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.

Tripster Customer Reviews

William Turner
Woodland Park, CO
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Worth The Time...Money? No Worries, Time Is What Counts In Life"
April 2019
Worth The Time...Money? No Worries, Time Is What Counts In Life...Once you spend your time you don't get more. This was time well spent. I loved it, the spousal unit loved it, the twin teenager daughters loved it and they never look up from their smart phones. We would do this again.
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Tip: You are going to have fun and you should bring a coat for the early morning run. I never bring a coat, wear shorts in snow of the Rockies where I live and wish I brought a coat.

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TripAdvisor Reviews
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Beach_Addicts
Grand Cayman
"Christmas Day-Brunch Cruise was wonderful!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed February 03, 2020 NEW
From the ease of purchasing tickets online...the Hornblower Christmas day cruise was well planned and very enjoyable. The line ups were efficient and once you're seated...you can begin to enjoy the buffet...this made sense as it staggered the large crowd and you didn't feel that you were waiting in an excessive buffet line up. There as a great variety of hot/cold foods and desserts. The bottomless champagne was a nice touch as well. The service on board was excellent and the setting was well laid out. The only downside is the 2 hour excursion...by the time you sit and relax with your meal, desserts etc., it didn't allow for much time up top to enjoy the views and soak up the sunshine. Other than that...I enjoyed the experience with Hornblower on this particular occasion.
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Amanda M
"Whale Watching Cruise"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed February 02, 2020 NEW
It was a gorgeous morning. Getting on board was a breeze. We parked at the midway parking which is neighbors with the Hornblower dock. Captain Rick was a fantastic narrator... he tracked down 4 different whales including a mama and a baby!! It was an experience I’ll never forget. We also saw harbor seals, dolphins and pelicans diving. Captain Rick was also very knowledgeable about all the Navy ships in San Diego’s harbor, which was an extra treat! We’re definitely planning on doing a harbor tour later this spring.
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Safari720541
London, United Kingdom
"A beautiful day on the water"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed February 01, 2020 NEW
I took the two hour tour of the San Diego bay and I loved it. I went during the week so it wasn't crowded. They took us around the north and the south side of the bay. So much to see and learn. They take you out for one hour and tour one side of the bay and then they return to the dock for 15 minutes and pick up or drop off people and then you go out for the remaining hour. It works out in the end. Fun trip.
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Dean P
Kitchener, Canada
"A Relaxing & Scenic Outing"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed January 19, 2020
We enjoyed the morning cruise and were successful in seeing a pair of fin whales just about when we had to return to port. Prior to that we briefly saw some dolphins. The ship was comfortable and in good condition but the boarding process could have been better explained and/or easier.
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Phil R
Chelmsford, Massachusetts
"Great once on board"
TripAdvisor user rating 3 out of 5
Reviewed January 18, 2020
The administration needs to provide much better customer service as dealing with the office was time consuming and got in accurate information. The ticket office is at 996 not 970 and the voucher lacks details. The ship and crew are great as we saw 4 different whales
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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.