FYI - huge difference between the Dolphin Encounter( stand on a platform in the water with a whole bunch of other people in a line & pet the dolphins) and the Dolphin Swim (actually in the water one-on-one with a dolphin)
I recently returned and did the royal swim while we were there. We got to be in the water and hold onto their fins and also had them under our feet propelling us. It was great fun, it was the most expensive but it was definetly worth it.
I did the Dolphin Encounter. I felt it was worth it. It was the best for me because I'm not a great swimmer. They took pictures and we bought a video. You get to kiss the dolphin and shake it's fins. It is a good excursion for kids.
Carnival Legend 6/2005
Sovereign of the Seas 8/2004
Carnival Inspiration 1/2004