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San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

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  • There she blows! See one of nature's greatest spectacles
  • Learn all about Californian gray whales and their migration
  • Have a whale of a time on this thrilling adventure!


Treat yourself to one of nature's greatest spectacles,the annual migration of the great gray whales, on a whale-watching cruise from San Diego.

Gray whales are one of the largest mammals on Earth. Nothing matches the thrill of seeing one of these gentle giants leap from the water in a breach, or catching sight of the vast tail fluke when the creature dives.

With the help of your expert captain you will follow the trail of these majestic animals and learn about their lives, habits and the massive trek they undertake each year.

If you are visiting San Diego in the winter months, then this cruise is not to be missed.


Enjoy the adventure of a lifetime on the thrilling San Diego Whale Watching Cruise. There is no hotel pick-up for this excursion. You should make your way to the check-in at Hornblower Ticket Booth, 970 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.

Once aboard, you will head off to the Pacific in search of one of nature's greatest spectacles – the annual migration of the gray whales.

From December to March approximately 28,000 of these gentle giants pass the San Diego coastline on their way to and from the freezing Arctic seas to the warm waters of Baja California where the calves are born. The gray whales' north-south trek is the longest migration undertaken by any mammal.

Each whale-watching adventure is narrated (in English) by an experienced captain with information endorsed by the San Diego Natural History Museum. You will learn the whales' habits and life story – their size, how they eat, how they breath, where they're going, how to tell when a whale has just dived.

Nothing matches the thrill of a close-up view of one of the largest mammals on Earth. If you are lucky, you may see one of these magnificent creatures breach – propel themselves out of the water before crashing down in a shower of spray – or spyhop – pop their heads up for a good look around. You will be amazed at their size and agility.

The whales usually travel alone or in pods (groups) of two or three. At the height of the migration, you may see as many as 12 individuals swimming together. They cruise at fairly slow speeds of about five knots (about 6 miles Per/hour).

While swimming, the whales typically dive to a depth of about 100 feet for three to five minutes, then surface and blow, followed by a series of three to five shallow dives and blows before they dive deeply again.

Each particular whale or pod has its own breathing and diving rhythm.

Other wildlife that might put in an appearance on your trip include sea lions, blue herons and dolphins.

Although it is possible to see the moving whales from various vantage points on land, nothing can compare to the experience of seeing the grays aboard a whale watching cruise.

If you are hungry, there is a snack bar on board where you can purchase hot and cold food items and beverages including beer and wine.

You are very likely to see gray whales on your cruise. But nature does not always perform to order. There is a guarantee on your San Diego Whale Watching Cruise. If whales are not sighted, a 'Whale Check' good for another whale watching or harbor tour will be issued.

Your exciting adventure cruise lasts for 3.5 hours. At the end you will be dropped back at the starting point.

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Activity Schedule

When does it run?

15 Dec - 15 Apr: Daily (exact dates vary each year)


3.5 hours

Start time

Departures: 09:30am and 1:30pm
Duration: 3.5 hours

Meeting point

You should make your way to the check in location at Hornblower Ticket Booth, 970 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.
Please report at the meeting point 15 minutes before the start time. This is mandatory to allow time for pre-departure briefing.

Ending point

Your excursion ends back at the starting point

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  • 3 hours 30 minutes motor-yacht cruise
  • English narration by the captain
  • All applicable taxes and tips


  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • Snacks
  • Bar Beverages
  • Boarding photos ($20 for 2 5x8 photos)
  • Parking at Pier 3 ($10 per car)


A sweater or jacket is a good idea as weather can change quickly. Anyone who gets seasick should bring a motion sickness bracelet or seasick medication just in case. Bring sunscreen as it's easy to get sunburnt out on the water and don't forget the camera and binoculars if you have them!

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Please note

Please call the activity operator at least 24 hours prior to start of the tour for reconfirming departure details.
Please present your confirmation voucher to staff at this ticket booth and it will be exchanged for a boarding pass.
Coast Guard regulations require a photo ID for each guest to board.
Public metered parking is available on a first-come, first serve basis.
There are two additional parking lots available with an approximate cost of $10.00 per car.
Boarding begins 15 minutes prior to the departure time.
There is a guarantee on your San Diego Whale Watching Cruise. If whales are not sighted, a 'Whale Check' good for another whale watching or harbor tour will be issued.

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Additional info

  • The confirmation voucher includes the local activity operator’s contact details and local telephone numbers at the destination. They will happily answer any logistical questions you may have
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Cancellation policy

See the Cancellation policy for this product

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US$ 40.00 Price per person from
Lowest price guarantee Price guide
  • Child age

Check Availability > No cancellation fees on most bookings
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