Swimming with dolphins has been on my bucket list since I was 7 years old when I went to SeaWorld for the first time. I was fascinated by the bond they created with their trainers and I wanted a chance to experience that for myself. So when I was invited on a cruise to the Bahamas in January, I hopped on board a ship named Allure of the Seas, hoping for a chance to meet a dolphin.
And I did.
Swimming with dolphins was just one of my favorite sharable moments on the trip. Here are a few recommendations based on my experience.
Favorite excursion: Swimming with dolphins through Dolphin Encounters on Blue Lagoon Island was my chance to build a bond, just like the SeaWorld trainers did. Although I didn’t quite get that intense and personal relationship, I met and played with a dolphin named Dot.
I got to hug, feed and even dance with Dot.
I also made a grand exit. I was told to lay flat on my stomach in the water, and two dolphins, Dot and Princess, swam up behind me, pressed their noses on the arches of my feet and propelled me out of the water.
Tip: Ladies, wear a one-piece swimsuit or else you will lose your swimsuit bottoms, and nobody wants to see your bare bum.
Favorite beach: Beaches along the Central Coast are nice, but none stack up to Blue Lagoon Island near Nassau. The white powder sand is softer than anything you’d dig your feet into at Pismo and the water is deep emerald green.
The intimate island has hammocks, lounge chairs, umbrellas, beach volleyball, floating pool toys, an inflatable obstacle course in the water, and a restaurant and bar.
Tip: Since your time on land is limited, stay on Blue Lagoon. There’s no need to explore Nassau because there isn’t much to see there.
Favorite drink: Don’t leave the Nassau port without a coconut drink.
Try to find a small, wooden coconut stand on Woodes Rodgers Walk near Prince George Wharf, the port where cruise ships dock.
For $12, you can get the coconut water and coconut meat blended with a splash of fresh pineapple served in a coconut shell.
Tip: You’ll have the option to add alcohol to the drink. Don’t. It will just take away from the fresh and natural flavors.
Favorite food: A plate of fresh grilled fish tacos from Heidi’s Honeymoon Grill at Honeymoon Beach on Water Island was the best thing I ate on the trip.
For $11, you get two tacos, which seems a bit pricy, but considering the quality and the view, it’s worth it.
Tip: Heidi’s is cash only.
Favorite cruise activity: The musical “Mamma Mia” had amazing music (of course, it’s ABBA), talented singers and a hilarious story.
Not all cruise ships offer the same entertainment, but if they have shows, it’s a good way to take in a Broadway production without traveling to New York.
Tip: Make reservations for shows before boarding the ship because they sell out.
While on the trip, I never felt bored on ship and on the islands. I gambled for the first time, snorkeled, competed in volleyball tournaments and a karaoke contest, and celebrated my 24th birthday.
I probably won’t be heading back to the Bahamas, not because it wasn’t amazing (it was), but because I need to check off the next item on my bucket list.
So what’s next on the list? Floating away in a yellow hot air balloon in Switzerland, preferably in the springtime.