In 2018, whilst sailing on Oasis of the Seas, we were fortunate enough to have a stop scheduled in Nassau, Bahamas. One of the things I had always wanted to do was the shark walk there, I had even planned to do it on a previous trip scheduled to go there, but unfortunately I ended up changing my trip due to family circumstances.
Now, it is important to note that I have not seen the shark walk advertised with any cruise line (bearing in mind I would have travelled there with NCL and Royal Caribbean) and I only found out that this existed by visiting the Atlantis Paradise Island website.
When I knew I would be visiting, I decided to look into this again. As the cruise line didn’t offer it, I had to be a bit clever. I therefore booked a shore excursion through the cruise line to the Atlantis water park (this part they did offer) and then then contacted Atlantis directly on the phone to book the shark walk. It’s important that I did it this way, as space is limited each day and this was the best way to guarantee entry to the water park on the right day.
Another thing worth bearing in mind, is that if a port of call is cancelled by the cruise line, you will automatically get your money back for any booked shore excursions, however as I booked the shark walk section separately, I am not sure where I would have stood if the port had been cancelled, and in hindsight I should have checked this before I booked it, but I was so keen I went ahead anyway.
The shore excursion gets you transfers and entry to the resort, and transfers back to your ship. Once you are at Atlantis, the time is yours to do what you like. It is also worth remembering that unless your excursion specifically mentions it, you will be responsible for food and drink on site, and it is not cheap.
At Atlantis you have a choice of pools, water slides, aquariums, beaches and spaces to chill out and enjoy the beautiful weather. It really is a beautiful space, and because of the shark walk we didn’t get to make the most of it, but we did have a wonderful time there. I would definitely consider going back there to make more use of the time.
On arrival at Atlantis, and after the tour guide walked us through the hotel to the outside space where we could spend the day, we located the location for the sign in for the shark walk. This was because we wanted to know where we needed to go at the appointed time.
The check in point was right by the shark tank, and we got a preview of some of the sharks we would soon be walking amongst.
We then found ourselves a nice spot by a pool in order to chill for a little while before the time we had booked for the activity and I also knew we would be getting into a wetsuit so I didn’t want to get wet first!
At the appointed time, my friend and I arrived at the Blue Adventures check in desk and received a wet suit, water shoes and a full briefing. Getting into a wet suit is not as simple as it may appear – especially if you aren’t the slimmest of people! We were then laughing so much we were getting hotter and that was making it more tricky! In my opinion, it added to the fun! The rest of our belongings were safely locked away in a locker for us, although there are larger lockers available for all your belongings at the water park.
The ladder you can see in the far right of the picture above is the ladder which you descend once you start the session. Both my friend and I had the helmets on, which weighted us down so we could walk around the bottom of the tank, and we were each accompanied by a professional diver who acted as a tour guide and a safety measure.
You start at the top of the ladder and they place the helmet on you as you begin to enter the water. You then slowly descend the ladder, pausing intermittently to re-pressurise your ears. I began to descend too quickly out of excitement and then had to stop momentarily as my ears got quite painful. Once that was resolved, I continued down the ladder and soon we were at the bottom. The helmet weighs you down, but because you are in water, it doesn’t feel like you are being weighed down. The helmet has a continual air supply to it, and as it covers your whole head, you don’t need to learn to use a mouthpiece or anything. It also means you don’t have to learn how to scuba dive or anything like that.
The diver guide regularly checks that you are ok, with the universal sign for being ok as making an ‘O’ with your hands (when diving or taking part in underwater activities, a thumbs up means you want to go up to the surface).
The guide takes you around the tank, showing you things of interest. My guide also showed off blowing bubble rings from his breathing tank. Whilst all of this is going on, sharks are swimming all around you. It really is a surreal experience, but a very enjoyable one.
You take a leisurely walk around the tank, taking pictures and experiencing the sharks swimming around you. I purchased a basic under water camera for the experience and I am so pleased that I did. My pictures aren’t great, but I am pleased to have the memories captured.
Finally you approach the ladder and slowly ascend back to the surface again. Once your head is above the water they remove the helmet and you adjust to the daylight again. You do however need to get back out of the wet suit, but once that is done you can enjoy the rest of your time at Atlantis Paradise Island!