New England Aquarium Whale Watching Cruise
These high-speed catamarans are the fastest and most comfortable way to view the ocean’s most magnificent creatures with Boston’s only three-hour whale watch!
On the cruise, the boats that take you to the whales will give you more photo-taking, wide-mouthed gaping, whale watching time, because the catamarans get you to and from the whales in less time! Travel with these catamarans to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, a rich feeding ground for whales, dolphins, sea birds, and other marine life, and this area is home to several kinds of large whales, including humpback, finback, minke, pilot, and the critically endangered right whales. White-sided dolphins may also make an appearance in this sanctuary! Not only that, but you are guaranteed a whale sighting or you’ll receive a free ticket for a future New England Aquarium Whale Watching Cruise!
The catamarans that you will ride on this cruise are some of the largest and fastest custom whale-watch vessels in the United States and can carry up to 400 passengers at speeds approached 35 knots (37.5 mph)! They are also environmentally friendly and participate in the Passenger Vessel Association Waters Best Green Practices Program, and they are fully air-conditioned and heated, as well as very stable on the waters. Three outside decks provide optimum viewing capabilities, and inside, the climate-controlled cabin space features carpeting, soft upholstered transit and booth seating, state-of-the-art audio-visual systems, a New England Aquarium Education Station, and a galley with food and beverages for purchase. Outfitted with all of the latest marine electronics and navigation systems, these vessels qualify as some of the most advanced and safest passenger vessels in the country!
With narration by naturalists trained by the New England Aquarium, you will learn about the behavior, conservation status, and migration patterns of whales, dolphins, and sea birds! The naturalist will aid you in how to identify different species, how scientists keep track of individual animals, and more!
When booking a whale-watching cruise, remember that whales are most active from April to the end of October! While weather rarely interferes with the cruise schedule, extremely rough weather may cause a cruise to be rescheduled. For your journey, consider bringing camera and film, binoculars, comfortable shoes/sneakers, a sweater or jacket, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
Learn more about the whales
Whales flock to this underwater plateau at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay every summer to socialize and feed on their favorite foods, and the summertime buffet means there’s plenty to go around for dolphins, seals, sea birds, and fish as well!
One of the whales you’re likely to spot is the humpback, which can reach an average of 50 feet and weigh about 37 tons! Named for the way its back arches out of the water when getting ready to take a deep dive, the humpback has distinct black and white markings on its tail, and these markings help scientists differentiate between different humpbacks.
Minkes are some of the most abundant whales in the world today. These beautiful baleen whales are sleek, small, and dolphin-like, and because of their relatively small size, their diet is a wider variety of fish than the larger fin and humpback whales. Little is known of the life history of Minke whales, partially because mother/calf pairs are rarely observed.
Ranging from 45-70 feet long and weighing 40 tons, finback whales are second in size only to blue whales! Known for their asymmetrical lower jaw that is white on the right side and grey-black on the left, finback whales are primarily seen as solitary animals, though groups of up to 15 animals have been observed together. There is some evidence that finbacks may live up to 100 years, although there has yet to be confirmation as that depends on more accurate aging techniques.
Another animal you will see is the white-sided dolphins, which are found only in the North Atlantic Ocean. They are frequently sighted in groups as small as 10-15 animals and as large as several thousand, and these groups over 100 are known as “super pods.” These dolphins like squid and fish, such as herring.