On a clear blue sunny day in April, what is there better to do than to ride a nice wooden boat and look for dolphins in the calm waters of Cotton Bayou and Perdido Bay?
The Southern Rose takes off at Happy Harbor behind Tacky Jacks at 27206 Safe Harbor Drive Orange Beach, AL.
I was so excited when on the spur of the moment, Rick decided he was taking me on a dolphin cruise. Unbeknowst to me, he had been planning this trip for some time. He knows I love nature, boats, water, and especially dolphins. To me, they are like Labradors of the sea the way they are playful and always wanting snacks.
The Southern Rose is an older, modest boat but nicely kept. The cruise was very family friendly with an upper and lower deck along with two sections that are enclosed and air conditioned. There is a dinner cruise and sunset cruise as well. We went on the early afternoon cruise. The cruise itself was lovely with a tour of Ono Island and all the beautiful multi-million dollar mansions. There were also many boats cruising around waving to us as well as sail boats dotting the blue green waters.
We did see some dolphins, as guaranteed. We saw two that day, although Rick, tells me there are often more. The two dolphins were following little a shrimp boat and they popped out of the water from time to time to the delight of the passengers. I could not help suppress giddy school girl oohs and ahs every time they emerged. The children that were aboard the ship were better at spotting them and predicting when they would come out of the water better than I could. I will likely take this cruise again and hope to see even more dolphins. I think I will take the sunset cruise. This area is so beautiful and really earns the moniker Orange Beach.
Other little amenities include a snack bar that sells ice cream, snacks, sodas, water, and beer and wine. Their website says that a dinner cruise is coming. I can see how the boat can accommodate a dinner cruise easily. The staff and crew of The Southern Rose were very attentive and helped facilitate a really nice time. There was even Beach Boys and Kenny Chesney music playing in the background just in case you forgot you were on vacation.
I would recommend this cruise to families of any age. I do not think the boast is wheel chair accessible because of the narrow gangways, but the boat is easy to get on and off and to move about. It is very comfortable and family friendly. I think my parents even with their joint issues would enjoy this cruise. If you are on the sunny part of the boat, do bring sunscreen. I wore a hat and sunscreen. I lost my sunglasses to the sea, but they were a bit cumbersome with my hat and camera around my neck.
Do make reservations. Call 251-981-7673. The tickets were fifteen dollars for adults, thirteen for kids. It is a good price for a two hour cruise. Come about half an hour early. The Southern Rose has a side venture of parasailing on a smaller, faster boat, but that is for another day. Pictures can give you a better sense of the cruise than words. Enjoy.