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Vancouver Island Cruises & boat tours

Our most recommended Vancouver Island Cruises & boat tours

Whale Watching Tour in Victoria, BC

1. Whale Watching Tour in Victoria, BC

Have the chance to witness the area's diversity of whale species including humpback whales, Bigg's orcas, minke whales, and gray whales. The spotting network and years of experience in locating the whales ensure a high success rate for tours. The area of operations in the water surrounding Southern Vancouver Island, Victoria, the Gulf Islands, and Juan de Fuca Strait is a critical area for multiple species of whales, including other marine animals like seals, sea lions, sea otters, and marine birds. You may even spot more rare species such as elephant seals and dolphins. Listen as your crew introduces you to these magnificent animals and share with you the myriad of other natural wonders abundant in this pristine marine environment. The Salish Sea, the water off Victoria, is home to an abundance of marine wildlife. During the tour, explore various feeding areas that attract whales to local waters. Have the opportunity to see orcas and humpback whales in their natural habitat.  Other possible encounters include minke and gray whales. The Salish Sea is also home to seals, sea lions, porpoises, otters, and many more sea animals. Let five-star whale watching introduce you to the wonders of the Salish Sea.

Victoria: 3-Hour Zodiac Whale-Watching Tour

2. Victoria: 3-Hour Zodiac Whale-Watching Tour

Experience the awe and inspiration of seeing whales in their natural environment on this unique whale-watching excursion from Victoria. Cruise along in an open zodiac boat on the Salish Sea, and get the chance to spot orcas, humpback, minke, and gray whales, as well as porpoises and seals. After being collected from your downtown accommodation in a comfortable shuttle bus, you will venture down to the harbor where you will meet with your boat. After meeting your guides for the day, you will then depart from Victoria, setting off on your 3-hour whale-watching tour. Between April and October, you will have a greater than 95% success rate of spotting whales, including both transient and resident orcas, humpback, minke, and gray whales. Other wildlife you may encounter include Dall’s and harbor porpoises, harbor and elephant seals, and otters and marine birds such as cormorants and bald eagles. The zodiac vessels used on your tour are definitely recommended for the wild-at-heart. You can let the wind blow in your hair and be exposed to the true west-coast elements in an open-style, 12-passenger vessel. At the conclusion of your exhilarating tour, you will be returned back to the harbor, at which point you will be driven back to your accommodation in downtown Victoria.

Campbell River: Whales, Wildlife & Culture Tour

3. Campbell River: Whales, Wildlife & Culture Tour

Go in search of a variety of fascinating wildlife species which can be found off the coast of Vancouver Island, including humpback whales, orcas (killer whales), porpoises, dolphins, sea lions, otters, bald eagles, and a variety of marine birds. The tour vessel includes both indoor and outdoor seating options. Take the outdoor adventure seats that allow for wind-in-your-face exploring and wildlife watching. Inside the warm and protected cabin, find comfortable seats with large windows and a bathroom. As you explore the area, learn more about the rich history of the First Nations of Campbell River and the Discovery Islands. Learn about the tribes who have resided in the region for centuries including the Homalco, Klahoose, Tla’amin, K’ómoks, Wei Wai Kum, We Wai Kai, and more. The guides and skippers will share their expert knowledge of history, legends, stories, and culturally significant sites throughout the excursion.

Campbell River: Whale & Wildlife Discovery Cruise

4. Campbell River: Whale & Wildlife Discovery Cruise

Spend a day on the water and discover local wildlife on this Campbell River cruise. Visit the Salish Sea, Discovery Passage, and Johnstone Strait. With an abundance of wildlife in the area, you are likely to encounter many animals both on land and at sea. Choose from two vessel options for your cruise. A covered vessel with indoor seating offers a good option for families. Alternatively, a zodiac-style vessel offers a good option for those who like being outdoors and want to feel the wind through their hair. Hop aboard your chosen vessel, then sit back and relax. Keep an eye out for humpback whales, killer whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, bears, Steller sea lions, and more. Learn from an on-board naturalist and listen to the sounds of whales through hydrophones. While it might not be possible to guarantee you’ll see all of these animals on your tour, this tour offers a great opportunity to see everything that is possible.

Victoria: Sunset Whale Watching Tour

5. Victoria: Sunset Whale Watching Tour

Depart in the evening from Victoria's beautiful inner harbor and head out into the Salish Sea in search of whales and other wonderful marine life. During the 3-hour tour, search for orcas, humpback whales, minke whales, and gray whales, that visit the Salish Sea in search of food. Encounter other marine life such as seals, sea lions, porpoises, otters and various marine birds. Listen to an inspiring and educational talk from the Marine Naturalists as they describe and interpret the spectacular environment, extensive history, and stunning scenery of the Salish Sea. If the weather cooperates, enjoy the stunning sunset views.

Victoria: Whale Watching Cruise by Covered Boat

6. Victoria: Whale Watching Cruise by Covered Boat

Experience the majesty of the Salish Sea and its wildlife, from whales surfacing in unison to bald eagles soaring overhead. Cut through the Strait of Juan de Fuca’s currents in search of orcas and humpback whales, and listen to our marine mammal experts bring the animals’ stories to life. Climb aboard the new Salish Sea catamaran-style boat, custom-designed for whale watching. Push through the waves with ease as you search for whales and other marine species. Stop at different points of interest within the protected waters of the Haro Strait and Strait of Juan de Fuca, where your captain will position the boat parallel to the animals for great photo opportunities. Learn more about the wildlife from up to 3 top marine naturalists. Enjoy the heated indoor cabin and 2 open air sundecks that are ideal for photography, or immerse yourself in this experience while we take free high-resolution photos of the wildlife, the landscape. and your loved ones.

From Victoria: Whale Watching 3-Hour Trip on Covered Boat

7. From Victoria: Whale Watching 3-Hour Trip on Covered Boat

Join certified marine naturalists on a cruise from Victoria to spot whales, including both transient and resident orcas, humpbacks, minke, and gray whales. Benefit from hotel pickup and drop-off and relax with guaranteed whale sightings and a conservation fee included in the tour price. After meeting at the pier, begin your carbon-neutral tour led by certified marine naturalists who will share their knowledge and passion for Vancouver Island’s marine wildlife with you. Whilst on the boat, enjoy complimentary coffee and tea, onboard bathrooms, and indoor and outdoor viewing areas.  You may also encounter Dall’s and harbor porpoises, harbor and elephant seals, otters, and marine birds such as cormorants and bald eagles.  Make the best of peak whale watching season in Victoria which runs from April through October. In the event of an unlucky tour, you will be invited to join again for a complimentary second whale-watching tour to bring your dreams of seeing these magnificent animals to life.

Victoria: Whale and Wildlife Semi-Covered Boating Tour

8. Victoria: Whale and Wildlife Semi-Covered Boating Tour

After gathering at the pier you will meet with your guides before boarding your boat. The vessel for this tour will be a semi-covered catamaran with both indoor and outdoor seating. This vessel offers both an indoor viewing area as well as multiple outdoor viewing decks, and includes on-board restrooms. Once hitting the water, you'll begin your over 4-hour experience which includes a 98% sighting success rate. Your team members will be excited to share everything that this natural treasure chest has to offer, as you make multiple wildlife stops throughout your journey. At each stop your guides will provide world-class interpretation and personalized service to help you best understand this unique ecosystem. Throughout the experience you will have the chance to encounter whales, seals, and eagles, among other residents of the region. At the conclusion of your tour, you'll make your way back to the tour starting point.

Campbell River: Whale Watching Cruise with Lunch

9. Campbell River: Whale Watching Cruise with Lunch

Take a whale-watching cruise through Discovery Passage on a partially-covered and spacious boat on this tour from Campbell River. Have the chance to spot humpbacks, dolphins, and orcas in their natural environment. Enjoy lunch during a stop on the route. Board the ship at Brown’s Bay Marina in Campbell River and begin your whale watching adventure. Travel with a captain that is fortunate enough to be a part of a whale watching community in Campbell River, so they know where to look to increase your whale-spotting chances. Venture out further and explore some of the more pristine and remote areas of the coast. In the spring and fall, see black bears and grizzlies scavenging on the beach. Make a stop to go to shore and eat homemade sandwiches and snacks. Sip on coffee, hot chocolate, and tea. Return to your starting point at the end of your tour.

Telegraph Cove: Half-Day Whale Watching Tour

10. Telegraph Cove: Half-Day Whale Watching Tour

After gathering at the Telegraph Cove Resort, you will embark on your 3-hour, fully-guided whale watching and wildlife viewing adventure. In true comfort and style, your crew will be excited to take you to Johnstone Strait, in search of the majestic wildlife that floods the local waters here in the summer months. You can take advantage of the opportunity to view killer whales and humpback whales in the wild, as well as an assortment of seabirds and other species of marine wildlife. Immerse yourself completely in this incredible experience while we take free high-resolution photos of the wildlife, the landscape and your loved ones! The Ocean Magic II is a custom designed marine marvel, which combines the practicality of a semi-covered vessel with the speed and maneuverability of a Zodiac. With three naturalists on board and two different viewing elevations, this is the only purpose-built whale watching vessel of its size in the industry. Sip your coffee, feel the wind in your hair or keep cozy under cover while you explore the pacific northwest.

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What people are saying about Vancouver Island

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 116 reviews

This was the most amazing experience EVER. We went as a group of 4. We were all kitted out with body length wetsuits. Please don’t wear flip flops like I did as my toes nearly fell off with frostbite lol. We see a huge whale that went under the boat and played around for a while. We then seen some sea lions and a bald eagle. Our guide was fantastic and so enthusiastic.

Richard, Pat, Scott and Carol looked after us perfectly and gave us a few exciting and fun hours despite the cold, rainy weather. Carol took photos and we were sent the photos to download after the tour. Super photos, great service, so you can enjoy yourself. Oh, and we also saw a few whales and some other animals :-).

We had an amazing time on whale watching tour, seen many hump backs, a pod of orcas and a ton of sea lions. A great time!

Excellent trip. Saw lots of wildlife including two different whales.

Great experience! Knowledgeable staff. Very enjoyable.