San Diego

San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

Badge of ExcellenceSan Diego, United States
Likely to Sell Out

From $85.00

Select Date and Travelers

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

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting 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!

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.

Old Point Loma Lighthouse (Pass By)

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.

Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips

I would recommend that you bring your own beverages and snacks.
1,430 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 1,430 reviews
The sailboat is a beautiful place for this type of experience.
Anthony_L, Mar 2023
Bring layers, no actual seats so plan to sit on the deck or lean on benches. Active crew looking for whales and dolphins
Quality way to go whale watching
Martin_K, Mar 2023
So much better than whale watching from a modern vessel! America is a beautiful vessel and the sail would be great even if no whales were spotted, (we did spot several - the captain knew where to look and track them!).
Very cool experience
Louise_A, Mar 2023
Got lucky with a nice sunny day after weeks of rain - we got to see one whale and a few dolphins. Would’ve hoped for more but it can’t be controlled!
Wonderful Day on the Water!
Carol_M, Mar 2023
The captain and crew were very welcoming. They were also well prepared for any issue that might arise. I would definitely do this again!
Great sail boat trip!
Glen_P, Mar 2023
Saw some whales and lots of dolphins! Long boat ride, well worth it! Kids liked it a lot. Crew was professional and helpful, cheap drinks. Beware if you have trouble with sea sickness, but the staff were helpful with this also:)
Enjoyed whale watching.
anthony_t, Mar 2023
The captain and crew were easy to work with and tracked down wales and dolphins as best they could during our trip. They provided context and background on the ship, the area, and the ecological conditions impacting the animals. The only suggestion I could make would be to have them use a megaphone as the ship is large and sometimes it hard to hear. Would recommend to others.
An Ok Experience
Nancy_W, Mar 2023
We took our 10 year old granddaughter on a special trip and she picked San Diego because she loves animals. We did the whale watching tour the last day of the trip. We did see some whales from a distance, and we saw some dolphins up close. The main thing that was disappointing was that from where we were sitting ( and we sat in two different places on the boat ride) we could not hear what the guide was saying. When I let her know about this problem, she replied that the sound of her microphone could only reach so far, which, even if that is true, is not a very satisfactory answer. We would have learned so much more had we been able to hear her the whole time. Why can't a sound system be installed on the boat?
Whales and dolphins
Hugh_S, Mar 2023
Excellent. We saw whales and dolphins. We saw whales and dolphins. 100 characters min, which is why we have to repeat everything!
Wonderful Experience
Marietta_L, Mar 2023
The captain and his wife were welcoming and knowledgeable as was the on board guide. We saw literally hundreds of dolphins as well as 3 grey whales "performing"! The on board guide gave a great educational presentation to the children. I highly recommend this tour!
Response from Host, Mar 2023
Thank you for your review, we really appreciate it! I am glad to hear you had a wonderful experience sailing with us. Thanks!
Incredible Whale Watching Experience
Mariela_B, Mar 2023
Saw a mom humback whale traching her baby how to eat along with thiusands of dolphins and some sea lions!
Response from Host, Mar 2023
Thank you so much for your review, we really appreciate it!
We see WHALES!
Lexi_L, Mar 2023
This was a very well thought out exertion. The team they had us with today was very nice, kind and informative. When they say we leave for the boat at the half hour you better be there. They will not wait as they have many people to get to the location and our onto the water so you have the most time available to see the whales. Be on time! As for the whale sighting we had an incredible experience and spent a good amount of time around the whales. We saw a cow/calf pair that was feeding. The huge pod of dolphins was an added bonus! Would us them again if I come back.
Response from Host, Mar 2023
Thank you so much for your review! We are so glad to hear you had a wonderful time whale watching with us. We can't wait to see you again next time you're in town.
Well organized tour and...
Alain_D, Mar 2023
Well organized tour and friendly operators. Timely departure and arrival. Wishing we could have more time with the whales and used the sails a bit more.
Response from Host, Mar 2023
Thank you for your review. Every day is different, sometimes it takes us more time to get to the whales. If the winds are in our favor, we are more than happy to shut off the engines and sail. That said, we appreciate your feedback. Thank you!
My first experience on...
Lita_C, Mar 2023
My first experience on the ocean, on a sailboat, sailing beside dolphins and seeing a whale! It was a beautiful experience. I also learned about the different kinds of whales. I would do it again in a heartbeat
Response from Host, Mar 2023
Thank you for your review! I am thrilled to hear it was a great first experience. We can't wait to have you aboard again.
Sealions, Dolphins and Whales
Courtney_B, Mar 2023
Such an awesome experience. Loved being on the sailboat. The captain and crew were so nice and knowledgeable. We saw sealions, dolphins and whales!! Well worth the price.
Response from Host, Mar 2023
Thank you so much for your review, we really appreciate it!
Must do!
Lindsay_R, Mar 2023
Amazing experience! Highly recommend. Boat was amazing, guide was very personable and knowledgeable. Saw Grey and Humpback’s and hundreds of dolphins!
Response from Host, Mar 2023
Thank you so much for your review, we really appreciate it!
Best money spent!! breathtaking experience
Shonda_Y, Mar 2023
Athos was the most amazing day trip we took. we saw hundreds of dolphins feeding all together which is not something they see all the time we were told. We got up close with 2 grey. whales and got great video. The crew was very friendly and Fathom was very entertaining. Wonderful experience..we will go again!
Response from Host, Mar 2023
Thank you so much for your review! We are so glad to hear you had a wonderful experience whale watching with us. Thanks for your feedback. We can't wait to have you again. Thanks!
Cool family Activity
Omar_M, Mar 2023
The captain and his crew were very attentive and professional. Kids had a blast. We got to see some whales rising up. Just a fun activity.
Response from Host, Mar 2023
Thank you for your review! I am so glad to hear this was fun for the whole family. Thanks again :)
MaryJaneBroge, Mar 2023
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.
Response from Host, Mar 2023
Thank you so much for your review, we really appreciate it! I am thrilled to hear you had a wonderful time sailing with us. Thanks!
You can barely see whales...
Jackie_C, Mar 2023
You can barely see whales . I don’t know if it was the time of the year it was very short the period of time we stayed out where the whales were.
Response from Host, Mar 2023
Thank you for your review. The whales are wild animals, so sometimes they are further off the coast than other days, so it takes longer to get to them. It is always very helpful to notify the crew if you're having a tough time seeing the whales. We can always help you sit at a better spot if needed. Thanks again!
Jessica_C, Mar 2023
Amazing crew, super family friendly and was so informative! Plus seeing the dolphins and whales made this trip topnotch!
Response from Host, Mar 2023
Thank you so much for your review, we really appreciate it!