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All reviews nature cruise hector dolphins hectors dolphins fur seals akaroa harbour swimming with dolphins great cruise hour cruise hot chocolate informative commentary new zealand amazing experience saw dolphins two hours the pacific ocean open sea sea life
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Reviewed 19 February 2020

This was a first class experience in learning about the dolphins that inhabit French Bay. The commentary about the surrounding area and history of the region was very informative. We were very fortunate to see many dolphins during our trip along with several of the small penguins that inhabit the area. In addition, we saw some seals and their pups.

Date of experience: February 2020
1  Thank Fairway38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BlackCat_NZ, Manager at Black Cat Cruises, responded to this reviewResponded 7 April 2020

Hi Fairway38,

We are very pleased to hear that you had a great experience on our Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise. Thank you for choosing to cruise with us and for sharing your experience. Hopefully one day you will be able to return so we can show you even more of our beautiful wildlife and scenery!

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Reviewed 16 February 2020 via mobile

I have been on wildlife cruises, I have been swimming in open water, I have done shark cage diving, and I have seen dolphins... I thought thise would be in the realm of all the other experiences, and I was completely wrong! This was easily one of the top ten experiences of my life and I highly recommend this to anyone who can swim. I came all the way from Christchurch to Akaroa for this experience, with doubts in my mind and not knowing what to expect. It was a cold day (low 60s F with wind and off/on rain) and I wasn't thrilled about the weather. I called the company that morning and they assured me that the cruise was still running and they also told me that because the water was choppy, they were only letting experienced swimmers out. I arrived at the shop 20 minutes before the cruise (you have to check in at least 15 minutes before departure) and was given a form to sign and once again asked about my open sea swimming experience and whether or not I got motion sickness. I do get motion sickness, but I took an extra dose of dramamine and took some hard candies with me to help with that. We were then shown into the other room and sized for wetsuits and booties. These were 5ml wetsuits and we were instructed to only wear our bathing suits (togs) beneath them. Then we were sized for booties and given masks, the masks were optional but everything else was mandatory. We were split into our groups and sent off on the small vessels. Immediately, Bo and Daz (sorry if I spelled these wrong!) were ready with the jokes. They told us about the Hector dolphins that we would see as well as how to interact with them and conservation efforts. They drove quickly through the water and we bounced off the waves, it was exhilarating! We pulled up next to a wildlife cruise that had spotted some dolphins and parked there waiting to see if the dolphins were interested in us. And lucky us, they were! The dolphins stuck around and we got off the boat via ladder and entered the water. I was nervous about the cold water, but the 5ml wetsuits were no joke! I was very warm. Soon after, the dolphins started swimming with us! They circled us and jumped and rode the waves. It was a breathtaking experience. The guides said there were maybe 8 dolphins that stayed with us for maybe 1-2 hours but it felt like 30 dolphins and 12 hours. After the dolphins got bored and left us, it was time for us to head back anyway. Bo and Daz pulled up their "ocean uber" to us and we re-entered the boat. We started feeling cold out of the water, and then they surprised us again with a hot water hose that they used to pour warm water down our wetsuits. It felt amazing. We pulled up to calmer waters where they showed us Cathedral Cave and Elephant rock and we shared hot chocolate and ginger cookies. We sped back to beat the other boat so that we could get to the hot showers first. It was truly an experience I will never forget and you would be making a huge mistake leaving New Zealand without doing it.

Date of experience: February 2020
1  Thank AsSeenByJane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BlackCat_NZ, Manager at Black Cat Cruises, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2020

Hi AsSeenByJane,

Thank you for your thorough and detailed review. It sounds like you had an amazing day with us out on the water in Akaroa Harbour. We really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience.

We take much pride in saying that we do our best to provide a memorable experience for all of our guests and your feedback means a lot to us. Daz, Bodie and the rest of the team hope you will be able to join us onboard again soon!

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Reviewed 12 February 2020 via mobile

We drove from Christchurch to this and late before we arive we get a call it might be cancelled instead of just telling us it would be.

Thanks for 3 hours wasted driving. Another Company in town were Salling that Day so does not make sense...

Date of experience: February 2020
Thank martinpZ4706JV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BlackCat_NZ, Manager at Black Cat Cruises, responded to this reviewResponded 9 March 2020

Hi martinpZ4706JV, thanks for taking the time to review your trip experience on TripAdvisor. We are sorry that we were not able to inform you before you left Christchurch regarding the cancellation of your trip. Unfortunately, sometimes the wind/sea conditions are not clear until the morning and we endeavour to get in touch with everyone that may be affected. We take passenger safety very seriously and do not take the decision to cancel any trip lightly and only do so when we believe it is not safe for us to be operating. We hope you are able to come out with us on another trip soon.

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Reviewed 12 February 2020

We had a wonderful time with Black Cat Cruises even though we were not lucky enough to swim with the dolphins. That is the risk when you choose trying to interact with wild animals, and it is exceptional that Black Cat Cruises has a refund policy in place in instances when nature chooses not to cooperate as was the case with us. Everyone we worked with there was very nice and accommodating. They do give you a snorkel and mask, but we did not feel like we really needed them as we spent much of our time floating on the water. Maybe if the dolphins had come to play with us, we might have wanted a mask to try and see them underwater. Even though we didn’t get to swim with the dolphins, we still got a nice harbor cruise and were able to see dolphins and some fur seals. We were worried about the swimming without a life vest requirement, but we didn’t have any problems and found that with the wet suit we and salinity of the water, we were relatively buoyant, so the swimming wasn’t as difficult as it might be in fresh water or an area with strong tides.

Date of experience: December 2019
Thank dleighb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BlackCat_NZ, Manager at Black Cat Cruises, responded to this reviewResponded 9 March 2020

Hi dleighb, thanks very much for taking the time to write us a review on TripAdvisor - we really appreciate it! I'm so glad you had a great time out on the water with our crew. Yes as you mentioned, it is a wild swimming experience and we leave it up to the dolphins entirely if they are keen to interact or not - thank you for your understanding :-) Sounds like you still had a wonderful day viewing all the dolphins around you and we hope to see you out with us for another try soon!

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Reviewed 9 February 2020 via mobile

Originally, we planned swim with dolphins. However, it was cancelled due to bad weather. Staff suggested the alternativw that we can change to other day or switch to cruise to see dolphin. Since it is the last day in Akaroa, we took the cruise. Luckily, we can see the dolphin.
最初,我們計劃和海豚一起游泳。 但是由於天氣惡劣,取消了預訂。 工作人員建議我們可以改成另一天或改乘遊輪去看海豚。 由於這是阿卡羅阿的最後一天,所以我們乘船遊覽了。 幸運的是,我們可以看到海豚。

Date of experience: January 2020
Thank fayefayeyeung
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BlackCat_NZ, Manager at Black Cat Cruises, responded to this reviewResponded 9 March 2020

Hi fayefayeyeung, thanks very much for reviewing us on TripAdvisor! We are really sorry we had to cancel the swim due to bad weather, passenger safety is our number one priority and we want to make sure you are safe at all times. So glad we could still take you out to see the Hector's dolphins on our cruise - aren't they just beautiful! We hope you can come back to Akaroa one day and try the swim experience in more favourable weather conditions.

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