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Whale-Watching Cruise with Expert Naturalists

star-4.5126 Reviews
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Victoria, Canada
Whale-Watching Cruise with Expert Naturalists
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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon3 hours  (approx.)
iconOffered in: English and 1 more

Overview

Hit the waves with expert naturalists in search of Canadian sea-life on this whale-watching cruise from Victoria. Hop aboard your whale-watching boat and head out into the rolling seas with your guide. Gaze out over Victoria’s attractive coastline and watch the waves for sightings of graceful orcas. Listen as the two expert naturalists onboard explain the life cycles of the majestic creatures, and learn of their pivotal role near the top of the marine food chain. Enjoy fine views from the seating areas both inside and on-deck. 
  • Whale-watching cruise from Victoria, British Columbia
  • Spot the majestic orca (killer whale) off the coast of Canada!
  • Learn about the Pacific marine ecosystem from 2 expert naturalists
  • Cruise on a comfortable vessel designed specifically for whale watching
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3-hour whale-watching tour from Victoria
2 onboard naturalist guides
Food and drinks
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Gratuities
Five Star Whale Watching , 645 Humboldt St, Victoria, BC V8W 1A6, Canada

Check in: We ask all passengers to meet 30 minutes prior to their scheduled tour time. Meet us at 645 Humboldt Street on the North side of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, next to Willow Stream Spa

This activity will end right where it started.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • May be operated by a multi-lingual guide
  • Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately (layers and comfortable shoes are recommended)
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 40 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Five Star Whale Watching
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.

Learn more about cancellations.

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 Whale-Watching Cruise with Expert Naturalists?
A:The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Face masks provided for travelers
  • Temperature checks for travelers upon arrival
See all safety measures taken by Whale-Watching Cruise with Expert Naturalists.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during Whale-Watching Cruise with Expert Naturalists?
A:The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Whale-Watching Cruise with Expert Naturalists.
Q:
What is the social distancing policy during Whale-Watching Cruise with Expert Naturalists?
A:The policy on social distancing is:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
See all safety measures taken by Whale-Watching Cruise with Expert Naturalists.
Q:
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Whale-Watching Cruise with Expert Naturalists?
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
See all safety measures taken by Whale-Watching Cruise with Expert Naturalists.

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Reviews

4.5
star-4.5
126 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

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Showing 1-10 of 126 reviews
star-3
The expectations were not meet
AlickFeldman_F
, Jul 2022
The cruise was long way drive toward the destination. The sea lions were amazing addition to the trip. However 5 minutes watch of whales that I saw in the past wasn't worth it. I took that cruise to see the whales killer as promoted, but they were not there.
icon Response from Host , Jul 2022
We are sorry that you feel this way regarding the tour, the sightings and your experience, however we do disagree and do not understand the poor review in its entirety. We do welcome respectful feedback, however we do feel some of your points do not come across as such. Our boat crew explained that you did encounter a large number of humpback whales at 100 metres, which is a legal and respectful requirement for viewing this species of whale. This species is the largest we typically encounter in the Salish Sea, and is between 30-40 tonnes. Most of our guests feel humbled and grateful to see such an amazing animal, we are sorry you did not feel the same. We also spent 30 minutes with these Humpbacks, not 5 minutes as you falsely claimed. We deal with Wild Whales that travel 60-100 miles a day and so we have to travel to wherever they are on a given day. Our crew did explain that we had been dealing with extreme tides and that the strong ebb tide had pushed the Whales out to the west. The Captain worked very hard to make sure you and the other (much more appreciative guests) saw Whales that day! Five Star does not promote Killer Whales specifically, we promote Whale Watching. No company can guarantee you will see Orcas, they travel up to 100 miles a day and are stealthy hunters that have no set pattern. So your expectations were unrealistic. Perhaps you would be better going to an aquarium. Many of the guests on that same tour were thrilled (look at the review above this one from someone on the exact same tour)!
star-1
Not for cruisers
Amanda_R
, Jul 2022
Our ship was going to be over 2 hours late getting to Victoria and as soon as I had service I called from the ship 3.5 hours before the booking to let them know our ship wasn’t going to make it. They had no idea, and most of their bookings for that night were from our ship. I politely asked for a refund since I had zero control over the situation, but no go. “Please visit us again when you’re back in Victoria”….probably not. I’ll get it back from American Express luckily.
icon Response from Host , Jul 2022
We are sorry that you missed your tour with us, and we are also sorry that you have decided to write this poor review of Five Star. Our procedures are stated upon booking online (which you did so) and after booking (through confirmation email). These procedures state a 24-hour cancelation policy. We are sorry that the cruise ship was late coming into its Victoria port, but we compare the situation to missing a flight, ferry or other mode of transportation, etc. Refunds are usually not provided in these cases. If the taxi taking you to the cruise ship had been late and you had missed the departure of the ship, the cruise ship would not have refunded you. This situation was not the fault of Five Star. We instructed you to get compensation from the cruise ship as this was their fault. Yet you expect a small business to lose money through no fault of their own but will not hold the large corporation responsible. Though we attempt to delay our trips whenever possible, the 2+ hour delay did not make this at all possible in regards to the light conditions we would have had available in the late evening and the cruise ship departure. Thank you for your understanding, we hope our reply helps to put the situation in a different perspective, one which is from a small locally-owned business. Over the years we have taken thousands of cruise ship passengers out on Whale Watching tours and with fantastic results. If you had booked through Shore Excursions you would have been provided a refund. You also could have gone through your travel insurance.
star-5
For a great experience.
Coastal38863686393
, Sep 2019
It was evident that our guides were knowledgeable, educated, and loved what they were doing. Our experience was wonderful and relaxing and we saw things we never imagined. The ocean life is amazing and I have a new respect for the creatutes that live there. Thank you for this experiece.
1 traveler found this review helpful
star-4
Saw Humpbacks
Sarah L
, Sep 2019
My friends all had an awesome time which was great! We saw Humpbacks pretty close, lots of sea lions and one or two porpoises. I was dissapointed that that was all we saw though. Maybe my expectations were to high, but I would have loved to see Orcas.
star-4
Fun experience
Lisa_L
, Aug 2019
We were able to see several humpback tales. I would have loved to get closer but seeing whales is the luck of the draw.
star-5
Excellent!
ChantelleFromVic
, Aug 2019
The staff were friendly and knowledgeable, the boat was comfortable and spacious and we saw several species of whales! Overall a fantastic trip and I would happily do it again.
icon Response from Host , Aug 2019
Thank you very much for taking the time to leave a review. I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed your tour exploring the Salish Sea. We hope to see you again! Warmly, Melina Sorensen Office Manager
star-5
What fun!
Sandra_D
, Jul 2019
We had a beautiful day to go out looking for whales! It was easy to move around the boat, inside or outside. The naturalists were so friendly and knowledgeable about the wildlife we saw. Our captain found several big humpback whales as well as a mom and baby humpback. We also saw sea lions, seals, otters, and even an elephant seal! It was a great morning!
icon Response from Host , Aug 2019
Sandy, I am so glad to hear you had a fun trip with such a variety of marine life! I will be sure to pass your kind words along to our crew, who love to hear such positive feedback. Thank you for taking the time to leave a review, and we hope to see you again! Warm regards, Melina Sorensen Office Manager
star-4
Too Early
Roving55360651698
, May 2019
It was an enjoyable day on the water but unfortunately we booked too early in the season. Was advised by the staff that the Orcas were not in the area yet. I will know better next time. Nice boat and very nice crew. They even kept us out on the water an hour extra to insure they found us at least one whale to look at. Much appreciated.
star-5
A very good boat trip!
Martin H
, Apr 2019
Great staff, clean boat, informative and good all round value! Very punctual with leaving and getting back. They know their stuff!
star-5
Excellent tour!!
Linda_S
, Oct 2018
Very professional and knowledgeable staff. We saw many humpback whales and one with her baby. The head guide kept us continually updated on where we were going and interesting facts. We also saw huge sea lions on the lighthouse island and some seals. It was definitely the BEST tour we took in Victoria! Thank you again.
star-5
Excellent tour, friendly...
Harry_A
, Jul 2018
Excellent tour, friendly knowledgeable staff who took excellent care of us while on this tour.
star-5
Great excursion!!! The crew were...
areino
, Oct 2017
Great excursion!!! The crew were fantastic, the boat is very comfortable and best of all we were able to see some humpbacks, porpoises and lots of other marine mammals! It was a nice sunny day which helped a lot but keep in mind that once you are out in the open waters, it does get chilly when the boat is cruising. They do provide warm coats plus coffee and hot chocolate. Our expert naturalist can't remember her name was fantastic and it was great to see how excited she got when we spotted a whale even though she does this all of the time... her excitement was infectious and it made for a more fun experience plus she really knew her stuff!!! Highly recommend this one over the zodiacs myself if you are looking for a more comfortable way to see the whales without losing out on getting up close.
star-5
Really enjoyed this cruise. The...
Deborah O
, Oct 2017
Really enjoyed this cruise. The naturalists were very informative about the whales, the ecological challenges marine life is facing today. The boat was comfortable and my husband was particularly appreciative of the warm parkas they keep on board for passenger use. It was a very interesting afternoon and I would not hesitate to take another tour with them should I come back to Victoria.
star-5
our trip was exciting , challenging...
Brendong P
, Sep 2017
our trip was exciting , challenging and fun. we saw whales at a distance. Mother nature was kind enough to give us great weather and whales to watch.Our guides were so great they are experience both in knowledge and care of the passengers. My wife was feeling sea sick in the middle part of the trip and our guide took really great care of her which I am very thankful. The trip is highly recommended I suggest you take some anti motion sickness pills prior as the waters can be roucg when the boat speeds up.
star-5
What an amazing cruise! The...
Shari S
, Aug 2017
What an amazing cruise! The naturalists on board were very knowledgeable and were great at answering any questions we had. The captain did an excellent job of finding good areas to see whales and other marine animals. Highly recommend!
star-5
The cruise was amazing! It was as if...
Stephanie G
, Aug 2017
The cruise was amazing! It was as if the whales, sea lions and harbor seals were performing for us that day.
star-4
It was a great afternoon.... So...
Sharon J
, Aug 2017
It was a great afternoon.... So nice to be able to see the whales. My only regret was that we couldn't get closer to them. It seemed like the other boats that were out there were closer. But no complaints.
star-4
Very enjoyable 3 hours. 2 humpbacks...
Randy C
, Aug 2016
Very enjoyable 3 hours. 2 humpbacks surfaced right next to boat, saw 2000 lb steller seals. Disappointed we did not see orcas, but that is hit and miss.
star-5
Had a fantastic time and the crew...
Rosalyn B
, Aug 2016
Had a fantastic time and the crew was great! We spent just the right amount of time at each viewing site.
star-5
This was a wonderful experience...
Bernd W
, Aug 2016
This was a wonderful experience. Standing on the boat and driving to the strait of juan de fuca is a lot of fun. We saw 3-5 humpback whales, 30ish sea lions and 10-15 orca whales. One of the orcase swam directly under our boat and it was quasi underneath us. I would do this trip again! The staff was very friendly and offered us free coffee and hot chocolate.

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