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San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

Badge of ExcellenceSan Diego, United States
Likely to Sell Out

From $85.00

Select Date and Travelers

Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your spot while staying flexible
Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 4 hours (approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


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

Departure & Return

Departure Point

  • Next Level Sailing, 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!

Return Details

This activity will end right where it started.

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.

Old Point Loma Lighthouse (Pass By)

We sail past North Island Naval Air Station, US Navy Base Point Loma, Cabrillo National Monument, Point Loma Lighthouse

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Infant seats available
  • 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!
  • Most travelers can participate
  • 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.

about cancellations

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.

Q:What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during San Diego Whale Watching Cruise?

A:The policy on face masks and attendee health is:
  • Face masks provided for travelers

Q:What is the policy on sanitization during San Diego Whale Watching Cruise?

A:The policies on sanitization are:
  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas

Q:What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during San Diego Whale Watching Cruise?

A:The policies on staff health & safety are:
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Regular temperature checks for staff
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms

Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips

I would recommend that you bring your own beverages and snacks.
1,068 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 1,068 reviews
I would do it again in the near future again and bring a few friends and family
George_H, Jul 2022
The enjoyment of being out on the water and seeing the whales. The crew was absolutely terrific. We enjoyed everyone we toured with and lots of fun in the sun.
Fabulous experience -- and we saw a blue whale!
Asha_A, Jul 2022
Fabulous experience . We saw a blue whale and several dolphin pods. It was also fun to be on such a pretty boat. Very friendly and helpful crew. Be prepared for lots of sun and sitting either on benches or the ship deck.
Michael_M, Jul 2022
Best thing we have done this vacation. Crew was amazing! Highly recommend. Only saw one whale but the captain was great at getting us in great sight.
A must!!!
Beautiful boat, kick ass all female crew on the day we sailed, saw THREE rare blue whales, tons of super active dolphins and learned a lot about San Diego as well as the ocean life. highly recommend!!!!!!!’
Watching the lady Stand...
Judy_C, Jul 2022
Watching the lady Stand at the front of the boat looking for Whales with her binoculars! We had two teenagers with us and they both had a great time too!
Sailing but no whaling
Stacy_W, Jun 2022
No whales, but a beautiful sailing adventure. The crew worked hard to keep us all comfortable (drinks,snacks,blankets etc..) it was informative and stunning. How can you beat sailing on the ocean!
Can’t say enough good things!
Erica_A, Jun 2022
The boat was absolutely amazing. The crew was so friendly and we thought Fathom was the absolute best. She let my six year old daughter help pull the rope to open the sail. She taught us all about the whales. Just an all around absolutely wonderful experience!
1 traveler found this review helpful
Kerri_L, Jun 2022
The crew was very friendly and very informative about everything you see. We got to see the navy training the dolphins, which the trainers had them showing off doing tricks! Then once out to the ocean we saw a couple blue whales and it was amazing! We also saw a pod of dolphins on the way back. The whole trip was incredible and I'm very happy that we chose this to check whale watching off my bucket list. Most definitely will go again if I ever get the chance to visit San Diego again
Rhea_B, Jun 2022
We saw a blue whale !! Woot woot it took a little extra time it’s worth it Be patient. Also saw seals and dolphins also pelicans
1 traveler found this review helpful
Best tour in San Diego
Emelie_W, Jun 2022
Best boat trip ever! The captain and crew are top notch. Saw hundreds of dolphins and a blue wale! Captain went out of his way to make sure we all got to see it everything. Beautiful boat friendly crew excellent experience.
It was too long(4 1/2...
Susan_M, Jun 2022
It was too long(4 1/2 hours) to be in the sun on the ocean. But it was still a good experience. People in charge were really good.
Awesome, majestic experience!
Anne_L, Jun 2022
We saw blue whales! Staff was knowledgeable, friendly and fun. It was a great experience and one I would definitely recommend. We are from SC so it was fun to sail out into the Pacific and it was a once in a lifetime experience to see blue whales. We also saw lots of dolphins.
Blue Whales and big sails!
Chris_L, Jun 2022
Captain Troy was true to his word. He said it would be a long ride out to the whales and it was. However, the wait was worth it. We had the privilege of seeing 2 adult BLUE whales and a calf. He did not disappoint. A nice day on the water, great crew, very relaxing time. Bring some additional snacks of your own. Ginger Dramamine worked perfectly.
Fun sailing trip
Marlene_F, Jun 2022
Well we should have known that this would be more of a whale searching versus a whale watching excursion. We saw some dolphins and several blowhole activities but never got an actual whale sighting. However the captain made a real effort to try to give that to us by a whole hour! While disappointed with that part, we still had a great time with fantastic weather, the lull of the ocean, and interacting with other travellers - My advise. Approach it as a sailing adventure opportunity, bring sandwiches and your favorite beverage it will be. Grand time, with an experienced and friendly crew
1 traveler found this review helpful
Great sailing adventure!
Rita_L, Jun 2022
Great seeing dolphins and a blue whale on an historic sailing ship! Pleasant and knowledgeable crew and great information about San Diego and whales!
Great experience.
Karen_S, Jun 2022
The entire experience was fantastic, we tracked a Blue Whale for 5 Dive cycles!!! The Captain did a great job and the staff was quite knowledgeable. Only thing is, if you think you are going to actually “sail” we did not. The crew did raise 2 sails, however the boat was driven by the ship’s engines the entire time. I believe this is done for safety and lack of room to have a crew actually work the sails with passengers on board, and how far we had to go out. But I could be wrong. Maybe there was just not enough wind that day.🤷🏻‍♂️
Darrin_D, Jun 2022
Being out in the ocean was great, and so relaxing. I think there should be more comfortable seating for the guests. 4 hours on a wooden bench is a little rough. Pending on the ocean. It's hard to stand without coming close to falling on someone. The staff was extremely nice, and well appreciated to help make the bad parts better. Also we ended up 3 miles in Mexico waters and had no clue we would end up there. It would be nice if it was indicated in the trip details that it's possible you can end up there. I did not have my passport on me.
What a great experience!...
HeatherRae_L, Jun 2022
What a great experience! We saw whales and dolphins and had a great time. One thing that I think they could have emphasized better is that check-in is 100% closed a half hour before departure. You must arrive at least that early or you will be left behind. When We looked at our arrival we saw an 11am departure and did not realize that if you were not present a half hour before they would leave without you. They were nice enough to let us on five minutes late, however please please please be early!
So much more than I expected!
Robin_C, Jun 2022
The staff was so good at making sure that you had everything you needed to be on the water for an extended period of time. The boat ride itself was thoroughly enjoyable by itself without even adding in being able to see the sea lions, dolphins and whales. I came with my son and friends with their teenagers. There were upwards of 50 people (I counted)on board but at no time did I feel over crowded or uncomfortable, there was plenty of space to spread out and still able to take in the whales and the sights. When we started seeing whales , the guides gave us interesting facts about what we were seeing. Throughout the trip the guides were telling interesting tales about the boat and pointing out sights along the way. We saw blue whales, and all of the facts gave weight to all that we were seeing and made it more enjoyable. I have to say that, if you got sick, if wasn’t because the staff didn’t try to help everyone alleviate the situation. They were constantly checking on us and offering methods to combat motion sickness and if that didn’t help a bucket. Overall, I can’t imagine that any other group could have given us a more fun and memorable experience, we were completely pleased with it. Many thanks to Next Level Sailing.
1 traveler found this review helpful
Great day on the water with dolphins and a blue whale!!!
Rick_M, Jun 2022
We had a great day on the water. Saw hundreds of dolphins and a blue whale. The crew was wonderful as was the ship. I highly recommend and look forward to coming back.


Product code: 5170WHALE