While Whale Watching Is a Worldwide Sensation, Alaska and British Columbia Reign Supreme.
One of the biggest perks of a cruise vacation is experiencing the wonder that is the ocean — and a large part of that magic is the wildlife that lives therein. As whales are an especially spectacular specimen of that wildlife, it’s no surprise that many consider whale watching to be one of the most life-changing experiences they’ve ever had.
It’s hard to come to terms with the scope of what makes whales such unbelievable creatures. And North America provides travelers with some of the most awe-inspiring whale-watching opportunities in the world — two of the best areas within it being Alaska and British Columbia.
Alaska (and its surrounding oceans) is home to wildlife of all sorts, including some species you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else on Earth in significant numbers — like whales. And Alaska’s capital city of Juneau is considered to be one of the best places in the area to set sail in order to experience some of the best whale watching in the world.
One of the biggest perks of Juneau is how calm the waters are around it. Juneau lies right off the Inside Passage, which is a route for shipmen and cruises that runs along the coasts of Alaska, Canada and northern Washington. It’s a popular route because it protects boats from the inclement weather and rougher seas that exist farther off the coast — making for an experience that’s as comfortable as it is thrilling. Seabourn’s Alaska cruises provide plenty of opportunity for wildlife viewing, including this whale watching excursion from Juneau available on select itineraries.
Whale watching in a region as far north as Alaska is most enjoyable in the summer months from May to September. Not only are these majestic creatures more active at this time, but the weather is very comfortable. While temperatures average in the low- to mid-60s Fahrenheit (16-18C), they can venture into the mid to high 70s F and sometimes higher (24-26C). (24C).
Lying in between Alaska and Washington is the Canadian province of British Columbia, which, unsurprisingly, also has some of the best whale-watching opportunities on the planet. One of the best places in British Columbia to go whale watching is Vancouver Island. Just off the coast of Vancouver in southern British Columbia, Victoria and other cities on Vancouver Island provide some of the best views of Orcas, Humpbacks, and Pacific Gray whales a traveler could want.
Moving over to the western coast of Vancouver Island, Tofino and Bamfield also offer amazing whale-watching tours and opportunities. In fact, in the late winter and early spring, more than 10,000 gray whales migrate past the area, making this truly one of the most tremendous whale-watching excursions you can take.
Because it’s one of the largest cities in all of Canada, Vancouver and the neighboring southern portion of Vancouver Island provide the most abundant opportunities for you to take whale-watching tours. But, for those willing to venture farther off the beaten path, towns like Port McNeill on the northern tip of Vancouver Island can also give travelers and enthusiasts a more intimate idea of what makes whale watching so special. From there you can take smaller vessels into the Johnstone Strait to see pods of Orcas that call the area home.
Like Alaska, the most popular time to visit British Columbia in search of whale watching is in summer, particularly in July and August — because of the moderate-to-warm temperatures. But as we mentioned earlier, visiting at other times, like in late spring, can also give whale watchers a very special experience.
Related Seabourn itineraries and amenities below
From orcas to stealthy submarines, there are hidden worlds filled with amazing secrets just below Alaska’s waterline.
Written by Rory Martin
Must-haves to keep you comfortable throughout your big adventure
Natural beauty and a rich history make this remote town a true destination
The immensity of the Great Land complements the intimacy of Seabourn Sojourn. Seen from the deck, snowy mountains loom in the blue sky, seeming almost close enough to touch.SEE MORE
A day on a Seabourn ship offers delightful diversions for activity or relaxation. Greet the sun for an on-deck yoga stretch, or roll over and snooze until later.See More