Pirate Water Taxi Dolphin Cruise in Tampa

Pirate Water Taxi launching new Dolphin Cruise in Downtown Tampa

Ahoy, ye mateys! Pirate Water Taxi just launched a NEW dolphin cruise in downtown Tampa to give you landlubbers a chance to see dolphins up close in the wild in Tampa Bay.

The experience disembarks from Pirate Water Taxi’s Home Dock at the Tampa Convention Center on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 am and 2 p.m.

I got a chance to experience this new 90-minute dolphin cruise with my kiddos, ages 11 and 8, and it was definitely a memorable day on the water. There’s nothing my boys love more than a challenge, so when they were each handed a pair of binoculars, they were determined to spot the first dolphin out on the bay.

Pirate Water Taxi Dolphin Cruise Captain T.J. Couch, Jr.
Captain T.J. Couch, Jr. driving Pirate Water Taxi’s Latitude Lindsay II. Photo by Laura Byrne.

What to expect on Pirate Water Taxi’s Dolphin Patrol Cruise

Like all of Pirate Water Taxi’s offerings, this isn’t just a dolphin cruise, but an entertainment experience too. Kids will be inducted as dolphin spotting trainees by the crew with a sticker to prove it and given binoculars to be on the lookoutout.  The crew did a great job of keeping the kids entertained, and the adults too!

(Yes, you will be able to purchase drinks and beer and wine on board the boat as well!)

Since we are dealing with dolphins in the wild, there are no guarantees you’ll see a dolphin, which is why they offer a Dolphin Guarantee. If no dolphins are spotted, you will be offered a second experience within 30 days of the original cruise.

But, your chances of seeing a dolphin are pretty good thanks to the boat, the Latitude Lindsay II.

Captain T.J. Couch, Jr. told us, “We have the advantage of having this boat and because of the design of it, it can throw a very large wake when it gets up to speed and that wave is absolutely irresistible to the dolphins. They love to chase after the boat and surf.”

He was right!!

My very determined kid spotted the first dolphins once we made it out to the bay (with a little help from Mama too)  and as we picked up speed, the dolphins playfully jumped through the wake.

While we’ve seen dolphins in Tampa Bay many times before, it was still pretty cool to see.

Even Captain Couch, who has spent his entire life on our local waterways told us, “It never gets old.”

You’ll also see birds like pelicans, ospreys, and even bald eagles fishing. We also spotted spinner sharks jumping out of the bait balls of fish.

First Dolphin Award Pirate Water Taxi Dolphin Cruise
My 11-year-old spotted the first dolphin on the cruise. He got to pose with a First Dolphin sash and was given special beads and got to pick an extra prize from the treasure chest.

Pirate Water Taxi Dolphin Patrol Cruise tickets

Tickets start at $24.95 for kids ages 2-12 and $29.95 for adults. You can purchase tickets online at piratewatertaxi.com or at Pirate Water Taxi’s Home Dock #7 at the Tampa Convention Center. Annual pass holders save 10%.

Dates and Times

Saturdays and Sundays at 10 am (boards at 9:45 am) and 2 pm (boards at 1:45 pm)

Where to park 

We parked in the Tampa Convention Center parking lot. Prices here can vary depending on whether there is an event happening downtown. There is no free parking in this area, so be prepared to pay for parking.

Other things to do near Pirate Water Taxi

Pirate Water Taxi’s home dock is super close to Sparkman Wharf and Water Street where there are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat. You can also make plans to stop into the Tampa Bay History Center where you and the kids can explore our favorite, the Pirates and Conquistadors exhibit, and then hop onto the free TECO Line Street Car and head to the Florida Aquarium to learn even more about all of the beautiful sea creatures that call our waterways home.


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