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!
Deluxe Catalina Island Cruise & Whale Watching
From breathtaking natural beauty to adventurous outdoor activities, Catalina Island has it all. Capt. Dave’s offers an luxurious Catalina Island cruise from Dana Point with dolphin and whale watching along the way. Enjoy a warm continental breakfast on the way to the island and a delicious burger bar on the journey home. Experience the most unique cruise to Catalina Island by boat.
Price: $189 per person, adults and children (age 6+)
Departure time: 8:30 AM
Capacity: Reduced capacity for a spacious experience
Food: Includes warm continental breakfast and flame-grilled burger bar for dinner
Whale Watching Bonus:
- En route to and from Catalina Island, we’ll be looking for whales, dolphins, sea lions, and all other marine wildlife
- Due to time constraints, we cannot spend an extended amount of time watching animals
- Due to the extended trip duration, children should be age 6 and older
- Adult Age 13+
- Child Age 6 - 12
Escape to Beautiful Catalina Island
Unwind and connect with nature during our limited-edition Catalina Island Cruise.
Our upscale double-deck catamaran Hoku Nai’a is so much more comfortable and less crowded than an express boat to Catalina!
With a Mediterranean climate, clear blue waters, and many fun things to do, 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!
There are outdoor activities for everyone at Catalina Island. Each Catalina Island Cruise will have a different destination – either Avalon or Two Harbors. 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, then our Two Harbors itinerary is for you! Located on the west end of the island, you’ll enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and snorkeling.
After arriving at the island, you’ll have around 4 to 5 hours to go ashore and eat, explore, and enjoy the many delights of Catalina.
Dolphin and Whale Watching During Your Catalina Island Cruise
During the approximate three-hour travel time to Catalina Island by boat, you will have the opportunity to watch and learn about marine wildlife. Our marine naturalists will educate you on the lifestyle and behavior of whales, dolphins, sharks and other fish, seals, pelagic birds, sea turtles, and many more ocean animals.
En route to and from Catalina Island we could view mega-pods of common dolphins, fun-loving bottlenose dolphins, and magnificent whales including blue whales, fin whales, and humpback whales, as well as elephant seals, sharks or other fish, pelagic birds, and more.
Hoku Nai’a has a roomy and comfortable observation deck that is perfect for dolphin and whale watching because it gives you an elevated look at the wildlife. There is plenty of seating and the upper deck is partially covered, too.
You’ll get to Catalina in comfort and style while enjoying spectacular views with our Dana Point to Catalina Island cruise!
Join us for the perfect “staycation” safari!
Catalina Island Cruise Itineraries
Two Harbors Estimated Itinerary:
On September 9, a visit to Two Harbors is a walk on the wild side where nature abounds.
• 8:30 AM – Depart Dana Point Harbor
• 11:30 AM to 11:45 AM – Arrive in Two Harbors at Catalina Island
• 4:00 PM – Depart Two Harbors
• 7:00 to 7:30 PM – Arrive back in Dana Point Harbor
While ashore at Two Harbors, you can enjoy swimming at the beach, kayaking, taking a short hike to snorkel at Harbor Sands in Isthmus Cove, and hiking to the backside of the island at Catalina Harbor. During the hike, you could see wild bison, deer, fox, and eagles. Two Harbor’s has a few restaurants to visit for lunch.
On September 9th, Two Harbors will be hosting their annual Beer Fest. This event for ages 21 and older includes live music, tastings of all of participating breweries from 1-4 pm, complimentary appetizers, a keepsake beer glass, silent auction put on by the Avalon Lions Club, and more! Tickets are $79 plus tax and fee if purchased before September 8. Learn more and buy tickets here.
Avalon Estimated Itinerary:
The next cruise date to Avalon is to be determined. A visit to a beautiful European-esque historic town with many tourist amenities, restaurants, and shops.
• 8:30 AM – Depart Dana Point Harbor
• 11:45 to 12:15 PM – Arrive in Avalon at Catalina Island
• 4:00 PM – Depart Avalon
• 7:00 to 7:30 PM – Arrive back in Dana Point Harbor
During your shore time at Avalon, you can enjoy many experiences including snorkeling at Lovers Cove State Marine Conservation Area, swimming at the beach, shopping, visiting the Botanical Gardens, and golf cart or bike rentals. There are multiple restaurants to choose from for lunch.
Continental Breakfast Included
Capt. Dave’s Catalina Island Cruise departs 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 sea on an empty stomach!
Our Catalina Island boat charters offers a warm continental breakfast with warm pancake-wrapped sausages on a stick, warm croissants with ham and Swiss cheese, assorted yogurts, muffins and other baked goods, tropical fruit platter, coffee, and juice (orange and cranberry) served on the boat while we are on our way to Catalina.
Additional beverages including water, soda, beer, seltzers, and wine will be available for purchase throughout the trip.
Burger Bar Dinner Included
After a day of fun and sun at Catalina Island you’ll probably be hungry.
On the way home to Dana Point, you’ll be served a hot dinner of a freshly grilled Angus beef cheeseburger or plant-based Beyond Burger with fixings (lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles) and condiments (mustard, relish, ketchup), potato chips, tropical fruit platter, and Caesar salad.
Refreshing beverages including water, soft drinks, beer, seltzers, and wine will be available for purchase.
Reviews of Our Catalina Island Cruise
Enjoy a Comfortable Voyage on Hoku Nai’a
Hoku Nai’a is our new double-deck, upscale power catamaran.
Her spacious observation deck is perfect for whale watching during your Catalina Island cruise by giving you an elevated look at the animals. For your comfort, there is ample cushioned bench seating and it’s covered for protection from the elements. There is also a bar with water, soda, beer, wine, and coffee available to purchase.
The main deck is fully enclosed for climate control while large windows on both sides provide plenty of viewing angles on our cruise to Catalina Island by boat. Bench seats with tables and a lounge area are perfect for those wanting to enjoy refreshments.
There are two restrooms on the main deck.
You will enjoy upscale décor throughout the vessel that celebrates Dana Point’s famous surfing culture and recognition as the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World®.
Hoku Nai’a does not have underwater viewing pods.
Hoku Nai’a Virtual Tour
For an “auto tour” video walk-through, click on the play button in the lower left corner. It may take a couple of minutes to show.
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!
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.
- Fin whales ⏤ The second largest whale in the world (after the blue whale) is also one of the fastest. These sleek cetaceans are known as the greyhounds of the sea!
Catalina Island Boat Cruise Frequently Asked Questions
In general, our cruises go out rain or shine if conditions are safe.
In the unlikely event of unfavorable weather conditions, your captain reserves the right to alter the trip itinerary.
Yes! Hoku Nai’a has two restrooms for guests to use during the Catalina Island cruise.
Yes, there is.
On the first deck there are surfboard tables with bench seats. And on the second deck, there is bench seating for about 75 people.
More Popular Experiences
Just like our Signature Safari, but faster and closer! Get within arm’s reach of wildlife on our speedy and fun dolphin & whale watching zodiac-style boats (rigid hull inflatables). VERY low to the water & GoPro friendly. Book your intimate experience now!