Boston Whale Watching Cruises

Boston Whale Watching Cruises: Embark on an Oceanic Adventure in the Heart of the City

Captivating Encounters with Majestic Whales & Dolphins Embark on a remarkable journey with Boston’s whale watching excursions, granting you the extraordinary opportunity to witness the captivating behavior of some of the ocean’s most mesmerizing creatures. Despite being merely a short distance away from the city, you will find yourself fully immersed in a different realm altogether.

Prepare to marvel at the awe-inspiring spectacle of whales gracefully plunging into the water, witness playful pods of dolphins in close proximity, and observe various species of seabirds and marine life. It will become evident why many cruise passengers describe this experience as nothing short of a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

How many majestic whales will grace your presence? Typically, you can expect to encounter anywhere from 3 to 4, and occasionally even 10 or more. There are instances where fortunate sightings reach astonishing numbers, with as many as 50 or more whales spotted. Skilled captains of the whale cruise boats possess the expertise to approach these magnificent creatures without causing disturbance or unintentional harm, ensuring you enjoy superb views as the whales frolic in their aquatic domain.

As an added bonus, during your cruise to witness the whales, you will be treated to a captivating tour of the renowned Boston Harbor Islands. Along the way, you will catch glimpses of historic lighthouses, complemented by breathtaking views of Boston’s picturesque skyline on the return journey.

Departing daily from the convenient downtown Boston waterfront, these cruises offer utmost convenience, and you can effortlessly secure your tickets online.

“We were fortunate to witness the presence of ten distinct whales simultaneously! Their exuberant leaps seemed like an exclusive performance dedicated solely to us. I was so enraptured by this experience that I wish to relive it each day!”

Boston, Massachusetts

What to Anticipate on a Whale Watching Excursion

Look for breaching whales during your cruise - always a special sight!

Embark on a remarkable adventure with Boston Harbor Cruises and the New England Aquarium, collaborating to offer you an exceptional cruise experience accompanied by expert marine biologists who will share captivating insights about the marine life you will encounter.

Your whale watching excursion will take place aboard a state-of-the-art, high-speed catamaran exclusively designed for comfort. It boasts three spacious outdoor viewing decks, a climate-controlled cabin, and can accommodate up to 400 passengers. This vessel will swiftly transport you to Stellwagen Bank, a vast protected National Marine Sanctuary situated approximately 25 miles east of Boston. This sanctuary serves as an ideal feeding ground for various marine species during the spring, summer, and fall seasons.

Throughout the cruise, a certified naturalist from the New England Aquarium will accompany you, providing detailed explanations of the sights you will behold. They will gladly address your inquiries and share their extensive knowledge about the whales, white-sided dolphins, harbor porpoises, and other marine creatures inhabiting the sanctuary. Moreover, you will be treated to the remarkable spectacle of diverse seabirds.

The whale watch excursion typically spans approximately 3 to 4 hours, occasionally extending slightly due to prevailing weather and wind conditions. The optimal time for Boston’s finest whale watching experiences is from late March to November, when the tours are conducted.

Departures take place from Central Wharf on the Downtown Boston Waterfront, conveniently located adjacent to the New England Aquarium.

What to Expect:

  • Anticipate the presence of majestic whales from various species, predominantly humpbacks, fin whales, and minkes. On fortunate occasions, you may also catch glimpses of pilot whales, endangered right whales, sperm whales, and a few other rare species. A particularly delightful experience awaits as you observe the playful antics of young whale calves.
  • Humpback whales frequently engage in breaching, gracefully leaping out of the water, sometimes even multiple times. Ensure your camera is readily available to capture these extraordinary moments.
  • Prepare to encounter pods of lively dolphins, occasionally numbering in the hundreds, along with seals, harbor porpoises, and an abundance of seabirds. Don’t be surprised if you witness dolphins engaging in breaching behavior as well.
  • Indulge in the awe-inspiring vistas offered by the catamaran’s three spacious exterior viewing decks, complemented by equally impressive views from the comfortable climate-controlled interior cabin.
  • During your journey, the knowledgeable naturalist aboard may refer to the adult humpback whales by names bestowed upon them by researchers who diligently track and monitor their annual migration between the Caribbean and Stellwagen Bank.
  • With a significant whale population residing in Stellwagen Bank, the tour boat operator, Boston Harbor Cruises, guarantees whale sightings on every excursion. In the unlikely event that no whales are spotted during your trip, they generously offer a complimentary ticket for a future whale watching cruise.

Whale Watching Cruise Tickets

Close-up view of a whale spotted on a Boston whale watching cruise

Embark on an exhilarating journey aboard our captivating 3-hour Whale Watching Cruises, departing from the vibrant Downtown Boston Waterfront. Prepare yourself for an unforgettable experience as you witness the awe-inspiring sight of whales frolicking off the picturesque coast of Boston.

Immerse yourself in the presence of magnificent creatures like Humpback and Finback whales, as you observe them up close from the expansive deck of your ship. Additionally, keep an eye out for the playful White-Sided Dolphins gracefully dancing in the surrounding waters.

Tickets for these sought-after cruises tend to sell out swiftly, so seize the opportunity and secure your spot now to partake in this quintessential Boston adventure!

Essentials for Your Whale Watching Cruise

Tail of a humpback whale, seen on a whale watching cruise

  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat: The sunlight bouncing off the water can be intensified, surpassing the strength experienced on land. As there is usually a gentle breeze, ensure your hat fits snugly to shield you from the elements.
  • Camera (or phone) and/or binoculars: Prepare to capture countless captivating moments and enjoy uninterrupted observations. To safeguard your equipment, opt for a waterproof camera or phone, as you might encounter splashes during your photography endeavors.
  • Sweater or jacket, ranging from light to medium weight depending on the season: Be mindful that the temperature on the water can be considerably cooler compared to land, often accompanied by a refreshing breeze. For optimal comfort, a windproof jacket is highly recommended.
  • Motion-sickness medication: Not necessary. The catamarans utilized for Boston whale watching cruises are meticulously designed to provide exceptional stability. However, if you anticipate motion sickness, it is advisable to take a motion-sickness remedy like Dramamine (or a similar alternative) at least an hour before boarding.
  • Comfortable rubber-soled sneakers or shoes: For enhanced stability and ease of movement on the decks, it is preferable to opt for comfortable footwear such as rubber-soled sneakers. Sandals or flip-flops are less suitable for navigating the ship’s various areas.
  • Food: No need to bring your own provisions as the ship’s galley offers an assortment of sandwiches, fruits, snacks, and both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages for purchase. Kindly ensure you have cash on hand, as connectivity glitches at sea may prevent credit or debit card transactions.

Tips for Saving Money on Boston Whale Watch Tickets

  • Discover the Secrets to Discounted Boston Whale Watch Tickets
  • Uncover the Ways to Save on Your Boston Whale Watching Experience

Get a Go Boston Discount Card for Unbeatable Savings

Opt for the Go Boston Discount Card, available for 3, 5, or 7 days, and unlock incredible benefits. In addition to saving up to 55% with free admission to over 40 top attractions in Boston, you’ll also receive complimentary access to one of these premium attractions: the New England Aquarium Whale Watch Cruise, Boston Duck Tour, Boston Red Sox Fenway Park Ticket, or Blue Man Group Ticket. (Please note that availability of these options may vary depending on the season.)

Essential Information: Frequently Asked Questions about Boston’s Whale Watching Excursions

  • Is it advisable to purchase tickets in advance? Certainly! These whale watch cruises are highly sought after and have limited capacity. They often sell out quickly, particularly during weekends, holidays, and the summer months. To ensure a smooth experience, save time, secure your preferred date, and find the best deals, it is recommended to purchase your tickets online in advance.
  • Do whale watching cruises operate throughout the year? No, they do not. Whale watching cruises run until late November, after which they pause for the winter when the whales migrate south to the Caribbean. They resume again in late March when the whales return to the New England region.
  • When is the optimal time for whale watching cruises in Boston? Whale sightings are possible from early spring to late fall, spanning from mid-March through November or early December. The boat captains guarantee spotting opportunities during this period. The peak season for these tours typically occurs between April and October, as November weather becomes increasingly unpredictable. However, November can occasionally offer the best chance to witness a significant number of whales, with some cruises reporting sightings of 30 to 50 or more.
  • Which side of the boat provides the best views of the whales? Both sides of the boat offer excellent views since the captain skillfully maneuvers the vessel to ensure everyone has a fantastic vantage point. If you don’t experience seasickness, consider positioning yourself at the front of the top deck for breathtaking views. However, if you’re prone to queasiness caused by ocean swells, the lower deck will still provide a good view.
  • How large are the whales? Humpback whales can reach lengths of up to 50 feet and weigh around 45 tons. If you’re incredibly fortunate, you might witness them “breaching,” leaping out of the water in a spectacular display. As you can imagine, such colossal creatures create an enormous splash, causing the boat to sway. Finback whales are even larger, measuring up to 70 feet in length and weighing approximately 65 tons.
  • How close will you get to the whales? The proximity to the whales and other marine mammals depends on various factors. The boat captains strive to approach them as closely as possible without endangering the creatures. Generally, you can expect to be near enough to enjoy stunning views, capture remarkable photos, and record captivating videos of these magnificent creatures.
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