Book a Sea Safari two-day mini-cruise

Join us for whale and dolphin watching on a Sea Safari

ORCA works in partnership with Brittany Ferries to offer unforgettable Sea Safari whale and dolphin watching cruises in the Bay of Biscay. We seek to inspire and engage as many people as we can to see whales, dolphins and porpoises in our oceans and few realise that the Bay of Biscay, in the North Atlantic, is home to a third of all cetacean species on the planet.

What are you likely to see?

On our return trip to Spain, we voyage through the English Channel and the deep waters of the Bay of Biscay. You will be guided by ORCA experts who will be on the lookout for the fin whales, sperm whales and even the largest animal on earth, the magnificent but rare blue whale.

Other species that you are likely to encounter include the weird but wonderful Cuvier’s beaked whale, pilot whale, Risso’s dolphin and hundreds of playful common, striped and bottlenose dolphins. In 2017, we saw over 2,500 individual marine mammals.

- Map of all the cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) seen on the Sea Safari trips in 2017

Why the Bay of Biscay?

The warm temperate waters of the North East Atlantic, including the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay, form important feeding, breeding and migratory waters for a vast diversity of whales and dolphins.

2018 Dates

Special Comments
Booking Status

   26th - 28th   June


10th - 12th  July


7th - 9th August

Wildlife TV presenter and ORCA patron, Nigel Marven, will join the ORCA Guide team for this cruise Open

14th - 16th August


11th - 13th September

Blue Planet II and Planet Earth II cameraman, Matt Brierley, will join the ORCA Guide team for this cruise Open

18th - 20th September

Wildlife TV presenter and ORCA patron, Nigel Marven, will join the ORCA Guide team for this cruise Open

25th - 27th September




- ORCA patrons Nigel Marven (pictured above), and Chris Packham, have joined the Sea Safari guide team on many cruises

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Sea Safari cruise in detail

Cruises depart from Portsmouth on Tuesday afternoons on Brittany Ferries' flagship vessel, Pont-Aven.  

When you're safely on board and your luggage is stowed in your room, you can meet your Sea Safari expert guide team on the top deck (10) in a specially reserved area for Sea Safari guests.  After dinner, you will have a chance to get to know fellow guests and be inspired about what you could see on the cruise during an entertaining and informative presentation by the guide team.

Journeying through the English Channel overnight, you will find your wildlife experts out on deck by sunrise on Wednesday morning, ready for a full day of spotting through the Bay of Biscay.  Your guide team will be based on Deck 10 for the duration of the cruise where you can ask them questions about marine life of the Bay of Biscay, review the sightings map, look out to sea using a pair of our Opticron binoculars, as well as ask any questions you may have about our charity, ORCA.  Many of our guides (and guests!) are very knowledgeable about the avian species that are often spotted too.

Arriving in the attractive city of Santander in north Spain on late Wednesday afternoon, you will have the chance to spend a few hours exploring or just relaxing before the ferry sets off for Plymouth. After dinner, your guide team will host a fun quiz where you'll be surprised by what you learn about marine mammals!  They will also share progress on sightings from the day and prepare you for what you might see on Thursday.

Again your guide team will be up on Deck 10 as soon as it's light on Thursday morning, ready to spot anything and everything out at sea.  You will reach Plymouth in the late afternoon where there is a free coach service return transfer from Plymouth to Portsmouth.

This cruise will not only leave you with more knowledge about marine mammals, memorable sightings and photos to treasure, but also peace of mind that you have helped to protect and conserve whales, dolphins and porpoises in the wild.


- An elusive Cuvier's beaked whale spotted by Marine Mammal Surveyor and Sea Safari guide, Ross Wheeler

Spotting from ferries

We have Wildlife Officers living and working on board ferries on the North Sea and North East Atlantic that includes the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay. They are there to help passengers spot whales and dolphins from on deck and to give talks and run activities about the incredible marine wildlife that surrounds the ship. 

Every year, our Wildlife Officers inspire over 10,000 people about our marine wildlife and help hundreds of people spot their first ever whale or dolphin.  Why not hop onto a ferry today and meet the ORCA Wildlife Officers!