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“Better than I could have hoped for!”

Gentle Giants Whale Watching
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$95.75*
and up
Traditional Whale Watching Tour from Húsavík
More Info
$175.33*
and up
Big Whale Safari and Puffins Tour from Húsavík
Ranked #2 of 19 things to do in Husavik
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Imagine encountering whales in wild nature. This is what we do at Gentle Giants and welcome you to join us. Gentle Giants offers whale watching tours and other exciting seafaring adventures from Húsavík, in the north of Iceland – often considered as the Whale Watching Capital of Europe. Our company is proud of its originality and background with more than 150 years of family history in Skjálfandi Bay. Welcome aboard traditional Icelandic oak boats or modern RIB speedboats in search of the giants of the ocean. Your chances of seeing whales are up to 97-99%.
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Stairs / elevator, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access
Reviewed October 1, 2012

Last weekend, my husband, two daughters (9 and 7) and I did the Gentle Giants Whale Watching Tour. We have been in Iceland for five weeks and have been waiting for a break in the weather so that we could get a couple of good days up North and the day was absolutely perfect weather!

I had emailed the company the week before on the off chance the weather was good that weekend and I was very appreciative of the fact that Peter emailed back letting me know the weather hadn't been great over the last wee while and that they had had to cancel a few outings because of it. He also notified me about the changes in the number of outings they were going to be conducting per day due to the end of the season approaching. I really liked the fact that he managed my expectations perfectly, was completely honest and offered information that was extra helpful - especially given it's a seven hour drive from Reykjavik!

The trip is very good value for money, it is very well run and the boat is a beautiful wooden one, with extra warm overalls for everyone which made the trip very pleasant.

It took us about 45 minutes before we saw a whale but then we had the pleasure of seeing two humpbacks up very close to our boat - one even hit the boat with its tail when it was flapping around! It was the most amazing experience and one all of us will never forget.

Peter did an excellent job of providing information about the whales along the way and the Captain made sure we got close enough to get some brilliant views of the whales lots of times. We stayed around them for about an hour and the whales decided how close we got - and it was even closer than I had expected, which was awesome!

Peter was also good (again) at managing our expectations about the possibility of not seeing whales on the trip as we headed out and although it would have been disappointing if we hadn't, the boat ride was lovely, the mountains were spectacular and the weather was superb.

It was really nice having a hot chocolate and a doughnut on the return trip too - that was a perfect way to end the tour.

Given that we went on the trip at the end of the season, it was fantastic that we got to enjoy the whales as much as we did. I highly recommend the company and the trip from start to finish.

Thanks Gentle Giants!

Thank ContentAuckland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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523 - 527 of 891 reviews

Reviewed September 24, 2012

Went whale watching on the 14th September, and chose Gentle Giants due to the fact that its tour was the earliest. Warm clothing which looked fairly new and clean was available for all. Our guide was called Peter, the boat was Sylvia methinks captained by Bjorkvin. The guide explained safety, weather conditions and showed us different kinds of whales we were likely to see. After some travel on open sea with quite a large swell we found ourselves in a pod of Orca whales (Killer Whales) which hadn't been sighted in the area for quite a number of years. The guide's enthusiasm was infectious eventhough I was feeling nauseated at the time! The whales were very close to the boat and we viewed them for what felt like a very long time. The pod consisted of around 12 to 15 and they were literally swimming all around us probably watching us as hard as we were watching them.
On our way back to harbour we were given a warm drink and an Icelandic twisted pastry. Gentle Giants should seriously consider changing their baker as I would say this is the only 'bad' part of the tour. Pastry hard tasteless and virtually inedible was the verdict by all 4 members of my party.
Overall, I would thorougly recommend going on a whale watching tour if in Husavik and it is probably immaterial which company is chosen as I am convinced that our captain radioed the competitor's boat when the whales were sighted and they turned up pretty sharpish. To me this is commendable behaviour!! If anything Gentle Giants is marginally cheaper and we felt welcome by all the staff we encountered.

A clean and spacious toilet is available for visitors' use right next door to their ticket centre although parking in the area opposite seems to be on restricted time, although free. If in doubt where to park drive down to port right next to boats where there is ample free parking.

1  Thank Tony M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
daniel_gentlegiants, Assistant Director at Gentle Giants Whale Watching, responded to this reviewResponded September 26, 2012

Thank you very much for your nice review!

You were indeed lucky to spot a large group of orcas on your tour! They are not very common visitors in our bay, but as wild nature is unpredictable, anything can happen.

Very nice photos also from you - thanks for sharing.

Best regards,
Daniel Annisius
Assistant Director

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Reviewed September 11, 2012

When planning our trip to Iceland, whale watching in Husavik was at the top of the list for me as I love whales. We went too late in the season (end of Aug 2012) to see blue whales but were told that humpbacks and minke were still in the bay. I wanted to do the inflatable tour but the times didn't work with our agenda. We went out on the 4:30 tour. Be sure to wear warm clothing. They will give you a jumpsuit and raincoat but you will still want warm clothing.

We headed out into the bay and soon saw dolphins jumping. And right after that, two humpbacks swimming and feeding together which is unusual. The boat got very, very close to the whales, it was amazing. We were standing at the right hand side toward the front. If you can stand at the front, that is the best seat in the house. The captain, however, will move the boat around so that everyone can have the opportunity to see. We spent a good 1 1/2 hours with these whales and were able to get great pictures.

The absolute hightlight - one of the whales breached on our side of the boat. I never in my life thought I'd see that and it made my whole trip. Unfortunately, it was unexpected so I didn't get a great picture but wow, what an amazing experience.

Husavik is a charming town with great seafood and lovely views of the bay.

Thank ninnes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2012

We saw a couple of humpbacks up close on a 'standard' whale watching trip - they hung around for 40-50 minutes until we had to leave them and head back, so everyone (we have four small kids) was happy. Tips: call ahead to make sure that they are operating (heavy seas meant that they didn't go out for two days when we first arrived in the area) and also to reserve since some people in line didn't get on our tour; take a sea-sickness tablet before you go out (we went out in a pretty big swell and several people donated their breakfast to the ocean); we parked in the car park behind the Salka restaurant and Whale Museum (50 metres beyond where the ticket booths are, which was a good spot; wear waterproof footwear if you have it (water was sloshing across the centre of our boat, probably because of the heavy swell...you're better off at the front or back in this case); the overalls that you are given are waterproof and windproof but you'll probably want your own anorak or equivalent underneath because it can be chilly out there; best place to stand is probably right at the very front (once a whale is sighted the boat heads towards it) but there's not much need for an unseemly rush as once a whale is sighted everyone (at least in our boat) had plenty of chance to see it; those with small kids should note that they don't seem to have many, or indeed any, small size overalls and so you'll need to roll up the sleeves/legs...but that seems to work OK; the hot chocolate was nice but the pastries were an acquired taste. Guides were very good and very pleasant, and as stated elsewhere the guide leaflet is excellent.

1  Thank TheRainIn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
daniel_gentlegiants, Assistant Director at Gentle Giants Whale Watching, responded to this reviewResponded September 8, 2012

Thank you for taking your time to share your experience with Gentle Giants!

Good to hear that you enjoyed your tour despite the heavy seas. The weather conditions in Iceland are indeed unpredictable and we have had some difficult days the last weeks, which have made it impossible to sail out.

Thank you as well for sharing some good tips for other potential whale watchers.

Best regards,
Daniel Annisius
Assistant Director

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Reviewed September 7, 2012

The trip was cancelled and part of a day trip from Reyjkavik - Icelandair promised alternatives when this happened but Gentle Giants would not even call to see what could be done. A pitiful service - do not book with them as part of any day tour or you could find your whole trip wasted. And when things are cancelled, they make no effort to help even when part of a package that is meant to offer alternatives.

1  Thank Gazi1966
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
daniel_gentlegiants, Assistant Director at Gentle Giants Whale Watching, responded to this reviewResponded September 9, 2012

Thank you for your review!

Sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with Gentle Giants.

I am hearing of such a matter for the first time and a few things I do want to clarify:

Our tours are completely depended on weather conditions, which are very unpredictable in Iceland. In our brochure/website we state that “we reserve the right to change schedules should weather or other conditions change”.

Our captains decide when to go out or to cancel tours, for the safety and comfort of our passengers. As the weather can change very fast, it does happen that we have to cancel tours with little notice, as it apparently was in your case.

When tours are cancelled, we try to move customers to next tours when weather allows. Moreover, if people have prepaid already, we do offer refunds.

You mention that you were on a day package with Icelandair/Air Iceland. We do not offer such packages for whale watching, there are other operators in Húsavík co-operating with them. However, if it was Gentle Giants’ service that you are dissatisfied with, we will remind our staff of our service quality - always trying to improve.

Best regards,
Daniel Annisius
Assistant Director

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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