Monterey whale watching tour disappointment

Old Jul 18th, 2008, 02:05 PM
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Monterey whale watching tour disappointment

We took the tour with the company Princess Monterey Whale Watching, located on the Fisherman's Wharf, in the yellow building on the right side, beside the embarking dock. We paid $ 40 each adult and $ 30 each kid for a total of $ 140.00. The tour was supposed to leave at 10am for a duration between 2,1/2 and 3 hours. The vessel was not there at 10am and saw it arriving only at 10:10am with other people on board, coming probably from a previous unscheduled private early morning tour.
We left at 10:20. When we reached the area with a humpback whale and a baby fully in action with splashing tales, other two smaller vessels of other companies were already there as they had left in time at 10am. So we arrived too late and the show was almost over. Anyway we still followed these two whales but always in the very distance, while the other two vessels were always very much closer. We saw some dolphings and birds in our trip. We headed back very early, so early that they had to slow down the speed to make at least the minimum time of 2,1/2 hours at the arriving dock !
I went to the office and gave a negative feedback on the trip:

- late departure
- time less than 2,1/2 hours
- always in the very distance from the action

the man said that larger vessels have to keep a longer distance from the whales by law. I replied that if that was the case they should have not advertised pictures where it seems that people touch the nose of a whale ! He said he was sorry for my disappointment and asked me if I was going to take another tour at 1:30pm. I replied that that was not the point.

on top, we then enquiry at one of the other two companies, Crisp or Crips or something similar and found out that their rates were less than the half of what we had paid for the same duration of 2,1/2 hours !

Useless to say: Princes Monterey, never again !!

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Old Jul 18th, 2008, 03:58 PM
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So we arrived too late and the show was almost over. So the whales are aware of the schedule?
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Old Jul 18th, 2008, 04:20 PM
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Maybe the people in the whale suits are union and follow strict hours?

Sorry, Fabio, to make fun of the trip, but you have to admit that taking a whale watch and talking about the "show on schedule" is kind of funny. Many whale watch tours don't even guarantee that you'll see whales.

Do you mean Chris's tours? They list their prices as $30 per adult and $20 per child, as opposed to the $39.95 of Princess.
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Old Jul 18th, 2008, 04:30 PM
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Whatever the merit , or lack thereof, of this tour, they were accurate about one thing, larger vessels are required to stay further away from whales than smaller vessels in order to protect the whales.
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Old Jul 18th, 2008, 06:26 PM
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fabio: It is a nature viewing trip - not a side show, fer cryin' out loud! Did you expect that the mama whale sits around waiting for tourists to show up??

You are not ever guaranteed to see anything.

"we arrived too late and the show was almost over. ". I think you may be happier visiting Marine World where the animals are enclosed and ARE waiting for you to show up.

sheesh . . . . . .
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Old Jul 18th, 2008, 07:05 PM
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I'd be very happy if I saw a mother and baby humpback whale, even if the show was almost over.

However I think Fabio does provide some good information about shopping around for fares and taking a smaller vessel.
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Old Jul 19th, 2008, 09:00 AM
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I get all your points that whales do not follow any schedule for any show. If we only had departed on time we would have been at least among the other vessels at the same time. By the way we then remained at a longer distance.
However if I had a company with smaller vessels I would ask for higher rates having the rights to go closer to the whales than a larger vessel. Here, right the opposite occurred !
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Old Jul 19th, 2008, 11:16 AM
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Ive learned to ask people getting off the boat what they saw. The best a cruise operator can do is guarantee you a ticket for another trip, if you don't see whales.

Our experience there was that of a THICK THICK fog, and a whale that was only periodically sounding. The ship's captain pretty much followed where the other boats were to find the whale, since they don't all have radar.

Lots of rules that were made clear to us regarding how close the boats could get, or even wanted to get. You don't want a whale breaching on your bow.

Future: Check prices, check boats and check customers.
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Old Jul 19th, 2008, 12:33 PM
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Consider yourself lucky that you saw any whales at all. I have been on "whale watching" where we none at all.
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Old Jul 19th, 2008, 02:21 PM
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Just plain silly. Why don't you just rent a video so you will be sure of exactly what you will get. Ofcourse, larger vessels with cheaper rates will have to stay further away.
And slowing down may have been due to traffic and not "timing". Get over it.
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Old Jul 21st, 2008, 02:19 PM
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Yes, we were too fast to pick that company.

Gretchen: in our case our larger vessel which had to stay further away had higher and not cheaper rates !
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