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Catalina Island Cruise with Whale Watching

From breathtaking natural beauty to adventurous outdoor activities, Catalina Island has it all. More than one million travelers choose this hidden gem as their getaway every year. Capt. Dave’s offers an upscale Catalina Island cruise from Dana Point with dolphin and whale watching along the way. Experience the most unique cruise to Catalina Island by boat.

Quick Details

Users Capacity: Intimate cruise limited to 40 guests

Food Food: Free continental breakfast aboard the boat

Dolphin Dolphin and whale watching on the way to/from Catalina

Info Itinerary:

  • Depart Dana Point Harbor: 8:30 am
  • Approximate arrival at Avalon Harbor: 11:30 am
  • Approximate departure of Avalon: 3:30 pm
  • Arrival back at Dana Point: 6:30 pm
This cruise is currently unavailable.

Escape to Beautiful Catalina Island

Locals know Catalina Island to be a little piece of paradise about 30 miles off Dana Point’s coast. Every year Captain Dave enjoys taking his family on a Catalina Island boat charter,

and he would like you and your family to enjoy Catalina Island too ⏤ while whale watching along the way!

Whether you need to unwind and relax or are looking for thrilling outdoor activities, Catalina Island offers something for everyone. On the east end of the island, you can loosen up in Avalon’s many hotels, beaches, and spa experiences. If you want some adventure, head over to Two Harbors on the west end of the island to enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and scuba diving.

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About Capt. Dave’s Catalina Island Cruise

During the approximate three-hour travel time to Catalina Island by boat, you will get the opportunity to watch and learn about marine wildlife. Our marine naturalists will educate you on the lifestyle and behavior of whales, dolphins, sharks, seals, birds, reptiles, rare sea creatures, and many more ocean animals.

Capt. Dave’s luxury Catalina Island boat charter is so much more comfortable and less crowded than an express boat to Catalina Island. An exciting whale watching experience can also be had as you cruise to shore. You’ll get to Catalina in comfort and style while enjoying spectacular views with our Dana Point to Catalina Island cruise!

Upon arrival at the picturesque town of Avalon, you will have several hours to go ashore and shop, eat, relax or explore, and enjoy the many delights of Catalina Island. Join us for the perfect “staycation” cruise!

Free Breakfast!

Capt. Dave’s Catalina Island tours depart at 8:30 AM. Since you must check-in at least 45 minutes ahead of schedule, we know you won’t have much time to eat a full breakfast. But don’t worry. We’re not going to take you out to the sea on an empty stomach!

Our Catalina Island boat charters offer a complimentary continental breakfast with fresh fruit, pastries, and other baked goods. Juice will also be served on the boat. Coffee, bottled water, soda, and assorted dry snacks will be available for purchase throughout the trip.

Croissant and fruit breakfast on wood background © Margouillat | Dreamstime

Enjoy a Luxurious Voyage With Lily

Lily and a blue whale

Enjoy a relaxing and pampering Catalina Island cruise while whale watching from the boat! Lily is Capt. Dave’s upscale 62-feet power catamaran. This fast and stable boat will carry up to 49 passengers, although for this special cruise it’s limited to just 40.

Lily Special Features:

  • Beautifully appointed main cabin and galley ⏤ Guests will feel at home while seated on cushioned bar stools, on the sofa, or at the dinette. Panoramic windows on both sides of the cabin offer scenic views of the ocean, coastline, and animals. A large TV provides underwater views of bow-riding dolphins next to our boat thanks to our underwater bow camera. The galley is open with an assortment of snacks and beverages available to purchase.
  • Covered upper sundeck ⏤ You’ll be safe from the weather as you whale watch during your Catalina Island cruise. Rails wrapped with glass offer additional protection from the elements. Place your refreshments on the cocktail tables and relax on cushioned seating while you watch dolphins and whales.
  • Fully enclosed pilothouse ⏤ You can relax at a table with cushioned seating and visit with the Captain on our cruise to Catalina Island by boat. The climate-controlled pilothouse also features windows on all sides so you won’t miss a minute of the animal action!
  • Specially designed bow ⏤ Capt. Dave’s Catalina Island boat charter has wrap-around cushioned seating, cushioned backrests, cup holders, and rails enclosed with Lexan® glass for wind protection offer supreme comfort and convenience while cruising to Catalina Island and whale watching, too.
  • Micro-museum with whale and dolphin artifacts ⏤ A realistic, life-size, common dolphin, and stunning photographic art throughout the boat will immerse you in the world of dolphins and whales!
  • Bathroom ⏤ A bathroom on the first floor is available for guests to use on the boat. There are also facilities on land at Dana Point and Avalon.

Please note Lily is not equipped with Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods.

Set off From the Dolphin & Whale Capital of the World®

Many SoCal destinations offer trips to Catalina Island by boat. But none of them can rival the

Dana Point to Catalina Island cruise experience. With year-round whale sightings and more dolphins per square mile than anywhere else on earth, Dana Point is the official Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World®.

Traveling to Catalina Island from Dana Point is an adventure you’ll never forget. On your way to and from the island, you can enjoy rare sights like watching giant blue whales or seeing dolphin stampedes ⏤ a breathtaking spectacle of hundreds or even thousands of dolphins leaping in and out of the water!

Dolphin or Whale Sightings Guaranteed

In the Dolphin & Whale Capital of the World®, seeing dolphins or whales is a given. Capt. Dave’s spots dolphins or whales 95% of the time on our Catalina Island cruises. Dolphins get excited when they see our luxury boat and come right over to perform acrobatic moves for our guests!

Although our cruises locate dolphins or whales most of the time, there are days when we have no sightings. Posing, diving, and dipping are hard work, so whales and dolphins take some days off to rest. If you don’t see any dolphins or whales on our Catalina Island boat charters, there’s no need to be upset. You can return within a year for a free whale watching tour.

Interact With Dolphins

There’s a reason why Dana Point is known as the dolphin capital of the world. There are more than 450,000 dolphins off Dana Point’s coast! With all these dolphins in our waters, you’re most likely going to meet a whole bunch of them on our trip to Catalina Island by boat. Some of the most common types of dolphins we see on our Catalina Island cruises include:

  • Common dolphins ⏤ Most of the dolphins you’ll see on our cruises are common dolphins. These beautiful creatures are very social and often come over to bow ride with our boat.
  • Bottlenose dolphins ⏤ One of the most popular types of dolphin species, bottlenose dolphins are larger than their common counterparts. They are very playful and intelligent, responding to our guests’ claps and cheers with aerial acrobatic performances!
  • Risso’s dolphins ⏤ Risso’s are easily identified by their unusual look. They have no beak, a blunt round head, and their body is scarred with white lines from head to tail.

Watch Whales Up Close

Dana Point has one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world. This makes it an ideal environment for different species of whales. Our waters are home to a large variety of whales that can be seen all day throughout the year. A few types of whales we commonly see on our Catalina Island cruises are:

  • Blue whales ⏤ One of the best things you might see on our Catalina Island boat charters are blue whales. At lengths of up to 100 ft and weighing as much as 200 tons, these majestic creatures are the largest animal to exist on earth!
  • Humpback whales ⏤ These underwater creatures grow to an average length of 60 feet and weigh up to about 40 tons. Humpback whales delight in eating crustaceans and small fish.
  • Killer whales ⏤ A very rare sighting for Catalina Island cruises! Beautiful but deadly, killer whales are apex predators that prey on animals as big as blue whales. Don’t freak out! They don’t harm humans.

What to Bring to a Catalina Island Whale Watching Cruise

So you’ve finally decided to go to Catalina Island by boat? That’s awesome! Capt. Dave’s Catalina Island cruises take three hours, so make sure to come prepared to enjoy the ocean voyage. Here’s what you need to bring to travel and whale watch like a pro:

  • Water ⏤ We offer bottled water for sale on deck. But you can bring your own to stay hydrated during the cruise.
  • Snacks ⏤ Capt. Dave’s Catalina Island boat charter offers free breakfast onboard. You can also bring light snacks and sandwiches to eat on the trip, or purchase them at check in.
  • Sun protection ⏤ SoCal enjoys sunshine throughout the year. Make sure to protect your eyes and skin with sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.
  • Jacket ⏤ The ocean is 10-15 degrees cooler than land. Bring a sweater or jacket to stay warm on the cruise.
  • Binoculars ⏤ Binoculars might enhance your Dana Point whale watching experience, although they are not required.


What should I do if I get seasick?

If you’ve had seasickness or motion sickness in the past, please consult with your doctor before booking our Catalina Island cruise. Your doctor can give you medications to prevent nausea and vomiting on the trip.

What happens if the weather turns bad?

We have an experienced and professional captain and crew that decide the safety of voyages. If it’s safe, we’ll go. And if it’s not, we’ll cancel the trip until weather conditions improve.

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If you’re looking for whale watching near Dana Point, we guarantee you’ve never experienced anything like this. Our exclusive underwater glass viewing pods put you face to face with some of the largest creatures on earth! Book your seat today!