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“Trip not as promised. Terrible captain!” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Dolphin Snorkeling Cruise

Dolphin Snorkeling Cruise
Ranked #1 of 9 Tours in Gulfport
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Day trip to Egmont Key, off St. Petersburg, Florida. Watch dolphins jump and play in the surf behind our mono-hull boat. They jump, twist, & spin so close you can almost touch them! Our boat stays with you the entire 2 1/2 hour stay on the island. Explore this tropical island with its abundant wildlife and ruins of a Spanish-American War fort. Snorkel gear is provided for those wishing to snorkel the sunken ruins. Reservations recommended by calling.
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Trip not as promised. Terrible captain!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 April 2014

We were led to believe this would be the best snorkeling trip by Blair at the St john's pass store front. So we shelled out the $140 plus for our family of 4. The captain, who was very rude thru out the trip, told us it was too windy to snorkel by the ruins, took us off the beach near a bird sanctuary, gave us fins and a mask ( no flippers) and told to snorkel in the grass/sandy area near shore for 15 min before we were told to get back on the boat. Not exactly the great snorkel trip as promised and no reduction in price! To be fair we did see dolphin on our trip, but the captain's snide comment "there, we got that out of the way" and his treatment of his crew rubbed me and my family the wrong way. We were promised by Blair to find the biggest shells. Honestly you can find these at Sanibel island for free. The way they handle the payment of the trip is terrible and humiliating. Basically if you want to take a boat ride in an old crappy boat and see dolphin with a grumpy rude captain who doesnt realize that YOU are his bread and butter, and want to get shells, which you can get for free elsewhere, and don't really care about snorkeling, then this is the trip for you! The good reviews on this site are PROBABLY happy customers, although I personally spoke to other folks who had never been on a trip with such a rude, unfun captain, who were so disgusted, but do not want to take time to post a review. Buyer beware!

Visited April 2014
7 Thank Hawaii1995
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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157 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
242 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 April 2014

**Address 4630 29th Ave South, Gulfport, Fl.
Not far from Bradenton, Ellenton, Tampa, Anna Marie Island, etc...worth the drive!!!!!
This was the best trip ever! We are newcomers to Florida. Moved from San Angelo, TX. to Bradenton, Florida. Still getting to know the roadways and attractions in the area. I telephoned to find a boat to Eggmont Keys...and they (The fine Captains )...took time (although extremely busy) to make sure that my husband and I had directions and even more detailed directions than our GPS...which at times can lead us off course. They went out of their way to accommodate us. The trip includes: a safe, fun and smooth boat ride through beautiful blue-green water to the island...Eggmont Keys. Along the way, the Capts. make outstanding effort to locate spectacular dolphins and then create a wave to which attracts the dolphins to swim and jump and dive in an incredible fashion right before your eyes...so close and at hand! I've never seen anything like it! Amazing photography was able to be captured of the performing dolphins. Then, close to the island you can choose or not to snorkel in clear, beautiful water. They have snorkel gear onboard. So you just need to say "Yes, I want to do it too! " They keep a large cooler on board so you can ice down your drinks and food, which you can buy right there at the marina. If you do not have time to make for yourselves. The boat will dock at the island and you will embark to an incredible island ...hiking, viewing the Fort remains, a Lighthouse, slow moving tortoise, tropical island vegetation and supreme beach and ocean...oh yes, and shelling is a must do. Take a bag with you or they will provide one for you...to fill up! Children will love this trip. You will need plenty of sunscreen and a sun hat. Lots of water to drink too. Please, do check this out. This is an amazing trip...provides a wonderful day to spend in a spectacular place, aboard a vessel with Captains that truly care about the service they provide, about you, and the environment they respect and love. It is evident!
Brenda and Henry, April 13, 2014

Visited April 2014
2 Thank Brenda S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clearwater, Florida
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Excellent trip to Egmont Key!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 February 2014

It was a great time during our trip to Egmont Key. The crew of Tropical Island Getaway was very friendly and helpful. We had a big fun on the boat with other people watching dolphins swimming and jumping close our boat. It was amazing!!! The tropical island with lighthouse, ruins dating back to the 1700s, tales of Spanish Conquistadors was worth to sightseeing. I would really recommend this cruise to everyone!!!Have fun!!!

Visited February 2014
1 Thank Betty P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
31 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Tainted memory - issues w/crew”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 February 2014

We entered what looked like a souvenir shop at John's Pass and were confronted by a man selling tickets for various water activities. As it turns out, we had walked into "John's Pass Ticket Booth" and were reeled in to plunk down a deposit on this "cruise". The vendor assured us that, even though this boat tour might be a bit more expensive than others we had picked the best Egmont Key boat tour because (allegedly) unlike other cruises, the boat would stay right there at the island while we snorkeled, so we could easily (?! ...hmm... see photos) get back aboard if we needed to use the restroom or access our lunch coolers, etc. The brochure also mentioned provision of a free shelling bag (I pictured a mesh keepsake bag, perhaps) and snorkeling equipment. Sounds good, but...

We scheduled the trip for the next day and had a rather lengthy drive from John's Pass to reach the actual departure marina in Gulfport. The boat looked like an old fishing vessel with 18 uncomfortable seats up front, a bench at the back, and a storage bin on which many of us sat for much of the trip. Other passengers filed to the back of the boat and began drinking beer. The crew welcomed us with some flippant comments about the life preservers (we weren't offered one) and the availability of "the head" (bathroom below deck). He then turned on some hokey Jimmy Buffett music and away we went. Beyond that, there was little to no narration about where we were or what we were seeing as we passed along the shoreline. We saw no dolphins on the ride out to the island, but were assured we would see some later. . .

Upon arrival at Egmont Key we stopped NEAR a govt dock, but instead dropped anchor several feet from shore and had to climb down a ladder to get to the thigh-deep water below. At that point, we were offered a "shelling bag" (standard crumpled plastic grocery bag) and a dirty mask and snorkel mouthpiece. (I was instantly no longer interested in snorkeling and placed the dirty equipment in the used grocery bag that dangled on my arm while I climbed down the ladder.)

Once on the island (nice, but not as good as we were led to believe), we walked around the ruins and did find several small-med shells, but no sand dollars.

After a couple of hours in the hot sun, we were ready to go back. Before I ascended the ladder, the ship's mate asked me if I'd snorkeled. "Nope," I told him, planning to hand back the equipment when I reached the storage bin at the top of the ladder. He then proceeded to grab my shelling bag and took out the unused snorkel gear, perhaps insinuating that I was attempting to conceal it, and grumbling that it looked damaged (if so, certainly not by me!).

The return trip began with the obligatory Jimmy Buffett music. Again, no dolphins for quite a while. Then, I noticed that the captain had left the helm of the boat and was off to the side feeding the seagulls. Soon enough, dolphins! (but shouldn't someone be steering this boat???).

To be fair, we really enjoyed seeing the (promised) dolphins swim along side the boat. Still, this was overshadowed by the disappointments (past and yet to come) re: the boat and its crew.

So, now that they've "given" us the dolphins, as promised... time to pay up! We were advised to tip well because they delivered on the dolphins promise. They handed each of us a plastic pouch and practically demanded a tip (signs stressed "only if served well"). I did not feel the need to bring lots of extra cash to this deserted island, nor did I feel we were "served well"; thus, the tip was much smaller than the 15-20% requested. Once the envelopes were collected, it was clear that they were counting the tips and made snide remarks toward anyone who dared not give the requested amount. (I can echo here most of the related comments from reviewer askew16.)

Sign on board : "tipping is appreciated; mate works for tips, but only if served well" - really??

The rest of the trip was awkward and certainly did not live up to the title of "cruise".
So, while the island was ok, and we enjoyed the dolphin sightings (literally, we thank God),
the ship's crew made the overall trip a tainted memory.

-tbt rfg

Visited November 2013
7 Thank btdt9192
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cheryl F, Manager at Dolphin Snorkeling Cruise, responded to this review, 11 February 2014
Dear btdt9192, We are sorry you did not enjoy your day. Perhaps there was something that started your day wrong. As you can see here, most of our guests LOVE our cruise and their experience at Egmont Key. Please know that sand dollars are usually in the water, just under the surface of the sand. Did you look there? We are glad you were able to see dolphins. Hopefully next time you visit you will have a better experience...as the majority of our guests do.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1 review
“WOW! Just wow...”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 December 2013

Last week, my finance and I went on the Tropic Island Getaway with Captain Randy and Eric. The highlight of the trip was the "Dolphin Show". The crew did a great job finding dolphins in the bay on both the 30 minute trip out to Egmont Key, as well as on the way back. They explained that the dolphins put on a show for the members of their boat because it is a single-wake boat, which the dolphins like to play around with. They explained that the dolphins do not do this with other boats or ferry's going to Egmont Key Island. If this is true, then it's worth the $35 per person for the trip alone IMO!

Once reaching Egmont Key Island, you are given 2 hours to explore the island, snorkel or shell.
The island has a lighthouse, as well as some old fort ruins. Both were very cool. The captain explained that because of high winds the water was murky and very cold for snorkeling, so we skipped it. My girlfriend was a little disappointed with the quality of shells on the island, as my guess is that they are a little picked over by other tourists.

Overall, the island is very cool and the dolphin experience was awesome! I highly recommend you go if you are in the area but make sure to target a warm sunny day with winds less than 12 mph.

Bring your video camera or use the video camera on your phone. Check out the stills I exported from the video I took on my Iphone 4s!

Visited November 2013
Thank Craig M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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