Looking for an invigorating winter outing? Adventure seekers can get their thrill on with Hornblower Cruises & Events’ whale watching cruises where passengers can get up close and personal with some of the most magnificent creatures on Earth.

What I love about the Hornblower experience is that they’ve been hosting whale watching excursions for nearly 25 years. During that history, the Hornblower captains have introduced hundreds of passengers to the wonder and excitement of San Diego gray whale watching and there is no better, safer and drier way to witness the whale migration as thousands of grays, finbacks and humpbacks journey off the coast.

What you can expect to see is 360-degree views of the San Diego skyline, as well as sightings of sea lions, dolphins and sea birds. Additionally, passengers will be able to interact with trained docents from theNAT (San Diego Natural History Museum) who make the journey truly educational. The trained volunteer naturalists provide guests with facts and maps, samples of Krill and baleen on board, ongoing commentary for spotting spouts, flukes and massive whale tails and information about whale behaviors. Marine life check lists are also handed out so guests know what to look for on their cruise while spotting whale behaviors.

Unlike traditional small boat whale watching trips (where foul weather gear is a necessary accessory), the Hornblower fleet provides the ability to enjoy the experience from large yachts, which provide unparalleled stability through the ocean waves. Also, on a Hornblower yacht outdoor sundecks rise 30 feet above the water and contain climate-controlled indoor cabins, which ensure optimal comfort and panoramic views for everyone. Additionally, the fast-speed yachts take guests out to the prime San Diego gray whale watching spots quickly so there’s more time to view whales.

Here’s the icing on the cake: Hornblower promises that if you don’t see a whale during a cruise, you will receive a pass good for another Whale Watching Cruise. That’s the Hornblower guarantee…every passenger will experience the exhilaration of witnessing a whale break the surface of the water for the first time.

Beginning December 13, Hornblower is offering two, 3½ hour cruises every day, starting at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Cruises leave from the San Diego Navy Float at 970 North Harbor Drive.

Ticket Information: Weekend (Saturday and Sunday) costs are $45 for adults, $22 for children (ages 4 to 12) and $42 for seniors and the military. Weekday costs are $40 for adults, $20 for children (ages 4 to 12) and $37 for seniors and the military. Tax, service charge and landing fees are additional. Children under three 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 https://hbdev.hornblower.com/port/overview/sd+whalewatching or call 800-ON-THE-BAY.

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