Created on May 18th 2008
My whale watching experience is pretty much exclusively Northeast US, specifically around the Gulf of Maine, Cape Cod Bay area. We are fortunate to have Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary right on our doorstep, one of the most productive whale feeding grounds on the planet. Its proximity to the coast means relatively easy access to all sorts of marine life, including the most popular, humpback whales. I haven’t availed myself of all of the whale watch companies in the area, so will list first the ones I know first hand. My basic criteria for what makes a good whale watch company is embodied in the naturalists – many companies employ naturalists from whale/marine research organizations which means they know their stuff. And trust me, that makes a huge difference.
Portuguese Princess – now part of Dolphin Fleet. I loved PP because their naturalists were staff at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, not only a great research organization, but the only one on the east coast with federal permit to disentangle whales and marine life from fishing gear.
Dolphin Fleet – now the only game in Provincetown. Their naturalists have worked with PCCS and also on their own have years of whale watching and science expertise.
New England Aquarium – be aware that this is a 3 level catamaran which means it holds a LOT of people. Also, the naturalists are not NEAq staff and I have found these naturalists to be less knowledgeable than those on smaller companies.
Seven Seas Whale Watch – also with very experienced naturalists.