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  • Breakfast & Dinner Included
  • Spacious, Upscale Cruise

Deluxe Catalina Island Cruise & Whale Watching

From breathtaking natural beauty to adventurous outdoor activities, Catalina Island has it all. Capt. Dave’s offers a 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. Book now to experience the most unique cruise to Catalina Island by boat!

Quick Details

Adult Age 13+
Child Age 6 - 12
Due to the extended cruise duration, no children under 6.

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.

Book Your Catalina Cruise

View overlooking Avalon Harbor at Catalina Island

Dolphin and Whale Watching During Your Catalina Island Cruise

During the approximate 2.5 to 3-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 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!

Blue Whale Tail off the coast of Dana Point, California

Catalina Island Cruise Itineraries

Avalon Estimated Itinerary:

On June 15 and August 10 we will be visiting Avalon, a beautiful European-esque historic town and harbor with many visitor amenities, restaurants, and shops.

• 8:00 AM – Depart Dana Point Harbor
• 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM – Arrive in Avalon and disembark the boat
• 4:30 PM to 5:00 PM – Depart Avalon
• 7:00 PM to 8:00 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.

Kayaking near Avalon at Catalina Island

Two Harbors Estimated Itinerary:

On July 13 and September 21, a visit to Two Harbors is a walk on the wild side where nature abounds.

• 8:00 AM – Depart Dana Point Harbor
• 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM – Arrive in Two Harbors and disembark the boat
• 4:30 PM to 5:00 PM – Depart Two Harbors
• 7:00 PM to 8:00 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.

Herd of Bison on Catalina Island

Catered 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 served on the boat while we are on our way to Catalina.

The menu includes:

• Tropical fruit platters
• Assorted yogurts
• Breakfast breads and muffins
• Warm ham and Swiss cheese croissants
• Pancake-wrapped sausages on a stick
• Orange and cranberry juice
• Gourmet coffee & tea station

Additional beverages including water, soda, beer, hard seltzers, and wine will be available for purchase throughout the trip.

Catered 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.

The dinner menu includes:

• Freshly grilled Angus beef cheeseburger
• Freshly grilled plant-based Beyond Burger
• Burger toppings including lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles
• Freshly grilled hot dogs
• Caesar salad
• Tropical fruit platter
• Lays potato chips

Refreshing beverages including water, soft drinks, beer, hard seltzers, and wine will be available for purchase.

Reviews of Our Catalina Island Cruise

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Took the whole family out to Catalina (parents, grandfather, sister, and boyfriend) and I was very happy with our experience. The included breakfast and dinner were ideal as it allowed us the full 4 hours to enjoy the island and not have to worry about eating and it was delicious. I appreciated the stops for whale and dolphin watching going and returning. It was really awesome how close we got to everything. Staff was also very friendly which was much appreciated and I appreciated the commentary they gave for each species we saw. We enjoyed talking to staff and Captain Dave himself. We plan on doing the Two Harbors trip next month. Definitely recommend!

– Ashley Malavenda
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The trip to Catalina was fun and exciting seeing a fin whale, a minke whale and lots of dolphin. The staff was friendly and very knowledgeable about the sea life and our time on Catalina Island.

– Roberta Nordskog
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One of the most thrilling experiences of my life! The crew were fantastic, so informative and thoughtful! The food was outstanding! The dolphins.... Well, they were worth every single penny and more! Not only did we catch an amazing pod leaving Catalina but also another huge pod closer to the mainland! Wow!

– Nicola Kirk
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This was an 11-hour tour to Catalina Island and back on the Hoku Nai'a, one of my favorite boats. You just feel really special on her with the fun decor, open decks and comfortable seating. She's definitely not zippy so the trip to Catalina is about 3.5 hours, including well-deserved and desired stops for cetaceans, which we saw 3 minkes, a fin whale, and 2 pods of dolphins; bottlenose and hundreds of common dolphins. Also in the morning we were served a lovely breakfast with delicious, ripe in-season fruit, some pastry, coffee and juices. There were several substantial snacks being passed around for meat-eaters, so I do suggest they have a couple of vegetarian items. Once we docked there was about 4 hours to do what you desired in town. I had plenty of time to shop (for a new hat as mine flew off into the wake of the Hoku), eat lunch with a friend, and snorkel, a great afternoon! On our way back to Dana Point, we again had a tasty meal, animal and plant-based burgers were offered with all the fixin's. The dolphin pods joined us on this leg, highly entertaining us. Yes the crew was on it, two Captains; including THE Captain Dave and Capt. Alex, and Mates Caitlyn, Lauren, and Will. They shared information along the way and all were very engaging when we asked questions. We motored into Dana Point Harbor in front of a beautiful sunset and silhouetted harbor birds on the jetties. Excellent Adventure!

– Dawn G.
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I absolutely love this company! A friend and I did the Whale Watch trip to Catalina and back. Although it was a long day, it was worth it. The crew were outstanding as always. They take such good care of all of us on the boat! The trip included a hot Continental breakfast and a Burger & Hot Dog Bar for dinner. We were fortunate to see several Minke whales, a Fin Whale and plenty of dolphins and 4 hours to do whatever you wanted to do on the island. Thanks again for a wonderful day!

– Tammy Neu
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We had such a great time with captain Dave & his crew .

– Felicia Cates

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 partially covered for protection from the elements.

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 fun surfboard 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.

Free Snorkel Gear to Use

With clear waters and beautiful marine life, Catalina Island offers some of the best snorkeling opportunities. Water temperatures vary from 55 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you’d like to enjoy snorkeling from land during your Catalina Island cruise, we’ll provide a mask and snorkel.

*Snorkeling is only available from land, not from the boat.

Two Boys Snorkeling, credit: Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau

Catalina Island Boat Cruise Frequently Asked Questions

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!

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