Vancouver Island
Cruises & Boat Tours

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Our most recommended Vancouver Island Cruises & Boat Tours

Victoria: 3-Hour Zodiac Whale-Watching Tour

1. Victoria: 3-Hour Zodiac Whale-Watching Tour

After being collected from your downtown accommodation in a comfortable shuttle bus, you will venture down to the harbor where you will meet with your boat. After meeting your guides for the day, you will then depart from Victoria, setting off on your 3-hour whale-watching tour. Between April and October, you will have a greater than 95% success rate of spotting whales, including both transient and resident orcas, humpback, minke, and gray whales. Other wildlife you may encounter include Dall’s and harbor porpoises, harbor and elephant seals, and otters and marine birds such as cormorants and bald eagles. The zodiac vessels used on your tour are definitely recommended for the more wild-at-heart. You can let the wind blow in your hair and be exposed to the true west-coast elements in an open style, 12-passenger vessel. At the conclusion of your exhilarating tour, you will be returned back to the harbor, at which point you will be driven back to your accommodation in downtown Victoria.

From Victoria: Whale Watching 3-Hour Trip on Covered Boat

2. From Victoria: Whale Watching 3-Hour Trip on Covered Boat

After meeting at the pier or being collected from your Victoria hotel or accommodation, you will begin your carbon neutral tour led by certified marine naturalists whose knowledge and passion for Vancouver Island’s marine wildlife is unequaled in the industry. Come aboard to experience the wild! All tours are three hours in length and peak whale watching season is April through October. In this peak season, there is a greater than 95% success rate of spotting whales, including both transient and resident orcas, humpbacks, minke, and gray whales. Other wildlife you may encounter include Dall’s and harbor porpoises, harbor and elephant seals, otters and marine birds such as cormorants and bald eagles. Whilst onboard the boat you will also be offered complimentary coffee and tea, onboard bathrooms, certified marine naturalists, and indoor and outdoor viewing areas. In the event of an unlucky tour, you will be invited to join again for a complimentary second whale watching tour to bring your dreams of seeing these magnificent animals to life.

Victoria, BC: 3-Hour Ultimate Whale & Marine Wildlife Tour

3. Victoria, BC: 3-Hour Ultimate Whale & Marine Wildlife Tour

The waters off Victoria, British Columbia are known as the Salish Sea. Discover its wonders and rich marine environment with this ultimate whale and marine wildlife tour! Board a brand new high speed coastal explorer boat and set sail to look for orcas (also known as killer whales), humpbacks, harbor seals, California sea lions and over 127 species of marine birds!  Take a tour of the west coast aboard a luxurious coastal explorer, with two outside viewing areas and a fully heated cabin. Enjoy complimentary coffee and hot chocolate as you set off on an adventure to learn all about the local marine wildlife and important landmarks. From playful orcas to giant humpbacks, your experience is sure to be memorable. Discover the marine wildlife in the waters off Victoria with the help of marine biologists and learn about efforts to establish Victoria as a world renowned whale watching destination. 

Victoria: Sunset Whale Watching Tour

4. Victoria: Sunset Whale Watching Tour

Depart in the evening from Victoria's beautiful inner harbor and head out into the Salish Sea in search of whales and other wonderful marine life. During the 3-hour tour, search for orcas, humpback whales, minke whales, and gray whales, that visit the Salish Sea in search of food. Encounter other marine life such as seals, sea lions, porpoises, otters and various marine birds. Listen to an inspiring and educational talk from the Marine Naturalists as they describe and interpret the spectacular environment, extensive history, and stunning scenery of the Salish Sea. If the weather cooperates, enjoy the stunning sunset views.

Victoria: Whale and Wildlife Semi-Covered Boating Tour

5. Victoria: Whale and Wildlife Semi-Covered Boating Tour

After gathering at the pier you will meet with your guides before boarding your boat. The vessel for this tour will be a semi-covered catamaran with both indoor and outdoor seating. This vessel offers both an indoor viewing area as well as multiple outdoor viewing decks, and includes on-board restrooms. Once hitting the water, you'll begin your over 4-hour experience which includes a 98% sighting success rate. Your team members will be excited to share everything that this natural treasure chest has to offer, as you make multiple wildlife stops throughout your journey. At each stop your guides will provide world-class interpretation and personalized service to help you best understand this unique ecosystem. Throughout the experience you will have the chance to encounter whales, seals, and eagles, among other residents of the region. At the conclusion of your tour, you'll make your way back to the tour starting point.

Campbell River: 6-Hour Whale Watching Boat Tour

6. Campbell River: 6-Hour Whale Watching Boat Tour

Discover an abundance of wildlife in the waters of the Salish Sea, Discovery Passage, and Johnstone Strait. Encounter Humpback Whales, Killer Whales, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Bears, Steller Sea Lions, and so much more, on a 6-hour Whale Watching Tour, onboard either a Zodiac or Covered vessel with onboard washrooms. Begin at the Floathouse with a brief explanation of the wildlife you may encounter, a map of the general area of travel, and safety information. Travel to see a variety of wildlife in a well maintained, 12 passenger vessel. Enjoy a nature interpretation by your certified Naturalist Guide and Captain. Eat an onshore lunch of freshly made wraps, snacks of homemade baked goods and granola bars, and beverages such as coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and water. Don't forget to bring your camera and binoculars (tripods not recommended). Take in the calm and beautiful scenery while traveling through the narrow passages between the Discovery Islands and into Johnstone Strait, rather than into the open Pacific Ocean. Hear the vocalizations of Orca or Humpback Whales through the onboard Hydrophones (underwater microphones) if those opportunities arise (Orca and Humpback Whales do not communicate all day).

Vancouver: Victoria, Gulf Islands Cruise, & Butchart Gardens

7. Vancouver: Victoria, Gulf Islands Cruise, & Butchart Gardens

View the spectacular British Columbia coastline by land and ship, followed by a stop at Butchart Gardens en route to the British-inspired city of Victoria. Board a BC Ferries vessel at Tsawwassen terminal for a 90-minute sail through the serene beauty of the Gulf Islands. Marine wildlife sightings from the outdoor ship decks are common, especially eagles, sea lions, and whales. Arrive at Swartz Bay terminal on Vancouver Island and continue to the enchanting botanical paradise of Butchart Gardens. Wander through a series of themed gardens, highlighted by the massive Sunken Garden complete with dancing fountain. The city of Victoria boasts many impressive architectural wonders, including the iconic Parliament Buildings and the waterfront Fairmont Empress Hotel. Visit the unique shops and cafes of Government Street and Chinatown. Stroll along the Inner Harbour for prime ocean views, and enjoy some free time to take in this culturally significant city. Return on the bus to Vancouver by ferry to conclude this diverse tour. Packed with ever-changing experiences of the Pacific Coast and Vancouver Island, this tour is a must-do for those who have not yet visited Victoria.

Campbell River: Whales, Wildlife & Culture Tour

8. Campbell River: Whales, Wildlife & Culture Tour

Go in search of a variety of fascinating wildlife species which can be found off the coast of Vancouver Island, including humpback whales, orcas (killer whales), porpoises, dolphins, sea lions, otters, bald eagles, and a variety of marine birds. The tour vessel includes both indoor and outdoor seating options. Take the outdoor adventure seats that allow for wind-in-your-face exploring and wildlife watching. Inside the warm and protected cabin, find comfortable seats with large windows and a bathroom. As you explore the area, learn more about the rich history of the First Nations of Campbell River and the Discovery Islands. Learn about the tribes who have resided in the region for centuries including the Homalco, Klahoose, Tla’amin, K’ómoks, Wei Wai Kum, We Wai Kai, and more. The guides and skippers will share their expert knowledge of history, legends, stories, and culturally significant sites throughout the excursion.

Telegraph Cove: 3-Hour Whale Watching Tour in a Zodiac Boat

9. Telegraph Cove: 3-Hour Whale Watching Tour in a Zodiac Boat

After meeting your skipper at the dock, get suited up in a cozy cruiser suit, ensuring your comfort and safety for the duration of the trip. This 3-hour whale-watching tour boasts sightings of just about everything there is to see, from wolves roaming nearby islands to groups of predatory transient orcas and breaching humpback calves. Your ride on one of the zipping Zodiac-style boats will be nearly as exciting as seeing the whales.  Each of the boats seats 12, and there are great views from every seat. Once out of the former fishing village of Telegraph Cove, you’ll have the opportunity to see a variety of species of sea life, including orcas, humpback whales, grey whales, minke whales, porpoises, dolphins, sea lions, elephant seals, otters, and bald eagles. Every tour is guided by a Transport Canada-approved skipper, who will provide information and commentary on all of the wildlife you see. If you don’t see a whale on your trip, you’ll be entitled to a free tour until you have a successful sighting.

Campbell River: Whale & Wildlife Discovery Cruise

10. Campbell River: Whale & Wildlife Discovery Cruise

Spend a day on the water and discover local wildlife on this Campbell River cruise. Visit the Salish Sea, Discovery Passage, and Johnstone Strait. With an abundance of wildlife in the area, you are likely to encounter many animals both on land and at sea. Choose from two vessel options for your cruise. A covered vessel with indoor seating offers a good option for families. Alternatively, a zodiac-style vessel offers a good option for those who like being outdoors and want to feel the wind through their hair. Hop aboard your chosen vessel, then sit back and relax. Keep an eye out for humpback whales, killer whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, bears, Steller sea lions, and more. Learn from an on-board naturalist and listen to the sounds of whales through hydrophones. While it might not be possible to guarantee you’ll see all of these animals on your tour, this tour offers a great opportunity to see everything that is possible.

Frequently asked questions about Vancouver Island Cruises & Boat Tours

What are other things to do than Cruises & Boat Tours that are worth visiting in Vancouver Island?

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Other Sightseeing Options in Vancouver Island

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What people are saying about Vancouver Island

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 116 reviews

I didn't actually end up sailing with Five Star. I had booked with them but I was the only one. They had to cancel my trip. However, they called around to the other tour companies and found me a boat to get on, on the same day I had booked for. They took care of everything for me. Transferred all my info and payment to the other company! All I had to do was show up on time at the other company! I was so impressed with the level of service that Five Star will always be the company I book with 1st in the future. Well done guys! Not many companies will go above and beyond like you guys did. Thank you!!

We enjoyed the trip. There was a good balance of sightseeing and relaxing activities. Our tour guide Alex was excellent, very knowledgeable and caring and a great driver who made us feel safe. Pick up and drop off were smooth. It was a wonderful day.

Great experience, guides were very knowledgable and accommodating. They also checked on the safety and well-being of passengers regularly. Got to see some Orcas, definitely recommend and sea lions.

The Gardens were beautiful. The coach we travelled in was comfortable and had charging ports for your phone. Guide was terrific and very knowledgeable. Would recommend this trip to anyone.

Experience was excellent despite not not seeing any Whales .