Whale-Watching Cruise with Expert Naturalists

Badge of ExcellenceVictoria, Canada
Whale Watching Cruise with Expert Naturalists
Likely to Sell Out

From US$105.43

Select Date and Travelers

Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 3 hours
  • Offered in: English


Hit the waves with expert naturalists in search of Canadian sea-life on this whale-watching cruise from Victoria. Hop aboard your whale-watching boat and head out into the rolling seas with your guide. Gaze out over Victoria’s attractive coastline and watch the waves for sightings of graceful orcas. Listen as the two expert naturalists onboard explain the life cycles of the majestic creatures, and learn of their pivotal role near the top of the marine food chain. Enjoy fine views from the seating areas both inside and on-deck. 
  • Whale-watching cruise from Victoria, British Columbia
  • Spot the majestic orca (killer whale) off the coast of Canada!
  • Learn about the Pacific marine ecosystem from 2 expert naturalists
  • Cruise on a comfortable vessel designed specifically for whale watching

What's Included

  • 3-hour whale-watching tour from Victoria
  • 2 onboard naturalist guides
  • Food and drinks
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Gratuities

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • Five Star Whale Watching
    645 Humboldt St, Victoria, BC V8W 1A6, Canada

    Check in: We ask all passengers to meet 30 minutes prior to their scheduled tour time. Meet us at 645 Humboldt Street on the North side of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, next to Willow Stream Spa

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • May be operated by a multi-lingual guide
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately (layers and comfortable shoes are recommended)
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 40 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Traveler Photos

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Featured review
Witnessed a humpback whale dive and raise its tail. What an experience. Also, it was nice to see the expert guide as excited as we were. It shows the passion of the staff.


213 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 213 reviews
Very knowledgeable staff!...
Dawn_R, Aug 2023
Very knowledgeable staff! We felt safe and informed. Well done all around. The 10 and 12 year old grandkids enjoyed every minute!
Great whale watching
Jackie_M, Aug 2023
We saw orcas and humpback whales and got a lot of information from the naturalist Jim. We had a great time.
Good service
Mark_H, Aug 2023
Great experience. Very knowledgeable people on board to provide great service! Good food, freshly prepared
Definitely Five Stars!
Talina_W, Aug 2023
We had a great time. We'd originally booked on the larger boat, but they contacted us the day before to let us know that sailing had to be cancelled and offered to reschedule or refund us. Luckily they had spots available on their smaller boat at the same time and I'm so glad because the smaller boat was really fun! They had regular life vests and coat-like life jackets available, depending on the weather, which would be a nice perk if it was chilly. We had an unusually warm day so opted for the typical life vests. The ride was really smooth. I was impressed how well the boat did with the waves. Then we saw orcas! The captain was on the radio with other boats talking about where to go and so he had a destination in mind and it did not disappoint! He was really great about explaining what he was doing and why, and he worked hard to get us into good positions to view this small pod. After a while of viewing them, he suggested we move on and let other boats see the orcas so they weren't over crowded (we could see several vessels heading our way). We then headed to another area and saw several humpback whales. All in all, they lived up to their name and gave us a five star whale watching experience!
Response from Host, Aug 2023
Thank you for your kind words and glowing review, it is appreciated. Gordon, your Captain is a real professional who loves what he does and really cares about the Marine Wildlife we encounter. We are glad you enjoyed this trip and appreciated Gordon's wisdom, he is a true asset to Five Star. Salish Shadow is a fun vessel for sure and we are glad you enjoyed it. Seeing Orcas and Humpbacks on the same tour is always a thrill! Thank you again for such an incredible review.
James was a wealth of...
Teresa_C, Aug 2023
James was a wealth of knowledge and very approachable. He provided helpful explanations and answered everyone’s questions. We were fortunate to have spotted orcas, seals, harbor porpoises, and a humpback whale on a day with calm waters! We got the sense that the company was respectful of trying to minimize the impact of their business while still providing people the opportunity to view wild marine mammals.
Response from Host, Aug 2023
Thank you for this gowing review, it is appreciated. We are glad you enjoyed the information James, was able to provide during your tour, he is a very experienced and passionate Marine Naturalist and we will make sure we pass on your comments to James, he loves getting feedback. Five Star believes and promotes respectful and responsible Whale and Marine Wildlife practices. We are a founding member of the Pacific Whale Watch Association and 1st company in Victoria to Certified as a Responsible Operator by the World Cetacean Alliance. We want to inspire and educate our guests whilst having the least impact on the wildlife we encounter. Thank you for recognizing that.
Disappointing trip!
David_M, Aug 2023
A Disappointing trip! My husband and I were looking forward to this whale watch trip. We received a call the night before saying that they were having boat troubles and were taking a small boat that only holds 12 people so we said that was fine and that we would still go. They told us to be there at 9:30 at the office next to the Empress hotel. We went at 9:30 to sign a waver and they said to be at the dock at 9:40 to get our life jackets so we could board. The boat didn’t show up until 10:00. The boat was very small only seating 2 upfront, 6 in the back of the boat and 4 last guys to get on the boat had to sit inside. The boat captain Gordon was nice but it says in the advertising for this trip that it is the bigger boat and that a Naturalist is on board which there wasn’t. This is very misleading. We couldn’t recommend this tour.
Response from Host, Aug 2023
Sorry to hear you were disappointed with your trip despite seeing a lot of Whales! However, there are some points we need to clarify here. Our 40 passenger vessel was not available as it was going through its Transport Canada Inspection process. Our staff contacted you and you were offered the choice of a large vessel with one of our industry partners or on our 34' 12-passenger Salish Shadow. You chose Salish Shadow. Shadow has indoor and outdoor seating, the same as our 42' 40-passenger vessel. There is seating outside for 10 people, 2 at the front and 8 at the rear. It is as large as any of the zodiac style vessel, which are totally open to the elements, unlike Shadow. The boat was late due to a delay at the fuel dock that morning but we added time on at the end of the tour. Our staff also gave you lots of information both about vessel safety and about the marine environment whilst you waited. So there was no misleading advertising for the trip, you were given the option of a large vessel or our 12-passenger vessel and you saw lots of whales. Sorry if you felt that was not good enough.
Incredible Experience!
Rick_J, Aug 2023
Witnessed a humpback whale dive and raise its tail. What an experience. Also, it was nice to see the expert guide as excited as we were. It shows the passion of the staff.
Response from Host, Aug 2023
Thank you for your kind words and glowing review, it is appreciated. Glad to hear you enjoyed your tour. Yes, we do have very passionate staff, they love what they do!
Swing and a miss!
Terry_S, Aug 2023
Trip was cancelled at the last minute due to mechanical problems. Still haven't seen my refund. Not okay.
Response from Host, Aug 2023
We understand your frustration at the unexpected last minute cancellation and do apologize. On the day of the cancellation we did contact Tripadvisor/Viator requesting a refund. When we checked it looked like a refund has been processed. Sorry again for the disappointment of the last minute cancellation.
Terrible pour experience
Gabriela_J, Aug 2023
Terrible experience. We signed in and in 15 min the trip was cancelled. There was no email for cancellation. I called in 3-4 hours and they said the email comes from Viator. The next day, still no email for cancellation. Feel like working with scammers But Viator asking how we felt in our whale watch trip??
Response from Host, Aug 2023
We understand your frustration at the unexpected last minute cancellation and do apologize. On the day of the cancellation we did contact Tripadvisor/Viator requesting a refund. Our staff will follow up on that request. Five Star has been around since 1985, so far from scammer, and a very respected company. We can't issue the refund as you booked through Viator, one of our trusted partners. We checked with Viator, who are an excellent partner, and you have been refunded. Sorry again for the disappointment of the last minute cancellation.
Our tour guide was very...
Heidi_O, Aug 2023
Our tour guide was very good. Very friendly and explained everything in detail to us. And he just did everything to find the spots with whales. And did find them 🐋👍 Check ind was fast and easy 👍
Jan_A, Jul 2023
It was an amazing lifetime experience. We saw a lot of humpback whales, orca's and seelions on a great fast boat (salish shadow). The captain had a lot of knowledge and was very enthousiastic. It was great!
Rosalie_B, Jul 2023
The scenery is striking, but the trip was a long one for seeing only small parts of a juvenile humpback whale.
Response from Host, Jul 2023
We agree that the scenery in the Salish sea is striking and beautiful. Seeing a juvenile humpback whale is also very exciting for us! When we see young/juvenile whales it is a good sign, those whales will be feeding in the Salish sea for many years to come. Seeing humpbacks is also a special experience here, they are migratory whales and are only seen here certain months of the year, we adore spending time with them while they are in this area. Being able to experience and see all of this is not something a lot of people get to do in their lives. We have found that a 3 hour tour is just right for most people, not too long, not too short. Perhaps next time you will be able to find a tour length that works better for you. We're glad you were able to come out with us and hope you have fond memories of Victoria and the Salish sea :)
Nice trip, OK service
paul_d, Jul 2023
Beautiful sunny day, saw several whales, sea lions, and enjoyed being on the water for three hours. Unfortunately we did not get much information about the animals, I could hear the group upstairs on the boat receiving plenty of details on the marine life while our guide mostly was on his phone in the main cabin. We could not go between the top of the boat and the cabin, all the spots were taken for the entire trip upstairs by the first people boarding the boat.
Fun day out
Gary_G, Jul 2023
The whole trip was awesome. Great staff, very knowledgeable, and very professional. Great for families with young children and older couples who do not want to go on the zodiacs.
Terrific great awesome
Darin_C, Jul 2023
The humpback coming and checking the boat out, or getting mugged by a humpback as they call it. The kids and everyone loved it.
Day on the water
Kathleen_T, Jul 2023
Guides were good but we did not get close enough to actually see anything! That being said it was a nice day out on the water!
Response from Host, Jul 2023
Hi there, We are glad to hear that you enjoyed our staff & the experience of exploring the Salish sea. The Salish Sea is an incredible area with so much wildlife and diversity, the government has put rules and regulations in place to try to help protect the area and the animals that live here. We have some of the strictest whale watching regulations in the world. We have certain distance guidelines and speed regulations when we are around wildlife. We get close enough to see wildlife but not close enough to bother them or put them in a dangerous situation. By keeping our distance we are just following the local laws. We hope you and others understand that this is the reality of going whale watching in this area. It is a beautiful place to explore and we do our best to protect the wildlife and their natural habitats.
Scott_N, Jul 2023
Lots of awesome sightings. Followed at least five or six humpback whales and got to witness numerous sightings of each. Well informed staff made the trip a great experience.
Response from Host, Jul 2023
Thank you for your review and kind words.
That be whales!
Russell_H, Jul 2023
Lots of humpback whales feeding. The crew knew them by name. Throw in some seals and sea lions and it was a lovely three hours.
Response from Host, Jul 2023
Thank you for your thoughtful review. We are happy to hear you enjoyed your recent tour.
Fun family outing
Monica_P, Jul 2023
Very friendly, knowledgeable and safety-conscious for passengers and whales. We saw lots of whales! We loved the id process for the whales and hearing about the story behind many of the whales we saw.
Response from Host, Jul 2023
Thank you for your wonderful review, it is appreciated.
Excellent whale watching...
Natasha_S, Jul 2023
Excellent whale watching tour. Appreciated that photos were taken that we could access afterward so we could just watch and enjoy!

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