Cost & Payments
Costs (in US$)
|Cost Per Person
|Double occupancy, twin-sized upper and lower beds, porthole window. Cabins 8, 9, and 10.
|Double occupancy, two lower twin-sized beds, desk, chair, large windows. Cabins 3 and 4.
|Double occupancy, one queen-sized bed or two twin-sized beds, desk, chair, large window. Cabins 5, 6, and 7.
|Double occupancy, one queen-sized bed, TV, desk, chair, large window. Cabins 1 and 2.
Costs are per person, depending on cabin type, double occupancy, not including airfare, singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.
If you are a single traveler, we will find a roommate for you, but if we cannot find a roommate for you, we will not charge you a single supplement. If space is available, some cabins can be booked as a single by adding 90% over the listed cabin cost.
We cannot guarantee a specific cabin number, but if changes occur, we will assign a cabin of equal or greater value.
|Amount Per Person
|Due now to reserve your space
|October 8, 2023
Payments are due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space.
Refunds are given depending on the time left before departure according to the following table. Through August 7, 2023, the cancellation fee of $300 per person can be applied toward another trip if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable.
|Forfeited Amount per Person
|On or before August 7, 2023
|$300 (see terms above)
|August 8 to September 7, 2023
|10% of trip cost
|September 8 to October 7, 2023
|40% of trip cost
|On or after October 8, 2023
|100% of trip cost
- All leaders, transport, park entry fees, cruising and port fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional.
- Transfers to the ship from your hotel or the Puerto Plata Airport on March 16 and directly from the ship to the Puerto Plata Airport on March 23.
- Seven nights on board the Turks and Caicos Explorer II.
- Meals from dinner on March 16 through breakfast on March 23.
- Snacks, coffee, tea, juices, soda, beer, wine, and spirits aboard the ship.
- Onboard lectures in the evenings.
- Trip Planning Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.
- All airfare, airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. Round-trip airfare is approximately $500 to $800 between the US and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
- Passport and visa fees.
- COVID tests.
- Divergent airport transfers and extra hotel nights.
- Tips for cab drivers and porters for transfers.
- • Gratuities – tipping is always discretionary. However, we suggest budgeting about $75 to $100 per participant per day for six days with our ship crew (about $450 to $600 total per participant).
- Wetsuit and snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel, and snorkel fins) with limited rental availability.
- Emergency evacuation insurance and trip cancellation insurance. For more information see travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation Form.
The Silver Bank is typically 75 to 80°F (24 to 27°C) during the day and cool enough in the morning/evenings for a sweatshirt or light fleece. The water temperature is usually 76 to 78°F (24 to 26°C). On a typical day, winds blow from the north to southeast about 15 knots (17mph), ranging from 0 to 25 knots. The coral formations throughout the Silver Bank provide protection from the wind and sea conditions, and February–March is typically the least windy time of the whale season with infrequent rain.
At a minimum, you must be able to move around the ship and embark/disembark from the tenders comfortably and safely. However, to get the most out of this trip, you should be comfortable in the water, snorkeling, and getting in and out of the water via the tender ladder. Although strong swimming ability and the ability to free dive (i.e., diving underwater without scuba tanks) are not required, they will enrich your experience, especially if you can dive to hear the whales sing.
Getting in the water is not required; we’ve shared this trip with travelers who had wonderful experiences whale watching from the tenders. Please contact us if you have any health concerns that may make this trip challenging or if you don’t have experience snorkeling but would like to join this trip.
Airfare is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information is included in the Trip Materials we will send you.
Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (POP) by 2:00pm on March 16. Depart from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (POP) after 12:00am on March 23.
What is the Silver Bank?
The Silver Bank is located about 80mi north of the Dominican Republic and 100mi southeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and it’s one of the most important breeding and calving grounds for humpback whales in the North Atlantic Ocean. At least 5,000 humpbacks use the Silver Bank from January through early April each year. The Silver Bank Sanctuary, established in 1986, is approximately 200 square miles (about the area of San Francisco city and county), and now part of the larger Sanctuary for the Marine Mammals of the Dominican Republic.
Water visibility on the Silver Bank varies daily, but averages from 40 to 60ft around the mooring area with occasional particles suspended in the water. The wind, swells, and slight current cause run-off from the coral which determines the amount of visibility. The average water depth is approximately 80 to 90ft. Wind can impede whale watching, so weather will dictate your quality of activity with the whales.
What is a soft in-water encounter?
A soft in-water encounter is passive, non-aggressive floating at the surface, in mask, fins, and snorkel, allowing the humpback whales to develop an interest in you. The key is to find a cooperative, tolerant, or curious whale to meet in the water calmly and peacefully on its terms, to experience a rare and treasured encounter between you and that individual. With hundreds of voyages under their belt, our guides can interpret the behaviors of the humpbacks and tell you how to react to them above and below the water. Following instructions is key to successful interactions.
What is a typical day like on the trip?
Each morning you depart on two well-stocked tenders for full days of whale observations both above and below water (with opportunities to participate in the research collaboration). Activity on the Silver Bank runs in cycles, so you’ll have slack periods that vary from day to day. Typically, you return to the ship for lunch but if you experience extraordinary activity, expect to eat lunch on the tenders. If you return to the ship for lunch, you will go back out for the afternoon action, returning to the ship in time for dinner.
Don’t let a fear of seasickness scare you away! The crossing to and from the Silver Bank is usually calm, but we can encounter rough sea conditions. At the mooring area, the waters are relatively calm. Because we are about 80mi offshore from the Dominican Republic on an ocean frontier, sea conditions are subject to Mother Nature’s many moods. Travelers rarely get seasick while in the tenders. Although you will eventually acquire your “sea legs,” bring seasickness medication. As with all medications, do your own research and consult with your doctor before taking any drugs (even if they are over-the-counter) and especially if you are taking other drugs. Read our suggestions for coping with seasickness and contact us if you have any concerns.
Our company ethos has always regarded conservation as inseparable from responsible tourism. We struggle with the dilemma that traveling worldwide expends climate-changing carbon. However, we wholeheartedly believe that traveling with us will cultivate your passion for conserving our beautiful world, while stimulating each destination’s local economies.
We take you to amazing destinations, navigating far and wide, and when we do, we recognize that the world pays a steep price. Taking this into account, we have made each trip carbon neutral.
And, by signing up with us, you pledge to offset your carbon emissions to and from your trip, either through your favorite offsetting organization or by using our handy carbon calculator.
Read our current Terms and Conditions.