We had purchased vouchers from a website for $15 ea, which included a free drink. Regular price is $32 weekdays. We needed to use them before they expired on May 25th. I didn't expect to see any whales this late in the season and we didn't. We did have to pay a $3.50/pp fuel surcharge as well.
The company offering the vouchers was Davy's Locker. I made our reservation at Davy's Locker, But, when we showed up at Davy's, we were sent to Newport Landing. As we were checking in at Newport, fisherman started showing up for a fishing excursion. They were sent to Davy's. I hate it when people operate this way but what can you do. They had our money.
Anyway, as we were waiting, about 20-25 school kids showed up with their teachers. The kids were well behaved and they weren't any problem on the boat, but, once again, this would have been something nice to know up front. Bad staff, in my opinion, who just don't care. We would have probably booked another time or day had we known.
I've taken one other whale watching cruise, out of San Diego, and it was much more professionally done. The narration was performed by real grad students who know everything you may need to know about whales, dolphins, etc. On Newport's tours, the narration is done by the crew; one who drives the boat and narrates while the other mans the snack bar. The information given was adequate but not up to snuff compared to the other company I sailed with a few years ago. (side note: the kids drove Mr. Snackbar crazy-fun to watch : ) I don't blame the crew for anything. They were doing the best they could but, as a rule, seamen aren't usually the most people-friendly types. These were, once again, adequate. As it was, there wasn't much info needed. All we saw were one pod of common dolphins and some sea lions sleeping on a buoy.
Overall, a nice time out on the water but if you're serious student of marine mammals, look elsewhere. This is a more bare bones and bargain priced operation.
The snack bar had coffee, water, sodas and beer. Menu items were breakfast and lunch type for $4-$7 each.
Also, more seating would have been nice. The boat is rated for 45 people but seating for less than half. We were full and most people had to stand up the whole time or sit on the deck.
We parked at the state beach parking for 6 hrs, $9, Short walk, 2-3 blocks.