Whale Press Releases


Starting December 14th, Whale Watching Tours Depart Twice Daily From Downtown San Diego

San Diego, California (Dec. 13, 2014) – Starting December 14th, Hornblower Cruises & Events will once again offer San Diego visitors and residents the epic experience of getting up close and personal with some of the most magnificent creatures on earth – guaranteed.  For nearly 25 years, Hornblower’s Captains have introduced thousands of passengers to the wonder and excitement of whale watching.  There is no better, safer and drier way to witness the whale migration as thousands of grays, finbacks and humpbacks migrate off the coast.  As Hornblower’s yacht heads out to the Pacific, passengers will also enjoy 360-views of the San Diego skyline, as well as sightings of sea lions, dolphins and sea birds.  Throw in the fresh salty air and the feeling of freedom that comes with gliding across the ocean — and passengers will make memories to last a lifetime.

Highlights include:

Interaction with Trained Docents from theNat (San Diego Natural History Museum): To make Hornblower’s cruise truly educational, volunteer naturalists from theNat provide ongoing commentary for spotting spouts, flukes, and massive whale tails, as well as information about whale behaviors.

A Comfortable (and Dry) Experience:  Unlike traditional small boat whale watching trips (where foul weather gear is a   necessary accessory), Hornblower provides the ability to view these beautiful creatures from large yachts, which provide unparalleled stability through the ocean waves. With top-level outdoor sundecks rising 30 ft. above the water and climate-controlled indoor levels, Hornblower yachts ensure optimal comfort and panoramic views for everyone.

Whale Sighting Guarantee:  If a whale is not sighted during a cruise, passengers will receive a pass good for a choice to return for another Whale Watching Cruise or a tour of the harbor instead.  Hornblower guarantees that every passenger will experience the exhilaration of seeing a whale break the surface of the water for the first time.

Food Service and Full Bar:  Passengers can purchase delicious snacks and lunch, complimented by a full bar service.

Reservations are now being accepted:

Times:  With two 3½hour cruises offered daily starting at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., everyone can find the perfect day for their adventure. Cruises leave from the San Diego Navy Pier at 970 N. Harbor Drive.

Tickets:  Weekend (Saturday and Sunday) costs are $44 for adults, $22 for children ages 4 to 12 and $42 for seniors and the military.  Weekday costs are $39 for adults, $19.50 for children ages 4 to 12 and $37 for seniors and the military.  Tax, service charge and landing fees are additional.  Children under 3 are free.  Discounts for groups of 20 or more and Hornblower Whale Club Card season passes are also available.  For more information and to make reservations, please visit http://www.hornblower.com/port/overview/sd+whalewatching or call 800-ON-THE-BAY

.San Diego Whale Watching Infographic

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Hornblower Cruises & Events has been the leading charter yacht and public dining cruise operator headquartered in California for over 32 years. The company operates over 70 vessels, including the three largest dining yachts on the West Coast, and has ports in San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Marina del Rey, San Diego, and New York City. Two Hornblower subsidiary businesses, Alcatraz Cruises and Statue Cruises, are National Park Service ferry concessioners to Alcatraz Island and the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, respectively. In 2014, Hornblower began operating the third subsidiary, Hornblower Niagara Cruises, out of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. For more information visit: www.hornblower.com/pressroom





Hornblower to Launch New Blue Whale Watching Cruises this Summer!

Blue Whale Watching Adventures to begin on July 5, 2014
Catalina Londono_blue whale

For the first time ever, Hornblower Cruises & Events will embark on Blue Whale Watching Adventure Cruises this summer.  In the last five years, the blue whale migration has grown in San Diego, with over a thousand whales being spotted in a single previous season. Passengers can now experience of the wonder of watching the largest mammal on earth as it migrates through the waters off the San Diego coast.

Hornblower Cruises & Events is offering a 4-hour Blue Whale Watching Adventure, with an opportunity to spot whales, sea lions, and dolphins, as well as all the sights of San Diego Bay.  Included in the adventure is live narration on marine life by Hornblower’s experienced captains and volunteer naturalists from the San Diego Natural History Museum (theNat).  Snack bars on board feature hot food, a full bar and souvenirs.

Hornblower Cruises’ experienced captains and crew know the best places to find whales and the tours head directly to the prime viewing areas off of San Diego’s coast.  Blue whales migrate along the California coast from July through early September.  They are often accompanied by the second largest whale, the finback.  The size of the two whales makes for some great whale watching experiences.  Also spotted is the California favorite, the humpback whale.  Passengers will see massive whale tails, along with the whales feeding on huge quantities of krill.

Cruise Details & How to Buy Tickets: For reservations call 619-686-8715 or visit the website, hornblower.com.

Hornblower Cruises & Events’ Blue Whale Watching Adventure will sail every Saturday and Sunday from July 5 to August 31.  Passengers will board at 8:45am and sail from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Reservations are now open and tickets cost $75 for adults, $40 for children ages 4 to 12 and $73 for seniors.  Children under four are free.  Groups of 20 or more can arrange outings at a discount.  To follow whale watching season and to purchase tickets, visit the San Diego Whale Report at www.sandiegowhalewatching.com.


Hornblower Cruises & Events has been the leading charter yacht and public dining cruise company for over 32 years.  The company has operates 32 vessels in San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Marina Del Rey, San Diego and New York City.  In addition, Hornblower San Diego offers seasonal Whale and Dolphin Watching Adventures and year round Harbor Cruises.  For more information visit, www.hornblower.com/pressroom


The Inspiration Behind new local Book about Whale Watching in San Diego


Breaching Gray Whale Photo taken by Michael Roeder on 2/19/14 from Hornblower Cruises Whale Watching.

Michael Roeder and Scotty Schmidt have been aboard Hornblower’s Whale Watching Cruises more often than some of the actual Hornblower Captains! Why? Michael and Scotty just finished a book called “1000 Whales in a Year”. The book is for sale on Hornblower’s Whale Watching Cruises and on almost any given day you can get an autograph from the authors Mike and Scotty and even a photo with the pair of dedicated whale enthusiasts. The book’s goal was to to find one thousand whales in one year on the Pacific Ocean near San Diego. However there is so much more that inspired the book: a band of kindred spirits, people with a common bond(whales in the wild) and each in need of a little special healing.

Scotty says: I’m a US Army combat veteran who experienced many difficulties adjusting back to civilian life. I found myself searching for something for a long time, but I didn’t know what. Now I still find myself searching for something……whales, but they are something I can find! Scotty Schmidt.

Mike says: I’d recently retired and being a bit reclusive anyway, was looking for something social not too threatening. Kim and Dennis invite us on a whale watching cruise, my wife and I bought a season pass on Hornblower, we met Scotty and we joined the gang.* “…our motivation for spending all this time on the water in one year. After some calculations, we found we had spent an average of one hour per whale. Yes its obsessive behavior, we know. We are obsessive people. Whale watching is addictive and if you have an additive personality type you may be drawn in too. We never intended to spend 1000 hours watching, see 1000 whales or write this 100 page book- these evolved as our relationships with each other and the whales, grew.” Michael Roeder

Kim says: We are enthusiastic boaters, with extensive sailing experience as well as having worked with the US Navy and US Coast Guard Auxiliary.  We’ve spent lots of time near or on the water.  When we first started whale watching in February 2013, we saw it as just another opportunity to be on the water.  We were also looking for some peace and quiet after the loss of a service member in our family.   Seeing these majestic whales so close to our shore had an unbelievable positive impact to our life.  We met Scotty on the Hornblower and found a kindred soul.  The whales pulled us up to the rail, brought us out of ourselves and together as friends on a common quest.   Kim and Dennis Usrey.

The book also has an electronic version on the Apple iBook store in case you’d like to get your hands on this gem. Visit their website.


* Yes you too can “join the gang”. Purchase a season whale watching pass on Hornblower Cruises, for unlimited whale watching cruises during the Gray Whale Watching season from Dec. to April. We look forward to seeing you onboard too!

Hornblower San Diego Whale Watching Captains Anticipate Encore

The 2012-2013 Season had some of the best whale watching ever – Hornblower Captains prepare for a repeat in 2013-2014

San Diego, California (November 15, 2013) – The captains at Hornblower Cruises in San Diego are gearing up for this year’s whale watching season, set to begin on December 14th and is scheduled to run through late March.  After a spectacular whale watching season last year, Hornblower captains are expecting an outstanding turnout of marine life again this year – one that should not be missed.  Over the course of last year’s whale watching season, spectators on Hornblower’s boats saw almost 1000 whales and over 120,000 dolphins.

Visitors and locals alike can purchase their tickets now for this year’s trips.  The family-friendly excursions run twice a day for 3-1/2 hours, and include a tour of the North Bay of San Diego Harbor with many sights including the sea lions, the submarine base, the Star of India, the Point Loma Lighthouse, and the Cabrillo National Monument, which is celebrating 100 years.  Spectators will be treated to the sights of migrating marine life including gray, finback, humpback and blue whales, orcas, dolphins, sea lions and many species of seabirds.  Hornblower’s experienced captains will take visitors directly to the best spots for viewing the migrating animals off of San Diego’s coastline.

“Whale Watching last year was quite an adventure. Not only were we very successful in locating the Gray Whales, but we’ve also been tracking locations of other types, like Blue Whales, Fin Whales, Humpback Whales, and several others,” says Hornblower Captain Rich Goben.  “Add to this the encounters with four different types of dolphins, and we have the makings of another great year!”

The captains treat guests to a live narration that includes scientific stories and fun facts about the marine life that they encounter. Aware of their impact on the whales, Hornblower captains are respectful of the marine life and their natural habitat.  They maintain a minimum distance from the animals to insure that all of the cruises are whale-friendly.

Additionally, onboard every vessel, expert naturalists from the San Diego Natural History Museum help point out whale sightings to the guests and are happy to answer any questions spectators may have about they are viewing.  The San Diego Natural History Museum and Hornblower Cruises & Events have been partners on these cruises since 2005.  All whale sightings are tracked in Hornblower’s Captain’s Log at www.SanDiegoWhaleWatching.com.

Spectators can enjoy their whale watching experience in comfort on large, fast yachts, which are Coast Guard certified and maintain the highest standards of seaworthiness to ensure customer safety.  The vessels can seat hundreds and feature a sundeck nearly 30 feet above the water, which provides an opportunity to view whales from up to a mile away.  These sightseeing tours are eco-friendly with latest technology tier-3 clean diesel engines, onboard recycling programs and sustainable products used vessel-wide.


Reservations are recommended and can be booked via Hornblower’s website at www.Hornblower.com, by calling 619-686-8715, or by visiting the Hornblower ticket booth at 970 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.

Hornblower’s whale watching cruises depart daily at 9:30 AM and 1:30 PM. For weekday excursions, ticket prices are $38 for adults and $19 for children ages 5 to 12. For weekend excursions ticket prices are $43 for adults and $21.50 for children ages 5 to 12.  Children aged four and under are free.

For those intrepid guests who may want to go whale watching more than once a year, Hornblower offers a Yacht Club card, which costs $76 and includes unlimited whale watching trips throughout the season for its holder.  During the off-season, the Yacht Club card can be used alternatively for unlimited Harbor Cruise & Sea Lion Adventures.

Hornblower has partnered with other local attractions to provide sightseeing combo packages that include the Whale Watching Cruise, plus admission to one of the following: San Diego Natural History Museum, the Maritime Museum or the USS Midway.  Combo tickets start at $32 for adults and $16 for children.

Save the Date

This year’s Big Bay Whale Festival is set for Saturday, January 25, 2014 at the Port Pavilion on the Broadway Pier. Hornblower Cruises & Events is a proud sponsor of the family-friendly event, which features music, exhibits, art and more.  The Big Bay Whale Festival is part of Big Bay Whale, days a full month of entertainment and fun on cruises, tours and tickets for many of San Diego’s most popular activities.

For more information about Hornblower San Diego Whale Watching Adventures, please visit www.sandiegowhalewatching.com.


Hornblower San Diego Whale Watching Captains Hope for Repeat of Last Year’s Stunning Season

The 2012-2013 Season had some of the best whale watching ever – Hornblower Captains prepare for a repeat in 2013-2014

San Diego, California (September 26, 2013) – The captains at Hornblower Cruises in San Diego are gearing up for the upcoming whale watching season, set to begin on December 14th.  After a spectacular whale watching season last year, Hornblower captains are expecting an outstanding turnout of marine life again this year.

Many of the whale watching cruises last year saw a variety of marine animals, including common, bottlenose, and white sided dolphins; fin, humpback, blue, and gray whales; and mola mola, sea birds and sea lions.

Visitors to San Diego can enjoy whale watching aboard the largest, fast, most stable whale watching boat leaving from San Diego Harbor, staffed by expert docent from the San Diego Natural History Museum.  In addition to the whales, our guests are treated to a narrated tour of the North Harbor, with many sights including the sea lions, the nuclear submarine base, the Star of India, the Point Loma Lighthouse, and the Cabrillo National Monument, among others.

To learn more about Hornblower San Diego Whale Watching Adventures, visit www.hornblower.com/home/sd.