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“very friendly and informative”

Stagnaro Sport Fishing Charters & Whale Watching Cruises
Ranked #2 of 34 Tours in Santa Cruz
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Stagnaro family has been serving the Santa Cruz area for over a century, ever since Italian patriarch Cottardo Stagnaro settled in Santa Cruz in 1879. This historical landmark business is still leading the way in ocean fun on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. There is something for everyone: Whale Watching, Scenic Bay Cruises, Fishing Trips and Private Parties for any occasion. Whichever your choice, today's fourth generation Stagnaro Charter Boats will surely make your trip fun and memorable.
Corning, California, United States
1 review
“very friendly and informative”
Reviewed March 3, 2013

We had a great time! The naturalist, Maureen, was very helpful, she has a great personality. The Captian and crew were great, they knew what they were talking about and where to find the whales. The boat was clean and in good shape. Well worth the money. The whales deserve a review too, they were spectacular! Orcas and humpback. The humpbacks showed us alot of fluke and then for the grand finale one of them breeched! AMAZING!

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank 928Molly_T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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375 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
San Jose, California
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“No refund policy”
Reviewed November 27, 2012

We had booked tickets for 6 and for some reason 2 of my friends were unable to make it on the day of our cruise. Surprisingly, they did not have any refund policy nor did they allow us to take the 2 tickets of absentees. Lost 90$ because of this.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank BryanJ568
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
southampton
Level Contributor
62 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Black Friday treat”
Reviewed November 24, 2012

I arrived at the Marina well withen the alloted time so had to wait round but as the boat was full I decided to get there early and there was a coffee shop to help pass the time away.Before we got on, there was a detailed lecture on what we could see, always saying may see.

So we departed Santa Cruz in calm weather, and headed out, with a safety lecture ringing in our ears. We stopped by a buoy to see some californian sealions in action.

We then cruised a bit more, always being helped by a delightful ex teacher, the skipper and his mate, to show us where to look and what to watch out for.

Withen half a hour a shout went up and we were greeted by the sight of a pod of reeses dolphins ? we watched for another 10 mins as the dolphins played about, breeching and all manner of activety. It was then that the skipper informed us that we was surrounded by dolpohins and we had arrived into a massive pod, so we cruised up and down for a bit, and then went looking for whales.

We cruised to the area that they are prevalent, and we spent an age looking and was about to turn for home when someone spotted the telltale water spout and there was a humpback whale feeding we followed it as it feed then dived, flukes up, great photo oppurtunity, and low and behold there was another one we watched that one for another ten minutes.

We headed for home and back in the marina we came across a Californian sea otter, sat on its back minding its business eating away.

There is food on board, and drinks, I would advise warm weather or not bring warm clothing and if you suffer from seasickness, bring your pills and if your not sure bring them, its a great day out for all the family but remember you may not see anything, and it can get quite choppy.

Finally the crew and lady in the shop are great and I would like to thank them for making my day memorable

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank tighthead03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Great for birthdays”
Reviewed November 9, 2012

My dad and girlfriend have the same birthday so I planned a surprise trip with Santa Cruz Whale Watching and it was a huge hit!

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
Thank mattosurf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wrexham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“Great Experience”
Reviewed September 18, 2012

We went on the trip at 11am on Saturday 16th September 2012. The day started foggy and a bit chilly, but we had taken the advice of wearing layers and everyone on the boat had some kind of anorak/ coat which was needed by the time we were in open water.
Check in was easy at the Stagnaro's office and we bought a parking permit for $5. We arrived at 10 am, for an 11 O'clock sailing and were glad we did, as there were a few people waiting to buy tickets/ exchange vouchers. After a two minute drive from the office we arrived at the harbor and waited with the other travelers. Parking is in metered bays only - not Permit holders bays. We got it wrong but the Stagnaros staff checked with everyone before they sailed so we wouldn't get a parking ticket! The boat leaves on time, so don't be late.

The team in charge of the boat were great. The guide, an ex teacher with a real sense of adventure and humour, talked us through the boat rules and regs and then she and the captain helped us to spot the animals/ whales and let us know where they were and when they were resurfacing for the best photos.
We spent about an hour getting to the area where the whales were and it was a bit choppy and cold, so take the advice given and take an anti motion sickness tab, some who didn't regretted it !! We bought ours from the local Walgreens, but they sold them on the boat too, they also had anti sickness wristbands for hire if you don't like pills.
You can sit inside or outside so it was comfortable for everyone. We did a bit of both. :)
The weather cleared around 12.30 and that is when we saw the whales, they were close enough to the boat that we could get some really good pictures, take a camera if you can as those using phones to take pictures were a bit disappointed at what they could capture. Seeing the animals close up, in their natural habitat was awesome, and we had three separate opportunities ( or the same whale following the boat, hard to tell)
Another top tip is don't forget the sun screen. We had anoraks on to keep the wind out and both ended up with sun/wind burn on our faces as were out on the water for four hours. It is overcast and chilly, but the UV still get you!
Overall a great trip, with a really friendly crew.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Sues2910
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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