A popular staple for visitors to places like Tortola, Cozumel, Puerta Vallarta, the Bahamas, Florida, Key West and many, many other destinations, dolphin encounters typically allow people to swim with them in corrals or lagoons. The activity is widely available on cruise lines' shore excursion menus.
"I'm particularly disturbed about the proliferation in the Caribbean," says RSSC's Darius Mehta, who notes that he took dolphin encounters off the line's shore roster some months ago. "I don't like it when animals are human entertainment. They're captive and the lagoons are being reclaimed from mangrove swamps (which actually is a whole other story because these protect islands from hurricanes)."
As such, RSSC's discontinued dolphin shore outings affect ports of call such as Acapulco, Roatan (Honduras), Puerto Vallarta, Cozumel and Tortola.
RSSC does continue to offer programs where passengers can often, if not always, view dolphins in the wild; in this case, these options are available in Port Canaveral, Roseau, Cabo San Lucas and Nassau. He notes that Moorea, one of the French Polynesian islands, is one of the best places for spotting dolphins. In addition, dolphins can frequently be spotted during whale-watching trips.
While Mehta expresses gratitude for what he says are numerous e-mails and phone calls from passengers, he is disappointed to note that other cruise lines have yet to make a similar stand. "I was," he says, "definitely hoping this would spur on other cruise lines."