San Juan Islands cruises come in a variety of forms. There are some that last just a few hours and others that last a few days or more. Depending on your wants and needs, you can arrange a San Juan Islands cruise that originates in the islands themselves, book a cruising adventure that embarks from the mainland Washington coast, or try to find a cruise that departs from some other Pacific Northwest destination. As far as what you can expect in terms of the boat, small cruise ships that can be more than 100 feet long are often employed for the multi-day cruises, and they provide onboard accommodations.
Most of the San Juan Islands whale watching cruises last three to four hours and originate out of the islands of San Juan and Orcas. Friday Harbor is the main San Juan Island departure point for cruises, while Eastsound is where most of the Orcas Island cruises originate out of. The cruise ports are found in the hearts of these towns and are essentially the center of all the action. You can also find similar kinds of San Juan Islands cruises that depart from mainland Washington destinations, such as Seattle, Anacortes, Bellingham, and Port Townsend. If you just need a way to get to the islands, ferries depart from these destinations as well, and you can also arrange a flight out on a small airplane.
The San Juan Islands cruises that depart from the mainland typically last around five to six hours. Multi-day San Juan Islands cruises that include whale watching can also be arranged through the various cruise companies in the region. Clipper Vacations and Victoria Clipper offer some of the most popular San Juan Islands cruises, and if you want to enjoy more than a day visit, their San Juan Island vacation packages can help you make it happen.
Shorter one-day cruises in the San Juan Islands generally see passengers riding on a yacht, a catamaran, or something the like, and sometimes camping instead of sleeping on the ship is part of the deal. It can pay to weigh all the available options when it comes to the San Juan Islands cruises, and if you can't find a pre-arranged cruise that you like, there are boat charters in the region that allow customers to customize their cruising adventures. Perhaps you'll fancy a short cruise through the San Juan Islands before you take a side trip to British Columbia's Vancouver Island, or maybe you'll have an urge to add some fishing to the picture. San Juan Islands fishing charters stand ready to help anglers of all levels arrange unforgettable fishing adventures.
Fishing isn't the only thing that you can hope to enjoy on San Juan Islands cruises. Whale watching is also a popular pursuit, and there are tours that highlight the regional wildlife in general. San Juan Islands whale watching cruises are best enjoyed between the months of June and September, though they are available year round if you can't manage to arrange a summer visit. Orca whales, or killer whales, as they are also known, are the main whales that you will search for on San Juan Islands whale watching cruises. Minke whales also populate the area waters, and other creatures that you can hope to spot include porpoises, harbor seals, and bald eagles.
The options for San Juan Islands cruises are truly impressive. It's even possible to enjoy cruises that travel from the islands to Alaska and vice versa. These kinds of cruises last around two weeks and see cruise passengers making their ways through the beautiful Southern Inside Passage. Stops are made along the way, and they allow for side adventures, such as kayaking tours and hiking excursions. Taking your own boat to the San Juans and enjoying your own cruise is also an option, and if you don't have a personal vessel, renting one is always an option.