San Diego

San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

Badge of ExcellenceSan Diego, United States
San Diego Whale Watching Cruise
  • 4 hours (approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English

Overview

Go whale watching from San Diego aboard a replica of a historic sailing schooner that won the world’s first America’s Cup sailing competition in 1851. Throughout your cruise, your expert guide shares informative commentary about gray whales, dolphins, and other marine animals, along with details about the US Navy sites you pass as you head out on the Pacific Ocean.
  • Cruise on the sailing ship America from San Diego
  • Spot migrating whales and dolphins frolicking in the Pacific Ocean
  • Choose the only whale-watching cruise by sailing yacht in San Diego
  • Includes whale sighting and 'no seasickness' guarantee

What's Included

  • 4.5-hr sailing cruise
  • Sodas and snacks
  • Whale sighting guarantee: If you don't see a whale, you get to come back for free
  • No seasickness' guarantee: Lose your lunch, we get you a new one
  • 9:00 AM trip: Check in between 8:00 AM - 8:30 AM
  • 11:00 AM trip: Check-in starts at 10:00 AM and ends at 10:30 AM
  • 1:15 PM trip: Check in between 12:30 - 12:45
  • 2:00 PM Trip: Check in between 1:15 PM - 1:30 PM
  • Free Parking. Check-in located next to parking lot.
  • Bring layers, blankets, and jackets. It can be cold on the water!
  • Gratuities
  • Hotel pickup and drop off

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • Next Level Sailing - San Diego Whale Watching & Corporate/Private Charters
    2050 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106, USA

    Check in opens an hour before departure time and closes 30 minutes before departure. Check in flag located across the street from the Best Western Island Palms Hotel and Blue Wave Bar & Grill. Please look at Inclusions/Exclusions for specific check in times. Abundant free parking at our location!

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Travel back in time when sailing on the America, a replica of the sailing ship that won the first America's Cup sailing competition in 1851. Your classic sailing vessel provides a smooth ride and spacious decks, perfect for sailing on the Pacific Ocean in search of gray whales and other marine life. Since your boat principally moves under wind power without using the engine, your captain can get closer to the marine animals without scaring them. The boat's deep keel provides excellent stability and large decks offer unobstructed views, making the America a prime vessel for whale-watching.

Snacks and drinks (non-alcoholic) are offered during the cruise. You are welcome to bring along a picnic lunch or your favorite bottle of wine to enjoy onboard.

Whale sightings are guaranteed on your cruise. If no whales are sighted, you can return for a complimentary whale watching cruise on another day in the same season. The America also provides a 'No Seasickness' guarantee.

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Infant seats available
  • Most travelers can participate
  • Please call if you have a wheelchair so we can discuss the boarding options as we have had guests with wheelchairs enjoy this experience. We do have 5 steps in order to board the vessel. There is a single step in the deck. Please call Thank you!
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 77 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Traveler Photos

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Featured review
MaryJaneBroge
AMAZING! The tour was the highlight of our vacation. I looked at many different whale watching cruises and can say with complete confidence this is the best one. Everything was perfect. Fathom, Captain Troy, and all the crew were amazing. We stayed out a little longer to see a huge group of dolphins. We saw three grey whales. The boat was beautiful. The experience was everything we could have hoped it to be.

Reviews

5.0
1,767 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 1,767 reviews
Great experience
Deion_L, Feb 2024
I like the crews. Friendly and very knowledgeable. Cruising alone the coast was a very memorable experience.
Best whale watching tour of a life time !!!!
Rob_M, Feb 2024
We had an amazing time! the Crew and Captain were amazing and extremely helpful!! They managed everything perfectly and were full of information. The ship was more than I ever expected. It was a sailing ship ( with full sails ) just being on it was worth the trip. 1000 times better than your basic whale watching ship behind glass. And we saw whales!!!! the Captain was able to put us up close. plus we saw lots of seals and dolphins. We will be back many times for other migrations. Thank you to the crew and captain of the America
Whale watching in February.
Karla_G, Feb 2024
The captain was very knowledgeable and interesting. The crew were very friendly and took care of us the entire trip. I love the boat that we were on. That added to the trip as well! We even got to see whales and dolphins!
Great tour! Beautiful...
Meghan_G, Feb 2024
Great tour! Beautiful scenery and very accommodating despite some rain. Good sized tour as well with plenty of great views.
Whale sighting
Chloe_P, Feb 2024
Very energetic hosts with plenty of good information. We saw a beautiful gray whale and it swam near our boat for a long while!
Great at finding whales; hard to hear commentary
Lindsay_G, Feb 2024
It was a beautiful boat that we rode on. They were great at finding us whales. It was very difficult to hear them, so if you have difficulty hearing, this could be tough for you. Both the captain the other boat leader spoke at the same time, so I would sit very close to one of them. We liked that the boat wasn't too crowded.
Amazing Whale Watching in San Diego
Vicki_W, Jan 2024
We took our son, daugther-in-law and their three children ages 3, 6 and 11. The children absolutely loved the adventure. We appreciate the small size. We have had the privilege of whale watching in Alaska, San Francisco, San Diego and Mexico. This is one of the best trips. Captain Troy was informative and patient. The crew really cared about making the experience a positive one for our littles. Will definitely do this again!!
10 out 10
Dustin_F, Jan 2024
We loved the pod of dolphins and the four Great White Whales we saw. The sailboat was amazing as well.
Very enjoyable except for...
Albert_L, Jan 2024
Very enjoyable except for the RAIN. Saw whales and other wild life. The rain made it wet and some cold.
Great time on the water
Tracy_F, Jan 2024
I wanted to wear a life vest, and that was offered to me and I was assisted with putting it on. I felt affirmed in my request. The staff and captain were friendly and knowledgeable.
Response from Host, Jan 2024
Thank you for your review! I am glad to hear you had a great time on the water and felt safe during your entire voyage.
Gray whales and porpoises
John_R, Jan 2024
We had several gray whale sightings including a mother and newborn whale. Also we got to see porpoises on the same cruise. Very exciting.
Response from Host, Jan 2024
Thank you so much for your review, we really appreciate it! I'm thrilled you had a great time :)
Extremely Disappointed with Captain Troy and Whale Watching Cruise/Go with Another Cruise Line
Mary_L, Jan 2024
Captain Troy and crew seemed tired from the get go and lacked energy for their customers on board. The young crew seemed to lack experience in knowing how to operate a narrated, tour for whale watching. Captain Troy was very curt and rude with the young crew. Captain Troy did not narrate or talk about the ocean life as we out at sea for 3 plus hours what a missed opportunity for this customers. He lacked personality with his customers. It is a big ship, there was no speakers or intercom system to hear him at the front or back, it was terrible. He spoke very briefly and didn't say much at all, if you asked a question he may answer but nothing for the whole ship and for ALL customers on board to hear. I heard people complaining throughout the ship about the lack of narration or commentary throughout the tour. We had a family of 4 people and we were very disappointed, I would not recommend this trip for Captain Troy was not good at all. Being an educator, it was so disappointing and such a let down. Shop around for another Whale Watching Cruise carrier, personality and narration was lacking in every way. Don't waste your time or money, not worth it. Complete let down.
Great Time
Franklin_R, Jan 2024
The boat was beautiful and the crew was amazing. They were kind, friendly, engaging and attentive. Definitely worth the trip.
Response from Host, Jan 2024
Thank you so much for your review! We are thrilled to hear you had a wonderful time. Thank you!
Enjoyable trip but missing commentary
Victoria_S, Jan 2024
The boat ride itself was very enjoyable and the captain did a great job navigating through some exciting swells! We were lucky enough to see a whale after a few hours which was obviously the highlight. My only complaint is the captain and crew shared very little commentary throughout the trip, and when the captain did, only half of the boat could hear him. It was a missed opportunity to share information about the area and the sea life we could encounter.
Response from Host, Jan 2024
Thank you for your review, we are glad to hear you had a good trip overall. I am sorry to hear that you were not able to hear the captain. We have had an intercom system in the past, but guests complained that they wanted to enjoy the peaceful sound of the ocean. We will certainly take your feedback into consideration for future trips. Thank you!
Not worth it...
David_R, Jan 2024
We barely saw one whale and no dolphins... The attitude of the crew was not very good. Didn't make it fun. Seemed like they had been out too often and were bored...
Response from Host, Jan 2024
It is unfortunate to hear that you did not have the best time. You are welcome to come back for your free trip at any time, there is no expiration date. Just give us a call 619-922-6215 or email info@nextlevelsailing.com. We look forward to having you aboard next time!
Only an ok time at sea
Anastasia_S, Jan 2024
We did see Sea Lions and Dolphins, but sadly no Whales. But the reason for my 3 star rating is more based on the amount of guests on the ship (too crowded) which made it hard to hear any of the captain's instructions for us. And also, the captain didn't seem to treat his crew with any kindness. But, at least this has the whale guarantee and maybe I can try going again to get a different opinion and see a whale, the next time I'm on that side of the continent.
Response from Host, Jan 2024
Thank you for your review. Please do come back for your free trip. Just give us a call at 619-922-6215 or email info@nextlevelsailing.com. There is no expiration date for your whale watching guarantee. We can't wait to have you aboard next time. Thank you!
Enjoyable cruise
Daniel_K, Dec 2023
Saw lots of dolphins and sea lions but no whales, which was out of our hands. Felt safe and had fun.
Response from Host, Jan 2024
Thank you for your review! We are thrilled to hear you had a wonderful time sailing with us. Please be sure to come back for your free trip. Just give us a call 619-922-6215 or email info@nextlevelsailing.com whenever you are ready to return. There is no expiration date. Thanks!
Simple nothing
Michal_K, Dec 2023
We simply stay 4 hour on the boat on sea and saw nothing…. Vasting time and money (250,- USD for 3) in San Diego…
Response from Host, Jan 2024
It's unfortunate to hear that you did not see any whales. That said, you are welcome to come back for your free trip at any time. There is no expiration date. Just give us a call 619-922-6215 or email info@nextlevelsailing.com when you are ready to return for your free trip.
2024 family memories
C_C, Dec 2023
Part of our family tradition is to spend winter break together. This year, we traveled from Durham, NC to San Diego, CA! Although, we did not see any whale, being on that amazing sailboat for 4 hours with family and seeing dolphins was a memorable family experience.
Response from Host, Jan 2024
Thank you for your review! We are thrilled to hear you had a great experience with your family. We can't wait to have you aboard again for your free trip. Just call 619-922-6215 or email info@nextlevelsailing.com whenever you are ready to come back for your free trip. We look forward to having you aboard soon. Thanks!
A beautiful ride
Kaitlyn_C, Dec 2023
The ride was just wonderful. It was so peaceful and relaxing! We did not see a whale but with their guarantee we get to come back for free. We're excited to come back again!
Response from Host, Jan 2024
Thank you so much for your review! We are thrilled to hear you had a wonderful experience. We can't wait to have you aboard next time for your free trip. Just call 619-922-6215 or email info@nextlevelsailing.com whenever you are ready to come back. Thanks again!
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up to 24 hours before the experience starts (local time)

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