San Diego Dolphin & Gray Whale Watching Tours in San Diego, CA

Hornblower Cruises & Events970 North Harbor Drive San Diego, CA 92101
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Overview

Head out into open water on a massive yacht in search for the infamous gray whale. As you embark on your ocean expedition, you’ll pass by sea lions, dolphins, seals, and other playful sea creatures. While onboard this 3.5-hour yacht tour, you can relax with indoor and outdoor seating, a snack bar and full bar, and hear from the on-site naturalist and yacht captain. Be on the lookout for gray whales!

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our San Diego Travel Experts
  • The tour is approximately 3.5 hours long.
  • Indoor and outdoor seating and viewing is available onboard the yacht.
  • The yacht boasts snack bars featuring hot food, a full bar, and souvenirs.
  • No outside food or beverage is allowed onboard the yacht.
  • Please arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time.

Description

from San Diego Whale & Dolphin Watching Tours
If you love whales, dolphins, sea lions, and seabirds, hop on board for a breathtaking experience on the open ocean. We’ll speed out to sea on one of our large, comfortable yachts and pass barking sea lions and pods of leaping dolphins as we search for the legendary gray whales-known for making one of the longest migrations on Earth. As we make our way on a 3.5-hour tour, we’ll be treated to a live narration by our experienced captain and our onboard naturalist (from the San Diego Natural History Museum). You’ll stay cozy and comfortable with both indoor and outdoor seating and a snack bar featuring hot food, a full bar, and souvenirs.

WHAT YOU GET:
• 3.5-hour Whale Watching excursion in San Diego.
• Opportunity to spot whales, sea lions, dolphins and more.
• An exclusive look at local environmental efforts.
• Professional live narration on marine life from our expert captains and volunteer naturalists from the San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT).
• Snack bars featuring hot food, full bar, and souvenirs.
• Climate-controlled indoor seating.
• Spacious sun deck seating with tons of rail space all around the ship for great viewing.
• Views of famous San Diego landmarks.

If some type of whale is not sighted on your whale watching cruise, you will receive a pass good to return for a Whale Watching Cruise or 1 or 2 Hour Harbor Cruise from Hornblower San Diego.

NOTE: The whale watching vessel cruises in the open ocean. Our yacht is the most comfortable yacht in San Diego, due to stabilizers that greatly reduce the yacht's motion. Still, if seasickness is a concern, getting fresh air on the sun deck or taking over-the-counter anti-seasickness medicine prior to your cruise might help.

No outside food or beverage is allowed onboard the yacht. For your convenience, we have a fully stocked snack bar and full beverage bar available to purchase on board.

9:30 am Tour: Boards at 9:15 am
1:30 pm Tour: Boards at 1:15 pm
Departs from Navy Float 970 N. Harbor Drive.

Reserve San Diego Customer Reviews

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TripAdvisor Reviews
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tmcurwick
Pueblo, Colorado
"Whale Watching Tour"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed January 18, 2019 NEW
We went on a Hornblower Whale Watching Tour. We saw two pregnant female whales. we know this because they were more elusive and took fewer breaths at the surface. It was amazing to see the whales and to be out in the open sea! Things to note: you MUST be out in the fresh air, otherwise you’ll get sick. Take a Dramamine before you go, it’ll help with the motion! When we went we were told that the ocean was pretty choppy, this trip isn’t for the faint of heart. There were dozens of people who got sick! I’d go again! It was an amazing experience!
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momsj23
Minneapolis, Minnesota
"Didn’t see whales"
TripAdvisor user rating 3 out of 5
Reviewed January 02, 2019 NEW
The cruise was ok. Very choppy on the way out to search for whales and a lot of people felt nauseous. The winds were calmer on the way back. The experts from the Nat were very informative about whales. But we didn’t see any. Very disappointing. The history in and out of the bay was interesting. And they gave us whale checks to go out again for free which is nice, but we are from out of state so they are useless for us. Would have been nice to receive half our money back instead.
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Culture712674
"Should have been better."
TripAdvisor user rating 3 out of 5
Reviewed January 02, 2019 NEW
My wife and I were booked on the 'VIP New Years Eve Gala Seated Dinner' cruise. At over $300 per seat we had high expectations for the event. We were disappointed. We have cruised with Hornblower on numerous occasions and have never witnessed this level of disorganization. The evening started out poorly. We were told that the ship would begin boarding at 7:45. For some reason the boarding did not begin until 8:20. Although I asked a number of employees about the delay I was never offered an explanation. I was simply told that they were doing what they could and it shouldn't be too much longer. We, along with numerous others, were made to stand in the rain and cold for 35+ minutes. Meanwhile passengers for another Hornblower yatch were allowed to board upon arrival at the docks. The shelter provided by the company consisted of two small canopy awnings which could never accommodate the number of persons waiting to board and some cheap, plastic ponchos. This was inexcusable. Hornblower should have had the boat completely prepared to receive guests at the scheduled boarding time. Failing that they should have allowed the passengers to board the boat and wait out the delay in some comfort while they completed their preparations. The choice of stranding us on the dock in inclement weather was unacceptable and certainly not the 'VIP' treatment I thought I had paid for. Beyond the issues mentioned above the cruise was pleasant. Our server and the service staff were attentive and amiable. The dining room was beautiful. The food was above average, although the Lobster was bit under-cooked. The DJ could have done more to boost the energy in the room. Overall this was a mediocre evening and certainly not worth the money charged.
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Ellen H
La Jolla, California
"Fun Sailing"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed January 01, 2019 NEW
Great place to spend the holidays, dining,cruising and enjoying family events. Had a great holiday meal with all the fixings and endless champagne or bubbling cider. Service was great and friendly. Good price as well.
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Mark F
New Berlin, Wisconsin
"Great way to see San Diego"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed December 21, 2018
We were part of a private group, wonderful views of the harbor, this is a Great way to see San Diego.
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San Diego Whale & Dolphin Watching Tours is located at Hornblower Cruises & Events970 North Harbor Drive San Diego, CA 92101
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Frequently Asked Questions about San Diego Whale & Dolphin Watching Tours

How long is the tour?
The tour is approximately 3.5 hours long.

What animals will I see on the tour?
Guests will see whales, sea lions, dolphins and more. If some type of whale is not sighted on your whale watching cruise, you will receive a pass good to return for a Whale Watching Cruise or 1 or 2 Hour Harbor Cruise from Hornblower San Diego.

What should I wear for the cruise?
Casual attire, such as shorts and t-shirts are appropriate. We recommend bringing along a light jacket or wrap as it may get breezy on board, especially for those cruises that occur out on the open ocean. Be sure to double check the weather forecast to direct your clothing choices for the day.

What time do I board the ship?
Boarding time is usually 30 minutes prior to departure for all cruises. Please check your boarding time when making your reservation.

Is smoking allowed on the ship?
Smoking is not allowed on whale watching cruises.

Is food served onboard? Can I bring food on the cruise?
Outside food and beverages are not allowed onboard. The ship has snack bars featuring hot food, a full bar, and souvenirs for guests’ convenience.

Are life preservers onboard?
Each vessel is 100% Coast Guard certified with life preservers and all required lifesaving equipment, including child life vests.

Is the ship handicap accessible?
Hornblower does have accessible yachts in the fleet. However, not all yachts and decks are accessible. Please call 888-467-6256 to ensure handicap accessibility for the date you are planning to cruise.

Will I get seasick?
If you tend to have a problem with motion sickness, you may experience seasickness. We do go out into the open ocean for whale watching cruises and as a result, the chance of getting seasick increases. For these cruises, we recommend that if you are prone to motion sickness that you take advantage of a number of preventative measures that are available to you.