Whale watching and dinner cruise | San Juan Island cruise

Whale watching and dinner cruise | San Juan Island cruise

Steve and I had the most unforgettable experience this summer courtesy of San Juan Cruises.


It was an incredible adventure that included whale watching, adventure, and fine dining.

Departure from Alaska Ferry Terminal

It is an early morning to catch the boat heading out to the San Juan Islands for a day cruise and dinner. We set sail at 9:30 am from the Alaska Ferry Terminal. Ticket’s cost $89/adults and includes a dinner buffet.

The cruise is a scenic experience and a great way to catch an up close view of resident or transient Orca whales without getting wet like a typical whale watching boat. The chances of spotting Orca whales are extremely high. With indoor and outdoor seating the touring vessel gives you a perfect view where ever you decided to sit. The day started off cloudy with quite a lot of fog which is normal for the San Juan Islands. The fog tends to rise and clear early morning.

Whale Watching

If you are lucky enough for a sunny day like we had, it is the perfect setting for a whale watch. The vessel offers a full snack bar serving breakfast and sandwiches.  We grabbed a seat on the upper deck near the back while listening to the captain explain the history and educational stories of the various San Juan Islands we were crossing.

It took approximately 1.5 hours to get out to where we could spot the whales along with other whale watching boats. We saw other wild life including sea lions while cruising the islands. Here is a spectacular view of Mount Baker from our vessel.

When we reached the Orca whales it was late morning. We watched the whales for about an hour before it was than time to head to Friday Harbour. At his point of the trip, my appetite was strong and was grateful for the snack bar with delicious fresh made sandwiches.

Arrival in Friday Harbour

Getting to Friday Harbour, took about 1.5 hours to arrive. The terminal was extremely busy especially since the weather absolutely beautiful. We finally reached Friday Harbour at 1:30 pm which left us 1.5 hours to explore the town. The town was buzzing, all the restaurants where busy with loads of people soaking up the warm sunshine and enjoying either some seafood on a patio or a gelato.

Strolling through Friday Harbour looking for a seat to enjoy my gelato.

Enjoying my gelato listening to the buskers.

All you can eat dinner

By the time we hopped back on board and headed back to Bellingham we were served our dinner. Dinner included an all you can eat buffet of Northwest salmon, chicken, and side dishes of rice and salad. The dinner was delicious – and I must not forget the divine desserts they offered, cheese cake and rich chocolate brownies with fresh fruit.

The San Juan Island day cruise was an unbelievable adventure filled with education and history of the Islands.

We recommend anyone visiting with families to try this option versus the usual whale watching experience. You get the bonus of a delicious dinner and educational experience of viewing the San Juan Islands and the added bonus of not getting wet!

Steven Zussino

Steven Zussino is the co-founder of Grocery Alerts Canada. He loves to help Canadians save money on groceries. He also runs the blog, CanadianTravelHacking.com.