FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What would you like to know about cruising with us? We hear many of the same questions from guests and have provided the answers here. If you don’t see the information you need, call us at 239-472-5300. We would love to hear from you and answer your questions.
- General FAQs
- Lunch Cruise to Cabbage Key or Useppa Island FAQ's
- Dolphin & Wildlife Adventure FAQ's
- Wildlife Sunset Cruise FAQ's
Yes – reservations are required for all cruises. That said, you can walk up and purchase tickets just prior to a cruise, however, we never suggest that. Not only could the cruise be sold out, but it could be departing from a different location, cancelled due to weather, a private charter or any number of reasons. It is always best to have a reservation or at least call before coming.
We typically do reservations over the phone up to one week in advance. Our website schedule is usually out at least one month in advance for daily cruises and allows you to book further in advance. Groups should book with as much notice as possible.
No – all reservations require a credit card for payment and charges are posted to that credit card at the time of your reservation.
No – You may pay separately, but it must be done at the time of your reservation. You must make individual reservations under each billing name and credit card. This may not be done at check-in as the credit cards are charged prior to your arrival.
(Note: If you are joining us for Useppa, please mention the party name with whom you would like to be seated. Useppa has two lunch seatings so we want to make sure you are in the same seating!)
Yes – All of our cruises are family friendly. Some cruises may be more appropriate than others depending on the age and your individual children. Feel free to speak with a representative about their recommendations.
While children under 2 are complimentary, they still require a ticket to board the vessel and count in the overall passenger count on board. Please make sure we know about them!
Our policy is rain or shine as long as the conditions are safe. Some boats and/or venues are more subject to cancellation than others. i.e. cruises on the Lady Chadwick, which has an enclosed lower deck cabin, are less likely to be cancelled than cruises on our Catamaran Sailboat which is completely open to the elements. If the Captain deems conditions unsafe, every effort will be made to contact passengers with as much advance notice as possible, and reservations may be refunded or re-scheduled.
A $5 cancellation fee applies to all reservations cancelled outside of 24 hours. If the reservation is cancelled within 24 hours of cruise departure time, tickets are NON-REFUNDABLE and NON-TRANSFERABLE. We do not compensate for no-shows or late arrivals.
In the past, our passengers have always picked up their tickets and checked in at the ticket office located at the vessel departure location, either McCarthy’s Marina or South Seas Island Resort. During this time of COVID-19, our passengers may go directly to the vessel, where the crew will check you in with the boat manifest. No tickets needed. Please be sure which departure location your cruise will be departing from!
30 to 45 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time.
Most of our boats travel in Pine Island Sound (the bay side of the islands) and only travel along the Gulf if the weather and calm seas permit. The boats travel on the bay side of the islands so you are always in sight of land and the average depth is about 4.5 feet. This results in a very calm experience, making the onset of sea sickness unlikely.
Please speak with one of our representative about your specific needs and comfort level as each of our boats have different boarding procedures.
No – our boats are USCG certified with life jackets for everyone on board. No one is required to wear a life jacket on our boats (except for the 6 passenger boats). If you have your own life vest and would like to bring it, please feel free to do so.
Yes – All of our boats have some type of coverage. The Lady Chadwick has an enclosed, air-conditioned lower deck and both the Playtime and Santiva have canopies covering the back 2/3 of the boat. The Adventure sailboat has a small Bimini top covering the helm and the 6-pack boats have small cabins and overhangs over the helm. Meet our fleet.
All of our vessels have a bathroom with the exception of our 6-passenger boats.
The Lady Chadwick offers a full service cash bar as well as snacks (chips, pretzels, etc.). The Playtime, Santiva and Adventure sailboat offer limited beverages for sale on a cash basis. You may double check which boat is being used when you make your reservation and more information is available about each vessel. Meet our fleet.
No – While we love animals, we do not allow pets on our vessels other than service animals with the proper papers.
No – but last we knew they were available at Jensen’s Marina on Captiva or The Bait Box or Bailey’s on Sanibel.
Captiva Cruises celebrated it’s 30th anniversary in October 2016.
No, individuals do not need to make reservations at the restaurant. The islands expect us every day and know how many people we are bringing as a whole. The only exception might be for larger groups of 15+ people. Please discuss your group needs with a representative from our office.
No – You may purchase your lunch at the restaurant on the island.
No – Each island has its own unique restaurant so you can take the day off from food preparation!
Island casual is fine…there is no need to wear a bathing suit as there are no beaches on the islands. (Useppa does have an artificial beach, but it is reserved for members only.)
There is a full-service cash bar on board the Lady Chadwick, and you are going up the islands for lunch, so you really don’t need to bring much. We usually suggest a camera, hat, and sunscreen…items you normally like to travel with.
Typically this trip goes out on our 148 passenger double deck boat, “Lady Chadwick,” however, at times the Lady Chadwick may be booked for a private function or maintenance in which case the trip would run on one of our 49 passenger power catamarans. Let us know if the vessel being used is important to you!
Yes – separate men’s and ladies’ rooms on the Lady Chadwick.
The Cabbage Key Inn overlooks the marina where the boat pulls in and is not a long walk. On Useppa, there is a docent that greets you at the base of the island and does a little walking tour (about a 10 minute walk) up to the restaurant and museum. On either island, if someone has trouble walking, the crew will be happy to assist and can take them to the restaurant in a golf cart. Please call our office with specific mobility needs.
Yes – the museum does ask for a $5 donation, and it is worth every penny!
While we cannot guarantee dolphin sightings as they are in the wild (we often joke that they are not on our payroll), we do see them about 95% of the time.
Birds and on rare occasions sea turtles, stingrays, and they will also talk about the history of the area and other points of interest.
Manatees are usually best seen from the docks where we depart.
You will not get wet, and island casual is fine. You do not need to wear a bathing suit. Some people may dress in swim suits as they are coming from the beach while others may be dressed for dinner.
Not necessarily…we have a resident dolphin population of over 100 dolphins that live here year round so it’s possible to see dolphins on any of our cruises at any time of day.
Feeding or interfering with marine mammals is illegal according to the Marine Mammal Protection Act. There are places where swimming with the dolphins is permitted in the Florida Keys or north at the Clearwater Aquarium.
Typically this trip goes out on our 148 passenger double decker boat “Lady Chadwick,” however, at times, the Lady Chadwick may be booked for a private function or maintenance in which case the trip would run on one of our 49 passenger power catamarans.
Yes – It is narrated by a volunteer from the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. (If one is not available – All of Captiva Cruises crew members have been through the same training program as the SCCF docents.)
Enjoy the moment and appreciate their grace and beauty. Do not reach out to them or get in the water to swim with them. The best way to enjoy their company is to observe them from a distance.
Feeding or interfering with marine mammals is illegal according to the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
No – there will be a cash bar available on board depending on which vessel is used; The Lady Chadwick offers a full service cash bar while the Santiva and Playtime offer limited beverages on board for purchase.
Sure. If the Lady Chadwick is used, there are snacks available for purchase.
Depending on the time of year, we will use either the Lady Chadwick OR one of our 49 passenger powered catamarans (not a sailboat).
It’s really up to the Captain and depends where they have been seeing dolphins, but they will certainly be around Red Fish Pass at sunset so that you may see an unobstructed view of the sunset.