FAQs

/FAQs
FAQs2019-03-19T17:12:05+00:00

What are your rates?

$29 for Adults, $25 for Seniors 60 and above, $15.50 for Children ages 4-14, and $1 for Infants & Toddlers 3 years and under.

Do we need to make reservations?

We highly recommend making reservations at least 48 hours in advance. Our boats book up frequently, especially during the busy summer months.

Why is your cruise more expensive?

We are Destin’s Original, family-owned and operated for 25 years. Our boat is the largest and most comfortable dolphin cruise vessel in the Destin Harbor, and you will find that the standard of service we provide is well worth the extra little bit you spend.

What do you do on the curise?

We begin with a narrated tour of the Destin Harbor. The captain will point out some of Destin’s local spots and tell you about the history of the area. We then head out to the East Pass of the Gulf of Mexico. If seas are calm enough, we cruise into the Gulf to watch the dolphins in their natural habitat. If the waters are too choppy to cruise comfortably in the Gulf, we cruise under Destin’s Marler Bridge and into the Choctawhatchee Bay in search of the local dolphin pods. Once we spot the dolphins, we spend time watching, observing, and encouraging the dolphins, as well as educating you about the area pods. The captain also takes time to let the kids aboard have their turn driving the boat and earn their Junior Captain Award. The mates assist guests in feeding the seagulls from the back of the boat.

What can you see through the glass bottom?

The glass bottom is an added feature of our dolphin cruise since we do not have any reef in this area. We sail out into the Gulf of Mexico and the sandy bottom of the water is not the same as you might find in more tropical areas. The glass bottom on our boat is a viewing area with 8 glass panels and not a floor completely made of glass with seating around it. Sometimes we do see a school of fish or beds of seagrass, but the dolphins are the main feature and they typically play on the sides of the boat rather than underneath.

When is the best time to see dolphins?

Any time is a great time. We have a 98% success rate with dolphin sightings, so the best time to go is really up to your personal preference and schedule. The water is typically clearer during the high tide (before about 2:00pm in the summer). That is when we have the greatest chance of seeing other sea life such as sharks, stingrays, turtles, etc. We still see dolphins and other varieties of sea life in our afternoon cruises as well, but once the tide changes the water turns brackish and the dolphins can be observed when they breach the surface.

Are we guaranteed to see dolphins?

We cannot guarantee dolphin sightings because they are wild animals, and we are observing them in their natural habitat. However, they are native to this area and we have a 98% success rate seeing them year-round, and our captain and crew are well-trained at spotting dolphins.

How big is the boat?

The Southern Star is an 80-foot double deck, glass bottom boat, and is U.S. Coast Guard approved for a maximum of 149 passengers. We have 2 restrooms, a covered upper deck with drop-down enclosure, and a climate-controlled cabin for your comfort.

Are strollers allowed?

Strollers are welcome aboard, and we recommend using the brakes once on board. Please remember children ages 3 and younger must be included in your reservation, as they are included in the total headcount reported to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Are you wheelchair accessible?

The main deck is accessible to manual wheelchairs only. Scooters and motorized wheelchairs are too large and too heavy to accommodate on our vessel.

Is there food?

We have a galley that offers hot dogs, chips, sodas, smoothies, and other small snack items available for purchase.

Do you serve drinks?

We offer sodas and smoothies for purchase, but we do not sell alcohol. You may bring an alcoholic beverage, but as a family cruise we ask that you please enjoy in moderation and responsibly. Coolers and glass containers are not permitted onboard.

Where is the best place to sit?

Any place is a great place. Feel free to walk around once the boat leaves the dock.

Do you offer a Military Discount?

If you purchase your tickets at one of the ITT Centers on Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Air Force Base, NAS Pensacola, or Whiting Field, they will honor the discount for the entire party. We are under contract with ITT and will only be able to honor the discount for the Active Duty Personnel at the window.

How far offshore do you go? Do people ever get seasick?

We do not go far enough offshore that you lose sight of land, and if the Gulf is too rough, the captain will cruise in the Choctawhatchee Bay, where it is calmer. If you tend to get motion sickness riding in the backseat of a car, we suggest you take something like Dramamine in advance. We sell MotionEaze onboard, which is a natural oil rubbed behind the ears to alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness. It is fast acting and has no side effects so the crew highly recommends it. If you do get nauseated onboard, notify the crew and they will know what to do for you.

Do the kids need life jackets?

There are life jackets for the kids on board, but they are for emergency use only. The rails are 42” high as required by the USCG for passenger vessels.

What if it rains?

If there is just a light rain, we will still sail because there is plenty of cover. If there is thunder or lightning, we will not sail (subject to captain’s discretion). If we have to cancel the cruise due to weather we will notify you, but we make those decisions closer to cruise time and on a cruise by cruise basis. In the event of inclement weather, only rainchecks will be issued after the boat leaves the dock.

Why do you need a credit card?

Reservations made by phone will be secured using a Visa, MasterCard, or Discover card. We use it to hold your seats; nothing is charged to your card when you book over the phone. You may pay how you like when you arrive. Online bookings are charged at the time the reservation is made.

 What is your cancellation policy?

If you need to cancel, we require a 3 hours’ notice prior to your cruise departure, otherwise the card may be charged 50% of the total.

Where are you located?

We are located in the HarborWalk Village Marina, about ¼ mile east of the Destin Bridge. We are in a red ticket booth located downstairs to the left of Margaritaville.

Can we bring pets on board?

Trained service dogs that are able to perform a specific task to aid those with a disability are permitted aboard. Companion and Emotional Support Animals are not considered Service Animals.

What should we bring?

We recommend bringing sunscreen, a camera, a hat, sunglasses, and cash (for snacks and for tipping the mates). During Spring and Fall months, you may want to bring jackets as our sunset cruises tend to be cooler in temperature.

What payments do you accept?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and cash. We do not accept American Express or personal checks.

Is parking free?

HarborWalk Village charges $10 per vehicle to park in the on-site parking lot or the parking garage of the Emerald Grande condo. Cash and cards are accepted. Alternative parking options include the City of Destin’s two paid public parking lots at the intersections of Highway 98 and Marler Street, Calhoun Avenue, or Zerbe Street. Limited street parking is available along Stahlman Avenue on the north side of Highway 98.

When should we arrive for the cruise?

We strongly recommend arriving one hour prior to boarding to allow time for traffic, parking, and checking in. Boarding begins 30 minutes prior to departure.

Are you handicap accessible?

The main deck is accessible to manual wheelchairs only. Scooters and motorized wheelchairs are too large and too heavy to accommodate on our vessel.

Is there food?

We have a galley that offers snack items such as hot dogs, chips, sodas, smoothies, and other small snack items available for purchase. Adult beverages are also available for purchase.

Do you serve drinks?

We offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, sodas, smoothies, mixed drinks, and frozen drinks. As a family cruise we ask that you please enjoy alcoholic beverages in moderation and responsibly. Coolers and glass containers are not permitted onboard. Outside alcohol is strictly prohibited by our liquor license.

Where is the best place to sit?

Any place is a great place. All of the activities take place around the green painted circle on the main deck.

Do you offer a Military Discount?

If you purchase your tickets at one of the ITT Centers on Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Air Force Base, NAS Pensacola, or Whiting Field, they will honor the discount for the entire party. We are under contract with ITT and will only be able to honor the discount for the Active Duty Personnel at the window.

How far offshore do you go? Do people ever get seasick?

We do not go far enough offshore that you lose sight of land. The captain will cruise in the Choctawhatchee Bay, the Destin Harbor, and the East Pass, where it is calmer. If you tend to get motion sickness riding in the backseat of a car, we suggest you take something like Dramamine. We sell MotionEaze onboard, which is a natural oil rubbed behind the ears to alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness. It is fast acting and has no side effects, so the crew highly recommends it. If you do get nauseated onboard, notify the crew and they will know what to do for you.

Do the kids need life jackets?

There are life jackets for the kids on board, but they are for emergency use only. The rails are 42” high as required by the USCG for passenger vessels.

What if it rains?

If there is just a light rain, we will still sail. If there is thunder or lightning, we will not sail (subject to captain’s discretion). If we must cancel the cruise due to weather we will notify you, but we make those decisions closer to cruise time and on a cruise by cruise basis.

Why do you need a credit card?

Reservations by phone may be secured using a Visa, MasterCard, or Discover card. We use it to hold your seats; nothing is charged to your card when you book over the phone. You may pay how you like when you arrive. Online bookings are charged at the time the reservation is made.

What is your cancellation policy?

If you need to cancel, we require a 3 hours’ notice prior to your cruise departure, otherwise the card may be charged 50% of the total.

Where are you located?

We are in the HarborWalk Village Marina, about ¼ mile east of the Destin Bridge. We are in a red ticket booth located downstairs to the left of Margaritaville.

Can we bring pets on board?

Trained service dogs that can perform a specific task to aid those with a disability are permitted aboard. Companion and Emotional Support Animals are not considered Service Animals.

What should we bring?

We recommend bringing sunscreen, a camera, a hat, sunglasses, and cash (for snacks and for tipping the mates). During Spring and Fall months, you may want to bring jackets as our sunset cruises tend to be cooler in temperature.

What payments do you accept?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and cash. We do not accept American Express or personal checks.

Is parking free?

HarborWalk Village charges $10 per vehicle to park in the on-site parking lot or the parking garage. Cash and cards are accepted. Alternative parking options include the city of Destin’s two “pay to park” public parking lots at the intersections of Highway 98 and Marler Street, Calhoun Avenue, or Zerbe Street. Limited street parking is available along Stahlman Avenue on the north side of Highway 98.

When should we arrive for the cruise?

We strongly recommend arriving one hour prior to boarding to allow time for traffic, parking, and checking in. Boarding begins 30 minutes prior to departure.