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“Whale watch turned into whale seach”

Island Mariner Cruises
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
61 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Whale watch turned into whale seach”
Reviewed August 24, 2013

Bought this tour from groupon so price was good. Left at 10 am sharp and back at 5:45. Admittedly it was a very long day, maybe too long. Bit disappointed there wasn't much to see after the first 2 hours. There were no Orcas to be seen. We spent the last half of the day in a frantic seach for a Minky whale. Finally we saw it, but really wasn't that special. The day for what we paid was great, it was enjoyable. Nature can't always perform the way we want so keep that in mind. Not sure if I'd bother as this tour was a bit to long when no whales around.

Visited August 2013
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1 Thank AbbotsfordSunflower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Bellingham, Washington
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Whale of a time!”
Reviewed August 22, 2013

You can not make Orcas magically appear but today my husband and I were lucky. A pod of 8-10 Orcas magically appeared in the Salish sea and put up a show. The boat spent about an hour in the area so everybody can see these magcal creatures. How I wished we could have been up closer but iI know there are restrictions. To the captain and the crew, Don, Wif? and Casey, awesome job. The trip was very informative. The boat ride was smooth and the weather perfect.
The boat, though not new, was clean. Food was available and prices reasonable. For those who were not fortunate to see whales in previous trips, you have another chance to take a cruise for free.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Andima42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marinercruises, Naturalist at Island Mariner Cruises, responded to this review, August 23, 2013
Thank-you so very much for taking the time to write this review! You described our encounter with this group of transients well...Magical! The size of this group was larger than we usually get to see, and the activity was so exciting to watch! I will be passing your feedback on to the rest of the crew. I feel confident in speaking for all of us: You are so very welcome, and again, thank-you so very much for coming out with us!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Coquitlam, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“One whale does not a whale watching tour make.”
Reviewed August 20, 2013

I took my parents on this tour and we used a groupon which still cost us $60 each. With taxes our day cost $195. We reserved on-line about three weeks before our trip but when we arrived to check in they had no record of our reservation despite my e-mail confirmations. We got on board and had to scramble for seats and for a while we didn't end up sitting togther. The entire trip was very cold despite having jackets and there was no room to move indoors. The vast majority of the time on board was spent going to and from the one Minke whale that we stalked with two other boat tours. They claim to use a plane to spot whales but someone on board overheard and employee saying the whales had gone away in recent days. I realize they can't make whales magically appear, but we are very disappointed in our experience. We did see porpoise, sea lions, eagles etc but only that one poor whale. They do sell food on board but we brought our own and when I did go to get a coffee as it was very cold outside all they had was powdered creamer. Really? Parking was free - that's a perk I guess. Next time I do a whale tour I'll go on one with a much more powerful boat so that we don't spend 6 hours of our tour going to and from the whale. The naturalist in board was well informed however his insistince that "there was plenty more to see" was unfounded. I can't say how many times he said this. Folks on board just rolled their eyes.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Kim H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“This was a waste of time and money”
Reviewed August 17, 2013

My friend drove all the way from Boise, ID for this. As I live in Seattle, we woke up at 5am in order to make it to the tour on time. This was far out of our way and it cost us a lot of money and we are both disappointed at the overall experience. First, the tour was much longer than the website and groupon had indicated, putting us on the boat for 8 hours. The chairs were uncomfortable and there were not enough for every passenger. Most of the tour was spent just floating around the islands looking at the occasional sea lion. When we did finally see a "whale," it was so small that we never saw more than the fin and when it jumped in and out of the water it was impossible to take a photo. That lasted for about 20 minutes before we headed back to shore. There were less than well-behaved kids on the boat and even a dog. By the time we docked, we were hungry, tired, angry, sunburned and not happy with the tour. What a waste of a day and money.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank SeattleMandy1024
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marinercruises, Naturalist at Island Mariner Cruises, responded to this review, August 22, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. The day you girls came out was quite foggy, and those days can be a bit challenging out there in the Salish Sea for all vessels! The lack of visibility will often slow us down a bit as safety is important to us, and it also can make finding our beautiful whales a bit more time consuming. We did not want to give up until we found them...and we did! Many other boats that day were not so lucky :-(.

You mentioned that there was a dog on board. We do allow service animals as we do not want anyone to be excluded from our tours.

I am sorry you were disappointed with day. We always do our best to show you the beauty of the islands and the salish sea ecosystem. Some days the weather and the behavior of the animals can make it challenging for some!

Good luck to you and safe travels!
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Bellingham, Washington
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Wouldn't spend the money on this one”
Reviewed August 9, 2013

Agree with the reviewer who started his review 'If you're lucky, yes, you might see something'. We spent over $400 for our group, and saw one small Minke whale, at a distance. And after that, the guides stated that this summer had not been a good one for viewing whales. Of course, they wouldn't have told us that when I called and asked questions prior to the trip, because they wanted our money! I also agree with the reviews that the ship is very disappointing. It is dirty, and they actually allow smoking on board! They say that it is restricted to the back deck, but with the sliding glass door open the entire trip, the smoke came right into the enclosed cabin. It was a surprise to us to be on a trip that allowed smoking in this day and age. Shame on me for not checking first, but I would never have thought to do that. Will not go back because of that. They talk about their guarantee that you will see whales, but then of course the one small one at a great distance qualified, so the guarantee doesn't mean anything. Also, they packed so many people onto the boat for our trip that our teens couldn't even get to the rail to see anything and were elbowed out of the way. The claim that there are two seats for everyone - one inside and one outside- are only true if there is a smaller group. The guide was very nice, but could not make up for the condition of the boat itself.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank basil000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marinercruises, Naturalist at Island Mariner Cruises, responded to this review, August 22, 2013
Thank you for the review! Smoking is allowed on the back of the boat, and you are right: the door should be closed and the boat should be moving as to not bother other guests on board. This is something we have been more clear about, and I do apologize that this affected your day.

I would like to be a bit more informative about the movement of our killer whales. Our orcas can travel up to 100 miles within a 24 hour time period. They come in and out of the salish sea depending on food availability. The location of these animals today means nothing about their location tomorrow. While our resident orcas have been spending more time in the Pacific Ocean this summer than most summers, we never know when they are ready to head in or out. At the time of your phone call, there was absolutely no way of knowing what was going to happen on the day of your trip. I understand the idea of being mislead is disheartening. We would not do that to our guests. I, as your naturalist, should have been more clear about that the movement of these animals and the fact that wildlife is unpredictable!

Best wishes to you and your family...I hope you all continue your wildlife watching adventures!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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