Today is World Snorkeling Day, and in honor of the special holiday we’re showcasing five of our favorite snorkeling excursions guests can experience on a Holland America Line cruise. From the idyllic Caribbean to breathtaking Hawaii, these specially selected tours allow guests to explore the beauty of some of the world’s most famed locales from an entirely different perspective. Read on below to discover the tours you shouldn’t miss!
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Known for its pristine, crystalline waters, our award-winning private island Half Moon Cay is the ideal destination for a snorkeling adventure! On our Stingray Adventure shore excursion, guests can enjoy an educational encounter with the beautiful southern stingrays that make their home at Half Moon Cay.
At Stingray Cove, learn about stingrays’ habitat, feeding and breeding behaviors. Then we invite you to grab snorkel gear and prepare to enter the wading area with a guide who will introduce you to the rays. You’ll have the opportunity to pet and feed these impressive creatures, guaranteeing an up close and personal experience you won’t forget!
CAPTAIN ZODIAC RAFTING & SNORKEL ADVENTURE
If you have a little pirate in your heart, embark on Kona’s snorkel excursion where you’ll explore its scenic coast by a 24-foot Zodiac ocean raft in an intimate, small group.
You’re headed to Kealakekua Bay — site of the Captain Cook Monument, accessible only by boat, and an area of unsurpassed importance in Hawaiian history. Your captain will detail Hawaii’s history, as well as the beautiful scenery on your 12-mile exploration of the stunning coast. Make sure to keep an eye out for pods of dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life along the way! Once you’ve arrived, hop into the waters of the Kealakekua Bay Marine Preserve and enjoy the beautiful varieties of tropical fish and coral formations. Recharge with a snack while the captain tells tales of Captain Cook’s encounters with the Hawaiians and the history of the bay. Be sure to have your camera ready, photo opportunities abound as you get close to the many lava formations, sea caves and blowholes of the scenic coastline.
CHILENO BAY SAIL & SNORKEL
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Cruisers are drawn to Cabo San Lucas for the sun, sand and opportunity to just slow down and relax. On our Chileno Bay Sail & Snorkel excursion, guests can expect just that!
After boarding a 65-foot catamaran you’ll set sail for beautiful Chileno Bay. As you make your way, cruise by iconic Cabo sites including Lover’s Beach, a lively sea lion colony and the famed arch and towering rock formations of Land’s End. Once you’ve arrived at Chileno Bay, take time to snorkel among the tropical fish in the azure waters of the Sea of Cortes — home to parrotfish, angelfish, Moorish idols and manta rays. On the return voyage, unwind as the sails are hoisted and enjoy the beauty of Los Cabos!
IRIE SAFARI CHAMPAGNE SNORKEL
Snorkeling above a volcano is on many a bucket list, and you can check it off yours by snorkeling at Champagne Reef in Dominica. This area is known for its volcanic activity and is ranked one of the top snorkeling venues in the world!
Board a motorized catamaran and cruise south along the west coast of Dominica for approximately 15 minutes, heading to the Soufriere Scottshead Marine Reserve. The coastline offers dramatic views of lush mountains soaring into the clouds and scattered quaint fishing villages sleepily sitting on the ocean’s edge. Various species of marine birds circle the blue skies and, occasionally, a sea turtle pops up for a quick peek. Once the boat anchors at Champagne Reef, hop into the water and follow the snorkel guide over the reef. They will point out rare sights and provide the names of species of fish and coral life. The reef drops to about 50 feet — a dramatic plunge that attracts plenty of marine life. The snorkeling ends close to shore, atop vents that pump hot water from the sea bed. The bubbles emerging from the vent make you feel as though you are swimming through a glass of sparkling wine — hence the name Champagne Reef!
LIGHTHOUSE REEF SNORKEL ADVENTURE
Savusavu, Vanua, Levi, Fiji
The crystalline waters surrounding Savusavu Bay teem with rainbow-hued tropical fish, colorful corals and friendly sea turtles.
On our Lighthouse Reef Snorkel Adventure, a high-speed boat takes you to one of the island’s best local dive sites, Lighthouse Reef, situated at the tip of the bay’s entrance. This famed snorkel site is a well-protected refuge, home to numerous corals and a vibrant collection of fish and marine life. The reef has deep water on one side and shallow water on the other, offering a myriad of options for all snorkeling abilities.
Splash in and discover a thriving ecosystem populated by numerous plate corals, soft spaghetti corals and schools of darting fish. Bring an underwater camera, as you’ll be sure to spot interesting species such as the black-and-white sergeant fish, bright clownfish, trumpet fish, orange and purple anthias, pale green damselfish, Maori wrasse and humphead wrasse. Giant clams, grouper and parrotfish are also commonly seen closer to the coral formations. If you’re lucky, graceful sea turtles will come out to say hello, and you might even spy a friendly white-tip reef shark cruising the waters deep below.
Would you try one of these shore excursions? Tell us which tour catches your eye in the comments below!