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San Diego Winter Whale Watching Expedition Cruise

San Diego, United States
San Diego Winter Whale Watching Expedition Cruise

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icon3 hours 30 minutes  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English


San Diego provides the perfect launching point for a whale-watching tour in California. Cruise on the Pacific Ocean in a sturdy boat with a professional crew, looking for gray whales as they migrate along the coast of North America. Dolphins, seals and seabirds are often spotted during this whale-watching tour and the crew provides informative commentary about the marine animals and environment. Bonus: if the crew does not find any whales during your cruise, you receive a complimentary ticket for another trip.
  • Morning or afternoon whale-watching cruise, from San Diego
  • Look for gray whales in the wild as they migrate along the coast of California
  • Learn about the migration from the Arctic to the breeding grounds of Baja California
  • Travel with an experienced crew who shares fascinating facts about the Pacific Ocean's marine life
  • Interaction with Trained Docents from the San Diego Natural History Museum
  • Spot other marine animals including sea lions, seals, seabirds and dolphins
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3.5-hour whale watching cruise
Comfortable outdoor and indoor seating
Informative narration on whales and migration
Entertaining video documentary
Port and Service Fees
Local taxes
All gratuities
Food and drinks (available to purchase onboard)
Hotel pickup and drop-off

Departure Point

970 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
Between December and April the gray whale travels approximately 6,000 miles along the North American coast, from the cold waters of the Arctic to the warmer waters of Baja California. There, they give birth to their young and prepare them for the return migration to the north. As the gray whales head to the Arctic, the young calves are often seen swimming alongside their mothers.

See these majestic marine mammals on a morning or afternoon whale-watching tour from San Diego. Make your own way to Navy Pier to board your boat, a sturdy and well-equipped vessel with both indoor and outdoor seating areas. Head out on the waters of the Pacific Ocean with your expert crew who provides informative commentary about the marine life that you may encounter, including different species of dolphins, seabirds, sea lions, seals and—if all goes according to plan—gray whales.

Choose from a morning or afternoon tour that works with your schedule. At the end of your tour, your captain returns you to Navy Pier.

Guarantee: Viewing whales in the wild is a breathtaking experience, however mother nature can be unpredictable. If whales are not sighted during your tour, you'll receive a 'whale check' for another complimentary whale-watching or harbor tour.
Stop At:  
City Cruises San Diego Whale Watching & Harbor Tours
Whale Watching
Duration: 3 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • There are Personal Floatation Devices on board for all guests, as per Coast Guard requirements. You do not need to wear life vest or the provided PFD's during the course of this cruise. However, if you would prefer to have children wear the PFD's during the course of the cruise, please advise so at the time of booking in the Special Requirements box.
  • Cruises are wheelchair accessible depending on which pier they depart from. Please let us know if you require a wheelchair accessible cruise so that we can confirm that your requested cruise date has wheelchair accessible departures.
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Most travelers can participate
  • Seating is only guaranteed together for the number of tickets confirmed on this voucher. Reservations may not be combined.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 50 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Hornblower Cruises Events

All sales are final and incur 100% cancellation penalties.

  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the maximum group size during San Diego Winter Whale Watching Expedition Cruise?
This activity will have a maximum of 50 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by San Diego Winter Whale Watching Expedition Cruise.

Traveler Photos

Traveler Tips

  • "I highly recommended taking one Dramamine before departs because the ferry moves a lot during the three hours." See review


100 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 100 reviews
Nice tour with a great crew.
, Apr 2021
It was a beautiful day but not a day for seeing whales of dolphins. But we did get a voucher for another visit. The staff was great!
Great whale and dolphin watching experience
, Apr 2021
We saw two gray whales, hundreds of birds amd dolphins. It was a great family experience in San Diego.
We saw whales!
, Feb 2020
Lots of dolphins to see. Found a whale which was later joined by a second, but the entire trip was watching the same whale. Great narration and very great staff.
Great service
, Jan 2020
We saw several whales,dolphins and birds. The captain gave a wonderful commentary. The boat was spacious and clean. All six of us had a great day.
Whale watching
, Jan 2020
I bought the tickets online, and it was easy. I couldn't communicate by phone to confirm my reservation. I got there 30 minutes before, and I did not have any problem with my booking. The ferry is well equipped: tables, chairs, restrooms, a small bar that sells snacks, beverages (alcohol), Dramamine. You can pay with cards and cash. You can do the tour indoors and watch through the windows or being on the deck and enjoy the sun and the heavy and cool wind because they have chairs and tables there too. I highly recommended taking one Dramamine before departs because the ferry moves a lot during the three hours. I took one, and I did not feel any sickness during the trip. Indeed, it is hard to keep the balance for walking around. Thus, if you travel with kids, please keep your eyes on them. Three hours tour might not be enough if there are few whales around. However, it is also a long time because besides contemplating the sea, you don't have anything else to do there. The person in charge gave a lot of information about whales, the migration process, and their habits. Thus, besides to watch them, you will also learn about them. It was a nice experience to watch whales in their natural habit.
Loved, loved, loved it!!!
, Apr 2019
We saw several spouts, and one huge whale. Already planning another trip next January or February when, hopefully, there will be more! All of the staff was extremely polite and helpful. The seas were calm - hope we have that much luck next year!
, Apr 2019
Are expectations were far exceeded on this tour. Captain Rick and Kyle were so informative and made the entire trip about finding the whales in our area, tracking them and following them. It was so cool having the whalers on board and hearing their thoughts! We will be back!
Crew and volunteers were great. Whales...
susan j
, Feb 2018
Crew and volunteers were great. Whales were incorporative. We could not get close. Could only see whales backs, few tails and lots air blows from a distance. We got to see a group of dolphins which came up to ship, that was great. Got to see sea lions too. Weather was cold and rainy. Maybe more info about the harbor and the sights.
A wonderful experience! We saw A LOT of...
Marion F
, Feb 2018
A wonderful experience! We saw A LOT of gray whales, sea lions, dolphins... Definitively the best whales watching ever!
We enjoyed our trip and saw 3 humpback...
Carol U
, Mar 2016
We enjoyed our trip and saw 3 humpback whales and 1 fin whale. The captain was very good at pointing out the whales and hanging in the area while we all watched the show. I would recommend this tour! It was cold out on the water so be sure to bring a jacket if you go in February. Also the water was rather rough, so if you tend to get sea sick, be sure to take something!

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