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Group of whales in Monterey Bay

Frequently Asked Questions

Group of whales in Monterey Bay

Trip Preparation Tips


The great thing about our vessels is that every seat in the house has a great view of the water, but we also offer the option of upper deck verses lower deck seating. Things to consider:

  • Upper Deck allows you to see further out and may have better visibility (great for photographers) while the lower deck is closer to the whales, especially if the whales are curious and decide to “mug” (visit) our boat.
  • Lower Deck near the middle of the boat is better for people who may be prone to sea sickness.
  • Mother Nature and whales are somewhat unpredictable. They can show up on either side of the boat and even swim around it. Our vessels have a 360 degree walk around deck but can also be seen from inside the temperature controlled cabin through large windows…meaning every seat on the boat is a winner!

Rule #1 in any season – layer!

  • Dress in layers and err on the side of being too warm instead of being too cold. Think hooded sweatshirts, windbreaker, long pants, wide brimmed hat/winter hat, and even gloves.
  • Closed toe, flat soled shoes.
  • Sunglasses: Polarized lenses are best since they help with sun glare and allow you to see creatures more easily below the surface of the water.
  • Sun block & Chapstick

Things you may want to bring on your trip.

  • Camera: Empty & extra memory cards, and batteries. Keep in mind that the average point-and-shoot camera might not deliver the speed and magnification needed to get the best pictures. If you have a 35mm camera, a 200-300mm lens provides the most zoom and stability for whale watching.
  • Binoculars: Whales are usually close enough and it may be challenging to use binoculars on moving boat. Also, they have a narrow range and you may miss out on some spectacular whale behavior such as breaching. Binoculars are best used if you want to view the coast line, birds or sea otters.

If you think you may be prone to sea sickness or are a first time whale watcher, you may want to consider motion sickness medications.

  • Over the counter medications or prescription through your Doctor. Make sure to take 1 hour prior to boarding. If taken when you start feeling queasy, it is already too late.
  • Eat a good breakfast, bland (no fried of fatty foods), with some carbohydrates. All these suggestions reduce stomach acid build up and can prevent sea sickness.
  • Drink water and stay hydrated. Ginger ale is also a safe bet.
  • Nibble on saltine crackers or ginger candies.
  • Avoid alcohol the night or morning before heading out. Even if you don’t normally get seasick, alcohol may bring it on.
  • Stay on the outside, lower deck facing forward. Fresh air can help a lot and the lower deck has less movement than up top.
  • Try not to go into the bathroom or anywhere you can’t see the horizon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Princess Monterey Whale Watching and the other companies?

Princess Monterey Whale Watching has the two Largest  and Finest vessels in the Monterey Fleet. The 100ft. Princess Monterey and 100ft. Atlantis Monterey are fully equipped with indoor heated cabins, snack bar, restrooms and are US Coast Guard inspected and licensed.The Atlantis Monterey is the only vessel in the Monterey Fleet with upper deck seating limited to 35 people. There is an upgrade charge for the optional upper deck VIP seating. We are California’s leading company in narrated ocean and bay tours, specializing in natural history and biology of marine wildlife, especially whales!  Our whale watching trips run year-round and are fully narrated by experienced crew including marine biologists/naturalists with years of experience on the Monterey Bay.

How big is the boat?

The 100´ “PRINCESS MONTEREY” and the 100´ “ATLANTIS MONTEREY” are the 2 largest and most comfortable boats operating in Monterey. Our vessels feature easy step-on boarding, large clean restrooms, heated cabins with large windows for viewing and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating to ensure your comfort no matter what the weather. Both vessels meet the latest US Coast Guard regulations and are operated by licensed, experienced captains. The Atlantis Monterey has upper deck seating limited to 40 people and the Princess Monterey has upper deck seating limited to 30 people. There is an upgrade charge for the optional upper deck VIP seating.

Are the trips narrated?

Yes. All trips are fully narrated and repeated twice by experienced crew including marine biologists/naturalists with years of experience on the Monterey Bay.

How often do you go?

Our trips depart every day of the year including Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s Day, weather permitting. For the latest schedule and availability, please see our calendar online or call us at (888) 223-9153 or (212) 209-3370 int’l.

How long is the tour?

Whale watching cruises are approximately 2½ to 3 hours in duration. Our experience is that this length of time gives you ample opportunity to view whales and dolphins in their natural environment.

How much does it cost?

Please check the latest whale watch cruises pricing and availability online or call us at (888) 223-9153 or (212) 209-3370 int’l.

Is this cruise suitable for children and pregnant women?

For safety reasons due to the inherent motion of the boat, children under the age of 3 and expecting mothers are not allowed on the cruise.

Do I need to purchase tickets in advance?

Advance purchase is highly recommended, especially during summer months and for weekend trips.

What time do I need to check-in by?

We recommend you check in 30 minutes prior to your departure time.

Where are you located?

We are located at 96 Fisherman’s Wharf #1, Monterey, CA. Look for our red, white, and blue “Princess Monterey Whale Watching” sign atop the bright yellow building at the end of Old Fisherman’s Wharf #1

Where can I park?

There is plenty of parking available in the Fisherman’s Wharf parking lot at the corner of Del Monte and Washington St. There is a short walk along the water to our location.

What should I wear?

We want you to fully enjoy your whale watching experience with us, so we offer the following suggestions onhow to prepare for the trip: dress in warm layers, wear long pants, and a warm windproof jacket. Wear a wide brimmed hat/baseball cap and/or warm cap. Wear flat-soled closed toed shoes. Bring sunglasses, sun block, and chapstick. Don’t forget to bring your camera!!

Can I bring my own food and beverage?

Yes, personal food and beverages are allowed. We also have a snack bar on board.

Can I purchase a gift certificate?

You can purchase a gift certificate online or call (888) 223-9153 for details.

When is the best time to see whales?

Visit us in the winter and spring (December-April) to view gray whales as they migrate from the icy waters of the Bering and Chuckchi seas, to the majestic lagoons of Baja California, Mexico. Visit us in the summer and fall months (April-November) as Monterey Bay becomes the feeding grounds for multiple whale and dolphin species including humpback whales, orcas (killer whales), the mighty blue whale (the largest animal to inhabit the earth), Risso’s dolphins, northern right whale dolphins, and Pacific white-sided dolphins. You’ll also have the opportunity to view California sea lions, Pacific harbor seals, southern sea otters, and seabirds such as loons, grebes, black-footed albatross, shearwaters, pelicans, cormorants, phalaropes, jaegers, gulls, terns, and alcids. And don’t forget about sharks, ocean sun fish, jellyfishes, and even the Leatherback Sea Turtle!

How close can we get?

We follow the federal whale watching guidelines; stopping the boat at least 300 ft (91 m) away from the whales and allowing the whales to approach us. The California coast offers a unique opportunity to observe whales and other marine wildlife year round. We offer a safe, fun, and educational trip for the whole family to enjoy.

Do you guarantee sightings?

While we can’t guarantee a whale sighting every trip, our experience has allowed us to maintain an unsurpassed record for success in this area. We have a 98-99% success rate throughout the year. In the event we are unable to find a whale or dolphins we will issue a rain check for another trip at a future date. Every trip is different, so whether it’s your first time or you’re a veteran, come on out and see what the magical Monterey Bay will reveal today!

How far do we have to travel to view whales?

Because the distribution of whales and dolphins in the Monterey Bay depends on their migration route or where their food is located we may have to travel between 2 and 16 miles (3 and 26 km) from the harbor.

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