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On my family’s recent Royal Caribbean cruise, I hadn’t planned on going on any excursions while on the cruise line’s private island, CocoCay. After all, my boys would be occupied with the Thrill Water Park. And, with plenty of free beach lounge chairs and a ginormous pool, the rest of us would not be hurting to find anything to do.
However, my sister expressed interest in a Swimming with the Pigs excursion through Royal Caribbean. The Bahamas is famous for a feral pig colony that swims on a beach on Exuma. Other tour operators developed copy-cat swimming with the pig excursions in various parts of The Bahamas. After I showed the excursion info to my younger kids, they squealed with delight at the prospect of swimming with pigs. So, during a cruise planner sale, we reserved the excursion for $75.49 per person.
The full price for this excursion on our cruise was $109, and it did appear to sell out closer to the cruise. I recommend booking early and watching the Cruise Planner sales for a better price.
Our excursion time was originally 9:30 a.m., but when we boarded the cruise our tickets said 2:30 p.m. So, we had almost a full day at CocoCay before this excursion.
The meeting point was on the far end of CocoCay, near a dock with boats and jet skis. After checking in, we were given wrist bands to wear and told to wait on the deck. The pigs are not actually on CocoCay, but they are on a nearby island.
Close to 2:30 p.m., we saw several speed boats approaching the dock. Those were the guests from the same excursion an hour earlier. Once they were off, we loaded onto five different boats. I didn’t count, but there were at least 40-50 people on this excursion.
The boat ride was fast and only took about 5 minutes. We could actually still see CocoCay and our ship in the distance.
The Pig Experience
When we arrived, we could see some pigs on the beach and some pigs on the deck where we were. Our guides gave us a brief orientation explaining how to pet the pigs, dos and don’ts, etc. During this time, we could take photos with our cell phones on the deck. The guides used apples to encourage the pigs to pose with us.
We found the pigs to be quite friendly, a lot like dogs.
Soon, we were all invited to go to the beach, where we were not allowed to bring cell phones or cameras. The whole experience was very laid back for both the pigs and the people. We could go into the ocean and swim with the pigs, or stay on the beach and observe. Only some of the pigs wanted to swim, and only a few of the pigs wanted to be held. It was nice to see that the tour guides did not force the pigs to behave like circus animals.
Did the pigs poop in the water? Yes, but not excessively. The guides scooped it up right away. This grosses some people out, which is why some chose to stay on the beach. My daughter was one of those people, and that’s fine.
My 14-year-old son was in hog heaven. He simply adored the pigs and happily swam with them and posed for professional photos.
Near the end of our time, we all headed back to the deck and took more photos with the pigs.
Then, we headed back on the boats for CocoCay. Our time with the pigs was a little less than an hour.
So, Swimming with the Pigs: Yay or Nay? Definitely Yay. I’m glad we decided to book this excursion. It was something none of us had ever done before. The pigs appear healthy and happy.
The professional photos weren’t terribly expensive. I purchased 5 digital downloads for $26.75.
For me, while the experience was great, I probably wouldn’t do it again. There is so much to do on CocoCay. My son, on the other hand, would do it again in a heartbeat. He said it was his favorite thing from our entire cruise.
Have you gone swimming with the pigs in The Bahamas?