These cruises are organised by Brittany Ferries’ wildlife partner organisation ORCA – a marine mammal charity whose aim is to educate ferry passengers about the animals which inhabit the seas of Europe. ORCA have experts onboard each cruise who help passengers spot and identify the whales and dolphins they encounter. They also give fun and informative presentations about these highly complex and intelligent mammals, and the delicate ecosystems they inhabit.
And when they’re able to tear themselves away from the ship’s railing, passengers on these cruises can enjoy all the onboard facilities and entertainment of Brittany Ferries’ flagship, Pont-Aven. Fine French dining is available in a choice of restaurants, and there’s also a choice of shopping, lounges and bars – there’s even a swimming pool. After a night and day at sea, there’s time to pop ashore in the northern Spanish town of Santander, before boarding the ship for the trip back home – with plenty more wildlife spotting opportunities to enjoy en route.
Sally Hamilton, ORCA’s Director comments, “As soon as you sail from the South Coast, there’s an amazing diversity of whale, dolphin and porpoise species – almost on our doorstep, and these cruises make an ideal way to spot them. It’s great to see passengers connecting with the sea, and the looks on their faces as they spot some of the most amazing yet hidden animals on the planet.”
There’s a seriously useful side to the cruises too. Passengers help ORCA to record numbers and species of dolphins, whales and birds, and this data is then used in scientific research aimed at creating safer, sustainable marine habitats.
Forthcoming cruises will depart on 16th July, 6th, 13th & 20th August, and 10th, 17th & 24th September. Each cruise includes excellent wildlife spotting opportunities with friendly guides, deck watches, and wildlife presentations. And some cruises also include a special theme, for example on the 17th September departure, renowned wildlife photographer David Tipling will give a photography masterclass, and on the 24th September cruise, Springwatch’s Chris Packham will be onboard to share his expertise on seabird migration and bird watching.
Cruises depart from Portsmouth and start from £170 per person. More details are available at brittanyferries.com/whale. Bookings can be made on 0871 244 0441, quoting Y13WWC.