Many major cruise lines sell "swimming with dolphin" excursions, with the majority available on sailings to the Caribbean. For many passengers -- adults and children alike -- to interact with these loveable creatures is a dream come true, with a photographer on hand to provide cherished memories of participants hugging and kissing their "flippered friends."
Tours that promise swimming with dolphins generally follow the format of an introductory talk before people wade into the pool and trainers use commands to call the dolphins over, where they are petted and, in some instances, perform a series of tricks, such as spectacular leaps, and provide "rides" by pulling individuals through the water as they hang on to their dorsal fins.
So, is swimming with dolphins humane? Although passengers will undoubtedly say they adore dolphins and sign up for these trips with good intentions, animal welfare organizations say dolphins' fixed "smiles" are deceptive and it is cruel to keep these seemingly happy-go-lucky creatures in captivity and allow people to swim with them.