The Explorer is the only cruise that can take you deep into the swamp. With only 16 to 18 inches of water in some spots, our captain easily made sure we were in and out of the shallow swamp. Cetacean Cruises does a great job of maintaining safety at all times. Be advised, not many dolphin cruise companies in the area can take you to the area we visited.
The open bow of the Explorer is perfect for taking photos and walking around when you spot a dolphin or other wildlife. There were several time we made our way to the front, back or side to side of the pontoon to capture a special moment. My son was able to take a turn driving the boat. Not only is it a perfect photo opp but it gets the little ones involved and inspired to learn more about nature.
The Explorer has bathroom facilities and coolers are welcome aboard but if you forget your small cooler at your hotel or resort don’t worry. You may purchase drinks and snacks on board for $1 each.
If you are visiting Orange Beach, Alabama be sure to add Cetacean Cruises to your itinerary. You can print a dolphin cruise coupon to receive an added discount. Reservations are not required but strongly recommended to guarantee your seat on the boat. Also, arrive 30 minutes prior to departure. If you have a child under the age of 10, they will be required to wear a life jacket.
1½ hour: $15
Dolphin & Nature Cruises
2 hours: $20
25991 W. Perdido Ave.
Orange Beach, Alabama
Also, find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CetaceanCruisesSailing
My family took a quick picture after the sunset. Not the best picture but we were thrilled with our Cetacean Cruises experience!
Have you been on a dolphin cruise? If so, what was your favorite part of the experience?