Like several towns and cities along the Massachusetts coastline, there are a number of whale watching cruises in Plymouth. Two companies operate out of Plymouth – Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours, and Plymouth Whale Watching – and below we outline their offerings, as well as provide some general information about whale watching cruises out of Plymouth, Massachusetts.
As students of U.S. history might remember, Plymouth played a fairly prominent role in American history. The passengers of the Mayflower founded a colony here in 1620, and it is one of the oldest municipalities in the United States. It is also the site of the first Thanksgiving feast, which celebrated the successful crop yield of 1621. Plymouth is therefore an American institution – indeed, it is sometimes called “America’s Hometown” – and it just so happens to be good for whale watching too (because all the waters off the Massachusetts coast are good for whale watching). You likely won’t plan a trip to Plymouth simply to whale watch, but it’s a cool thing to do if you are there and can find a few spare hours in a sightseeing agenda that is otherwise historically oriented.
The two whale watching companies are, once more, Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours and Plymouth Whale Watching. In accordance with the statewide whale watching season, they offer cruises from about late spring to mid-autumn, with more cruises offered during the peak of the season, which is essentially the middle of the summer. Both companies’ cruises last around three to four hours, with the cruise lengths oscillating between shorter and longer cruises depending on whale sightings. And speaking of sightings, there is a very good chance you’ll see whales – most likely humpbacks, although several other species are seen – on a cruise from Plymouth. Both companies offer whale sighting guarantees, although Plymouth Whale Watching is far more vocal about this fact. “Sighting guaranteed” is listed in several prominent places around the website, whereas you have to dig through Captain John’s FAQs to be reassured that in the very rare instances that no whales are spotted, you get a complimentary pass for a future cruise. The price for tickets is close to the same for both companies – Captain John charges $47 for Adults, $29 for Children, and $39 for seniors – although Plymouth Whale Watching’s fares are conspicuously cheaper by a few dollars in every category. Moreover, children under four sail free with Plymouth, and children are cut off from free rides on Captain John at the tender age of three. On the other hand, all active military members ride free with Captain John, so each has their selling point.
In truth, it probably doesn’t matter much who you book with, and the company you sail with might simply be the company you stumble across first while visiting, or planning your visit to, Plymouth. In any case, if you are planning on whale watching during your trip, it is definitely advisable to book tickets in advance, which can be done online for both companies. For general information, check out our article on whale watching in Massachusetts.