In a recent trip to Antigua, we were lucky enough to be hosted by the Antigua and Barbuda Tourist Authority on an excursion to a fascinating, and extremely unusual day out on the D-Boat.
My family had an absolute ball on the D-Boat in Antigua for about six hours! There isn’t too much that can keep my active kids entertained for that long without a few tantrums, but the D-Boat made it.
As you can probably work out, the D-Boat is a refurbished oil tanker, that dates from 1974. It has been turned into a party and holiday fun boat by its owners in Antigua, creating a truly unique experience for young and old alike.
The boat is located just off the coast of Maiden Island, and is visited via Shell Marina, just beyond the St Johns Airport on the Island of Antigua. You need to catch a boat to get on board, which the kids thought was a wonderful experience on its own.
It isn’t a long trip, so if you do suffer from motion sickness, you shouldn’t be too bad. Do bare this in mind though if you are travelling there.
D-Boat Antigua has enough for both chillers and thrill seekers
Our kids are great swimmers, but as long as they are competent, the activities on the boat should be suitable. We even saw some very young children with arm bands do some of the activities, but this is, of course, up to the parents!
The activities available on the boat are varied and include:
Trampolines moored to the side of the boat…
Slides, which are available in easy, and dam scary! ;-). There is a simple blue and white slide, which is quite steep, but lands you safely into the water. There is a rather more scary slide which drops you straight into the ocean. Hopefully not on a jellyfishes head… ;-) We all tried the smaller slides, but only I was mad enough to go on the yellow slide from our family. However, there were plenty of others who were more than happy to do it again and again. It was a lot of fun, but I’m not the adrenaline junkie that this part of the boat is aimed at.
Trampoline and floats, were the big hits in our family, and my kids could have spent another 6 hours on them if we’d been allowed. They loved bouncing on the trampoline, and jumping from float to float. They were particularly excited when my husband and I joined them in the activities that they did there…and we certainly gave it our best shot.
The Blob is another inflatable located off the side of the boat, and I think this video explains it better than I ever could…
We gave it a go, with me jumping off the boat onto the inflatable to shoot my other half into the sea. Now THAT’S not something I had ever imagined I was going to be doing while we were away. My son videoed it (remember he’s only nine, so we aren’t quite in shot all the time), and I know what you are all thinking ;-) *grins*
This is a such a simple idea, and probably mainly for slightly older participants on the boat, but if you are that way inclined, its great fun nonetheless. As my husband knows, its not easy to climb up either in preparation for your launch into the sea….
Rope Swing, which is located just to the side of the inflatables, and my daughter was particularly fond of. Such a fun way to jump into the sea next to the boat, and fight our way back on to the inflatables afterwards! You make a very satisfying splash when you hit the water too….
Snorkelling was another option around the boat. The water wasn’t as clear as on some parts of the island, but there was enough to see to keep us all interested, as long as you steered clear of the jellyfish. The ones we met were pretty harmless anyway, and any stings were forgotten about within five minutes. My son certainly wasn’t put off after he was stung.
A photo posted by Helen Neale Kids Family Travel (@kiddycharts) on
Sunbathing is also available on the sun deck on the top of the boat, but as you can probably work out, we didn’t do too much of this. Even though we didn’t sunbathe, you will need to make sure you take plenty of sunscreen for the kids. You are going to be in and out of the water a lot, and it WILL wash off. We had to reapply three times while we were there, and for younger children, you could well be at it even more….
Lunch is included within the cost of the packages for the boat, as well as the costs of your drinks, within reason. Lunch is just a bit of chicken, or a burger with fries and salad, but you don’t really need a la carte with kids, just functional! The inclusion of the drink costs were very welcome, given the location, and the heat of the day. Unlimited cool water helps to keep kids, and parents, a little less grouchy.
There are a number of different packages available, depending on how long you spend on the boat. We had the full day option (6 hours), which starts at $110 per person, but there are cheaper packages available, including both 3 and 4 hours for $75 and $90 respectively. This means that there should be something to suit every budget.
Make time for the D-Boat on your Antiguan Visit
We would recommend adding a trip to the D-Boat to both a week and a two week trip to Antigua, if your budget will stretch to including it in your itinerary. It is worth taking the time to experience this location for yourself. As much as we can tell you what to expect – it’s really something that you just have to DO for yourself.
After all, you won’t get to do this anywhere else in the world.
You tell me where else there is a water park on an restored oil tanker?
We were given this excursion (as part of a holiday booked through Tropical Sky) for free in return for writing about the Island, all opinions are our own, and we really did do the Blob. And I was very, very scared.