Killer Whales Breaching off Alaska Cruise Ship

Greetings from southeast Alaska! Orcas, commonly called killer whales, are really members of the porpoise family. Like their dolphin cousins, orcas swim in small family groups (pods) and display the same intelligence, sociable group behavior, and occasional playfulness as other marine mammals in the porpoise family. I was with a small group of my own for a cruise vacation along southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage, and the captain of Fantasy Cruise’s Island Spirit was confident that we’d see at least one pod of orcas, along with other wildlife native to Alaska. We sure did; take a look at this amazing video.

The captain of our small cruise ship was as astounded as his passengers. In his 20 years of whale watching, he’d never seen anything like this. The orcas were not, of course, putting on a show for the benefit of us Alaska tourists — Captain Jeff Behrens suggested that the adults were teaching the two babies in the pod how to breach and how to slap their tails against the surface of the water. We were incredibly fortunate that the killer whales had decided to start their lesson right off the bow of his ship.

This travel experience is just about as clear an example of the benefits of taking a small cruise orcas breaching in southeast Alaska inside passage (david miner)ship Alaska vacation as any. Small cruise ships like Fantasy Cruise’s Island Spirit safely cruise into smaller bays and inlets into which the larger cruise ships cannot fit. This pod of orcas, along with the humpback whales, seals, adorable sea otters, and other marine mammals, come into those tranquil bays — a day didn’t go by on our Alaskan cruise vacation that we didn’t see some incredible wildlife. As seen in the video, those orcas were in no hurry to leave, either; the smaller size of this cruise ship may have been less intimidating. While there’s no guarantee that you would see a family of killer whales teaching their babies to breach, the odds are better on a small Alaskan cruise ship vacation.

Thank you to Fantasy Cruises for hosting this southeast Alaska cruise travel vacation.

21 Responses to “Killer Whales Breaching off Alaska Cruise Ship”

  1. 1
    TwinCitiesGal says:

    This is amazing footage. You were beyond lucky! We saw whales on our cruise, but nothing like this.

  2. 2
    Mimi says:

    That video is really special. Thanks for sharing!

  3. 3
    Jody says:

    Wow, Jen, that is just incredible. How fortunate you were to see it!

  4. 4
    Donna Hull says:

    What an amazing video! I think small ship cruises are the best for giving visitors a close-up look at Alaska.

  5. 5
    Susi says:

    I went on a cruise to Alaska a couple years ago. There’s nothing like seeing whales especially as close as you captured in the video. What amazing animals.

  6. 6
    ColoradoGal says:

    Absolutely phenomenal! Once in a lifetime. So cool.

  7. 7
    wandermom says:

    You’ll never be satisfied with Seaworld again :)

  8. 8
    SoCalGal says:

    Ha, Wandermom, you are so right. :)

  9. 9
    jessiev says:

    laughing at wandermom’s comment. you are SO LUCKY!! wow. your kids will nEVER forget this!!

  10. 10

    OMG! That is a once-in-a-lifetime video. How fabulous you got to experience that. And a whole pod to boot.

  11. 11
    polyGeek says:

    Right place, right time.

    I’d like to see picks of the cruise ship you were on. How small is small?

  12. 12
    SoCalGal says:

    This ship held 32 passengers, with a 9-person crew.

  13. 13

    Way cool, Jennifer. Now you know why I LOVE Alaska! Can’t wait to go back. Thanks for sharing the super fun video! What a trip.

  14. 14
    Amanda says:

    WOW! That’s so awesome. Even more fantastic that you got such great footage! I can’t imagine what it would have been like to see that in person! I just recently went on an Alaskan cruise, but I sure didn’t see anything nearly as amazing as this!

  15. 15

    Wow – how fun. And great video clip too!

    The ship sounds like a nice size. Not too small to be cramped, but not to big to feel like you’re in a floating shopping mall.

  16. 16
    Aurora says:

    WOW!!!! What can I say?! AMAZING!!! You were so lucky to get to see this! It must have been fantastic, I want to experience something like this too!! 😀

  17. 17
    Nathan says:

    That would be so cool. It would be a little scary to be so close but still really cool.


  18. 18
    jillflorio says:

    Absolutely stunning moment in time. Even the Captain sounded shocked. This will be one of those travel moments you never forget. I’m so glad you had your vid cam out!!!

  19. 19

    Wow…what a great opportunity for you to see.

  20. 20
    traveler says:

    Wow, this is really neat. I am thinking about booking a cruise to Alaska, does anyone know the best route to take? CruiseCompete lists several different lines and options? …I hear Alaska has some really amazing shore excursions, any suggestions?

  21. 21
    PAT says:

    Amazing. Simply, amazing.

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