Need a unique and exciting theme for your next party? How about inviting a pod of dolphins to join in on the fun? Sailing with dolphins to celebrate a birthday or anniversary or for fun makes an unforgettable day for all involved. Here are a few tips for hosting a dolphin excursion aboard a vessel for your next get-together.
Find the Right Cruise and Time
Dolphin tours are a popular pastime in Florida and anywhere the curious mammals may congregate or pass through. Picking between many options can be tricky, but the most crucial choice you’ll make is about space for you and your party.
For instance, the Dolphin Quest at John’s Pass in St. Petersburg, Florida, is a 40-foot catamaran that can seat up to 35 guests. Determine how many guests will attend your party and ask the operator questions regarding capacity and if the boat has a bathroom on board. Dolphin tours can last from a short one hour to several, so having facilities are of utmost importance.
Many cruises, including those hosted by Sunshine Scenic Tours, offer expertise your guests will find helpful. These often include tips on spotting dolphins, and knowledge about their behavior that are essential for making lasting memories. A trained mate can notify guests of a dolphin sighting, offer details on the dolphins they spot, and answer other pertinent questions.
Asking the tour operator questions before sailing with dolphins will give you peace of mind and even help you prepare for the tour.
Another aspect to consider when booking a cruise is determining which time of the year is best for a dolphin-watching tour. As the seasons change, some dolphins migrate to warmer waters to follow prey. In Tampa Bay, dolphins live year-round; however, this is not always the case for dolphin sighting on the East or West Coast of the United States. Ask your tour operator about your chances of seeing dolphins. For instance, Sunshine Scenic Tours guarantees dolphin sightings on most of its cruises.
Choosing Safe and Fun Dolphin Party Games
For most, sailing with dolphins means, well, seeing dolphins. In other words, planning for games and other activities should not interfere with the main event. There are many ways to keep guests entertained as they keep an eye on the water.
A quiz is an excellent way to keep guests entertained while waiting for a dolphin sighting. Dolphin facts and interesting tidbits can educate guests while keeping them invested in the cruise. You can also play an exciting and entertaining musical game if the vessel has a decent sound system. Give prizes to the guests who guess the song; bonus points for guessing the decade the song was released.
Of course, dolphins are the main event. Find a nice, dolphin-themed prize for the first person who spots a dolphin. You can also make a game of taking photos. Post them on social media, and have guests vote on the best one. Dolphin costumes are also a fun way of getting people involved. No, photos of someone dressed like a dolphin don’t count as an entry!
Your goal is to provide entertainment without distracting from the dolphin boat ride. Furthermore, dolphin tours often use smaller vessels. While guests can move to either side of the boat, staying seated is also acceptable.
What To Bring (or Provide) on a Dolphin Cruise
Sailing with dolphins takes careful planning to ensure the most bang for your buck. Spending a day looking for dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay, or elsewhere means being prepared. You should also consider this for your party guests.
First, check the weather. Will it be cool or warm? Inform your guests of the upcoming weather and what they may need to bring to be comfortable on board. Temperatures are cooler out in the open waters than on the shore. It’s always safe to bring a jacket, regardless of the weather.
Simple party favors can also help guests spot dolphins. For instance, small binoculars are a fun gift that guests can keep as a memory of the excursion. They’ll help give a clear view of dolphins, even from far away. Or, give them a small blanket to keep them warm during the tour.
Tips on How To Spot Dolphins
While a well-trained mate can point you toward a dolphin breaching, keeping an eye out and knowing the signs for yourself is also essential. This helps guests keep informed of surefire signs of nearby dolphins.
First, scan the horizon for splashes. Dolphins are well-known for leaping from the water and performing acrobatic feats; splashing is a common sign of dolphins playing or feeding nearby. Make a game of being the first to spot a dolphin for your guests. Competition among party-goers will make for hyper-observant dolphin spotters!
Look to the skies for advice as well. Circling birds can often give away the location of feeding whales or dolphins. On the surface of the water, be on the lookout for dolphin footprints like still waters or spots that look like oil slicks. Waves moving in the ‘wrong’ direction or breaking wave crests are also clear signs of dolphin activity.
As for speed, it’s best to go slow. Dolphins may get curious and scope out the boat. They may also chase the boat since they’re very fond of surfing and jumping in the wake of boats.
Remember: It’s a Party!
Keep your guests’ enjoyment in mind regardless of how you spend your time on your dolphin cruise. Whether that means providing entertainment on board between scanning the horizon or not is up to you. It won’t take much to ensure your guests leave with lasting memories, especially upon seeing their first dolphin.
Plan your next excursion aboard the best dolphin cruise in John’s Pass: the Dolphin Quest. Tours depart daily from John’s Pass in St. Petersburg, Florida. We practice safe tours for both dolphins and guests.