Disclaimer: This trip was provided for me in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of my time.
Santa Cruz is a beautiful city with so much activity, but only seeing it from the land is only seeing a small portion. The harbor and the ocean here are teeming with life, and the views of the famous boardwalk are stunning from the water. To remedy this, we took a trip on the Chardonnay II for a two hour sail through the harbor; it was an amazing experience full of views, whales, and pizza, here are the details.
- $68 a person (as of 2015)
- Lots of tours every day
- Must book in advance as it sells out
- All information is from my trip in 2015
When you arrive and get checked in, you can use the facilities and wait until it is time for your specific cruise to leave. The friendly crew came and gathered us up, provided the safety tips, and loaded us on the boat right at the tour start time. The boat itself was majestic and easily fit the 40 or so people on my tour.
From there, the captain gave us the rules, and our two hour tour began.
The boat lazily cruised out of the harbor and past the small lighthouse before we were in the open water.
Since the harbor is very close to the boardwalk and pier, we immediately saw it off the right side of the boat.
Once the boat settled into its groove, the two people working on the boat started to serve us pizza and drinks. The food and the drinks change for eat trip, but ours was a selection of pizza, beer and soda. You never wanted for a drink or a slice of pizza.
This allows you just to sit back and walk around the boat to take in all of the fantastic views.
The sea life that calls the Santa Cruz harbor home is unbelievable. I didn’t have my zoom lens, so the pictures aren’t too crazy, but just know that we saw at least ten whales, sea otters, and seals in our two-hour cruise.
The whales were amazing as they kept coming up in every direction. They were all over the boats and were coming in and out of the water for us; it was so cool.
The boat cruised up near the boardwalk and around the pier, which is one of the oldest in California and the longest.
There was a ton of seals all hanging out below it as well.
During the rest of the time on the boat we just walked around and took in the views, the amazing weather and the animals that we were presented with, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
The boat has an interior and a few bathrooms as well if you need to get out of the sun, but other than that, you just relax and let the staff take care of you.
The four people who went with me all loved it, and I cannot recommend it more. If you are looking for a way to see the other side of Santa Cruz, get out on the water with Chardonnay II. Let me know if you have done water sports in Santa Cruz in the comments.