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“Best Whale Watching in Monterey area”
Review of Sanctuary Cruises

Sanctuary Cruises
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Explore Monterey Bay year-round with a marine biologist aboard Santuary, a beautiful boat that is only booked to 80% of her capacity for a more personalized passenger experience. We run longer trips with fewer passengers. We really care about the environment and run 100% local biodiesel. Knowledgeable, warm owner/operators engage and enchant. Responsible captains who don't crowd the animals but ease into the area, which often results in fantastic sightings. We have a great device for avoiding seasickness. Located in Moss Landing at the heart of the Monterey Bay & beginning of the submarine canyon for awesome sightings. We are the boat the locals prefer and the National Marine Sanctuary recommends.
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
91 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Best Whale Watching in Monterey area”
Reviewed July 1, 2013

Sanctuary cruises doesn't have the fanciest boat on the water but they do give you more time to look for whales. Leaving from Moss Landing, they head directly to the middle of the bay where the whales are often spotted. The tours are long enough to spend time with whales if they are active or search for more, if they are not. This is a small, family-run company with lots of flexibility in their schedule. If there is lots of wildlife, your trip can be extended (assuming no one on board needs to get back). Dorris, the co-owner, is a marine biologist by trade, and does some of the best interpretation I have heard. I enjoyed the chance to learn about the lesser-known marine life in the area as well as spend time following whales. Great way to spend the day in Monterey!

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank Carol P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michael S, Owner at Sanctuary Cruises, responded to this review, July 2, 2013
Carol,
Thank you for your kind review! We at Sanctuary Cruises enjoy taking smaller groups and staying out with the animals longer than other tours in order for our passengers to get the most out of the whale watching experience. We are happy to hear that you had such a great trip. Hopefully we will see you in the future!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Morgan Hill, California
1 review
“They go the extra mile...literally”
Reviewed June 24, 2013

Even tho the morning started off cold and with heavy fog, these people did not stop until we not only got a "glimpse" of the whales surfacing, but got a "good look at them". The whales were apparently hunting for food and being very elusive. We would get to see them briefly surface and then they would lose us (all the boats in the area work together on the sightings to keep each other informed of were they are). We saw some of the big boats turn back toward shore once their passengers got to see the whales. (Guess they fulfilled the "guarantee"). Our captain, however, did not give up until we were able to park and watch them for a good amount of time.(They apparently had their "catch" and had slowed down to feed on it). The crew was super informative and educational (Chase was wonderful). This is a smaller, more personal tour, and if you are trying to make a decision as to which one to choose, this is it! You will not be disappointed....they make sure of it. Thanks, Captain Mike, for going the "extra mile"!

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank Cheryl K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michael S, Owner at Sanctuary Cruises, responded to this review, June 26, 2013
Cheryl,
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience aboard the Sanctuary! We try to provide our customers with a quality experience out on the ocean, not just seeing the animals, but learning about them and spending time with them. Sometimes it takes a little patience to find those elusive whales, but when we do, the experience is rewarding! Thank you for coming out with us. We are happy to hear that you had a wonderful time and we hope to see you in the future.
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Kaaawa, Hawaii
1 review
“Killer Whale Tour!”
Reviewed June 23, 2013

Not literally, we did not see Killer Whales, but we did see plenty of whales. Blue Whales and Humpback Whales galore. Mike and Dorris knew where to go and both shared their wealth of knowledge of the sea and animals. We also saw Sea Otters, Sea Lions, Sun Fish etc. up close. Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended. Mahalo (Thank You in Hawaiian) Mike and Dorris for sharing your passion for the sea and it's inhabitants with us. The Oku Family

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank Sandy O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michael S, Owner at Sanctuary Cruises, responded to this review, July 2, 2013
Sandy,
Thank you for taking the time to write a review for Sanctuary Cruises! Although we do sometimes see Orca whales, there are plenty of other fantastic marine mammals to find out there on the Monterey Bay! We try to give our guests the best experience possible, and we are thrilled that your family had such a good time! Come explore the bay with us again next time you are in Monterey!
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Scotts Valley
1 review
“Best Whale-Watching EVER!”
Reviewed June 11, 2013

I went out on Dorris and Mike's lovely 43 foot boat with my husband and friend last Friday. The boat is extremely well equipped and very clean. Mike handled the boat beautifully on many rolling waves. Dorris is an excellent, well-informed marine biologist and shared her expertise on the blue and humpbacks we encountered. The boat burns bio-diesel fuel, made in Santa Cruz - makes ones feel better about what's burning in our Bay! The humpback's seemed intrigued with the fragrance/fumes because they really put on quite a show 20 yards off the starboard side of our boat -- spy-hopping, grinning and showing off their baleen. A fabulous 3-some, Mama, baby and escort. We had never encountered Blues before - what a grand experience and day.
Thank you SO much Dorris and Mike. Best whale-watching EVER!

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank Julia N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michael S, Owner at Sanctuary Cruises, responded to this review, June 17, 2013
Thank you for your kind review! We take great pride in running biodiesel to minimize our environmental impact, and the whales sure showed us their appreciation that day! Thank you so much for choosing the Sanctuary to explore the Bay!
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Roseville, California
1 review
“Sanctuary Cruises in Moss Landing, CA”
Reviewed June 9, 2013

My friend and I had a fabulous day on the Bay with this Whale Watching Cruise! The Captain was competent and kept it smoothe and the Marine Biologist was full of knowledge and could answer all our questions. I would highly recommend this whale watching expedition to both locals and visitors alike.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank Heidi L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michael S, Owner at Sanctuary Cruises, responded to this review, June 17, 2013
We are so pleased that you had a wonderful trip aboard the Sanctuary! We try to provide our passengers with the most comfortable and educational trip possible. Thank you for your review!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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