I had to coax my sometimes Dramamine popping wife to join my 16 year old daughter and I on this great trip. But she was glad she came, the ride was smooth (she had no issues), temperature perfect, whales to see, and entertaining crew to accompany us.
The yacht, a replica of the original America, was in beautiful shape. And we were lucky to get to go, since they told us the yacht was moving to the East coast sometime before summer to participate in summer America's Cup prelude activities. This ship, we understand, is how the Americas cup got its name.
For the three of us it was $203.50 (our 16 year old was half the adult cost), and it was well worth it. It came with an entry to the Maritime museum that was also very interesting - I will write a separate review for that, can't remember what that would have cost separately, but probably worth that too. This was a good thing since you have to walk through part of the museum/ docks to get to where the Yacht America was docked.
One of the best things was we actually sailed for a good bit of the day, versus running on engines.
The total trip was at least 4 hours and we saw either the same Fin whale a dozen + times or more than one Fin whale a bunch of times. For this time of year we thought we would be looking for Grey whales heading back to Alaska. But, we did not see any grey whales. The Fin Whale surfacing and heading straight for the side of the boat, then diving under the boat and the other 10 or 15 times we saw the whale(s) made it all worth while.
Despite some of the previous reviews, we had no issue booking our spots on -line (through a "Zerve" site) and no issues checking in on the dock outside the Maritime Museum. We elected to park across Harbor Drive, near the Santa Fe train station for $12 for 12 hours. It is a fairly short walk to the Maritime Museum from there.
Tony ( I think) the M-C/ commentator/tour guide was very entertaining and passed on a bunch of information about whales, the naval air station, the navy ships, Coronado Islands, San Diego, and many other subjects. He was also very good with the kids in the group, there must have been 6-8 younger kids on the trip.
We did see a staedy stream of Navy helicopters and jets coming and going fom the north island naval air station that was also fun to see.
They also offered water and soft drinks and some snacks. I guess we could have brought some wine or beer with us, but it would hindered our scrambling from one side of the boat to the other to see the whales.
If necessary, you have access to part of the below decks, including the head - 4 hours would have been a long time for some of us otherwise.
Somehow our daughter reformated the disk in the camera and we have not yet recovered any of our pictues, including of the whales, or I would add them.
Plan to spend at least another hour + at the museum before or after the whale watching.
What a great day and worth every penny.
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