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San Diego Winter Whale Watching Expedition Cruise

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2 travelers
See magnificent California gray whales on their annual journey from the Arctic to California's Baja Coast on a whale watching cruise from San Diego. If you don't see a whale on the cruise, you'll get a 'Whale check' to try again another time!
  • Maximize your chances of spotting whales on a cruise from San Diego 
  • Learn about whale migration from academics at San Diego University 
  • Stay dry with a choice of indoor and outdoor seating 
  • Take the tour again for free if there are no whale sightings 
What to Expect
Choose between a morning or afternoon whale-watching tour from San Diego. Then, find your way to Navy Pier, where you’ll cruise out into the Pacific Ocean on a boat with both indoor or outdoor seating. Spend a few hours searching for the gray whales that migrate each December through April from the Arctic to warm Mexican breeding grounds. You’ll learn about these whales and their migration from a crew that includes academics from the San Diego Natural History Museum, along with video commentary. During your cruise along the California Coast, you will likely be treated to other marine species, including seals, seabirds, sea lions, and dolphins. Treat yourself to a drink from the full bar or a snack at the on-board café before you disembark back at Navy Pier.
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Important Information
Departure Point
Hornblower Cruises & Events (Whale Watching & Harbor Tours), 970 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
3h 30m
Return Details
Returns to original departure point
  • 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
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Additional Info
  • 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.
Cancellation Policy
For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Reviews (80)
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Reviewed April 19, 2019 via mobile

We went on the 1pm tour during the last week of Winter Whale whale watching. Capt Ron was able to locate at least one whale. Seeing a whale that close was amazing. The family had a great time. We saw dolphins sea lions and other...More

Date of experience: April 2019
Thank Buffalo1032
Reviewed April 15, 2019

Quality cruise that the captain was not going to let us down until we saw whales! Saw a group of 3 whales at the end of the 3 hours, lots of dolphins and some sea lions! Drinks and snacks available on board! Though this cruise...More

Date of experience: April 2019
Thank Pbohnet
HornblowerSupport, Manager at Hornblower Cruises & Events, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2019

Thanks for the review! We are happy that the captain was successful in providing you with a good time and a whole lot of whale, dolphin & sea lion sightings! Your advice to Trip Advisor readers is golden. It is definitely a good idea to...More

Reviewed April 13, 2019 via mobile

If you love nature, are thrilled by the magnificence of these creatures or would like to learn/teach your kids about the whales....this is a tour for you. On our morning cruise this week, we travelled about 9 miles out and saw 2 grey whales, together...More

1  Thank KavitaD
HornblowerSupport, Manager at Hornblower Cruises & Events, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2019

Thanks for giving our Trip Advisor readers a lowdown of what to expect during the Whale Watching cruise! You are right on all points (we particularly enjoyed reading #4 😉) We hope to welcome you back for the Summer Whale Watching season!

Reviewed April 9, 2019 via mobile

Actually on our first trip out we saw sealions and loads of dolphins but not a whale, but, we were given a voucher for a repeat trip, not everyone could fit this into their trip but luckily we could, second trip we saw far less...More

Date of experience: April 2019
Thank Maisy12345
HornblowerSupport, Manager at Hornblower Cruises & Events, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2019

Thanks for the review! We're glad that you were able to see a couple of different sighting of sea lions, dolphins & whales during your cruises. We hope to welcome you back during the Summer whale watching season! 🐳

Reviewed April 5, 2019

The cruise was very smooth and the crew was very informative and helpful spotting wildlife and local sights.Our trip was late in the whale migration, but thanks to the ship's spotters, we were able to see a pod of 3 grey whales making their way...More

Date of experience: April 2019
Thank rarussel
HornblowerSupport, Manager at Hornblower Cruises & Events, responded to this reviewResponded April 12, 2019

Thanks for sailing with us! It is good to hear that your daughter did not get seasick and was able to enjoy the cruise. We hope you get the chance to sail with us again soon!

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Questions & Answers
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Mai M
May 16, 2019|
Response from Cld1966 | Reviewed this property |
I was a guest, but I didn’t see any dogs. I’m sure service dogs are allowed.
April 1, 2019|
Response from michelle0404 | Reviewed this property |
930 and 130
Dan F
April 15, 2018|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from O1653ZKbarbarar | Reviewed this property |
We were told Late January to March.
Key Details
  • Duration: 3h 30m
  • Mobile Ticket Accepted
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