The season begins with cruises on weekends only from Oct. 14 to Nov. 26 and kicks into high gear with twice-daily cruises starting Dec. 2 and running through April 15. Led by expert naturalists from Birch Aquarium, guests will witness part of the longest marine mammal migrations in the world, when 20,000 semi-truck-sized Gray Whales pass San Diego on their 10,000-mile round-trip journey from the Bering Sea to Baja California’s tranquil lagoons.
These behemoths hug the San Diego coast on both legs of their journey, delighting guests with glimpses of their intimate lives. Lucky passengers will witness whales breaching, or hurling themselves out of the water and mating, and may even get a glimpse of newborn calves.
Beyond Gray Whales, the 3.5-hour cruises include a San Diego Bay harbor tour — including highlights of San Diego’s military history — and glimpses of dolphins, seals, sea lions, seabirds, and more.
Flagship Cruises and Events’ Marietta is a family-friendly boat and offers 360-degree views from the upper sun deck, multiple restrooms, and free WiFi. The onboard snack bar features lunch items, snacks, drinks, and alcoholic beverages for purchase.
Weekend cruise tickets are $47 for adults and $24 for children ages 4-12, weekday tickets are $42 for adults and $21 for children, and ages 3 and under are free every day. Discounts for military, seniors, and Birch Aquarium members are also available. Cruises depart at 9:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. at 990 Harbor Drive in Downtown San Diego.
For tickets, visit www.aquarium.ucsd.edu/experiences/programs/whale-watchingby phone at 619-234-4111, or at the Flagship Cruises and Events Kiosk on the Embarcadero in Downtown San Diego. Advanced purchase is recommended, especially for weekend cruises.