Vancouver Island Cruises & boat tours

Our most recommended Vancouver Island Cruises & boat tours

Victoria: 3-Hour Zodiac Whale-Watching Tour

1. 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.

Victoria: Sunset Whale Watching Tour on Semi-Covered Boat

2. Victoria: Sunset Whale Watching Tour on Semi-Covered Boat

Set sail after dinner and enjoy the chance to see waters in the water with fewer boats and fewer people. Enjoy the unique atmosphere of a 3-hour tour that returns to Victoria's Harbor as the sun is setting. Head out to the Salish Sea, take in the spectacular scenery and look out for whales, seals, and eagles. Relax aboard a semi-covered catamaran, the high-performance vessel that is used for this whale watching tour. The comfortable catamaran features onboard bathrooms, and guests are provided with jackets, blankets, sunglasses, toques, gloves, and sunscreen.

Vancouver: Victoria, Gulf Islands Cruise, & Butchart Gardens

3. Vancouver: Victoria, Gulf Islands Cruise, & Butchart Gardens

Experience the Pacific Coast and Vancouver Island by land and ship on a guided day trip from Vancouver with hotel transfers included. View the British Columbia coastline from a sightseeing cruise, followed by a stop at Butchart Gardens en route to the British-inspired city of Victoria. Board a BC Ferries vessel at Tsawwassen terminal for a 90-minute sail through the serene beauty of the Gulf Islands. On the way, look out for marine wildlife from the outdoor ship decks, especially eagles, sea lions, and whales. Arrive at Swartz Bay terminal on Vancouver Island and continue to the enchanting botanical paradise of Butchart Gardens. Wander through a series of themed gardens, highlighted by the massive Sunken Garden complete with a dancing fountain. Marvel at the architectural wonders of the city of Victoria boasts, including the iconic Parliament Buildings and the waterfront Fairmont Empress Hotel. Visit the shops and cafes of Government Street and Chinatown. Stroll along the Inner Harbour for prime ocean views, and enjoy some free time to take in this culturally significant city. Return on the bus to Vancouver by ferry to conclude this diverse tour.

Telegraph Cove: Half-Day Whale Watching Tour

4. 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. 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.

Campbell River: Whales, Wildlife & Culture Tour

5. 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.

Victoria: Whale Watching Cruise by Covered Boat

6. Victoria: Whale Watching Cruise by Covered Boat

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. Avail of the heated indoor cabin and 2 open air sundecks that are ideal for photography.

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: Sunset Whale Watching Tour

8. 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.

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.

Victoria: Whale and Wildlife Semi-Covered Boating Tour

10. 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.

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What people are saying about Vancouver Island

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 116 reviews

The whale watching tour and company was fantastic. No issues with going through a third party. The contact section in the app does not get through to the actual guide company, so go through the company’s website for any further inquiries. Get your guide customer service is unfortunately not helpful or knowledgeable to assist with specific questions (very friendly, however).

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.

Friendly knowledgeable captains. Jordan was very witty and entertaining on top of being a great whale finder. Ive been out with them 2 years in a row now. Great price for 3 hours on the water. Highly recommend this company!!

Captain was great and saw a few humpbacks and so many (very smelly lol) seals! Great trip, thank you :)

Unvergessliches Erlebnis, sehr nettes Team. Wir können diese Tour nur wärmsten weiter empfehlen.