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Norwegian's Official Travel Blog

One of the most exhilarating activities people enjoy on a Norwegian cruise vacation is whale watching. Whales are the majestic giants of the sea and having an opportunity to see one or more of these magnificent mammals is something that is a joy to experience. There are many locations around the world where whale watching is possible, and the migration patterns of the whales luckily coincide with the migration pattern of our fleet of Norwegian cruise ships. That means there are plenty of options for whale watching shore excursions on Norwegian cruises around the world.

Some of the most popular cruise locations for whale watching are Alaska and Northern Europe in the summer months and Mexico and parts of The Caribbean during the winter. Here are some notable destinations and whale-watching shore excursions that can bring you closer to these fantastic creatures.

Ready to start planning? Explore the best cruises for whale watching.

Dawes Glacier
Dawes Glacier

1. Alaska

Cruising in Alaska is one of the best opportunities for whale watching. Humpback whales feed in the nutrient-rich waters of Alaska in the summer months, when the waters are teeming with krill and plankton. One of the best cruise itineraries for whale watching in Alaska is the Alaska: Dawes Glacier, Juneau & Ketchikan 7-Day cruise from Seattle, Washington on Norwegian Bliss. This cruise includes port days in Sitka, Juneau, and Icy Strait Point.

Point Adolphus in Icy Strait Point has the highest concentration of humpback whales in the Alaskan panhandle. There are usually ample chances to spot these majestic creatures on any Alaskan cruise or excursion specializing in whale watching. A couple of whale-watching excursions to consider include the Whale and Marine Mammals Cruise and Mendenhall Glacier & Whale Quest.

The narrow passages of Sitka a lso offer plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing, including sea otters, brown bears, sea lions, and even the occasional whale. Book the Sea Otter & Wildlife Quest or Whale Quest & Orca Point Lodge in hopes of seeing a whale or two.

2. Iceland

Iceland is a whale watcher's dream, with one of the most active feeding grounds for a wide variety of whale species, especially during the summer months. You may even see some puffins on your tour if you are lucky. Whale-watching excursions can be found throughout the island, including at the major ports of call of Norwegian cruises. Consider cruises to Northern Europe, such as ones from London to Reykjavik or back from Reykjavik to London.

In Akureyri, the waters of North Iceland are fed with the run-off from the island's amazing highland glaciers, making them an ideal feeding ground for humpback, minke, sei, and orca whales. You may even luck out with a blue whale sighting. Husavik is the first location for whale watching in Iceland and is also home to the Husavik Whale Museum.

Whale watcher's dream
Whale watcher's dream

3. Greenland

Like Iceland, Greenland is also a common feeding ground for humpback whales during the summer months. As the glaciers melt and the nutrients flow into the sea, these majestic creatures arrive to feed and prepare for their winter migration back to the south. Look for a Greenland and Iceland cruise itinerary to maximize your whale sighting opportunities.

Nuuk is Greenland's capital, a small city located in the southwest part of the island. Book the Fjord Boat Tour for a chance to see some humpback whales.

4. Spain

Seven different species of whales and dolphins live in the nutrient-rich waters of the Strait of Gibraltar. You may have an opportunity here to spot pilot whales, sperm whales, and even striped dolphins. Book a cruise that visits Spain, such as Seville. Book the Whale & Dolphin Watch & Tarifa Village excursion if your cruise stops in Seville.

Tarifa Village
Tarifa Village

5. Canary Islands

The Canary Islands offer year-round opportunities for viewing pilot whales and dolphins in their natural environment. One of the best places in the Canary Islands to go whale watching is Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

6. Mexico

Humpback whales annually migrate to the warm waters of the Gulf of California and Banderas Bay, making a cruise to the Mexican Riviera one of the top destinations for going on a whale-watching excursion during the winter months. Choose cruises that stop in Cabo San Lucas and/or Puerto Vallarta for the best whale watching.

Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta

7. The Caribbean

Humpback whales annually migrate to the waters of The Caribbean to give birth and mate. More than a dozen species of whales and dolphins can often be found in the warm waters here throughout the year.

8. British Columbia

Puget Sound, the Gulf Islands, and the San Juan Islands are home to resident orca pods, transient orcas, and gray, Minke, and humpback whales. For the best chance of viewing them, choose a cruise that stops in Victoria, British Columbia, and book the Ocean Wildlife & Orca Exploration excursion.

Orca Exploration  excursion
Orca Exploration excursion

Are you still deciding where to go whale watching? Be sure to sign up for Norwegian cruise deals to get the latest specials delivered right to your inbox.