Gibraltar dolphins review
Here in Gibraltar we have a population of wild dolphins all year round. Tours are all year round and trips last about one and a half hours. The most frequently seen dolphins are the Common dolphin, the Striped dolphin and the Bottlenose dolphin. The Strait of Gibraltar is also a great place to try and see migrating whales, although sitings are much rarer than the smaller dolphin cousin. There are two dolphin tour companies in Marina Bay and competition between the two is fierce, so we sent out four undercover couples to book tickets individually on both and give their reviews.
Couple one – Dolphin Safari scores 9/10 Dolphin Adventure scores 5/10
Safari only had a few passengers onboard, nice indoor cabin, friendly crew, boat left a bit late, tickets were more expensive, but they did find dolphins.
Adventure was packed to the gunnels, no indoor cabin, friendly crew, boat left on time, tickets were cheap but no dolphins found.
Couple two – Dolphin Safari scores 10/10 Dolphin Adventure scores 7/10
Safari had quite a few passengers but not cramped, very attentive crew, long trip and we thought we would not see dolphins but they did not give up and yes dolphins plus lots of commentary throughout.
Adventure was very, very crowded with nowhere for us to sit because we were last onboard, sales staff were very pushy, crew were friendly but not as attentive as Safari due to so many passengers and NO DOLPHINS FOUND!
Couple three – Dolphin Safari scores 9/10 Dolphin Adventure scores 3/10
Safari boat left on time, crew were very entertaining and we saw loads of dolphins, very friendly and playful. Only downside was that as we went to book the tickets with a Safari rep an Adventure rep interrupted very rudely and unfortunately the Safari rep lost their temper a bit which was unnecessary as we did not believe any customer would go with that approach.
Adventure booking was an experience, even though we approached the rep to say we wanted to book they still felt the need to slag off Safari with remarks such as Safari boat is an old unsafe tub, they also claimed we would see whales on our dolphin trip, but sadly we did not, we did not even see a single dolphin and the crew ignored us while they fawned over some other passengers who seemed very important to them. Don´t know who writes their Tripadvisor reviews!
Couple four – Dolphin Safari scores 10/10 Dolphin Adventure scores 5/10
Safari there couldn´t have been more than 12 of us on the boat so lots of room, the crew were very informative and there were lots of dolphins.
Adventure was absolutely packed, so much so we nearly ducked out of doing the review, they did however find some dolphins, crew ignored us at the back of the boat, more interested in seeing the dolphins themselves at the front!
So our undercover journalists have a resounding vote for the blue dolphin boat, Safari, but not so much so for the yellow boat. We have also scrutinized both facebook pages for both companies and we can confirm that Dolphin Safari do report every single trip whether they found dolphins or not, but we see that Dolphin Adventure have huge gaps in their data and only seem to report on sightings intermittently, perhaps too many trips with no dolphins found!
The Original Dolphin Safari – The blue boat – carries 25 passengers max
Established in 1969 The Original Dolphin Safari was the first dolphin boat to operate commercially in Europe. It is a small family run business operating throughout the year. The boat carries a maximum of 25 passengers and is the only dolphin operator to declare success rate every day on their facebook page
Claims to fame:
- 1. The original dolphin company
- 2. Highest success rate of finding dolphins
- 3. The only company to find Orca in Gibraltar
- 4. The only company to guarantee comfortable cushioned seating for every passenger
Dolphin Adventure – The yellow boat – carries 120 passengers max
Established in 2005 Dolphin Adventure also operate at Marina Bay in Gibraltar, but this is a much larger commercial organisation. They operate a catamaran with a maximum passenger capacity of 120. Many of the large coach day trip companies use Dolphin Adventure so they are catering for big groups of package tourists
Claim to fame:
- 1. Have been on telly a couple of times
- 2. Guaranteed standing room only
- 3. Service the large package Tui tourist groups