Blue Whale Watching

Summer 2022

Blue whales, the largest mammal and possibly the largest animal to ever inhabit Earth, can be spotted swimming and feeding off the coast of California during the summer months, typically June through September. Each cruise is a breathtaking experience that gives guests the ability to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. The 4-hour tour includes live narration by experienced City Cruises captains and the Museum Whalers, trained naturalists who accompany every cruise. You’ll stay cozy and comfortable with both indoor and outdoor seating, a snack bar featuring hot food and a full bar. Cruises are 9 AM–1 PM on Saturdays and Sundays; later this summer, cruises will be four days per week--Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. To make reservations please visit City Cruises anchored by Hornblower.

In addition to blue whales, guests often spot minke whales, fin whales, and large pods of dolphins. Check out Hornblower's Whale Sightings Report for up-to-the-minute information.

Did You Know?

  • Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) are long and slender, having a remarkably streamlined shape for such a large animal. They are the largest mammal on Earth. Int the Southern Hemisphere some are as long as 110 feet and weighing 165 tons or more.

  • Blue whales are found in all oceans of the world and sighted off the coast of San Diego each summer. They mate and calve in tropical-to-temperate waters during winter months and feed in higher latitudes during summer months. The largest population in the northern hemisphere is found along the west coast of North America and the high level of productivity off southern California seems to attract a number of these animals each year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that there are approximately 10,000 blue whales worldwide.

  • Blue whales are classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In 1966, the International Whaling Commission(IWC) banned all hunting of blue whales and gave them worldwide protection. Recovery has been extremely slow, and only in the last few years have there been signs that their numbers may be increasing. NOAA estimates that blue whales once numbered about 180,000 worldwide.