Cruise Itinerary Alternative: Day 4 - Port Day
Updated: Jan 27
Welcome to Day 4! If you're just joining us, you can check out the previous posts in this series:
Day 4: Port Day - Excursion: Swim with Dolphins
Day 5: Sea Day
Day 6: Port Day - Excursion: Ponce De Leon Springs
Day 7: Sea Day
One of the most popular excursions on cruise vacations is swimming with dolphins. This once in a lifetime experience is available at Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach. We have another blog post about the full experience of visiting Gulf World and you can read that for additional details about the park.
General admission to Gulf World includes several shows throughout the day, including the Dolphin Show where visitors can see the dolphins swim, jump, and interact with their trainers. Gulf World is home to two different types of dolphins; bottlenose dolphins and rough-toothed dolphins. The show is entertaining and informative.
The general dolphin show has opportunities for children to be involved. Just make sure you're ready to get wet if you volunteer!
Beyond the main dolphin show, Gulf World offers additional paid experiences with the dolphins that range from a Dolphin Encounter (think handshakes - or should we say fin-shakes - and hugs) to the Royal Swim (foot-push, dorsal-tow, and some free swimming). The encounters and swims take place in the large pool complex where the main dolphin show is held. The trainers are knowledgeable and the dolphins themselves are lovely! General admission to Gulf World is included in each of the dolphin experiences.
Gulf World is near Pier Park, which is a large outdoor shopping, activity, and dining center. It's a great option for a meal after your time with the dolphins.
Pier Park is home to several restaurants like Margaritaville, Pompano Joe's Seafood House, and The Back Porch. Pier Park also has many shops, a movie theater, laser tag, a mirror maze, and a giant ferris wheel with unbelievable views of the water.
If you love trivia on cruise ships, The Brass Tap at Pier Park holds trivia nights throughout the year. Check their event schedule during your trip to see if you'll be here for one of their trivia nights.
Pier Park is the kind of place you can spend an afternoon or evening; walking, eating ice cream, shopping for souvenirs, sampling fudge, and just enjoying the sun-drenched feeling of being on vacation without a care in the world.
As you might guess, Pier Park is located across the street from a large fishing pier that goes 1500 feet into the Gulf of Mexico.
There is a nominal fee charged to walk the pier, but it is absolutely worth the cost of admission. If you happen to have one of the many days in Panama City Beach where the water is crystal clear and the waves are calm, you can see amazing marine life from the pier. Here's one of my favorite videos from the pier of rays migrating through the Gulf:
The pelicans in Panama City Beach know there's more than one way to catch a fish. It's not uncommon to see them wandering the pier waiting to challenge a fisherman for his catch.
Walking fishing piers in Panama City Beach is one of my all time favorite things to do. The sights change from day to day and it creates an amazing opportunity to get a birds eye view into the Gulf of Mexico. It's a lovely end to a full day in PCB!
Join us tomorrow for Day 5, which will be another "sea day"!